Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Verizon Possibly Removing Googe Market from Future Android Phones

Verizon is at it again. They are making their own Android app store under it's much maligned Vcast name and possibly removing Google Market. One article states that the google market will be downloadable. I just can't understand why Verizon is trying to anger its customers. I guess they feel that they can do whatever they want and customers won't leave because of the network.
Here is a more positive spin from Phandroid. Commenters, however, make some good points. Even if Vcast is complimentary to the google market, can you take your Vcast apps with you to another carrier? Probably not. What happens when Verizon starts signing exclusive deals with app makers for popular apps and forces you to buy them on Vcast. Will other carriers follow suit with exclusive app deals?

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Verizon Reverts to the Bad Old Days

I am stunned to learn that Verizon has replaced Goolge with Bing as the search engine on the Samsung Fascinate. While you can get google maps and GPS from the market all search including voice search can only be done through Bing. Bing on a Android phone as the only search option??? Only Verizon could stoop so low. It's a return to the days when Verizon would charge you 25 cents to eamil a photo from your phone (the only way to get a photo off the phone). Just to throw salt in the wound, they defaulted all Navigation functions to their paid service VZ navigator. I understand that it can be reset to google by going through lots of settings. This is just absurd. Hopefully the backlash will be enough that they don't try this BS again.

Update: Apparantly, Launcher Pro and ADW Launcher (you should be using one of these anyway) put the google search widget back. Not sure how this effects the rest of the Bing integration.

Update 2: According to users on the Fascinate Forum at Phandroid, Bing only uses the widget and the single tap search button. Voice search still uses google. When the Fascinate gets 2.2, users can download the google search widget. So in the end the only affect will be on the haptic search button using Bing (not long press voice search). Not a big deal for me as I never use it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Most Amusing iPhone Fanboy Alive?

The editor of the website Beat Week is by far the most religious Apple fanboy I have ever read--which makes him very amusing as well. Last we saw our esteemed Knight of the iPhone Order, he was orgasmic over bogus Android statistics that later proved to be false, and espousing antenna-gate "truther" theories.

Now, I usually ignore fanboys; they are harmless if a bit repetitive in everything they say--same for Android "phanboys." On the other hand, you have truly hilarious religious Apple fanboys who create conspiracy theories out of anything they perceive as could help or hurt their savior, the iPhone.

The premise of his argument this time is that the Droid 2 was released so close to the Droid X because of fear of the allegedly upcoming Verizon iPhone.

It starts with faulty logic:

But it does beg the question of how much faith Verizon has in the Droid platform overall – or ever did – if it’s pushing models to market left and right with a ridiculously confusing naming convention (How does 2 come after X, anyway? Stick with either letters or numbers, not both.

Did you get that? Verizon, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising the Droid brand, has little faith in it. Why? Well, because it apparently will abandon it when the magical iPhone graces its stores; and like the messiah, will convert heathen Android users to the one-true-phone. I wont even get into his amusing statement that "2" should not come after "X" because one is a letter and one is a number.

Then, the conspiracy theory:

it is becoming more clear by the day that the Android’s supposed “massive success” as a platform has in fact been massively overblown by the geek tech journalists who want the Droid to succeed to badly.

See, no one is actually buying Android phones. It is just a conspiracy by "tech geek" journalists to discredit one-true-phone and support the blasphemous Android with "the rooting, " and " the custom ROM." And Don't even think about defiling the iPhone with jail breaking.

Then we have "the truth" that the blasphemers don't want you know:

In the real world, not a day goes by that we don’t hear from at least one longtime Verizon customer who’s wanted an iPhone all along.

He continues that no one on Verizon really wants an Android phone, they are just suffering with cheap imitations for now until the one-true-phone can come to Verizon.

