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Google Discontinues Nexus One
July 18, 2010 10:00 PM   Subscribe

It was supposed to be the iPhone killer. Instead, the Nexus One turned out to be a bust. Google announced today that they were discontinuing the phone despite the rise of Android as an operating system.
posted by Hasai (325 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
You're in the desert, walking along the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a Google. You flip the Google on it's back. It's belly baking in the hot sun. You're not helping it. Why is that, Steve?
posted by Avenger at 10:07 PM on July 18, 2010 [74 favorites]


The Nexus One was a bluff from the start. It worked very well.
posted by mullacc at 10:11 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not helping? What do you mean Steve's not helping?
posted by cucumber at 10:13 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't call it a bust. All the PR made people look at Android, and 7 months later its feature set has been eclipsed by newer phones. Google will keep the last of its stock to sell to developers. Its just a slightly changed HTC Desire anyway.

I owned a first Gen iPhone for 2 years, but you'll have to pry my N1 from my cold dead hands now that I put Cyanogenmod on it.

(Posted from said phone)
posted by mrbill at 10:15 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want more life, fucker.
posted by Ratio at 10:16 PM on July 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


No surprise.

It only ran on T-Mobile and AT&T. T-Mobile has a truly shitty network. People on AT&T were unlikely to choose a Nexus One over an iPhone. And no one was going to be stupid enough to spend $600 for an unlocked version when the more desirable carrier in terms of coverage (and international plans) (Verizon) offered Droids for $200 and under.
posted by zarq at 10:18 PM on July 18, 2010


Describe in single words only the good things that come to mind about... your mother.

My mother? Let me tell you about my mother.
posted by Diag at 10:19 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


(ah darn, I meant to replace the word 'mother', with 'smartphone'. Way to ruin an already lame joke)
posted by Diag at 10:21 PM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Now that Google has stopped wasting its time with hardware development, it should now focus on discontinuing Android's undeleteable spamware:

The Droid X comes loaded with several nonstandard applications for Google's Android, most of which cannot be removed.

Among the phone's so-called junkware is a Blockbuster video app and a demo for an Electronic Arts game called Need for Speed: Shift.

The software from the struggling movie retail chain includes a store locator and a section to download mobile movies from Blockbuster's catalog. This app cannot be uninstalled from the phone's software library using any traditional means. Users can delete it from the home screen, but it lives on -- permanently part of the software embedded on the device.

...

The T-Mobile Vibrant phone from Samsung, meanwhile, has four of these extra apps staring you in the face.

One is the movie "Avatar," permanently loaded onto the device in case you are a giant fan. Another is a live video channel called MobiTV -- good for only 30 days. The third is a link to install an EA game called The Sims 3: Collector's Edition. The last is an outdated version of Amazon's Kindle app.

There's also Slacker Radio, which cannot be used before providing an e-mail address, and a button leading to Gogo Inflight Internet's website, which includes a one-month trial for Web surfing (only on plans that provide the service).

Try as you might, none of these apps can be uninstalled.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 PM on July 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


T-Mobile has a truly shitty network.

?

People keep saying this, but I have yet to see data showing much difference between carriers. There is a trade off, you pay less money for data plans with T-mobile in exchange for poorer rural coverage... If that's what you mean by truly shitty network.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:32 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Try as you might, none of these apps can be uninstalled.

iPhones have the same problem. Unless the iOS 4 upgrade changed things, users cannot remove *any* of the apps that come pre-installed on the phone.

One more reason to love RIM: My BlackBerry's operating system allowed me to manually uninstall the junkware apps and modules that came preinstalled from Verizon. No fuss, no muss. Took me less than 60 seconds to delete anything I didn't want, then another 60-70 seconds for a hard reboot. In less than 3 minutes, I'd freed up a bunch of space and rid myself of annoying icons.
posted by zarq at 10:35 PM on July 18, 2010


Unless the iOS 4 upgrade changed things, users cannot remove *any* of the apps that come pre-installed on the phone.

I'm not aware of an iPhone coming with spamware, along the lines of what is packaged with Android. Can you provide some examples?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's really too bad that this came to pass, but I'm glad I managed to snag for myself an unlocked version that works on three of the four major carriers in Canada. I really hope someone else tries to push the idea of unlocked phones in the near future.
posted by chrominance at 10:40 PM on July 18, 2010


Using the Android SDK and a USB cable, you can force-delete ANY .apk app on an Android phone, but its still beyond some people's abilities. I used it to nuke "Amazon MP3" off my N1.
posted by mrbill at 10:42 PM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm not aware of an iPhone coming with spamware, along the lines of what is packaged with Android. Can you provide some examples?

They aren't defined as spamware. But the apps that come built into the phone cannot be removed, even if the user doesn't want them there. Stocks and Weather are the ones I hear the most complaints about. If you don't have a need or desire for them, then they're just clutter, taking up space.
posted by zarq at 10:43 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can you provide some examples?

Anyway, it reminds me of the el-cheapo laptops and desktops running Windows that the vendors keep bundling with all kinds of spyware, malware and spamware junk that irreparably damages the system registry as soon as you flip the switch on your new machine. It's a PR and system design issue that Google would do well to address before it gets out of hand.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's a shame. I really like my nexus 1.
posted by seanyboy at 10:45 PM on July 18, 2010


BTW, the only reason that AT&T doesn't install junkware on the iPhone is Apple forced them not to as part of their criteria for allowing them to carry the phone. AT&T does install those apps on non-iPhones.

And yes, you still can't uninstall apps that are built into an iPhone, no matter how much you might want to.
posted by zarq at 10:47 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


But the apps that come built into the phone cannot be removed, even if the user doesn't want them there.

Apparently it can be done:

How to Remove Stocks App on the iPhone
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 PM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I get a lot more phone calls from people asking for help setting up their Droid phones than their iPhones. That may be less a population issue and more of a usability issue, though.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:48 PM on July 18, 2010


Probably stating the obvious here, but apps are the weakest part of the whole Android "experience". For example, I have yet to find a decent MP3 player. I tried "Cube", but the app frequently crashed my phone.

Personally, I don't think the app situation will ever change. I was speaking with a bona fide, profitable iPhone game developer who makes very well-known, quality games, who speculated that his company would never, ever pursue Android, simply because most people with Android want everything for free, and would refuse to pay for anything, no matter how good.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Zarq: T-Mobile has a truly shitty network.

This is BS. Perhaps it doesn't have the pervasiveness around the country as the other competitors, but here in NYC and Brooklyn. T-Mobile's network is without equal, just excellent. I have never had a dropped call with my Android HTC MyTouch (a beautiful phone, that just rocks). Ever. Yet, when I speak with someone using an iPhone on AT&T, I've come to the point where I basically expect them to drop their signal at least once or twice...and I have to basically sit there and shake my head, until they can find a signal and call back.

I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.
posted by Skygazer at 10:48 PM on July 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


How to Remove Stocks App on the iPhone

My understanding has been that wouldn't be a permanent solution. When you upgrade your OS, doesn't it automatically reinstall the app?
posted by zarq at 10:49 PM on July 18, 2010


They aren't defined as spamware. But the apps that come built into the phone cannot be removed, even if the user doesn't want them there. Stocks and Weather are the ones I hear the most complaints about. If you don't have a need or desire for them, then they're just clutter, taking up space.

