This Is One Ugly Rip-Off

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Samsung copies Apple’s iOS devices quite well, but their PC designers are not as deft.

The accompanying review says the Samsung Series 7’s will “rival the Apple Macbook Pros in terms of beauty”. Are they blind? This thing looks like the keyboard and palm rest were taken from two different prototypes and then forced to “fit” together.

Antennagate: The Finale?

Marketing can be a chess game. Steve’s made his move, now his competitors get to make theirs. “Them’s fighting words” for these guys, and they’ve already had some nasty things to say about Apple drawing them into its “self-made debacle.” Careful with this one, boys. You may protesteth too much. More and more stories are beginning to appear confirming that this really is an industry-wide problem, and other phones do suffer from a similar death grip.

Good article that sums it up well. I chose the above quote because the statements from RIM, Nokia, HTC, etc. have all been non-denial denials. Like the author, I agree this should backfire on them, but believe it won’t because their phones just aren’t that interesting.

Why would a tech site spend their time thoroughly testing other companies’ “death grips” and then publish the results when no one will click the link anyway? Apple gets page-hits, others do not. This stopped being about “news,” or “concern” for the consumer, and crossed over into the realm of SEO and page hits long ago.

The iPad’s Competitors Drop Like Flies. Actually, They Never Even Took Off.

The iPad is the king of tablets and might hold that title for years to come. However, there are a ton of alternatives that we’ve featured over the last few months… But since [then], a lot has changed and while some managed to make it to the market, others were delayed or scrapped entirely.

Nice article describing what’s happened to alleged iPad alternatives (are they called alternatives to recognize the iPad has no competitors?) in the last few months.

I’ve written the iPad has no “alternatives”, and CrunchGear makes it’s easy to see why. We can dismiss seven of them out of hand: 

  • ModBook – This is a MacBook reconfigured. A laptop with a desktop OS.
  • Viliv X70 – A tablet with a desktop OS (XP, no less).
  • Archos 9 – A tablet with a desktop OS.
  • Viliv S10 Blade – A “convertibile” device. Again, a laptop with a desktop OS.
  • Spring Design Alex – This is an eBook reader, what’s it doing here?
  • Lenovo Skylight – A netbook, not sure how it made even an exaggerated list of competitors.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad U1 – Another “convertibile” that comes apart. Desktop OS as PC, and maybe Android as a tablet?

Some of these are not even available, but even if they were they’re not iPad alternatives. They’re not iPad tablets in any sense. It’s not just about form, it needs a touch, not desktop, OS and apps. The human finger doesn’t have the precision for software written for the precision of a cursor tip. A stylus can address that, but styli are a big failure, no one wants them. Why would any hardware maker (or anyone else) ignore the decade of failure “desktop tablets” have had in the market? 

After weeding out the above, of the six remaining (I left the HP Slate because rumors say it won’t run a desktop OS), four of them—Notion Ink Adam, HP Slate, WeTab, and ExoPC—are nowhere to be found. These devices are delayed, or maybe even killed altogether. In any case, they can hardly be called alternatives now. They’re vapor, and I remain convinced the iPad will outsell vapor. 

So that leaves just two devices: the enTourage eDGe dualbook, which isn’t any good; and the Dell Streak, whose too-large-for-a-pocket but too-small-for-a-tablet form factor isn’t winning any converts, and it’s not yet available in the US. 

The tech press loves for Apple to have competition, and sometimes go out of their way to invent it. In the case of the iPad, however, it simply doesn’t exist. Not even close. Maybe by the end of the year, but certainly not now.

A Reasonable Look at the Apple and AT&T iPhone4 Lawsuit.

Not surprising I suppose, the lawsuit makes no mention of the perhaps questionable judgements of the plaintiffs who bought the product(s) sight unseen.

The star witness as it turns out seem to be some unqualified blogging site diatribes as technical references.

Frankly as a former RF Engineer myself, I can tell you that the performance issues claimed are inconsistent. The demonstration tests ill-informed. And there are as many wireless network variables as there may be device variables.

