Particle Debris (wk. ending 5/21) Churn, Fancy Forwarding, Fluff and Hot Flashes

| Particle Debris

Have you ever wondered how the iPhone has affected AT&T’s churn rate? (That’s the rate in percent at which customers leave the wireless service.) Turley Miller, an Apple analyst has pointed out that since the introduction of the iPhone 3G, AT&T’s churn rate has gone down while Verizon’s has gone up. It’s all part of the corporate puzzle of pieces that leads up to major decisions — like whether Verizon will carry the iPhone at some point, something Verizon desperately needs to battle AT&T. Maybe.

One of the uses for the iPad that many predicted (including me) is by pilots in the cockpit. It turns out that many pilot apps for the iPhone are making their way to the iPad, and my friend, Steve Sande at TUAW, reports, “we’ve heard from commenters who fly for a living that they think the iPad may be the greatest thing to appear in the cockpit since Charlton Heston.” Or Jimmy Stewart.

You know I love those Silicon Alley Insider charts, and here’s another one that shows how much money several large high technology companies spend on lobbying. I surmise that one can equate the money spent to how needy each company is in terms of protections it needs from government, and so it’s no surprise that Apple spends almost nothing.

It turns out that there is a set of key commands you can punch into an iPhone on the phone number line to achieve things like: 1) Call forward if busy, 2) Call forward if not answered, and 3) Call forward if not reachable. I had not seen these techniques before, and it’s looks like they could come in very handy. It’s an older article, but check out Simon Ng’s “How to Use Conditional Call Forwarding.” which links to the applicable AT&T page.

Poor Windows Mobile. What has Steve Ballmer been doing, you ask, lately? For one, he’s watched Google’s Android OS eclipse Windows Mobile, according to the latest data from Gartner. Note, the data supplied is for worldwide sales. Can Windows Phone 7 save the day? Can Batman escape the clutches of The Joker? Tune in next quarter on the same Bat Channel!

I need to mention this next article because I’m a Newsweek subscriber, and I think Jacob Weisberg’s article is one of the worst pieces of Apple journalism Newsweek has ever published. It was, in part, what I was talking about in my latest Hidden Dimensions. If you want to see what kind of analysis of Apple (er, fluff) is being fed to the masses at Newsweek, check it out. But have your puke bucket handy and thank your luck stars you read The Mac Observer.

Google has been making a lot of noise lately — and making some mistakes. Just one of the many was at an event in London during which Google co-founder, Larry Page, blamed the Android developers for apps that drain an Android phone’s batteries. Smart, huh? Jim Goldman summed up the differences in corporate philosophy: Google: The Android battery life is sub-par and we blame you, the developers, our partners out there who are slaving away at trying to expand the platform. Apple: We’ve identified an issue in our platform and we have come up with an innovation to address it, so that we can help you the developers, our partners out there who are slaving away at trying to expand the platform.”

You’ve heard a lot about Apple’s take on Flash and its affect on battery life. That’s because Flash currently runs the video codec in software instead of hardware — as H.264 on the iPhone/iPad does. In this article at engadget, buried deep in a review that highlights some killer benchmark scores for Android 2.2 “Froyo” beta is this observation of Flash 10.1 running on a Froyo phone: “Battery and heat are also of concern: the pre-release beta we have, according to Adobe, lacks hardware acceleration. Ergo, our beloved handset got piping hot after about 30 minutes of heavy video watching, and the battery indicator in the upper right had a sizable dent.” You heard it from the experts.

On Friday, Kara Swisher at All Things Digital, accused Google of essentially throwing an Apple Tantrum at its I/O event this week. The salient phrase: “Note to Google: A scary search behemoth with a stranglehold on Internet advertising isn’t really believable as a victim of ‘The Man’–in this case, Apple CEO Steve Jobs.”

Finally, if you aren’t googlefied enough, Google is planning to compete with Apple in yet another arena. It’s called Google TV and is examined by MediaPost. from a TV industry perspective.

Apple gives customers a limited but very understandable environment with the Apple TV. Google TV looks more like the Wild, Wild West. It will definitely appeal to the nerds. But will it blend? Er, I mean will it sell? Seems to me it’s one of those flash in the pan ideas like Google Wave that gets thrown out there to see what sticks. It reminds me of what John Welch said this week on Twitter: “Google the new Microsoft? Nope. Microsoft develops and supports its products.”



?Google the new Microsoft? Nope. Microsoft develops and supports its products.?

Ouch!  But it’s true.  Google is basically a publishing company.  And a publisher of mainly statistics at that.  They thought all they need to sell hardware was have a website, a fulfillment center and they’re done.  “Forget about tech and customer support.  In our world such a thing is unnecessary.”


I hate to be so picky, especially since you tend to write the best articles at TMO, but can’t the writers at TMO at least be required to use at least both a spelling and grammar checker? It reduces your credibility if you don’t, at least IMO.

I see two problems with paragraph 8, a misspelling (“al lot” vs. “a lot”) and a grammatical error (“affect” vs. “effect”).