I agree with you there, I wouldn't mind if I could hide those icons on my iPod. Still, I think there's a fundamental difference between firing up your brand new expensive smartphone and seeing a stockticker app versus some obscene pre-loaded Blockbuster adapp.

On preview: OH HELL YEAH thanks Blazecock
posted by threetoed at 10:50 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


My understanding has been that wouldn't be a permanent solution. When you upgrade your OS, doesn't it automatically reinstall the app?

I have no idea. Are there spamware apps packaged with the iPhone, though?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 PM on July 18, 2010


zarq, I have to disagree with your assessment there. a) The Nexus is a better device than the Droid (with the notable exception of the physical keyboard and lack thereof) and b), those of us stupid enough to buy the phone outright for $529 end up saving quite a bit over the next two years. T-Mobile at least knocks $20 off your bill if you don't get a subsidized phone. Over the course of two years, that's $480. I also changed over from Verizon a bit before that, my phone bill for comparable service went from $100 a month to $60. I saved $960 on the bill alone over two years. Somehow, that whole "save $329" by buying a subsidized Droid on Verizon doesn't sound quite as good...

And as for T-Mobile having a shitty network, that's true when you don't live in a major urban center. I do, and I haven't dropped a call since I switched to T-Mobile 3 years ago while getting faster data transfer speeds than I did with Verizon and my friends with Sprint's Evo.

Suffice it to say, I'm very happy with my Nexus. I wish the phone had done better, it's openness has made it a hacker's dream.
posted by Swervo at 10:52 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.

Perhaps it's subjective. I have a co-worker who is constantly cursing her T-Mobile phone -- she switched from Verizon, lives in Hoboken and works in Manhattan. She says her coverage is shit, and I can vouch that she experiences dropped calls.

My cousin (based in Dallas) with a T-Mobile phone has similar problems. She travels all over the US, and has been plagued with signal and coverage issues in urban, suburban and rural areas.
posted by zarq at 10:53 PM on July 18, 2010


Yet these are still selling for $529 without a plan.
posted by mecran01 at 10:53 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


OH HELL YEAH thanks Blazecock

I'm curious if it works. I don't have my phone on me right now. If it works or if it doesn't, let us know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 PM on July 18, 2010


I have no idea.

I'm pretty sure they would. Not positive, though.

Are there spamware apps packaged with the iPhone, though?

I covered that in my response to you here.
posted by zarq at 10:58 PM on July 18, 2010


This man has a Nexus One. If you know who he is, you are in the target market for a Nexus One. Most people have no idea who he is, hence the failure of Google's phone hardware in the marketplace.
posted by killdevil at 10:59 PM on July 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


I agree with you there, I wouldn't mind if I could hide those icons on my iPod. Still, I think there's a fundamental difference between firing up your brand new expensive smartphone and seeing a stockticker app versus some obscene pre-loaded Blockbuster adapp.

Personally, I'll stick with my BB. I can modify that OS to delete anything but the App Store, Mail and Phone applications. :)
posted by zarq at 10:59 PM on July 18, 2010


Damn, doesn't seem to work (iPod touch first gen). Stocks remains undeletable. Oh well.

Anyways, since this is a phone thread, I'd like to take this opportunity to badmouth my stupid BlackBerry. Dear RIM: This is the worst phone I've ever owned. Your operating system is bad and the little trackpad I need to use to control this thing is just terrible. Terrible! Please design an operating system that doesn't require me to dig through 4 levels of configuration screens just to re-enable my GPS every time I turn the fucking thing off and on. Thank you. Love, threetoed. PS You suck.
posted by threetoed at 11:01 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually... I wonder if one could delete the phone app. I'm guessing not, but it would be an interesting experiment.....
posted by zarq at 11:01 PM on July 18, 2010


I covered that in my response to you here.

I saw "They aren't defined as spamware", but I honestly wasn't sure what this meant or how this answered the question. Does this mean the weather app is spamware to you, but not others, that sort of thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 PM on July 18, 2010


So are there any good Android Google phones out there? Or should I just join the legions and go buy an Iphone?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:09 PM on July 18, 2010


Actually... I wonder if one could delete the phone app.

Sure, of course. MobilePhone.app lives in the same filesystem directory as all of the other built-in apps on the iPhone. It can be deleted instantly on any jailbroken phone.

But... why would you want to do this?
posted by killdevil at 11:10 PM on July 18, 2010


killdevil: Do you mean that Linus Torvalds has a Nexus One? Richard Stallman recommends not owning a phone.
posted by sien at 11:13 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> When you upgrade your OS, doesn't it automatically reinstall the app?

Considering an OS upgrade is a reimaging of the phone (which then restores your userland settings and apps from your previous, pre upgrade backup), the default apps will show up. (You could of course just put them in a folder, being as the apps take up a miniscule amount of space on the system, vs a racing game demo).

The big distinction is these are the apps that apple decided to put on their phone and ship with their hardware / OS, vs Verizon decided to make some extra money on their Droid X subsidy by selling placement for the demo / blockbuster app. Android offers freedom of choice, but only after what Motorola and Verizon (or whatever handset maker / carrier combo) decide they want to prioritize first.

It is a shame that they are discontinuing the Nexus, because it was the open handset model, and I would love for the more european style of cellphone service and purchasing. Then you really could have a "buy this phone, put this os on it, use this phone service" type of freedom if you wanted, which would as a whole be a good thing. I think Google wasn't really ready for dealing directly with customers in a way that couldn't be automated in Python.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:14 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does this mean the weather app is spamware to you, but not others, that sort of thing.

Generally, yes. That's what I meant. If I can't delete it from the phone then it's spamware to me, and to anyone else who would like to do so but can't.

IIRC, Verizon installed some sort of NFL shortcut to my BB home screen. It wasn't an app. You clicked on the icon, and it opened a Verizon-sponsored NFL URL in the browser. I didn't want it there, and deleted it. If I hadn't been able to do so, then to my way of thinking that would have been spam.

Obviously, the experience is worse when it's an app.

I agree that undeletable ad-supported garbage is even less desirable.

But look.... on a Mac, Windows or Linux box you can easily install and remove apps from your dock (or start menu) and your hard drive, yes? I see no reason why anyone should be unable to do the same on their phone. It's *my* phone. I should be able to customize it to my liking.
posted by zarq at 11:14 PM on July 18, 2010


Sure, of course. MobilePhone.app lives in the same filesystem directory as all of the other built-in apps on the iPhone. It can be deleted instantly on any jailbroken phone.

I was talking about my unbroken BlackBerry, not an iPhone.

But... why would you want to do this?

Well hypothetically, let's say I wanted to replace it with a superior app and needed to make sure there wouldn't be any OS conflicts.
posted by zarq at 11:17 PM on July 18, 2010


The big distinction is these are the apps that apple decided to put on their phone and ship with their hardware / OS, vs Verizon decided to make some extra money on their Droid X subsidy by selling placement for the demo / blockbuster app. Android offers freedom of choice, but only after what Motorola and Verizon (or whatever handset maker / carrier combo) decide they want to prioritize first.

