Microsoft’s last stand?

Microsoft is desperately trying to avoid the fate they inflicted on the Mac in the 1990s with Windows 9X:

Office for iPad, launched at the same time as Windows 8/RT, would most likely have killed the market for Windows 8 and RT devices. As it was, that market was already severely diminished and below expectations. But with a viable alternative tablet, it could have been game over. And the ramifications of that decision would have impacted far more than just Windows 8/RT: The PC market could have literally collapsed, much as the video game market did in 1983. The fallout would have included PC makers going out of business/being sold, a serious and potentially permanent hit to Microsoft’s bottom line and the ouster of Steve Ballmer. I’m talking tech Armageddon here.

via A Theory about the Office on iPad Schedule | Office 2013 content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows

Apple Outsider » Home Turf

Yup, that’s pretty much it:

However, the Google – Facebook war is sure to be more vicious than the Google – Apple war because Google and Facebook have the same customers: advertisers. Users are their currency, and Facebook is about to rob the bank.

Of course, the icing on the cake will be if facebook forks Android and buys HTC eventually.

Apple Outsider » Home Turf.

Who’s Going To Buy The Facebook Phone?

Wonder whether this will prompt Google to give a similar treatment to Android with Google+ and its plethora of services? Or “better” yet, to the next Nexus device. After the Google+ification of search, anything’s possible.

But that’s hardly the entire phone market. It’s actually only a fraction of it.

  • What about those millions of people who have bought Android phones — and some iPhones, probably — who don’t really care that they’re Android phones, or even smartphones?
  • The types of people who, every couple of years, go into the Verizon or AT&T shop and walk out with whatever newish thing the store rep says they should buy? (All those people who buy Android phones but don’t really show up in usage logs.)
  • Or even first-time smartphone buyers?

My guess is that many — most? — of these people are Facebook users, and could easily see some utility in having Facebook features highlighted on their phones. And — bonus — Facebook’s software looks good. Much better than the junk that ships with typical low-end Android devices.

Who’s Going To Buy The Facebook Phone?

HTC One V: 2 week usage review

Update (17 Aug 2012): My HTC One V died last month (in less than 3 months), and by died I mean totally bricked just sitting in my pocket – wouldn’t turn on or charge. This seems to be a fairly common problem with the initial batches of the phone. I changed my flipkart review due to this. In case you are wondering what the problems are, try searching these terms on Google: “HTC One V dead”, “HTC One V not turning on” & “HTC One V bricked”.

Original review

I finally gave up on the Android dead end (no ICS upgrade) that was my Galaxy S i9003 and decided to jump to the ICS bandwagon. The only options for an out of the box ICS experience in India at this time are the HTC duo – One X & One V. Of these, the One X was beyond my budget, and so it was a pretty simple decision to go for the One V in the end.

Reviews have been pretty positive, and I’m throwing in my 2 cents based on a 2 weeks of usage experience that wouldn’t have shown up in initial reviews. A caveat on my usage experience – I use the One V (and the Galaxy S before it) primarily as a mobile internet device (mails, browsing, e-commerce, social networking etc.) rather than for phone calls.

What did I get over the Galaxy S i9003?

The build quality is definitely impressive with the metal body, and it is also sleeker than the Galaxy S. I personally prefer the One V’s build quality over the Galaxy S.

In terms of software, ICS definitely offers a better experience than Froyo (there is a Gingerbread update for the Galaxy S, but I never got to install that during my 1 year with the phone – Kies didn’t work, so I ended up installing it through Odin). It is also a lot more stable, and I haven’t had any lockups that required hard reboots on the Galaxy S.

The HTC widgets are also pretty handy plus there are the new ICS widgets for Gmail & Email, I’m still using the Sense launcher on the One V. I had replaced the Touchwiz launcher on the Galaxy S with Launcher Pro. The Gmail & Mail clients are also definitely improved over Froyo. In particular, the mail client now has better support for Microsoft Exchange with better threaded views and flag support.

The main camera is also pretty good on the One V, though the resolution is still 5 MP like the Galaxy S. The optics are definitely better (f2.0 lens), and there’s also an LED flash (not that useful though, as it tends to blowout the photo). The bigger improvement is on the software side with the negligible shutter lag, incredible burst mode and the quick launch option from the lock screen (you need to have the camera icon in the tray for this).

GPS performance is another area where there is a big leap with the One V locking on pretty quickly. This is an area where my Galaxy S was severely lacking, and I left GPS off most of the time, unlike the One V where I have it on most of the time.

Battery life on the One V also seems to be better compared to the Galaxy S. It holds out pretty well over the day even with sync and GPS active, even though the battery capacity is lower.

The SoC of the One V is also better than the Galaxy S – the Qualcomm CPU-GPU combo has better performance than the TI CPU-GPU combo in the Galaxy S. GPU performance is particularly better (aided by the ICS improvements).

Also, did I mention that I can use Chrome (ICS only for now) on the One V.

What did I give up?

