Ice Cream Sandwich

  • Posted: 19 October 2011 05:48 AM

    Lost in all the handwringing over the non-surprise that people wanted to wait for the new iPhone, is news that Google just launched their new version of Android, and Samsung just launched a new flagship phone.

    While there are a number of new nifty features in Ice Cream Sandwich, there’s no biggie, and more to the point, the marketing in the Android world is so pathetically inferior to Apple!  Does anyone here think there are going to be lines out the door for the release of the Galaxy Nexus?

    The branding alone is symptomatic of the marketing deficiencies of the Android crowd.  Put aside whether “Ice Cream Sandwich” is a good name for an OS version, the names of the phones are a mess:  Galaxy Nexus combines two distinct brands into something guaranteed to cause confusion more than it does desire.  Motorola today made the exact same mistake by calling its new phone a Droid RAZR. 

    I’m going to keep saying this until I’m blue in the face:  IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT SPECS, PEOPLE. Marketing matters.  Ecosystems matter.  Manufacturing/supply chains matter. 

    If you just compare an iPhone to an Android phone, the difference is getting closer.  But if you compare Apple to Google/Androidmakers, the difference is WIDENING.

         
  • Posted: 19 October 2011 06:32 AM #1

    Sorry, one more thing:  customer support matters.

    In other threads we are talking about the potential drag to profitability of the Apple Stores, but the fact is that these stores are there as much about customer support as they are about sales.

    Nothing in the Google/Androidmakers world comes close to the customer support infrastructure of Apple, and this alone explains most of the incredible loyalty of Apple customers, which itself is the most important difference going forward between Apple and its competition.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 09:17 AM #2

    There is one more huge disconnect on the OS side which yesterday’s announcements highlight.  We have Samsung announcing a new handset using Android 4.0 and Motorola using Android 2.3.  Motorola’s cutting edge phone which ships in November doesn’t even contain the latest updates from Google.  This may seem minor, but with all the delays in updating software on Android handsets it stands out as as a huge disconnect.  The android open handset alliance is always represented as one big happy family, but who wants a $300 flagship handset with outdated software.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 10:10 AM #3

    Rubin proudly showed off the ability of ICS to allow a user to unlock his device by facial recognition.  What kind of security does that provide?  Just hold a photo of the device owner in front of the camera.  :dunce:

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    Posted: 19 October 2011 10:41 AM #4

    Who names an OS “Ice Cream Sandwich”?

    Maybe the next version will be “Used Condom”.

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    Posted: 19 October 2011 10:54 AM #5

    I watched the video of the interface. It looks like a shrunk down version of Honeycomb. We all know how well that UI went over with the critics. Even the Android fanatics at Engadget were having a hard time accepting this interation of Android. 

    The tron robotic looking interface is just weird to me. I can’t see many executives carrying these things around.

    also Google is trying to “force” their ecosystem upon their users.  Google+ is like baked into the thing and info is pulled from Google+ and put onto the phone and I think vice versa. 

    They stole a few ideas from Apple and from Palm.  They have a photobooth app now, they have a movie editing app now.  There is the ability to “throw” cards away like WebOS. 

    Such a hodge podge of features.  Also facial recognition. What a gimmick.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 01:23 PM #6

    spoonman - 19 October 2011 01:54 PM

    also Google is trying to “force” their ecosystem upon their users.  Google+ is like baked into the thing and info is pulled from Google+ and put onto the phone and I think vice versa.

    OK, I get that on the AFB, Apple is good, Google is a copier. Meanwhile, Google is trending to 60% of smart phone activations, and Apple stuck at about 25%.

    But this statement quoted above is not only complete BS, but it actually misses the plot. If you watched the ICS demo, you may have heard a few times that the API allows any social network, current or future, to hook into the picture sharing. In fact, apps that aren’t social networky can hook into the sharing API in Android. That’s not even new to ICS.

    Let me really spell it out for you, because you have nothing like this in iOS. If I write an app that works with pictures, I can write a few lines of code, and my pictures can be available to any sharing service installed on the phone, whether I know about that service or not. User taps “share”, then chooses the service to share on from a menu.