True! :)
posted by zarq at 11:19 PM on July 18, 2010


(You could of course just put them in a folder, being as the apps take up a miniscule amount of space on the system, vs a racing game demo).

Well, sure. Now you can. But only with iOS4.
posted by zarq at 11:20 PM on July 18, 2010


If I can't delete it from the phone then it's spamware to me

Okay, I can understand how this would irk you, that's fine, but I guess I stop at the point of the definition of the word, where an ad-free weather app is said to be spam in the way an Avatar promo app is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 PM on July 18, 2010


> Well hypothetically, let's say I wanted to replace it with a superior app and needed to make sure there wouldn't be any OS conflicts.

In iOS 4, there wont be. Walled garden model, background processes are pretty strictly controlled. I mean, I have two GPS apps + Maps, which all use the location services / GPS system, and they don't step on each other. I can't think of a situation where you problem would actually arise in the iOS world of doing things. Now there are drawbacks (I can't change the address handler to pass a data detector selection of someones house address it finds in an email to TomTom instead of Maps), but as a whole, I know that installing one app isn't going to mess with another, which is the entire purpose of their model in a lot of ways. I have friends who have 5 screens of apps, and that is after they've put stuff in folders, and they haven't run into any conflicts or runtime issues. Just a lot of space used, and it takes a while longer for them to backup their phone as a result.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:32 PM on July 18, 2010


So are there any good Android Google phones out there? Or should I just join the legions and go buy an Iphone?

HTC Evo
posted by KokuRyu at 11:36 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now that Google has stopped wasting its time with hardware development, it should now focus on discontinuing Android's undeleteable spamware.

This is a lie and you know it. Android is open source. The phone companies who use it can do whatever they want with it, even if that means installing terrible applications on it. If you don't like it, don't buy an Android phone with that shit on it. You have options. Including just building Android from source and installing it yourself.
posted by empath at 11:38 PM on July 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


(pre iOS 4 this wasn't a problem either, but even with multitasking it wont be. I've never heard of the lack of being able to remove original manufacturer installed apps from the iPhone being a major dealbreaker for folks, more of an inconvenience. Again, different models of business, user expectations, and way of doing things.)

I wonder how this bodes well for an actual Google branded GoogleTV unit, or if they are just going to license that technology as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:40 PM on July 18, 2010


You probably only want a 4G phone if you actually live and work where there is 4G coverage, the service for which apparently isn't that great even if you're lucky enough to be in a coverage zone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:41 PM on July 18, 2010


> Including just building Android from source and installing it yourself.

Except on the Droid X, which you need to have your build signed before the phone will boot your OS. (note: since that article was posted, your phone will boot normally if you reinstall the motorola / carrier approved build of Android).
posted by mrzarquon at 11:45 PM on July 18, 2010


I actually tried switching from my 3GS to a Nexus One and ended up sending the Nexus One back within the 2 week window. The hardware was awesome without a doubt but the UI and Apps were mostly inferior to the quality I was used to with the iPhone. And I'm far from being an Apple fan boy. I use the best OS for the purpose at hand. Linux for Servers, Windows for Corporate users, Mac OS for Video/Audio/Publishing/Graphics production, and iOS for my smart phone. I wanted to like the Nexus One and Android but it just didn't compare in user experience. I want my phone to just work. The same way I want my desktop to just work and would rather use Mac OS or Windows instead of Unbuntu. Sure I keep a separate Unbuntu machine around to play with but for work I use a Mac or a Win machine. I kind of think of Android the same way. Maybe in a couple of years it will get there. But for now it's just not ready for what I want in a smart phone experience.
posted by white_devil at 11:47 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


You have options. Including just building Android from source and installing it yourself.

Not on the Droid X, which has a locked-down bootloader in order to meet "carrier, partner and legal requirements", whatever they are. Not so open to compiling and installing your own custom setup (*).

In any case, I think it's safe to say most people do not build their own PCs and install OSes from scratch. They just buy whatever the big box stores provide. Most people looking for a cell phone are probably not also looking to be fulltime sys admins, and will also just buy whatever is on the shelf and run it out of the box.

I suspect this stuff will become a long-term image association problem for Google, in the the same way that people take a deep breath at the useless cruft on their new Windows machines from big box stores. If the Droid X is not the only offender, it might be something worth dealing with from the top.

*: On preview, it looks like mrzarquon notes the same thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:56 PM on July 18, 2010


killdevil: This man has a Nexus One. If you know who he is, you are in the target market for a Nexus One. Most people have no idea who he is, hence the failure of Google's phone hardware in the marketplace.”

You apparently have no idea who he is, either. But that doesn't mean other people don't, too. I think you're selling people short. Linus is significantly different from RMS in philosophy and in outlook; RMS won't even carry a cell phone at all, whereas Linus is willing to use proprietary software if it works best and doesn't like to compile his own software, saying you should 'use whatever works' and urging people not to waste time geeking out when there are plenty of pre-compiled versions of software out there.
posted by koeselitz at 12:17 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some years ago, my husband tried several cell phone providers. The service that is now T-Moblle was the only one that could reach Portland from Sauvie Island or McMinnville.
posted by Cranberry at 12:21 AM on July 19, 2010


T-Mobile has a truly shitty network.

I'm not usually one to shill for corporations, but I'm also questioning this.

In the 4-5 odd years I've had a pre-paid T-Mobile phone I've never dropped a call unless I hit the wrong button. When I first took said phone on a cross country Greyhound ride I was often the only person to have access out in the boonies. Apparently T-Mobile's roaming contracts for third party networks is very diverse and inclusive.

Not bad for the cheapest tri-band phone they have, and the prepaid plans don't entirely suck, either.
posted by loquacious at 12:29 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mrzarquon: AFAIK Logitech is building. / selling the GoogleTV.
posted by mrbill at 12:31 AM on July 19, 2010


You probably only want a 4G phone if you actually live and work where there is 4G coverage, the service for which apparently isn't that great even if you're lucky enough to be in a coverage zone.

Please stop calling that godawful Wimax crap "4G". We've got 21mbps HSPA+ networks that beat "4G" into the ground and when they turn on dual carrier for 42mbps we'll have 3.5G that leaves "4G" in the dust.

4G is 100mbps moving and 1gbps stable not some half baked Wimax network.
posted by Talez at 12:44 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have a G1 with CyanogenMod 5.0.7 on T-Mobile. I'm pretty happy with the apps available, and the price I have to pay for service, but it's a value proposition. The iPhone 4 is a much better phone than the EVO from a hardware and a software perspective; the only thing it doesn't have going for it is price. I like the way Android is structured, but the way the carriers try to lock down the platform kills most of the advantages. If I couldn't upgrade the OS, I might as well be using the locked down iPhone.

The Android isn't a mature platform, it's coming along very fast, but I am nervous that Google won't put the development support into it to keep it a vital platform.

