Microsoft Of The Future

It’s not all that often that I find myself sticking up for Microsoft. Lately it seems to have been held in my defense more times than I might care for under normal circumstances. Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that Microsoft as it exists today is doomed. Not broke, not disappearing — its current model in the world stage is flawed and its belief is that it’s about to self-correct. The fact is we need to see Microsoft embrace the areas where it excels. And as we already know, it excels on the desktop and in the enterprise environment.

Now for the problem. Businesses large and small need growth to succeed. Much in the same way we need oxygen to breathe, businesses need growth to thrive as well. Unfortunately in recent years nearly every area Microsoft has reached out into has been a relative failure. By itself, this is not a terrible thing. Bing has gained some market share and is working closely with Yahoo. I hear someday over the rainbow, we really will see Windows 7 tablets worthy of competing with their Android and iPad counterparts. And last, Windows Phone 7. By itself, there is a lot to love about this mobile platform. Unfortunately once again the Microsoft marketing team has gotten a hold of it and the mobile OS is taking a beating in the reviews. Bundle that with key missing features and we have a false start. In other words, the needed features needed to have been included — no excuses.

Here in the coming years, I see Microsoft being faced with a very serious choice. The fact is it cannot afford to fail at mobile this time and the enterprise market isn’t big enough by itself. So maintaining future versions of Windows for the home user will also be key. Then finally, the Xbox. The Xbox has been a solid offering from Microsoft and it appears the brand still has plenty of life left within it. But on the less pleasant side of things, Microsoft needs to clean out its marketing department, allow Bing to break off into its own company, and in the end, focus at its core business: operating systems.


Adobe Is Done With Apple

There should be an image here!Apple made the decision for Adobe to move on, an easy choice. Not like Adobe had much of a vote in the matter of Flash for iOS devices or not.

In response, it appears clear that Android is where Adobe is moving its mobile focus, and rightfully so. Android provides fertile ground for their Air offerings and if Adobe does things right, will surpass any success they’d might have found on the iOS.

Personally, I don’t really care all that much which platform Flash is supported on, I am more concerned about function. If I am not needing Flash/Air on my phone, great. However if there is function that I am missing out on, then you better believe I care and expect a solution.

Microsoft’s Tablet Mindshare Is Broken

There should be an image here!Microsoft, at one time, was a force to be reckoned with. In the enterprise space and with most desktop computers, it still is. Unfortunately, with mobile phones and tablet computers, it is late to the game and not having launched at all.

This article points out a huge Microsoft fail in which it is dictating what OS should go on OEM tablets running Microsoft OS and what should not. Seriously, I am not kidding. It’s one of those things that has me wondering how many hamsters running in a big wheel are in charge of the big decisions in Redmond these days.

While Microsoft is FINALLY getting something worthwhile out in the mobile phone space, it is incredibly late to the game and lack enough market penetration to really matter as much as it could have say, two years ago.

On the tablet front, I have just given up on Microsoft completely. Despite having always seen Microsoft as a control freak (like Apple) with how its products are used, that article by the Register took the cake for me. OEMs are sick of waiting on you, Microsoft. Either release something or stop wasting everyone’s time.

[Photo above by Nils Geylen / CC BY-ND 2.0]


iPhone 4 To Verizon In 2011

There should be an image here!How many times have we heard this before? The iPhone is coming to Verizon in 2011. But could it be this time, there is actually some truth in all of this? Maybe, instead of more hype we will finally see A PHONE coming to Verizon instead of more hope-filled articles complete with lots of speculation? Hey, a guy can hope. Don’t think it’s too much to ask here.

Personally at this point it really doesn’t matter anymore. Verizon has Android phones, today, now, right this minute. They provide most of the same functionality while being available in a variety of different “flavors” to choose from. Fact of the matter is, the iPhone is too late to matter on other networks here in the U.S.

Now if the iPhone actually does make it’s way out of GSM world and graces us with other carrier choices, all the better. But as far as I am concerned, once burned twice shy. Like most people, I am not too hip about re-upping on AT&T just to access a phone and its features. My next phone will likely be with another carrier and will definitely be something that is not dictating that it will run a mobile OS with only one mobile carrier.

Android Is Owning iOS

The title might look like a typo, but it’s not. The fact of the matter is that Android is eating Apple’s iOS for lunch. This is not to say that one is better or worse than the other, rather showing off this article which provides numbers which clearly show Android as the clear winner. So based on what I am reading, it is fair to say that Android is the preferred mobile OS for smart phone buyers these days. But why is that?

