In between my chores as a hardware tester, I’m an IIBT board-certified troller and can successfully argue with anyone about anything, anywhere, at any time.
These days, one of the many issues I get to spar with people over is, “What is a PC?” That might seem about as basic as opining on the color blue, but the distinctions are extremely important. Just this morning, I was reading a headline stating that Apple’s new mini tablet could very well “hurt the PC market.” Of course, on the very same news site, six months ago, was a story about how analysts had deemed Apple the world’s largest “PC maker.” That’s not because Apple sold more PCs than HP, Dell, or Lenovo, but because it sold more iPads, which as we know, should be counted as PC sales, right?
Note: This column appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
THE MARKETING BLITZ swirling around the Droid Razr’s launch drive home these twin selling points: thin, yet powerful. This wafer of a smartphone measures just over a quarter of an inch thick along most of its chassis before filling out at the top where the camera lens and flash; speaker; and HDMI, USB, and headphone jacks reside. A layer of Kevlar fiber drapes the backside, and the Gorilla Glass covering the 4.3-inch display has a water-repellent coating for protection against errant spills and inevitable raindrops.
For all its vaunted thinness, the Razr feels very sturdy in your hand, while its substantial surface area assures that it doesn’t feel small. If anything, it’s a bit unwieldy for one-handed operation. The thin build has its share of downsides, too: The side-mounted power and volume buttons are too small, and this is one of the rare Android form factors that doesn’t let you remove the battery.
We do, however, cherish the generous qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, which exhibits vivacious colors and deep black levels. The Razr is one of the first smartphones to allow Netflix streaming in HD; and for what it’s worth on a screen this size, movies, other HD video, and games look extraordinary.
With smart phones and other internet-enabled devices growing in popularity, an increasing number of applications that have hitherto remained exclusive to the PC are going mobile. Printing will soon break the shackles and cease to rely on any particular device. Internet Week's inaugural day in New York saw Hewlett-Packard unveil its all new ePrint service that will let users print from any device capable of sending e-mails.
Each ePrint-enabled printer will ship with a unique e-mail address so that all print tasks can be simply emailed to the printer from any internet-enabled device. ePrint printers, if you haven't already guessed it, will be tapping into the cloud. There is no need to worry about drivers and formatting as the HP ePrint Web service will be taking care of all such issues.
HP's ePrintCenter will function as the online command center, where the user will be able to manage printers and print tasks. Print tasks can even lie dormant in the cloud, only to be executed at a scheduled time. This feature, according to HP, can transform the printer into a content delivery system: “Users simply register for the news or content feeds of their choice through the HP ePrintCenter and schedule the day, time and frequency of delivery so items will be printed and waiting when they want them.”
Last week, Google rolled out a native development kit for Android developers. Developers can now create Android apps using native-code languages such as C and C++. Prior to the release of the Android Native Development Kit, applications for the platform could only be written in Java and run using Google’s Dalvik Java virtual machine.
"Developers are taking a look at the NDK to see if it provides the capabilities we need to bring Fennec to Android. If it's possible, I think our community would be interested in doing it, because Android will be appearing on more smartphones with the capabilities to provide a good browsing experience," Mozilla’s VP of mobile Jay Sullivan said.
Although running software natively can aid performance, there are other factors to offset that advantage. "Your application will be more complicated, have reduced compatibility, have no access to framework APIs, and be harder to debug,” Android engineer David Turner warned in a blog post announcing the release of the NDK.
The device includes a 312MHz Marvell PXA270 processor, Linux 2.4.19, full QWERTY/AZERTY keyboard, an 8GB SD card slot ,Opera Mini 4.1 internet browser and 2.8 inch screen. The iKIT has inbuilt WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, and supports HSDPA over USB. It has a standby time of 250 hours and power-up time of up to 3 hours.
The suggested retail price of roughly $170 makes it far more affordable than an Apple iPhone – a fact specifically called to attention by IMOVIO. However, practicality of such a product is just as important as the price, if not more, and will play a vital role in iKIT’s case as well.
Corporate honchos often abuse earnings calls – and other similar events - for making grandiloquent claims and promises. Google co-founder Sergey Brin used Google’s third quarter earnings calls to broadcast his partisan review of the T-Mobile G1. He went gaga over the G1.
Brin said that he has been using a G1 as his primary phone for a few months now. He pointed out a few of the endearing qualities of the G1, while omitting any possible shortcomings. “I'm able to search and browse through my Gmail just as if I was at my desktop,” said Brin. He also praised its web browser and, finally, encouraged people to try the first Android phone themselves.
For Android to be a force to be reckoned with, the first Android-based phone has to be a success. T-Mobile is very optimistic about the sales prospects of its upcoming G1 - the maiden Android phone - which will become available on October 22, 2008. The service provider expects the Android-based G1 to take the market by storm.
The phone is rumored to be headed to European store shelves first and might make an appearance there in about two month’s time. The new iPaq will feature a touchscreen, keypad and Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1.
A phone aimed at ordinary consumers might increase the popularity of the iPaq brand amongst plebeians, which in turn might have a positive impact on its market share.