My wife's RIM blackberry seems totally bulletproof, and the only thing I had to change was to put Opera Mini and Google sync on it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:49 AM on July 19, 2010


The nexus one has only recently launched in the uk, i.e. 3 months ago. It's not doing that well though, as the htc desire is basically the same phone but with a trackpad instead of a trackball and htc sense which is generally considered a good add-on on top of android 2.1 (tho many of its features have been rolled into 2.2).

What has really failed here is not the phone as such, or android, but its method of marketing. Google tried to bypass the carriers and set the system up such that it was selling the phone direct to customers, an area it has very little experience in - and it definitely showed.

When it came to flogging hardware direct, google customer support frankly sucked. And it had the extra bonus of really pissing off the people it really needs to take on apple, the carriers. They rely on the link between hardware and the contracts to either upsell on the contract, or overcharge for the hardware - and that applies whether it's an android, iphone or blackberry.

Yes, there are retailers selling handsets directly, but with google doing it - and offering immediate updates to android without all the carrier crapware - it was a much greater threat to their bottom line. I'd say that google got into a staring contest with the carriers, and lost, which is unfortunate.

Anyway, it reminds me of the el-cheapo laptops and desktops running Windows that the vendors keep bundling with all kinds of spyware, malware and spamware junk that irreparably damages the system registry as soon as you flip the switch on your new machine. It's a PR and system design issue that Google would do well to address before it gets out of hand.

Couldn't agree more, Blazecock Pileon. It's nowhere near as big a problem on UK carriers with android phones, so there's clearly a power issue (uk carrier crapware only goes as far as adding links to their own app/music/ringtone store). Google must find some way to deal with this carrier profiting at their expense, as it's obviously damaging the brand.

There are better phones than the nexus one though now, hardware wise. The samsung galaxy s is slimmer than everything bar the iphone 4, has the super amoled screen that addresses the weaknesses of the amoled screen in the nexus one, the desire and the legend, and has an uprated processor - the same as in the iphone 4 in fact, but with a slightly newer gpu section. Samsung is of course apple's hardware partner for both screen and chip so it's no great surprise. It's basically an iphone 4 with a plastic case, internal antenna, microsd slot, 4" screen and android 2.1. Whether those are plus or negative points depends upon your point of view, I guess.

The evo 4G is also supposed to be rather good, if you have 4G, but looks a bit bulky for my taste.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:03 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You apparently have no idea who he is, either.

I'd argue the point, but I'm too busy using my iPhone to look up ways to declaw my cats.
posted by killdevil at 1:23 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Blazecock, the apps you mention are in fact uninstallable.
posted by jaduncan at 1:35 AM on July 19, 2010


The T-Mobile Vibrant phone from Samsung, meanwhile, has four of these extra apps staring you in the face.

One is the movie "Avatar," permanently loaded onto the device in case you are a giant fan. Another is a live video channel called MobiTV -- good for only 30 days. The third is a link to install an EA game called The Sims 3: Collector's Edition. The last is an outdated version of Amazon's Kindle app.

There's also Slacker Radio, which cannot be used before providing an e-mail address, and a button leading to Gogo Inflight Internet's website, which includes a one-month trial for Web surfing (only on plans that provide the service).

Try as you might, none of these apps can be uninstalled.


This is totally false and sounds super alarmist to me. There are a couple of ways to get rid of these apps, but as mentioned above they are perhaps out of the grasp of the average user. However, given that Android has sort of a desktop concept where most people drag short cuts to their most used apps I don't see these uninstallables as being a particularly big deal. For instance, there is a short cut to the Avatar movie on the main page, all you have to do to get rid of it is hold down on it for a few seconds and drag it to the garbage can.

Also, I own a lot of the phones discussed (reason being, I write software for them) : iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, Google Nexus One and now a Samsung Vibrant. I also disagree that the T-Mobile network is terrible - I'd say its at least on par with AT&T in the SF Bay Area. I personally liked the Google phone when it first came out but did not recommend it to anyone unless they were really dying to be able to customize their phone experience - I felt that the phone lacked the polish of the iPhone. However, after having the Vibrant for a few days I can safely say that iPhone is going to have a run for their money, and personally I like it better than my iPhone 4. The fact that there is multiple companies iterating on Android is going to be a pretty big plus for the platform IMHO. Not to mention the fact that as a developer Apple has me scared that they are going to wake up one morning and decide I'm a competitor and yank my app, one of the reasons I'm also making an Android version of my stuff.
posted by ill3 at 1:40 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


One is the movie "Avatar," permanently loaded onto the device in case you are a giant fan. Another is a live video channel called MobiTV -- good for only 30 days. The third is a link to install an EA game called The Sims 3: Collector's Edition. The last is an outdated version of Amazon's Kindle app.


Oh I forgot to mention Avatar is actually loaded on the SD card, so it's not like it's taking up valuable device space and clearly can be deleted by mounting the SD.
posted by ill3 at 1:46 AM on July 19, 2010


ill3, the 'uninstallable' nature of the Avatar movie should be illustrated by the fact it lives on the SD card as a normal file. Samsung aren't that stupid. The player app can then be uninstalled as normal.
posted by jaduncan at 1:47 AM on July 19, 2010


On posting, my apologies ill3...
posted by jaduncan at 1:49 AM on July 19, 2010


This is really not surprising to me. Mobile is a competitive market that moves really fast. There is a narrow window during which you can move phones before competitors release better specs. Example: Motorola Droid was released nine months ago, and just last week they released the Droid X. Time to market really counts for sales. Between being late to market and a failure to negotiate a deal with any carrier other than T-Mobile, this was a pretty likely outcome. T-Mobile is pretty much saturated with compatible smartphones, since the other GSM carrier, AT&T, still has exclusive iPhone contracts to exploit.

Creating Android as a platform rather than a specific device was a strategy to cope with this. Rather than bundle everything into one basket and demand perfect execution, they recruited a number of companies to make phones and improve the odds of success, and put Google's foot in the door of mobile advertising. As a side effect, it's a pretty good way for those companies without an OS division to gain enough marketshare to make app developers notice. By those metrics, the mission is a success even if Nexus One is discontinued and no successor is developed.

I'm inclined to think of the Nexus One as a Google data-collection exercise, designed to help them understand the complications of companies in bringing phones to market. It's also possible they wanted to draw Apple into suing them, in order to learn something about the Nokia-Apple patents problem and the multitouch problem, and perhaps other things via discovery.
posted by pwnguin at 1:52 AM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


How was Android going to make Google money?

In 2009:
    Nokia lost $1.16 billion
    HTC made $712 million
    Google made $6.52 billion

I'm sure Google is dying to get a piece of that action.
posted by ryanrs at 2:03 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


white_devil: "But for now it's just not ready for what I want in a smart phone experience."

If we're going to turn this thread into iPhone vs Android, you could at least give some specifics in your post. In what way exactly was the Nexus one "not ready for what I want in a smart phone experience" ? I live in a household which contains both an Android device & an iPhone, so I can easily make direct comparisons.

(fwiw, I suspect that HTC wrote the Sense UI for their Android phones precisely because the early versions of stock Android just weren't really there yet. The Nexus had 2.1 {now 2.2} though, so I'd be interested to know in what way you felt it fell short.)
posted by pharm at 2:20 AM on July 19, 2010


I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.