After the faulty logic, the conspiracy theory, and "the truth," we finally get back to the issue of the timing of the Droid 2 release. First we find out that the reason it is so stupid to do so is:

the Droid X and Droid 2 are having to split the free word-of-mouth publicity that comes early in a product’s rollout. In other words, there’s a reason why Apple rolls out its new iPhones at one time of year and its new iPods in a different season.

See, it is impossible to have two products that appeal to different audiences at once in the market. Apple knows better, knows the "obvious fact" that you can never do this and succeed. It's just an anomaly that car, television, computer, and video card makers have done this for decades. Don't they know the unique genius that is iPhone? Why haven't the iPhone marketers told this to the MacBook marketers. Releasing two different versions of the MacBook at the same time? Blasphemy!

Drum roll please. The Conclusion

Verizon isn’t that stupid as to push out two Droids in such rapid succession because it simple didn’t know better, is it? The more logical conclusion is that Verizon knows that its Droid phones will only ever sell to hardcore geeks once the iPhone is also available on Verizon, and since the carrier already invested in developing both the Droid X and Droid 2, it figures it might as well push them both out there now, while the Droid still has a chance to actually sell well outside the geekdom

In the religious fanboy mind, there can only be one possible explanation. That the iPhone is coming and Android will soon fall before its wrath purging Android from all but its most die hard geek adherents. Verizon needs to move quickly before all is lost.

But what if this isn't the reason? Well there can only be one possible conclusion:

If Verizon doesn’t expect to be offering a Verizon iPhone sooner than later, the only other interpretation of the near-simultaneous Droid 2 and Droid X rollouts is that Verizon simply has no marketing acumen of any kind.

There you have it!

Let me conclude with some reasoning of my own. Because Oscam's razor makes short cuts, I will say it in a few sentences and not seven paragraphs. The answer is neatly summed up in one work "Keyboard." There is a certain segment of Android users the like a physical keyboard and certain ones that don't (I was the former and am now the latter). It's as simple as that. A minor refresh of Verizon's only good Android phone with a keyboard to compliment the Droid X. Combine those with people who feel the Droid X is too big and you have very separate user bases. If there has been any release date shuffling recently, it was the late release of the, in my opinion superior, Samsung Fascinate (Galaxy S)--which was released late on Verizon so as not to cannibalize Droid X sales.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Samsung TGalaxy Tab Official Announcement: the good and the Bad

Well, the Samsung Tab is out and I am somewhat disappointed.
  • First the good news. It seems to have the same high end CPU/GPU combination as the Galaxy Phones, it has both a front and rear facing camera, it has near 4G speeds as it is HSDPA compatible, it weighs .84 lbs--about half of an iPad 3G. It also has some really nice Samsung built apps that really exploit the larger size screen. Engadget has a really nice preview and video of them here. Let's hope developers make some great tablet specific apps.

  • The worst thing for Android phone users is that it will require a data plan. All rooted android phones have free wifi tether so this is a total waste of money.

  • At least for now, the phone will not be offered on Verizon--the carrier with the best coverage on the East coast-- for those who want a data plan.

  • Samsung is going for a "phone model" in which it will mostly use "compatible phone apps" and not apps redesigned for higher resolution (although Samsung says most will scale properly) nor to take advantage of the screen space. As I said above, however, Samsung will include some of its own really nice proprietary apps.

  • At this point I would rather have a wifi iPad so I don't have to pay $30 a month for redundant data, but the iPad is too big for my needs so it looks like I am going to have to wait for my ultimate Android Tablet--I will probably wait until the next version of the Android OS comes out with full tablet support as well as a 1280x720 screen.

Hopefully we will see some great Android tablets with wifi only in the future and some groundswell toward custom Tablet apps or at the very least apps with a higher native resolution.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two New Tablets with 1024x600 Resolution

Seems I was right that the first generation of Android tablets is going to standardize around 1024x600. Archos and Hannspree (who makes some great monitors) just announced new tablets at that resolution. The 10.1" Archos has HDMI out and a font facing camera for just $300. You can read my opinion on the subject of resolution here.