    If I write a picture sharing service, it can share services from any app on the phone that uses that sharing API, whether I know about that app or not. Thousdands of apps already use that API.

    And from an end-user point of view, the sharing is already simple, intuitive, and mostly ubiquitous. Android users expect that when they have a picture in any app, they can share it in a number of ways, from MMS to Bluetooth, to Google+ to Twiiter and Facebook, to custom or niche services as well.

    And Google absolutely does not discriminate in the software. They may promote their own service in a product rollout, but the API is open for all to use.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 02:18 PM #7

    This headline sums up the major improvements in Google’s response to iOS 5.

    Google?s Android 4.0 Development Plan: Make Android Prettier

    It has a new font and re-sizeable widgets. You can pinch & zoom the calendar…sort of (calendar frames expanded, but fonts did not). Prettier.

    ...new features shown off Tuesday…reveal a mindset at Google that wanted to focus much more on design elements that are pleasing to the eye…introduced a new font called Roboto that is a bit softer…

    They have until sometime in November to work out the bugs in face detection to unlock, which failed in their demo. The dictation demo also failed and they did not seem to emphasize this since it did not seem any different from what they’ve had for the past year.

    ...facial recognition technology that unlocks the phone based on a reading of the owner?s face. The feature didn?t work in the demo, so stay tuned as to whether this becomes a desired feature or a huge annoyance…

    Android 4.0 still fails to address some basic user interface shortcomings.

    As to overall performance, we saw a good deal of stutter in the Galaxy Nexus before us. Taps were not always recognized and there were occasional delays in performing an instruction, though in Google?s defense, it was a phone fully loaded with running tasks and the software is being continually improved and optimized (i.e. it?s not yet fully baked). That having been said, it unfortunately remains the case that Android isn?t as swift and responsive as iOS or Windows Phone (or even MeeGo Harmattan on the N9). Or at least it wasn?t on the demo phone we got a look at. The subtle, pervasive lag that has characterized the Android UI since it inception is still there, which is not a heartening thing to hear when you?re talking about a super-powered dual-core device like the Galaxy Nexus.

    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/10/19/cherry-pick

    If things under the glass move as you move your finger, the illusion of direct manipulation of a digital interface is created. If you move your finger and, then, a split-second later something moves in response to your movement, that breaks the illusion. Apple has fully understood this from the beginning, and the iPhone has always responded to pinches and flicks with nearly 1:1 accuracy, especially in the browser, which is where iPhone users (myself included) seem to spend most of their time. Android, on the other hand, has always felt laggy to me.

    http://flyosity.com/iphone/androids-touch-responsiveness-is-terrible.php

         
  • Posted: 19 October 2011 02:26 PM #8

    And on a lighter note on a tough day, I could have a lot of fun with this quote, but I will remain mature and refrain.

    ?We want the users to put the phone back in their pocket feeling satisfied,? said Andy Rubin, Google?s Android chief, during the event.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 03:01 PM #9

    Lstream - 19 October 2011 05:26 PM

    And on a lighter note on a tough day, I could have a lot of fun with this quote, but I will remain mature and refrain.

    ?We want the users to put the phone back in their pocket feeling satisfied,? said Andy Rubin, Google?s Android chief, during the event.

    You weren’t going to throw in this one?

    ?We want everything to be smooth as butter,? Rubin said.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 03:07 PM #10

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 03:24 PM #11

    More ICS features.

    Folders: Dragging apps and contacts on top of each other create re-arrangeable folders a la iOS.

    Taking Screenshots: This one has been a long time coming. Hold down the power button and the volume down button to snap a screenshot.

    Improved Copy & Paste: Copying and pasting content is made much easier, as you can now move around entire blocks of text. Very useful.

    That’s nice. Possibly slightly more impressive are:

    Enhanced Talk-to-Text: Voice input seems much smarter this time around, as it?s more accurate, requires less time, and even accounts for pauses.

    Gmail: Gmail now supports two-line previews, and sports a new context-sensitive action bar at the bottom of the screen. Gesture support allows you to swipe left and right between emails.

