By Greg Mills
I spend several hours a day surfing the Internet, for all sorts of reasons. News, tech information and Apple news tend to be my focus. Sometimes I run across tech stories that are so humorous I can't imagine anyone taking them at face value.
Windows 7 iSkin? Yesterday, a story showed up in the press regarding a skin that converts the look and feel of an Apple iPhone into a Microsoft Windows 7 phone? This can only be done on a jailbroken iPhone. People who think themselves smarter than the folks at Apple who designed the most desirable smartphone on the planet are the only ones who might consider jailbreaking in the first place. But how many of them are so anal they prefer a WIndows 7 look and feel?
To me, especially now that the AT&T exclusive marketing program is over, any reasonable motivation for jailbreaking is irrational. To make a BMW look like a Bulgarian Yugo sub-compact, featureless car is beyond my ability to understand. The only reason to do this I can even think of is to prevent theft. While stealing an iPhone makes sense to thieves, stealing a Windows 7 phone is silly, as AT&T and Verizon are virtually giving them away.
AT&T's surf and talk distinction. Now that the exclusive right to sell the Apple iPhone is over at AT&T, they,naturally, are working hard to keep defections to Verizon to a minimum. When the iPhones are basically "two peas in a pod" identical, the network differences are all there is to sell. I have heard that while Verizon is somewhat slower, it is rock steady and dropped calls are rare. AT&T tends to have a faster network but drops calls a lot more often.
With iPhone hitting the Verizon market in the next five days, AT&T has launched a new advertising campaign touting the only feature other than dropped calls they can claim. The CDMA format that Verizon iPhones run on won't allow you to use Internet features while talking on the phone. I will have to say that since iPhone 1 was launched I have never needed to do both at the same time. Now, perhaps since I am dyslexic and can't chew gum very well while I am walking, I might be the odd man out on this.
Frankly, dependability and the price points for service are the issues that are more meaningful to me. When my AT&T contract gives out I plan to wait for iPhone 5 and will then carefully consider both carriers. The dropped call problem is clearly a serious downer for me to consider going with AT&T again.
What a lot of the press seems to miss is that Verizon taking some of the iPhone market away from AT&T will improve AT&T's network congestion, to some extent. We will see soon enough if that helps. Also, the move to 4G expected soon for both networks will also take a lot of pressure off the 3G networks. So hang in there, things are bound to improve all around.
Microsoft Windows 7 Phones. That is the punch line.
RIM's Playbook, appears to be DOA. As I have blogged in this space all along, the Playbook is going to be under-powered from a feature standpoint and over-priced to the extent RIM may have a KIN phone experience coming up. Playbook can't do anything related to the Internet without tethering to a BlackBerry. There is no GPS and no email; this makes one wonder why RIM thinks they can sell Playbook at all.
The price point of Playbook is expected to be higher than an iPad despite being touted as a powerful business tool. Imagine Apple requiring you to use an iPhone to hook up iPad to the Internet. Only those still using a Blackberry are even remotely going to be interested in even looking at a PlayBook. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. No apps, no email, no GPS, high price and despite RIM's assurances PlayBook is likely to have a short battery life due to its chip set.
Microsoft, never unwilling to steal a good idea, content or feature got caught with their preverbal pants down. Google noticed that when you mis-spell a word using their search engine and certain likely correct substitutions are presented, the very same suggestions were popping up way too often when Bing is used.
So, the guys at Google figured they would set a trap and put out some verbal bait and sure enough, they caught a nasty large rat. They invented 100 nonsensical words and inserted fake results for each of them. Sure enough, within weeks putting one of the invented words got the invented search results. Calling Google's trap a "spy-novelisque stunt" Microsoft both admitted and denied they were stealing the work product of Google.
Harry Shum, the vice president of Microsoft overseeing Bing said, "We do not copy Google's search results. We use multiple signals and approaches in ranking search results." It sounds like Harry ought to consider political office with his talent for verbally dancing around the truth.
Google's Amit Singhal was quite clear in charging Microsoft with "plain and simple cheating". See http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/microsofts-bing-uses-google-search.html .
The copy machines at Microsoft are still humming away it seems.
That's Greg's bite for today.
(Greg Mills is currently a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Married, with one daughter still at home, Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's web sites at http://www.gregmills.info . He can be emailed at gregmills.mac.)