Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Android (and G1) fuels mobile computing

September 25, 2008

Do a search on Google for the “mobile web is dead”.  Use the “quote” marks – guaranteeing that exact phrase and you will get over a thousand results.  May not seem like a lot but the fact that anyone can say that the mobile web is dead is androidprobably nearing death themselves.

3 million iPhone 3G phones sold in one month – 3 MILLION. Yeah – um in case you weren’t aware – that also included a required unlimited data plan – you know the Internet.

Now if you define the “mobile web” as a web browser on a phone then maybe there is some validity to that statement – but if you talk about the “mobile web” as the ability to connect to the Internet from a mobile device and perform functions you would normally perform on a PC or Laptop – then we are far from dead.  In fact, you could say that we are just beginning.

Up until this point there were really only a few choices for accessing the mobile web

1.) Blackberry
2.) Windows Mobile
3.) Pocket PC
4.) Palm OS

Or like some crazy people I know the mobile providers “browser” (if that is what you call it) provides limited “useable” access to the Internet.

Well they have finally announced the long awaited Android. And I am quite frankly very excited.

Granted they are not expecting the kind of surge seen by Apple but then again the model for Android is quite different and requires different marketing techniques.  Rest assured though – this OS will be a formidable opponent for Apple and really for one reason – Open Standards Based Development.

The Android OS is maintained as an open platform which was designed by over 30 technology and mobile companies and is managed by the Open Handset Alliance. I expect this type of Open platform to produce a few things:

iPhone1.) Competition – not just on the software side – but on the hardware side.  The one problem plaguing iPhone (if you think objectively) today, is that there is one piece of hardware and one provider.  Android will work on almost any piece of hardware and can be delivered by any provider.  In a world where Motorola can go to the industries darling (remember when EVERYONE owned a Razr) to the industry’s fool – a la – what have you done for me lately, Android should be welcomed – very welcomed.  Not sure if this will breathe life into companies like Motorola but if I was given an OS that would give me an easy platform to build iPhone-esque applications, instead of spending years perfecting my own – I would jump at the chance

2.) Growth – if everyone bought an iPhone because it was the only viable option for smart applications – in a few years the mobile web would be pretty stagnant. We would be shackled by the vision of essentially one man – that does not sound like fun.

What this means for consumers is that we will continue to see innovation.  If Apple never came back with the Mac and it never gained momentum we would never have seen Vista …. uh…wait…. I mean we would never have seen …. well you get what I mean.

The growth of the Web was fueled by Open Standards and the ability to “view source” – which is essentially an open source environment.  At least, Android will offer that similar environment which can only hope will fuel competition and make mobile computing something better tomorrow than what it is today.

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Automated or Connectimated

May 28, 2008

I guess I am really looking for here is an answer to a question that a lot of people are asking these days.  One that had become all to real to me recently: Is it better to have automated services or people backed services.  I am not talking about Robots doing the work – but more about the real life situations that we get ourselves into where we rely more and more on dysfunctional technology to help us.

Even though, Google is an amazing search engine, it still has it’s faults.  Searches on “Locksmiths in Springfield Ma” returns great results on the front end – it is the intricate details that it cannot.  For instance, if you call all of those results from Google you will soon find out that you are in luck with almost every major car brand except Volkswagen (one of the prices you pay to drive the best car ever made =).

So, unless someone lists on their website (more than half of the Locksmiths in the Springfield, Ma area don’t even have websites) that you specialize in Volkswagens – Google can’t help you.  It is beyond the technology leap – you need some level of human intervention.

If you are tenacious enough however, to continue to search for locksmith’s and you start calling them – most of them will tell you the dealer is the only place (who intern tells you to wait until Tuesday – not good when you are stranded 120 miles from home on Friday before a long vacation weekend) that can make Volkswagen keys.

If you happened to call 24 Hour Locksmiths in West Springfield they would have told you to call A & J Locksmith and when you talked to Johnathon at A & J he would have told you to call and ask for Paul at “Scott’s Locks” in West Hartford – and he would have called Scott (Paul’s partner) who would have called you back 3 hours later to tell you he could do it.  But that only goes for the tenacious few that have nothing better to do than to stare at all of the people having fun at Six Flags while calling every locksmith in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Flashback to earlier today: I was traveling to D.C. to work with a client and arrived early to my hotel in hopes I could get some work done before my 1:30 demo with a prospective client.  During my trip down from the airport (40 minute drive) I contemplated the possibility that the hotel would not have a room ready for me when I arrived at 10:30.  Quite possibly, I would have to find a place to do some work with a descent (cheap – if not free) Internet connection.

Ok – so here is my second scenario for “Connectimated” – I would have liked to have been able to connect with a few people in the area (more than likely people I have never met before) and ask them where a good place would be to get Internet access for a few hours in a quiet place (that was not Starbucks or Borders).  Preferably somewhere where I can get a Dew and sandwich.  My new “Connectimated” service application would essentially ping a bunch of people in the area asking them if they wanted to help an incoming traveler with a service request.

Sites like Mahalo and Spock have begun to challenge the “Automated” response system that is Google.  Each offering services which are either aided or centralized around Human interaction.  These systems are critical because I think that the automated services may never get to point where they can understand true human interaction.  Even Google is testing “User generated content”.  You can see it in search results using Google Maps.

What I see is a combination application like Twitter, Brightkite (or the like) and Mahalo.  A platform with which to communicate on rather than building a platform with all the answers.  A crowdsourcing style approach may be just what we need.

Maybe we are pushing too hard and maybe we need to use systems to be smarter at connecting people who can help each other and not providing the help beyond capabilities.  We live in a complex world and it is unlikely that we will ever teach systems to understand us – truly.  Why try?