    People App: A new spin on the contact list. The phone?s owner has their own profile, and people?s contact details are sourced from Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Users can define favorite contacts, and individual people can be placed on the homescreen or in folders for quick access.

    Camera: There?s a lot to love here. It features image stabilization, improved autofocus, and integration with other apps for sending photos or instant upload to Google+. Oh, and who could forget built-in face detection, panorama and time lapse modes, and on-the-fly photo retouching and enhancements.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 05:23 PM #12

    Andy Rubin with Mossberg:

    After talking about the competition, he moves on to a topic that specifically sparks our interest: competition within the Android platform itself. Google has created an open platform, which can be used and modified by manufacturers as well as consumers. Andy Rubin has mentioned before that, while Android is open source, it is not a community-driven project.

    There are certain limitations and requirements manufacturers have to fulfill to be supported by Google. Other companies have decided to take an alternative route and build their own tablets without Google?s full tablet/phone support. Amazon is the major example. Amazon?s Kindle Fire will be mostly focused on Amazon services as opposed to Google?s.

    Upon being asked about this, Rubin responded in the best way we could expect, ?As the creator of an open platform, Google is fine with such practices.? He goes on to say that he would consider himself a third-party developer for his own platform, Android. Google would be happy to make its own apps available in the Amazon App Store, if possible.

    If there is one thing AAPL watchers evaluating Android as a competitive threat should try to understand and internalize about Android, it’s that attitude. Many people find it refreshing. It is nice to see that it can drive a platform to dominance quickly.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 06:46 PM #13

    So are we we saying you can’t get Google or Amazon apps on our iPhones because we have this huge walled garden which keeps out all.  Let’s cut to the chase.  The fact that Samsung and Motorola announce brand spanking new super phones on the same day with one running 2.3 software and the other running 4.0 is a major disconnect and a result of Google picking a favorite for each major release to showcase the software.  In the next sentence they talk about how they are open.  sorry if I want to puke.  Hopefully folks are picking hansets on their own merits, android has some nice features and it’s own list of strengthens and weaknesses compared to iOS, but for them to continue to claim superiority due to being open is a joke.  They are a business, act like a business and treat Android like a part of their business.  They don’t pass the sniff test as far as I’m concerned.  I love that part about were open but don’t want community involvement, oh I thought that community was a big benefit since others could contribute to the source like Apple does with Webkit.  Color me stupid Google.

         
  • Posted: 19 October 2011 09:41 PM #14

    Shamelessly ripped from Gruber

    Vlad Savov, hands-on with the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

    As to overall performance, we saw a good deal of stutter in the Galaxy Nexus before us. Taps were not always recognized and there were occasional delays in performing an instruction, though in Google?s defense, it was a phone fully loaded with running tasks and the software is being continually improved and optimized (i.e. it?s not yet fully baked). That having been said, it unfortunately remains the case that Android isn?t as swift and responsive as iOS or Windows Phone (or even MeeGo Harmattan on the N9). Or at least it wasn?t on the demo phone we got a look at. The subtle, pervasive lag that has characterized the Android UI since it inception is still there, which is not a heartening thing to hear when you?re talking about a super-powered dual-core device like the Galaxy Nexus.

         
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    Posted: 19 October 2011 10:48 PM #15

    The average consumer doesn’t give a hoot about the grand “open” philosophical war. They care about where they can get the best and broadest selection of apps. Hundreds of thousands is a mind-numbing figure. No one is going to sort through even a tiny fraction of all the apps available on either iOS or Android. The RIM CEOs were partially correct: sheer tonnage of apps is not important.

    What’s important is that for any imaginable subject or category, there are a dozen or so quality options in the App Store. There are many categories where you cannot find a single option, even a junky one, in the Android Market.

    This will remain true for the foreseeable future because Apple has been paying out an average of $1 billion per year for the past three years. That figure is rising. For all it’s vaunted Android activation numbers & superior market share, Google has maybe paid out 1/20th that amount. Most developers want to be paid for their efforts.

    The Android ecosystem is on shaky ground due to a number of factors. Android 4.0 is not going to change that. It is a fine effort by Rubin & crew, but iOS has skated elsewhere with the puck.