Sunday, December 13, 2009

Google Phone

Have been reading about the Google phone all over the web.

Still trying to figure out how it makes much sense for Google to make its own phone to compete with Motorola, Samsung, Sony, etc.

Why didn't Google just provide the specs (something like a reference implementation) and then let the phone manufacturers duke it out. Some would add a keyboard, others would add infrared, other would do smart things that I can't even think about....

I am not sure I understand their strategy at all.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some of the Google Apps on Android are getting extremely sexy!

Just installed a few new apps on my Android phone. Some of these are killers:

Google Maps version 3.3
Google Goggles

Think Google can most probably buy its way into getting cooler apps than iPhone. Already most of the basic apps are available on Android. Google can develop/pay people to develop/hold competitions to get some of the best apps onto Android. And given the recent buzz, not sure they will need to pay anyone....

Another thing I believe is true (can't be certain), is that there are a lot more apps available for free on Android (things that nobody will develop for free on Apple because you need to pay to develop on the iPhone)

I really need to create my list of top apps - content for another post.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Android home phone?

Have been thinking about this for some time..... Really want an Android home phone - that way, I can get access to all my Gmail contacts. It will also allow me to use my Reliance/Airtel calling cards to call numbers in India (using the Calling Card application)

Is it time for Panasonic and Uniden to adopt Android?

Of course, the manufacturer will need to figure out how my wife and I can share that phone... :-)

Chrome OS as your safe browsing environment?

This ChromeOS thing has been bugging me.

Wonder if the following would be a good use for it:
When you are browsing the net and worried about viruses and worms, might you want to create a ChromeOS virtual machine and browse in that? Any viruses however well written, are unlikely to get onto your host OS (to do so, they will have to break the Chrome browser, the Chrome OS, the Virtual Machine software and *then* your host OS.

Won't save you if you are trying to download applications for your host OS. Or from phishing attacks, but should protect you from other threats on the web.

Could that be the killer app for ChromeOS?

Monday, November 23, 2009

How does ChromeOS make any sense?

Still trying to make sense of ChromeOS. If all it does is give my blindingly fast access to my browser, what's wrong with Android on the netbook?

Android doesn't necessarily load very fast on a G1, but I assume part of that is because the processor on the G1 is awfully slow.....

Also, why do the ChromeOS folks think apps on the netbook is such a bad idea? I would be pretty bummed if I didn't have apps on my G1.

I really don't get it at all.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Universal Remote for Android - not possible

In my previous post, I talked about how wonderful it would be if I could get a universal remote for Android. Looked into this a little. Looks like others have already thought about this:

Apparently Android doesn't provide power out on its USB.

Big bummer :-(
Would be nice if this could happen in future Android phones.

By the way, there is another solution that I found (only for iPhones, though). Ok answer, but lamer IMHO.
Another thing you need to plug into an electrical outlet....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Universal Remote with my Android

I was just looking at the Logitech remote controls.

Wouldn't it be nice if somebody wrote an app to make my Android phone into a universal remote?
Could be a lot better than the Logitech stuff. All you would need is an IR interface that would fit into the USB and some code.....

Anybody at Google listening?
What about Logitech?
Anybody in the Android marketplace?

This is one of the few apps I would be willing to pay for :-)

Google Getting too Strong?

Recently I have started getting very, very concerned with how much information Google now has about me. I have been a huge Google fan for some time now. Here are their services I use:
- Search
- Maps
- Mail
- Shopping
- Android
- Chrome
- News
- Translate (for work)
- Blogger
And others that I can't think of right now.

The problem is, that Google at this stage has a lot of history about me. They know what I look for, where I have been, where I spend my time, what I say in my mail, what I might buy, which sites I visit most often, etc. It is all very convenient, but a little scary about what can happen if (when) they decide to start misusing this information.....

Do I need to move to IE and Bing (and rely on MS's incompetence) to protect my anonymity?

Making money on the mobile applications

I have been thinking about this for some time. Love my Android. Like developing apps. The big question is: How do you make money developing apps on mobiles.

Hard question. IMHO, I don't believe too many folks will make a lot by developing an app that is mainly phone based. Sure a few game makers will, but not too many. Getting eyeballs and the engineering work make that too expensive.