Carriers, folks. Well that and phone model choices. The iPhone’s two biggest issues is that it is available in current and older revisions, with AT&T as the only US carrier. Android phones by contrast, are available on pretty much every carrier (including the small ones), in addition to provide users with more phones choices. Again, not saying one is better than the other. Rather pointing out that it seems that Android’s open, non-exclusive nature is paying off for Google.

Security, management, customer support? These are issues that likely vary depending on who is doing the supporting. With the iPhone, if you have a problem. Well the customer support here is unbelievably good. With an Android phone…don’t cry to Google. Instead, it’s up to half a dozen carriers and phone makers to give you whatever support they deem sufficient. So which option is better? Guess it depends on what you want. The iPhone has the better hardware support, while Android phones give you more freedom with hardware and mobile carrier.

Verizon Introducing Tiered Wireless Pricing

There should be an image here!I have to be honest with you, when I head about Verizon introducing tiered wireless pricing, I found myself wondering how people really feel about this. We know that most folks had a fit when AT&T did this, despite existing users being grandfathered into unlimited data plans if they chose to keep on with this option. So how will Verizon users feel?

Speaking for myself, I think that so long as Verizon is able to maintain a strong, dependable network that doesn’t flake out like we see with AT&T, I believe most people will be okay with this change. The fact of the matter is there is value in a stable network these days.

So here we are. We live in an age where unlimited data is becoming a thing of the past. As to how this will affect our mobile habits in the future, I think it’s too early to tell at this point.

[awsbullet:Samsung Fascinate Android Phone]

Life Outside Of Mobile Computing

There should be an image here!One thing that definitely drives me batty is constantly hearing the drivel about how the mobile world is the only one that matters in computing today. Yes, notebooks, netbooks, and mobile smart phones have changed the way we use computers. But to say that desktop computing is no longer a big part of this world is simply untrue. Take myself for example. I’m quite geeky, I prefer the geeky OS choices, I have computers connected to everything under the sun, and yet when the chips are down, I prefer my desktop in my home office as I know I can work there undisturbed. Can the guy sitting at his local coffee house on a netbook make that same claim?

Don’t misunderstand me; I love access to content and email with my smart phone and/or netbook. I’m thrilled to have this as an option. But the idea that this is to be the future seems a bit narrow minded. That said, yes, desktop systems are finishing dead last in contrast to the aforementioned alternatives. But could that be due to folks getting longer use out of existing systems? Maybe not, but I suspect it may be so.

Let me put this another way. When I happen to retire a desktop system, I often downgrade it for other duties outside of daily use. In a less geeky household, an older system is generally held over for the kids to use or perhaps donated to friends/family. With netbooks/notebooks or smart phones, not so much. Generally when they are upgraded, that’s it. Most non-geeky people I know are not passing along the old smart phones or notebooks to others. Generally, they end up in a bin somewhere in a closet.

Now for a final thought. Is it possible, maybe, that just because more people are buying mobile devices that it’s not reflective of their value? Remember, we used to be the society that fixed things. Now we just throw things out. So could it be that here in the near future, we will see a resurgence of desktop purchases simply based on the fact that they have a longer lifespan in most homes? Just some food for thought.

[Photo above by Landii / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Unknown World Mobile Home]

Life Better Without A Cell Phone?

There should be an image here!This article, talking at length about how losing their cell phones made those discussed in the article led more fulfilling lives, caught my attention head on. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want all they can get in life with regard to fulfillment, right? Well I will give you a point on one’s mobile phone being a problem as a distraction. But would I or anyone else be better off without remembering phones numbers, calendar dates, etc.? Let’s think about this.

The fact of the matter is that I never remembered most of these things anyway before my cell as I used a day planner. Darn you, paper! Yes, my mobile and later, my smart phone, only took my existing habits and made them more convenient and added alarms. Big deal. As for mobile access to email, well, let’s just say I am fine with it as this means I can work from practically anywhere. Add me tethering my netbook to the mix and I am a mobile road warrior.

Like money, weapons, property, food, or anything else… it’s all about how they are used. You can either use something for good, in defense of someone needing help, or you can abuse it. The same thing applies to technology. It’s truly sad that we live in an era where we wish away our freedoms to do something dumb by our own choice or ask for rescuing from something due to a lack of personal self-control.

If the people in the above linked article truly are avoiding cell phones out of fear, then they have bigger issues. For those of them who are simply Luddites, well, it sounds like a commitment to a simpler way of life. I have no problem with this. The only issue I have is with those avoiding tech out of some half-baked fear of being turned into a CrackBerry fiend. Seriously, folks, self-control and the power button. It’s not rocket science.