I think zarq hit it. It's subjective. In and around Chicago, it's awesome. I'm 55 miles out and have no problems. Zero. Drive another 30 miles west though, and I can't get a signal to save my life.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:20 AM on July 19, 2010


By getting people intimately tied to google services in the mobile space. You use android, you're using a google account to sync your contacts. You're using google search (complete with gps location services), google maps, google mail, google calendar. All of this is data collection, on which they can sell ads.

Either built into the free ad funded apps in the marketplace, or using that info to advertise on the desktop space, they're targeting the ads, and building a better profile on you.

Most of which they lose if you're using apple and mobileme, instead it's apple that's building up that user profile - for use for ads on free apps in the app store. And when apple switch to a different search engine, and build their own google maps, google loses a lot of access to user info.

The mobile space is becoming an ever bigger part of the internet usage for ordinary people, and google would be insane to let control of it pass largely to RIM and apple unchallenged, even if they lose money up front on the handsets and OS.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:24 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember, google is purely an advertising reseller. That's where *all* that money comes from. They build info on us, so advertisers can better target us with ads that might actually get us to buy something. They build really nice services, so people will use them and give google more data.

I personally like their services, but they're no more a 'nice' company looking out for our interests than any other, whether that be microsoft, apple, RIM, cisco or whoever.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:29 AM on July 19, 2010


Regarding Android making Google any money, they've said that its development costs aren't material and that they're supporting the ecosystem so that they'll be there to generate more and more mobile ad revenue.

Google is and always has been about creating innovative ways to put ads and search in front of you. Things like GMail and Docs may not seem completely relevant, but it's all a way of getting more eyeballs on ads more often.

As for the Nexus One, Google has said they don't consider it a failure in that their primary intent was to demonstrate the archetypal Android phone for other manufacturers and showcase what the platform should do. The marketing and sales channel scheme could be considered failures in that they didn't move as much product as Google had hoped, but they got done what they wanted and learned some lessons along the way.

For my money, I absolutely love my Nexus One. I'm concerned that in a year or two, there won't be any decent vanilla Android devices with dock connectors and such, but we'll see. The docks are fantastic for the N1 and I can't quite get over how awesome the connectors are instead of worrying about breaking your USB-micro port as you try to get it in just right. The lighted trackball is fantastic for notifications, since it supports many colors and is (as of Froyo) configurable. And the noise-cancelling mic, user-accessible battery, and soft-key layout is top notch. I'm not sure why HTC puts the back button anywhere other than the far left on their other models, but I really love everything about this phone.
posted by disillusioned at 2:42 AM on July 19, 2010


HTC Evo

I'd rather get an HTC Incredible if I went Android... the EVO is clunky and doesn't last half a day with its battery. Lots of features that don't work well together.
posted by Baldons at 3:48 AM on July 19, 2010


I was all set to go out this weekend and pick up an Android phone (one of the MyTouch 3G ones; I wanted a physical keyboard), but ran into T-Mobile's "Android tax" problem.

Basically, they force you onto a "special" data plan if you use an Android phone, above and beyond the ones that are required for WinMo and Nokia smartphones, even though there's no technical reason for it. And even if you don't buy a subsidized phone.

They do this, apparently, by looking at the handset's IMEI code, and then blocking it if it's an Android handset if you're not on one of their special Android-approved (read: expensive) plans. Just for comparison, my current unlimited data plan is $20/mo and includes device-independent hotspot access; an Android plan would be $25/mo not including hotspots, which would be another $15 or so.

Unfortunately, as much as I really want an Android phone, that's just not a justifiable premium. A $20/month increase (the difference between what I have now and what I would have to upgrade to for Android, to get the same thing) is $240/year. The Android phones are definitely nicer than the WinMo's or Nokia's, but not two-hundred-bucks-a-year nicer.

It would be one thing if they only did this to subsidized phones, but instead they're doing it to everyone, even people who are going out and purchasing handsets on the open market with the intention of just dropping a SIM in. And it's not a 3G phone thing; you can get a 3G WinMo or Nokia and hook it up just fine. (And despite the lame excuses from T-Mobile reps, it's not due to any Android-specific "features" -- the phones work just fine until T-Mobile catches and disconnects you. It's not that they're not doing something that Android requires, it's clear they've spent a lot of time and energy specifically searching out and blocking Android phones.)

T-Mobile is really shooting themselves in the foot, IMO, in their hurry to extract as much money as possible from the Android craze ... it's clear they have iPhone envy, and very much want to make Andoid "their iPhone" in the profitable sense that it has been for AT&T. I think it will turn out to be shortsighted, because they don't have exclusivity. Eventually, I hope, some of those third-tier carriers (Boost, etc.) are going to start eating their lunch.

While the Android tax may not be a concern for someone walking into a store today for the first time, without an existing line of service (the nice plans have all since been discontinued, so you can't get onto them now), the large body of users still on those plans, who might have been thinking about upgrading, would do well to reconsider.

Long-term, I'd love to see some regulation to cut down on the carrier/handset-mfr sweetheart deals, and force them to offer one consistent rate scheme to all devices and all subscribers, but the U.S. cell market is so screwed up I'm not going to hold my breath.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:16 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a iPhone 3G and a Droid Incredible on VZW. I found that the HTC packaged apps on the DINC are pretty good and there's very little Verizon crap to be found. For the first time ever, in my experience with VZW.

It was (and probably still is) commonplace to fill Windows Mobile phones with crapware and splatter a lot of non-removable (for laypeople) branding across the UI. Screen real estate was at a premium then and I was always extremely irritated with the Verizon banner on my Treo 700w & wx.

Verizon also famously engages in the flip side of that behavior--removing or locking away features that exist in the OS or hardware (famously, IP routing, GPS and some Bluetooth profiles) but that VZW wants to charge for enabling or substitute their subscription based software alternative.

I've always thought that this is why they let the iPhone go to AT&T--VZW was still into very fascist control over smartphones and tetherable devices at the time. Something like the App Store was anathema to them at the time it launched.

I'm still kind of surprised to be holding a Verizon phone in my hand that runs a rootable UNIX-like OS and has access to an application market Verizon doesn't control.

I like Android quite a bit from what I've seen so far--I don't see the end of the N1 as any kind of black mark on the platform itself, or even as evidence that there isn't demand for unlocked handsets from Google. Rather, I think that the success of Android has led to sexier hardware coming out--a bunch of it lately. And in the face of that sexier hardware, it was probably going to get tough to keep selling N1s.

A few months ago, Sprint announced they would release an EVDO version of the N1. Then, more recently they changed their mind. The reason they gave was wanting to focus on the EVO. There you go.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:28 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They do this, apparently, by looking at the handset's IMEI code, and then blocking it if it's an Android handset if you're not on one of their special Android-approved (read: expensive) plans. Just for comparison, my current unlimited data plan is $20/mo and includes device-independent hotspot access; an Android plan would be $25/mo not including hotspots, which would be another $15 or so.

Are you sure about this? Yes, they make you change your plan to an "Android plan", but in my experience moving from a T-Mobile Dash to the MyTouch Slide, there was no premium. It was just a matter of naming. I ordered online and when I got the phone made the change online. The additional cost was $0.00.