The kinds of apps one needs to figure out are ones where you have some interesting back-end services and the mobile app provides a new means of accessing that. Google/Facebook/Twitter are the great examples, where they have a service that is useful in itself. The mobile apps allows users to access those services at all times and drives more revenue to their services.

Another point. Trying to charge for mobile apps feels like a pretty hard model to scale (of course, that might be my opinion because I am a cheapskate). I don't know how profitable adding ads are either (unless they are very targeted based on your app/user). The model you need to come up with is to either get a reputation for being a good app developer and then doing some consulting based on that. Or creating targeted leads based on your user's needs and getting money from those leads.

Android Marketplace - Why App Developers Aren't Seeing As Much Revenue

There was an article today about GameLoft saying they aren't getting enough revenue on the Android platform and deciding to leave it.

My thoughts on this topic:
I suspect Android is still mainly used by hackers/developers - who, like me, are cheapskates. Not by regular customers, who are more willing to pay for applications that entertain them. I expect Google to do more work in cleaning up the UI. Also, as more manufacturers start making Android devices, we will start seeing smartphone prices drop quite nicely, so Android will attract more regular users (who can't/won't spend big bucks on the iPhone).
That is when the platform will become more lucrative for most developers.

That said, I don't know that providing apps that reside just on the phone is ever likely to be profitable for more than a very, very small number of players - but that is a different post.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Worries about Android

I am an Android bigot. Think it is the best phone OS by far. Have been predicting that is will outstrip iPhone in sales every since I got my G1 - around a year ago!

Yesterday, I heard myself recommending to a friend that he buy his wife an iPhone. Couldn't believe myself!

Where Android is today, it is a lovely OS for tinkerers and folks who want things to work just so. iPhone on the other hand, works beautifully as long as you want to do what Steve Jobs wants you to do. It's UI is better than Android's.

What does the world consist of - more tinkerers or more sheep?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cyanogen Mods

Getting kind of addicted to updating my OS every time Cyanogen releases a new version....

Just put 4.2.5 on my phone. Need to make sure the new Google Maps still works, otherwise will need to
fix some files....


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who loves Android today

I have been thinking about my battle with others around Android and trying to figure out who would prefer Android of the iPhone today. Here are my thoughts:

iPhone has a lot more apps today. It also has a much better UI. No arguments about that.


If you fall into either one of these two categories:
    - Care about open source stuff/like that freedom
    - Want to tinker with and have a lot of settings to control the apps you use
then you are more likely to prefer an Android phone.

Comments welcome!

G1 vs Droid vs Cliq

For work, I needed to get a Cliq and a Droid (and I have my G1, ofcourse). Tried using the new phones expecting I would fall in love with them.

Was amazingly disappointed :-(

Both the Cliq and Droid have only a 4 line keyboard. They don't have the extra line for numbers/symbols that my G1 has. Makes it painful to type numbers. Also, I like the 5 keys and trackball the G1 has at the bottom. In particular, I need the menu key to be in the middle of the phone. For some random reason, Motorola decided to have a lot less keys..... Painful again.

And what is it with MotoBlur? Why can't they leave my phone that way it was? Hated the widgets on the home screen. My G1 already has 3 screens full of apps (and I got rid of Google's search widget). If I were going to add widgets to my phone, I would put them on one of the other screens. Definitely not on my home screen.

Blah to all these home page mods!

Still don't have a phone that I am salivating for.

What I am waiting for is a good HTC phone (no special experience, please) with a nice Snapdragon or equivalent processor that just increases the speed of my phone. Flash has become a non-issue since I have a hacked OS (apps on disk) and 16GB Class 6 microSD card. And, ofcourse, somebody will need to have hacked it!

Why this blog

Hello world!

I have had a G1 for around a year now. Have been in love with it since the day I got it. Follow a bunch of blogs around Android. Spend a lot of time playing with apps and new versions of the OS, so I decided I should share some of my learnings, opinions, etc.

I am currently on a rooted phone - run CyanogenMod 4.2.4. Also, just got the latest version of Google Maps (with Navigation).

I am also doing some development work on Android and have been proselytizing this platform with the heathens who carry iPhones and clueless folks still on Blackberries. We won't even talk about folks on anything else :-)

Also, in the interests of full disclosure - my wife works at Google (although I paid good money for my G1)