[Photo above by spaceodissey / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Ray Kurzweil]

Microsoft Bing Taking Over iPhone Search

Microsoft Bing is rumored to replace Google in the next version of the iPhone operating system to be released in June, mulitple sources, including a high level source who claims to have been briefed on the matter. We’re not calling this more than a rumor yet, but one thing is sure, sources close to Google in particular are speaking freely about this as fact. In January Business Week reported that Microsoft and Apple were in talks over an iPhone search deal, and the deal certainly would be brilliant for Microsoft.

There’s been speculation around Google’s future on the iPhone since last year when the first public spat broke out between the companies over the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Android’s continued gains in market share only highlight Google’s direct competition with Apple, and the fact that so many core iPhone apps, including search and maps, are controlled by Google, has been a sore point with Apple. From that post:

Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.

But Google was rumored to be paying Apple $100 million a year for the search rights to iPhone, along with the ability to serve search ads. Apple would likely have stuck with them unless Microsoft was willing to pay as well, and it certainly wasn’t a lock that Google Search would be removed from the iPhone.

Apple Is Dead Serious About Control?

Apple has quite literally, changed the game in the mobile market with the iPhone. But has Apple every ever recovered in ego, from their market share loss to the PC back in the beginning of the intial battles between Apple and Microsoft.

Now we see Apple basically owning the mobile market and by golly, they have no interest in letting anyone else gain anything on them. And by itself, there is nothing wrong with this. It’s good for their business.

Sadly though, there is a problem for the end user experience and to a degree, a problem for the developers. Apple has really opted to put the clamps down on what and how things can be developed for the iPhone and iPad platform. Question is, how long will this continue and when will Apple finally loosen up their grasp?

Contract-free iPhones Now Available?

There has been a bit of mixed excitement about the idea of being able to get an iPhone without finding yourself in the middle on an AT&T contract. In addition, there has been talk about these iPhones being available unlocked.

Well it turns out this is nonsense. Fact is, the iPhones are not unavailable unlocked and you will still be paying through the nose for the privilege. Turns out that circumventing the iPhone subsidy is simply not happening.

No, the fact of the matter is that the closest thing you’re going to come to this is running Android. It’s called the Nexus One. While it’s not my ideal phone in my opinion, at least the pricing structure provides choice in the carrier  to be selected.

Old Android Still A Problem

Imagine waiting for your upgrade option with your mobile carrier, opting for a “new” Android phone, only to find that you are looking at the old version of Android and all of the limitations it comes with regard to installing new apps.

The biggest problem with this is the fact that using older versions of Android can mean skimping on the latest Android functionality seen with phones using the latest version of the mobile Android platform. Yes, you still have access to the Android market place. And to a degree, I suppose many folks are not all that concerned about this.

However, when you consider that most folks are buying a new phone simply because they are looking to get the latest, it might be sort of nice to have the latest OS available with that upgrade. Sadly, though, this seems to be a missed ideal with many phone manufacturers and mobile carriers. So buyer beware.


Bump Now For PayPal Payments

Would you trust your mobile device to make PayPal payments to others? Here’s a bigger question: Would you trust a “bump” iPhone application to make these payments with PayPal? In addition to a bill-splitter and reminders with the application, there is the feature of the PayPal kids program as well.

Honestly, I am a bit on the fence on using a mobile bank-like application like this. On one hand, it would be handy to make a payment with a mere bump to another mobile device. But with this comes one untouched reality. We are placing an application that handles our money on platforms that have ZERO reliable security in place. There’s no special anti-phishing, security suite to protect the user.

Coming back to the question of whether or not I’d use such an application, there’s no way. Until our mobile devices get something better in the way of security in place, I would never use any banking type solutions on devices like the iPhone. I believe that doing so is playing with fire.

[awsbullet:online banking security]

Malware Coming To An Android Phone Near You?

Talk about articles having you doing a real double take! Today I learned of an incident in which Panda Security apparently received a brand new Android based Vodaphone HTC Magic… already pre-loaded with malware at no extra charge. The discovery took place when the user first plugged in the phone to their USB port, which set off the Panda software which alerted them to an apparent auto-run malware program at work from the phone. Worse was the fact that the software was immediately trying to “phone home” when activated.

Now it’s events like this that illustrate something that I once said — and was promptly ridiculed for — be it years back. I said we were entering a time where security suites were going to be needed for smart phones. To this day, we would likely agree that we’re simply not there yet… but I feel like we are getting closer than ever to seeing the need for something to be done. As things stand now, smart phones are frankly dangerous to use for anything sensitive. There are absolutely ZERO checks and balances in place to prevent a problem.

Am I nuts on this? I am leaning with a big no myself, but that is based on the fact that there is simply no way in the world that we can seriously expect to continue along as we are… only to be completely blown out of the water every time something like the above incident takes place.

[awsbullet:smartphone security]