This is on an Even More Plus plan with unlimited data and text.
posted by speeb at 5:33 AM on July 19, 2010


Are there spamware apps packaged with the iPhone, though?

There's iTunes, isn't there? An app designed to link to a store that makes more money for Apple, paired with software that is, under Windows, somewhere between semi-functional and so broken it must be active malware?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:39 AM on July 19, 2010


I still don't understand why anyone would buy the Nexus One sight unseen from Google, where you have to go to Google to get any support (and Google is not known for their support). You could get essentially the same hardware from the local mall, where you could play with the phone and have someone to take it back to if it didn't work.

It seems like the only people who were really excited about the Nexus One were those who wanted the unlocked one for $600.
posted by smackfu at 5:40 AM on July 19, 2010


The Nexus may have been a bit of a bust in the marketplace, (although it's a sweet phone) but "Steve Jobs confirms: Android outselling iPhone"
posted by octothorpe at 5:45 AM on July 19, 2010


I've read many articles touting the Nexus One as a success. Before the N1, the iPhone had no competitor. Other Android phones were weak and could be considered little more than an advanced feature phone. Once Google put out the Nexus One, people suddenly realized there was an iPhone competitor, and phone companies started making beasts to keep up.

Yes, I understand Android phones still don't compete in numbers with the iPhone, but you simply cannot argue that the iPhone is better than the current top-of-the-line android phones.

Right now the only thing the iPhone has over Android is the app market. Once big devs get in there and make some flashy pretty apps, people will be willing to buy them. They claim Android users want everything for free, but all you have to do is look at some of the AAA pay apps and you can see that people ARE willing to pay for quality. Or, they can go the ad supported route, which Android users have embraced for the most part.
posted by toekneebullard at 5:45 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


you simply cannot argue that the iPhone is better than the current top-of-the-line android phones.

I'm sure people can argue about anything iPhone related.
posted by smackfu at 5:48 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Right now the only thing the iPhone has over Android is the app market.

Other than games, what great apps is the Android market missing? Serious question. I have a droid and am not feeling like I'm really missing anything but I'm curious about what new and amazing apps are on the iPhone and not the Android platform?
posted by octothorpe at 5:54 AM on July 19, 2010


Other than games, what great apps is the Android market missing?

I don't know if it's "amazing" per se, but I know I find Poynt indispensable on my BB. It was launched on BB, and has been ported to the iOS. It is possible there's an Android equivalent I'm simply not aware of, too.

It's a different program on the Blackberry than the iPhone. There's more content available on BB, but it does take advantage of the iPhone's more nifty features that simply don't exist on BBs.
posted by zarq at 6:19 AM on July 19, 2010


Richard Stallman recommends not owning a phone.

Richard Stallman can blow me.
posted by grubi at 6:24 AM on July 19, 2010


There's iTunes, isn't there? An app designed to link to a store that makes more money for Apple, paired with software that is, under Windows, somewhere between semi-functional and so broken it must be active malware?

No facts, just drama.
posted by grubi at 6:26 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


you simply cannot argue that the iPhone is better than the current top-of-the-line android phones.

No, you cannot argue (reasonably) that iPhone has a larger feature list than the current top-of-the-line Android phones. Because it likely doesn't. But a phone is more than a feature list, and a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly.

But good luck with that.
posted by grubi at 6:28 AM on July 19, 2010


i just ordered a Droid X (verizon) to use as a work phone + email device.
already have a iphone 4 as my personal phone though.
i guess i'll find out which i like better when i end up using them side by side.
posted by yeoz at 6:31 AM on July 19, 2010


What happened with the Philip K. Dick family lawsuit?
posted by serazin at 6:31 AM on July 19, 2010


and a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly

I'll settle for a phone that does phone calls well for a start. But good luck with that.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:33 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll settle for a phone that does phone calls well for a start. But good luck with that.

My iPhone does phone calls well. Sounds great, only one dropped call in 9 months. Which probably has to do with AT&T coverage in my area is quite good. And I'm not alone.

But, y'okay, you got snark, not facts.
posted by grubi at 6:38 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


longtime t-mobile customer, first time nexus one owner here. i've had my n1 for less than 2 months, and some days i regret the hell out of it, other days it's just meh. i find the old clunky nokia 6103b to be more comfortable but the ear bud was crap. the fact that i have & have always had t-mobile as my carrier i attribute to my frugal shopper (best item for the best price) ethic; the fact that i have an n1 i attribute to the 'more money than sense' gene. i am not displeased with owning the n1, but being as how outside of their search engine i've never been google's biggest fan, buying the google phone may have been somewhat ... hasty. and ill-advised, especially after i went to see about ordering another phone dock the other day & saw their 'we're discontinuing our phone' message.

i am, though, a huge fan of t-mobile. long may they wave.
posted by msconduct at 6:48 AM on July 19, 2010


My iPhone does phone calls well. Sounds great, only one dropped call in 9 months. Which probably has to do with AT&T coverage in my area is quite good. And I'm not alone.

That's great ... for you. But clearly that's not the case for a lot of people. I know people in DC, NYC and SF that have constant problems with dropped calls on ATT. Some of these people are my coworkers. I get to call them back on their landlines.

But, y'okay, you got snark, not facts.

There is no factual content in "a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly." Neither one of those accurately describes either the iPhone or the average Android phone. So you might want to check the beam in your own eye, etc.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:51 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Except on the Droid X, which you need to have your build signed before the phone will boot your OS.

I don't know how to make this more clear, but if you don't like it, don't buy your Android phone from them. This is not Google's fault.
posted by empath at 6:51 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


No facts, just drama.

I wouldn't call iTunes "malware," personally.

But still, since we're asking for facts, the fact is that Windows' various ongoing issues with iTunes have been well-documented. And of course, there are the ongoing sync issues Palm Pre users have been having with iTunes upgrades.

I have always wondered how much of that is Windows OS' fault, rather than Apple's. (Not that it matters a bit to the end user.) It's also worth noting that RIM has had minor problems off and on with some versions of BB Desktop Manager.
posted by zarq at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> No facts, just drama.

Have you tried using iTunes on Windows? From what I've heard it's lovely on macs, but I thought it was a seriously poor piece of software using it on Windows.
posted by bjrn at 6:56 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't call iTunes "malware," personally.

It's certainly an unwelcome dependency of iDevices and one that I was more than happy to uninstall once my last iPod became unchargable.

The wonderful thing about Android is that not only do you not need iTunes but you don't need a computer for it at all. The Android phones are first class devices that work fine without ever having to hook them up to another computer.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's certainly an unwelcome dependency of iDevices and one that I was more than happy to uninstall once my last iPod became unchargable.

Agreed. Although when I had an iPod, I only ever used iTunes for OS upgrades. Songbird and Sharepod were more than adequate replacement music / podcast management programs.
posted by zarq at 7:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kadin2048, I did not run into the "Android Tax" with mine. I did switch my data plan from a standard unlimited data plan to the "Android plan"...the cost was the same, the only difference being that the "Android plan" allowed me to use visual voicemail (which I promptly replaced with google voice anyway). If you had something like a Sidekick, then you had a cheaper data plan, but that was more of a "Sidekick Discount" than an "Android Tax".