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

On the battery thing and blame… The difference in philosophy is not really one of blame, it’s deeper. On Android 2.1 (and I’ll assume it goes back to 1.5, although I can’t verify immediately), right out of the box, a user can hit “Settings”, then “About phone”, then “Battery use” and get a nice little scrolling chart of what’s been using battery since the device was last plugged in. Right now, mine says:

Voice calls 48%
Display 23%
Cell standby 10%
Phone idle 9%
Wifi 5%
Android System 4%
Android OS 2%

Yes, there is a little rounding going on there, because they add up to 101%. The underlying philosophy is transparency. In Android land, we don’t have to take anyone’s word for what sucks up battery. It’s right there for all of us to see. That doesn’t mean that most users have to be concerned about these details. But it means that facts thrown around discussions of facts about battery usage are verifiable. Not so with iPhone OS.

Here’s where this small philosophical difference will make a difference in the coming weeks… Flash. As Google rolls out Froyo to N1 owners, as it has started doing in small batches today, those N1 owners will be able to install the Flash beta from Adobe. They’ll also be able to run Flash AIR apps, as Adobe has made tools available to its customers to support Android. The savvy and interested among us will be able to provide the community with real data about Flash’s battery use. And then individuals in the community can make their own choices about whether having Flash is the right trade-off for their phone.

In the iPhone world, Apple already made the choice for you based on information it doesn’t want to share with you. Apple wraps this up under the banner of simplicity and a marketing message that people are too stupid to make those kinds of decisions themselves.

Chandra Coomar

You really should get out more. Get a girlfriend.
Move out of your parents’ basement.
Get a taste for honesty, you won’t need to brush your teeth and gargle so often.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I guess that’s supposed to be a slap coming from someone who brushes his teeth once a week? But seriously Chandra, what’s “dishonest” (fanboy codeword for “Steve didn’t tell us it was OK to believe this”) about what I wrote? Shall I post screen captures from my N1?

Daniel Gomes

John, thank you for your article. Like many TMO readers I do enjoy your articles and generally I agree with your point of view on most topics.

However I have to disagree with you on the topic of Android vs. iPhone/Google vs. Android.

I’m a mac user and love my computer. Apple do make excellent computers and iPods and the iPhone (I own the 3G) was incredible in it’s day, raising the bar for smart phones like no other.

This love for Apple shouldn’t blind us though to Apple’s faults and to the accomplishments of other companies, like Google for example.

Much has been written on the net about Apple, Adobe and Google lately, including your post, but alot of these articles have made a fundamental mistake, as I think you have too in this article.

The mistake is that they try to make Google and Adobe look bad and Apple look good by pointing out that flash on a cellphone drains it’s battery and makes it hot, therefore Steve Jobs was right and we should kill flash.

Yes flash does make a cellphone (and mac) run hot and drain it’s battery very fast, but the fact remains that alot of people use flash and so we should make allowances for that and enable flash on devices so that one has the option of viewing flash content if one wants.

Google put it very well at the keynote when they said that the web is open and his means making allowances and accepting everyone, not just killing off and excluding anyone who we deem to be of no use. Well done to Google for working with Adobe to give people the ability to see flash on the web on their mobiles if they wish. The choice is theirs.

Secondly, I think you’ve dismissed the Google I/O conference and have glossed over some extremely important events.

I’m sure you’ve watched the keynote on You Tube and if that’s the case, you should have seen what awesome innovations Android 2.2 introduces, which deserve credit. If Apple had unveiled these advances at their OS 4 keynote, all the Apple blogs would have been waxing lyrical over them, exclaiming how innovative Apple is and how they’ve blown ahead of the competition.

These innovations are namely:

1.) A 2X - 3X boost in OS performance due to JIT technology!!

Do you understand how incredible this is? Imagine OS 4 introduced 3X faster speeds and could therefore run flash as well as easily run on the original iPhone? Multitasking would have been available to all iPhone owners and not just the upcoming device and 3GS.

Android 2.2 will run on the original G1 and absolutely fly, not to mention how it will be on the new devices!! This is true innovation and should be recognised.

2.) Sending apps from the Market on the web directly to your phone for installation.

Isn’t this great? Over the air app installation; no cables; no tethering required and a truly practical use of the internet. This is excellent innovation and Apple have been caught sleeping.

3.) Push notifications that actually do something.

You can push certain information from the net that will actually trigger and open the required application for you on your phone, as opposed to Apple’s notification system that just sends you a useless message.

This is what push notifications should have been about from the start, something useful. Well done Google!

4.) Tethering and wi-fi hotspot creation.

Need I say more?

5.) Music streaming of your own music to your phone.

Now you don’t have to use all the space on your phone for your music collection, simply stream it when you want it, especially songs you don’t play that often.

These are really innovative technologies that Google has introduced in addition to the fact that their platform is open and apps can be freely bought on the net, which is a huge benefit compared to Apple’s closed App Store system.

Let’s not forget that many devices are and will be running Android, some of which are tablets, and that Apple will be launching a bookstore in the near future which should far outstretch iBooks, giving these devices the potential to be the most widely sold and used eBook readers worldwide.

Glossing over all these is really unfair John and I hope that you take the time to reconsider your stance on these matters.

I won’t be upgrading to the new iPhone because Apple’s system is too closed for my liking and offers me no advantage at all. In fact it’s a hinderence, and with incredible Android devices available packed with such innovation as described above there is no reason at all to want an iPhone.

I don’t think I’m alone either and I’m grateful to Google for giving us choice and innovation.

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