Road to going Droid, Finale

For a few months I have considered what my next phone will be. I knew that it had to be either Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint since other carriers do not have a good reputation for quality coverage in my area.

I also knew I wanted a SmartPhone which gave me several operating systems options (in order of 2qtr market share):
A. Nokia which runs a platform which is striving to be open source: Symbian OS, AT&T was the only carrier for them but I did not see any for sale at the store I visited.
B. Blackberry which runs the closed-source platform: RIM, was available in many models and carriers but the lack of availability of 3rd party applications kept me away.
C. iPhone which runs the BSD-based platform produced by Apple has a significant amount of popularity due to the App Store. I passed because I did not want something that was defective by design.
D. Microsoft Mobile based phones are around but decreasing in relevance. The reviews totally tank it.
E. Android is an Linux-based operating system from Google which is the most open Linux-based commercially available phone on the market is the one I picked because it seemed to have the most welcoming developer community.
F. Palm is currently in transition to the Linux-based OS called “Palm PRE.” I doubt that the developer community will keep up with the Android and iPhone communities.

On Saturday November 7, I went to the poshest shopping mall around town to make sure that my options were the best that money could buy. Let’s face it, I am a Linux enthusiast and the idea of buying a Linux phone had me thrilled. Decked out in my Google Open Source Programs Office t-shirt, I knew I was going Droid. The Motorola “Droid” model is the newest Android phone for the Verizon 3G Network. None the less, I had intended to go to all three stores: Verizon, AT&T and Sprint but there was not a Sprint store in that mall. At the AT&T store I observed no Microsoft phones but several iPhones for sale. There were not any customers there beside me at the AT&T store yet nobody tried to sell me an iPhone. It is like nobody cares about the iPhone anymore. Then I quickly moved onto Verizon store where there was a line of people just to touch one of the two Android phones they had on display. There was one Windows phone on display but everybody ignored it despite it being right next to the Droid. Since I already have a contract with Verizon, the process was simple. I gave my phone number and account PIN to the sales clerk and the Droid was mine. As an added bonus, the clerk explained that I would pay less than I was paying for my monthly service because I wanted to use gmail instead of a Microsoft Exchange email account. While my Droid was configured for my account, I continued to browse the store and ended up buying a mifi too which is a portable access point that does not care what operating system I use.

The Droid itself is amazing. What really knocks my socks off is the phone is tied in with Google Voice so I can make all of the calls I want for free without going into my calling minutes. It also ties in well with all sorts of software-as-a-service websites, not just Google’s cloud.

As I was using the Droid, it reminded me of Bill Gates’ Congressional testimony ten years ago….

Bill Gates said

Droid Does

Wherever you are, you’ll be able to access your own digital dashboard — the set of information that you care about on any screen, from a PC to that small pocket device. Google Docs, GMail, Google Calendar, any software-as-a-service application that works over the Android, even Yahoo! products such as Flickr and more via a Yahoo! optimized Android web browser. Shopping on Amazon is a breeze. News videos of all of the headlines are now part of my morning routine. I could go on all day.
Microsoft and thousands of other companies are advancing the software that makes this possible. The Android Marketplace is an application “store” where there are thousands of applications from both open and proprietary developers allow users to buy, download, and install their applications. Feedback on each application is tracked with a five star system and comments with optional user comments. All applications have an email account for users to contact for support. Very bazaar-esque. No applications from Microsoft itself yet.
We’ll spend next year about $3 billion on research and development.
One day in the not-too-distant
future that software will allow computers to see, to listen, and to
speak.
  • Software for the Droid that sees: “The Voice” which uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and the camera to audibly communicate
    the surroundings for the visually-impaired, GPS software with Google
    Street View allows you to see what your path and desitination looks
    like during the day, Amazon application takes a picture of anything and
    matches it with a product in their store, bar-code scanner, Scan2PDF
    mobile takes a picture of a document and emails your scan as a .pdf.
  • Software that listens: Search Google by voice, tell the GPS to take you somewhere by voice, Tell the phone to call your friends, translating
    your spoken words into another language.
  • Software that speaks: tons of multimedia content such as
    youtube and podcasts, GPS turn-by-turn directions, phone announces who is calling, there is even an application that will back-seat-drive if I am
    speeding, many apps read chat and micorblogging content, when I get an
    email from gmail it says “Droid!”
At home or in the office, you’ll be able to talk to your PC, to dictate a document or to simply ask for the information that you care about.” Many voice to text applications are available and Google search by voice is installed by default. If you talk to the Droid more, you can always get the driver that allows your own voice to be the keyboard from Pwn with Your Phone. The Droid always delivers all of the information I care about. I feel like I am living in the Web 2.0.

I’ve waited for ten years for Bill Gates and Microsoft to deliver the innovation that was promised in the “not too distant future.” Ten years and 3 billion dollars later you have no product to show for it, Microsoft. I bought a product produced by Google, a company that will destroy Microsoft’s market share now through June 30, 2011. Should I wait for Microsoft to catch up? I am sorry Mr. Gates, I am afraid I can’t do that. I’ve already gone for the 2010 Linux Odyssey.

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6 Responses to Road to going Droid, Finale

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  3. avatar darryl AUSTRALIA Internet Explorer Windows says:

    MS has voice control, and gesture control so it can “see” and “hear” users.

    BTW:
    (and standard with the OS), and works very well, (the voice control).

    Very accurate and responsive, easy to use, does not require a net connection, and just works,

    sorry mr/ms aurthor, Im agraid we’ve done that, ive allready gone for the Windows Odyssey. :)

    So no need to wait for Microsoft to catch up, you might like to take a post 1995 look at what MS does as well while you at it.

  4. avatar What Will We Use Editor UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @darryl OK. I am running Windows Vista. What are the names of the applications can Microsoft offer me to be “heard” or “seen?” None of these features you say are standard are turned on, as far as I can tell. Where should I go in the control panel to enable these features? How about Windows Mobile? Can I use Windows Mobile to do a voice command to get Bing Maps navigation and street views with voice-guided turn-by-turn directions?

    If Microsoft is already there with voice and gesture control, why is Mr. Ballmer offering a new seeing/hearing prediction for 2019?

    Wait, I have some personal questions for you, Darryl. You say “we’ve done that.” How is it that you claim ownership the engineering behind Microsoft’s voice and gesture control features you mention? Do you work for Microsoft Research?

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