For some reason I didn't remember this when I posted last night. I managed to break the screen on my wife's G1 last month so we got a Nexus One as a replacement. It shipped with the first version of 2.1 that the Nexus got, I believe the version number was ERE27. Out of the box, it couldn't make phone calls. As soon as a call connected, it crashed and rebooted. It didn't matter if the call was incoming or outgoing, it just rebooted on connect.

I went into the system settings and told it to check for an update, which it claimed didn't exist. I did the normal checkin trick (dial *#*#CHECKIN#*#* in the dialer, then wait for the "checkin: successful" message on the status bar) and it still claimed there was no update. In the meantime, the phone was essentially unusable, and as we've established, Google's support is basically nonexistent.

I've had a rooted Nexus since the day it came out and know it like the back of my hand, so thankfully I knew a) where to get the updated builds and b) how to install them. Installing them isn't intuitive at all, especially if the phone isn't rooted, and we didn't want to root her phone until we knew there were no hardware problems that we needed the warranty to take care of. There is no way the average user will know how to flash a new build onto the phone.

I can only imagine how many Nexus Ones were returned in that two week return window, it's unacceptable that it ships completely broken.
posted by Swervo at 7:07 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have you tried using iTunes on Windows? From what I've heard it's lovely on macs, but I thought it was a seriously poor piece of software using it on Windows.

Yes, I have and continue to do so on my work machine. So far, I'm not seeing what the uproar is all about, especially since I've used so many other pieces of software on Windows that are *actually* broken. My suspicion is that the iTunes for Windows hate is an adorable offshoot of Apple hate.

I know people in DC, NYC and SF that have constant problems with dropped calls on ATT.

Right... AT&T. Not the phone. Which was my fucking point.

There is no factual content in "a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly." Neither one of those accurately describes either the iPhone or the average Android phone. So you might want to check the beam in your own eye, etc.

"a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly." is fact-free? You'd rather do 200 things poorly than 50 things well? I'm not saying the iPhone DOES those 50 things perfectly, but, damn, you seem to think that one cannot argue the iPhone is better than a shiny, new Android phone... but the only thing the Android phones have that blows the iPhone out of the water is the fucking feature list. But I keep hearing/reading weird complaints about Android's shortcomings from people who actually own these machines, and I wonder to myself: "So what's the benefit of a long list of features, then?"

That was posted, if you'd read a little more, as a response to "you simply cannot argue that the iPhone is better than the current top-of-the-line android phones. " Which is utter bullshit. Yes, you can argue it. Especially if you feel that the feature set does not make the phone, and that it's more about the quality of the implementation, not the list of things it may or may not do.

I'm tired of seeing these "wonderful" lists, provided by people who feel that 200 features beats 50 features, when more than 150 of those features are utter ass, whether it's a smartphone, car, computer, or anything whatsoever. there are so many things an Android phone *can* do that my iPhone *cannot*, but the things my phone does, it seems to do better. And a better implementation of features is inherently better than a poor implementation regardless of the number of features.
posted by grubi at 7:13 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And breathe.
posted by mr.marx at 7:30 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wha? This phone was the beginning of waves of phones that will saturate the market and wrest Apple's singular dominance of the smartphone space. It's already been eclipsed feature-wise by a slew of other phones. Within a year, an Android phone with double the processing power will be standard in the marketplace.

So yes, Google introduced an Iphone 3GS killer, proved that they could match it toe to toe on features and and power and then in a short amount of time, the diversity of the marketplace eclipsed this initial model. Nobody can do that with an Apple product besides apple.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:30 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't call iTunes "malware," personally.

it's not far off. Getting shot of it is going to be one of the major upsides of getting out of the Apple ecosystem ones my contract is done.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on July 19, 2010


My suspicion is that the iTunes for Windows hate is an adorable offshoot of Apple hate.

On XP machines iTunes takes up waaaaay too much memory, and sharing music purchased on iTunes between machines is too cumbersome. And why do I need special software (iTunes) to manage a music player (an iPod) in the first place?

I with my Android phone, I just install a device driver, connect the phone to my laptop with a USB, and easily manage music files (or anything else). Why does Apple have to be so complicated and unwieldy?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:35 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right... AT&T. Not the phone. Which was my fucking point.

What other networks is the iPhone available on here in the US?

"a device ..." is fact-free? You'd rather do 200 things poorly than 50 things well?

Yes, that's fact-free. It doesn't describe either Android or iPhone. Both devices do the same basic list of things. And both do them well. I don't know why you're on about "feature lists" really.

the things my phone does, it seems to do better

I'm curious, how exactly are you measuring this? Or is it just your speculation?
posted by me & my monkey at 7:36 AM on July 19, 2010


Personally, I kind of wish the market for super portable, non-phone, web-enabled computer devices would open up. I'm a cheapskate, so I don't even have a phone with a plan (for my cellphone, I use a prepaid Tracfone, and since I'm not a big telephone talker, it meets my needs just fine for something like $200 bucks a year). For a portable device with cool apps, web access etc., I've got an iPod touch, which I adore. Since we've got a wireless network at home, it does every thing I need it to, and it doesn't require me to contractually obligate myself to pay for an expensive phone service and data plan.

Granted, it's not as functional when there's no WiFi connection to be had, but a lot of cooler apps (my favorite chess program, my personal calendar, my guitar chord finder, my carpenter's level, etc.) don't require an active wireless connection anyway. So for me, the iPod touch is really the only device that hits the sweet spot of giving you all the functionality of a portable personal computer without bundling a cell phone and all the related contractual baggage along with it. Until someone comes out with a comparably functional and inexpensive device that isn't also a cell phone--and that has strict enough control over the software that can run on it to be relatively safe for use on anonymous wireless networks--Apple's iPod touch is the only device that even remotely interests me on the current market for small, convenient multimedia gizmos that run cool apps.

On the cell phone side of things, I can definitely see where there would be advantages to the other options out there, depending on your level of sophistication as a technology user, and can see why the iPhone isn't necessarily the best option for a lot of people. But it seems to me there's at least one segment of this market that Apple still corners by a long shot.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:41 AM on July 19, 2010


"a device that implements 50 things well is inherently better than a phone that does 200 things poorly." is fact-free?

It's hyperbole.

What 200 things does the Android do poorly, please?
You don't need to make a list of 200, of course.
A few dozen should make your point nicely.

But I keep hearing/reading weird complaints about Android's shortcomings from people who actually own these machines, and I wonder to myself: "So what's the benefit of a long list of features, then?"

If you're going to make a statement like that, and simultaneously complain that other users are being dramatic, you really need to back up what you're saying with supporting evidence so we can assess for ourselves.
posted by zarq at 7:42 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


What other networks is the iPhone available on here in the US?

Ah, so that's the phone's fault. I had no idea.

Both devices do the same basic list of things. And both do them well. I don't know why you're on about "feature lists" really.

Because the only way anyone ever seems to describe the Android phones as "better" comes down to feature lists. That's why.

I'm curious, how exactly are you measuring this? Or is it just your speculation?