The most obvious downgrade is in terms of the front camera, as the One V doesn’t have it. However, I rarely used it on the Galaxy S (didn’t work with Skype, possibly due to Froyo lacking native front camera support), so not such a big loss personally. Then again, the front camera does make for a handy substitute of a mirror.

The One V also lacks a digital compass (wonder whether it is due to the metal body), and is not able to show you the direction you are facing on maps unless you are on the move. In addition, apps like Google Sky Maps which relies on the compass to show you the skyline are virtually useless (maybe if I run around in circles with the GPS on, it’ll know the direction I’m facing). This is a more serious omission for me, but I’ll have to learn to live with it.

The screen size is also smaller, and makes for smaller on screen elements for tapping. Not a very big difference, but when it comes to browsing and interaction, a larger screen is always handy.

The battery on the One V is also sealed in, while it could be replaced on the Galaxy S. Then again, I never really had an extra battery, and it was actually a bit of a bother as I had to remove the battery on the Galaxy S to insert the SIM. This makes the One V sleeker, so a net gain for me. Also, battery life on the One V is better than the Galaxy S.

The missing physical menu button on the One V (due to the ICS UI changes) was also a bit of a problem initially with apps like Whatsapp, facebook etc. that have their settings accessible only through the menu button. However, I discovered that a long press of the app switching button simulates the menu button press, and the settings have not been able to hide from me ever since.

What remains on par?

Though the screen size is smaller, the screen resolution is the same (480×800), which makes for a better pixel density. The camera resolution is also the similar, and so is the RAM (around 500 MB) and on board memory (4 GB, but less of it is available to the user on the One V).

Migration pains and misc.

There is still no simple way to migrate from one Android phone to another, especially when they are from different OEMs. For all the talk of everything moving to the cloud, and iTunes remaining a big bloat, the iOS-iTunes combo still remains a good way to backup and restore your apps (I own an iPod & iPad 2 as well). It is a big pain to have to install every downloaded app all over again, and then set them up.

That said, my photos & videos made a seamless transition thanks to them being stored on the external SD card that I moved from the Galaxy S to the One V. However, I can imagine things won’t be as simple for Android phones that lack external storage support. Moving apps to the SD card in hopes of them being restored on the new phone also didn’t play out as expected and I ended up setting up the apps all over again. Android needs to better way to tackle this issue, as the people change phones pretty often and setting it up every time results in a lot of wasted time.

While stability of ICS is definitely improved over Froyo (or at least HTC’s version of ICS is better than Samsung’s version of Froyo), there are still some nagging issues. The Play store still shows the same app updates for some apps at random, even after they have been installed. The data connection just freezes at times, and only a phone reboot seems to fix it (airplane & data mode toggle don’t seem to help). The calendar widget doesn’t refresh properly every day, so I end up seeing the current day mentioned as tomorrow\day after.

The UI can also be a bit sluggish at times, but it is definitely an improvement over the Galaxy S. I suspect Android requires a dual core to perform well, as the Galaxy S II was one of the first Android phones where the reviewers didn’t mention the UI lag.

And last but not the least, it still doesn’t play Fruit Ninja as well as my 3rd gen iPod touch.

Bottom line

The One V is one of the best phones available under Rs 20,000 at the moment. In fact, it is cheaper than the Galaxy S i9003 (it has held up its value well over the last year – still costs around Rs 19,000). Of course, you can get older phones that have ICS upgrades rolling out at similar price points, but the One V has the hardware to hold its own. Barring the digital compass and app setup, it was a satisfactory upgrade to my Galaxy S i9003.

My first Android – the Samsung Galaxy S i9003

It’s been a while since I posted manually to the blog. Hopefully, that’ll change with my new phone with the wordpress app.
I got the phone last week and have been playing around with it ever since. It’s got Froyo on it and I’ve installed a ton of apps on it already. The experience has been quite similar yet different from my iPod touch. The app availability is quite similar, but the always connected nature of the phone opens up a new bunch of use cases.
I’ve been making use of the gps quite a bit with the My Tracks asp in particular to plot the routes I take. There have been some wow moments, particularly with the Google Goggles app. The built in tethering feature is also really handy though a bit of a battery hog. I’ll be posting more on the apps later with help from appbrain.
Battery life has however been on the poor side (most likely due to my heavy use) with almost 2 charges being required per day. Then again, my iPod doesn’t do much better if I use it heavily either. I’m currently using a Vodafone prepaid connection with 3G enabled on it. Speeds are pretty decent and a great leap over the GPRS days for sure. I also appreciate the openness of the Android platform as it allows one to work across apps quite nicely. There’s also the App Inventor to create your own simple apps.
I also had plans to buy a tablet – most likely the ipad – this year. However, the Android platform looks really promising on the tablet too, and in a year or so we should be having a well populated Android market for tablets to go with some very good hardware. That said, the iPad 2 remains the best tablet for the next few months.
And last but not the least, swype rocks. I wouldn’t have dreamt of typing out this post from my phone otherwise.