The frenzy over this issue is ridiculous. How many class action suits is this for Apple this decade? 50? 100? And it’s not just Apple. 

The problem with these nonsense suits—I call this one nonsense based on their cited authorities and how they’re playing it in the media—is that sooner or later they mask legitimate ones.

One is hard pressed to believe this firm is doing anything other than chasing a buck when three of the four links used in support of their initial statement about the “iPhone 4 investigation” are from Gizmodo. Bad enough to use blogs with questionable technical expertise in the first place, but citing one with a recent and obvious axe to grind against Apple seems the height of cluelessness. Meanwhile, the only non-Gizmodo link is to a rumors site. Lovely. 

Oh well, I’ve seen stranger suits prevail (a spilled cup of coffee comes to mind). I guess that’s why firms like Ambulance & Chaser, LLC. continue to try their luck.

The Kin: Poor Sales? Seems to me this was all Microsoft.

It seems that after doing some initial work on these phones based around Danger’s proprietary Sidekick OS, Andy Lees — the SVP of Microsoft’s mobile division — instructed everyone to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the OS based on Windows CE. It appears the company didn’t want a project that wasn’t directly connected to its Windows kernel. This move allegedly set the release of the devices back 18 months, during which time Redmond’s carrier partner [Verizon] became increasingly frustrated with the delays. Apparently when it came time to actually bring the Kins to market, Big Red had soured on the deal altogether and was no longer planning to offer the bargain-basement pricing deals it first had tendered. The rest, as they say, is history — though we don’t think even great prices could have accounted for what was fundamentally a flawed product.

No company with a serious strategy and belief in a product kills it just seven weeks after launch, no matter how poorly it initially sells. A smart company might hold the line a little longer, spin a press release, or maybe tweak their strategy.

But this was Microsoft:

  • It’s just like Microsoft to decide the Kin must be Windows-based, and ignore the IP they’d bought in Danger.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to not understand an 18-month delay is poison in the mobile market. This isn’t Windows or Office, where customers feel there’s nowhere else to go.
  • It’s just like Microsoft for various teams to pull in different directions; even now there’s only talk of unifying their mobile efforts.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to write off tens of millions of dollars spent on the project so quickly because, well, they figure they can afford it.

This product should never have been released. It’s clear many in power were ready to kill it—at a moment’s notice and with little reason—without even the appearance of trying to make a go of it. Yet for all those who could agree to kill it so soon after launch, they hadn’t the guts (or sense, take your pick) to kill it beforehand. 

On top of that, Microsoft angered Verizon, the US carrier with no love for Apple since they can’t sell the iPhone. A decent Windows Phone 7 on Verizon might have made a good team against the iPhone/AT&T, but instead they’re barely speaking, with Microsoft saying they’re releasing WP7 phones on GSM first. 

The Microsoft Kin should have been another Palm Foleo, an idea that got too far internally, but cooler heads prevailed and avoided the embarrassment of a launch. Sure, Palm was kicked around a little for announcing a product they didn’t deliver, but it’s nothing compared to the critique Microsoft deserves for wasting years of time, resources, and money for a seven-week stint to prove they’re still clueless in the mobile sector.

Deat AT&T: I’m one of your happy customers, no sense in trying to piss me off

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I just received the above email from AT&T regarding my iPhone 4.

This is odd. You see, my order was taken at an AT&T Store the first day pre-orders were allowed. I received confirmation the next day, and a tracking number a couple of days after that. The device was delivered right on schedule June 24th, and getting it activated (a “swap” with another phone on our family plan) was easy as well.

In short, AT&T rocked for me through the whole process. Sending me an email now saying I’m not going to receive the phone I’ve already had for six days is not going to bring me down. Confuse me, yes, but bring me down, no.

Nokia must be hoping there’s a sap for that

Nokia’s official blog has jumped on the iPhone 4 “death grip” bandwagon in a posting that suggests the company’s mobiles don’t share the same issues related to blocking a phone’s antenna, despite having earlier published instructions that tell users to avoid holding its phones in a way that might block the antenna.

Nokia making fun of the iPhone is like the Hindenburg making fun of a 747.