I would think the word "seems" would say it all.
posted by grubi at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2010


I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.

In Indianapolis this is not the case. I live in a ground level apartment so maybe that's part of the reason for my experience, but while I'm home the chances I have a signal are about 50/50 most of the time and weak (1-2 bars max with constant dropped calls) when I do have one. There are lots of random spots around town that have zero coverage. When I'm inside just about anywhere there is usually a noticeable drop in signal (and call quality). But I don't use my phone to talk much and I txt a lot so it's worth the lower cost to me. I had AT&T before and didn't really have any of these problems.
posted by symbollocks at 7:50 AM on July 19, 2010


What 200 things does the Android do poorly, please?

I'm not saying the Android phones specifically do 2001 things poorly, and I apologize if I misworded this as to give that impression. I'm saying that if someone feels they have a device (whichever device) that does 50 things well and the competition has something that does 200 things poorly, then they have a basis for arguing that their preferred device is "better". Whichever device it is.

Someone on here claims YOU CAN'T TELL ME YOUR CHOICE IS BETTER and I'm saying Like Hell I Can't.




1. "200" and "50" aren't meant to be specific; they're just numbers I gave to illustrate my point. You can reword it thusly and still get my point: "A device that does <x things well is inherently better than a device that does x things poorly."
posted by grubi at 7:51 AM on July 19, 2010


My suspicion is that the iTunes for Windows hate is an adorable offshoot of Apple hate.

Any criticism of Isreali government policy Apple software is just anti-semitism Apple hate.

I am someone who has owned and liked Apple products. I am someone who defended Apple in the Gizmodo flap. iTunes on Windows sucks. It sucks to the suck power. Sucking is the thing it does the most. It suuuuuuuuucks! It tries to replicate the Apple experience on a machine that is not running MacOS, and in doing so it becomes a slow, bloated, unintuitive piece of crap. Did you know that the first version of iTunes on Windows had a button on the title bar that looked like the Windows maximize button? Except when you pressed it, the window got smaller!

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!
posted by dirigibleman at 7:52 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


My suspicion is that the iTunes for Windows hate is an adorable offshoot of Apple hate.

It won't sync at all on biscotti's XP desktop. It just blue-screens the machine.

The hate is because:

(1) MP3 software is not terribly complicated, and many, many other developers have written mp3 software for Windows that works perfectly well.

(2) Software that communicates with an external store to buy products is not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written software to communicate with external stores that work perfectly well under Windows.

(3) USB drivers that work are not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written USB drivers that work perfectly well under Windows.

(4) Syncing software is not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written syncing software that works perfectly well under Windows.

...but Apple for some reason can't.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:53 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I found the Nexus One pretty covetable for a while - in the UK it's available through Vodafone, a major carrier (with good coverage); the dichotomy between the HTC Desire and the N1 seemed to come down to SenseUI plus optical trackpad versus vanilla Eclair and triband HSDPA.

It clearly wasn't intended as an iPhone killer - I very much doubt anyone at Google ever suggested internally or externally that it would be - but it did help to define the look and specification of the high-end Android phone (a bit like an iPhone 3GS, as it turns out).

Incidentally, and at the risk of making grubi really mad, Google mail integration, GPS navigation and voice search are, to my mind, three things that the current wave of comparable-cost Android phones do better than at least the iPhone 3GS. The Opera Mini, Last.fm, Remember the Milk and Spotify apps seem to be about equal across both, and that's about 80% of my phone time there. The real selling point of the 3GS was the quality of the microphone, but battery life was a problem when using it as a voice recorder replacement for e.g. interviews.

Saulgoodman's model - a iPod Touch (or 3Gless iPad) for media, data browsing and apps and a cheap, solid basic phone for battery life and call quality - may be the way forward, though - at least if you live in a city with plentiful free WiFi.
posted by DNye at 7:58 AM on July 19, 2010


I don't think any of this matters.

Don't get me wrong, I like android. It's a neat bit of software and I like the ideal of openness. But it doesn't matter.

Iphone vs. Android is James Roper vs. Terry Conklin. Yes, it Android might be outselling iPhone at the large level, but it doesn't mean shit to Apple. It matters significantly to everyone else, since the nokia/sony/whatnot share of the pie is drying up, not Apple's.

Google might do an awesome job on the software, but the hardware inconsistencies, general lackluster store, and now the meddling shit from the mobile providers (locked bootroms, crapware), and it's not looking good. Openness is awesome until people come along and start to fuck it up.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:58 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, so that's the phone's fault. I had no idea.

A device that can't use my preferred cell phone provider is an inferior device. Just like a computer that can run MacOS is (to an Apple person) an inferior device.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:59 AM on July 19, 2010


Did you know that the first version of iTunes on Windows

Huh. First version, you say? From seven years ago? I guess they should get to work on that.

(1) MP3 software is not terribly complicated, and many, many other developers have written mp3 software for Windows that works perfectly well. ...but Apple for some reason can't.

How is the iTunes mp3 software failing? It doesn't play mp3s? doesn't play them the right way? Every time I've played mp3s on iTunes for Windows, was I doing it wrong?

(2) Software that communicates with an external store to buy products is not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written software to communicate with external stores that work perfectly well under Windows. ...but Apple for some reason can't.

So no-one is able to use the iTunes Music store on Windows? Download anything? Which is weird, because I'm the only iPad user in my office who uses their iPad with a Mac. The others use iTunes for Windows and seem to be downloading apps and books just fine. What is the Store not doing that it should be doing?

(3) USB drivers that work are not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written USB drivers that work perfectly well under Windows. ...but Apple for some reason can't.

Wow. That's nice and specific. About what, I cannot tell. Apple is supposed to write the USB drivers? Aren't they already installed on Windows before you install iTunes?

(4) Syncing software is not terribly complicated, and many other developers have written syncing software that works perfectly well under Windows. ...but Apple for some reason can't.

Again, is someone having trouble getting iTunes for Windows to synchronize apps, music, and books? Is it failing? Syncing incompletely? Corrupting the sync?

Jesus Christ, why do I bother? You don't have any thing specific -- just "IT'S ALL BROKEDED". Show me examples of these things breaking and that these things breaking are due to Apple screwing up. if so, then HELL YES They Should Fix It. If not, then, sorry, I refuse to join your It's All Broken contingent.
posted by grubi at 8:01 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


A device that can't use my preferred cell phone provider is an inferior device.

"Anything that doesn't please me is inferior." That's not a fact; that's just petulant.
posted by grubi at 8:04 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I haven't had any serious problems with iTunes, but truthfully, I do avoid using it as much as possible because the experience of using it on Windows sucks so much. Can't speak to the MAC experience. I often need to use my iPod to test out mixes of recording projects I'm working on, but negotiating the iTunes interface is such a giant pain in the ass (and I'm a developer, so I'm generally a lot more comfortable than most with doing complicated things using complicated software) that it's discouraging.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:06 AM on July 19, 2010


"Anything that doesn't please me is inferior." That's not a fact; that's just petulant.

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:07 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


My suspicion is that the iTunes for Windows hate is an adorable offshoot of Apple hate.

Sometimes, perhaps.

I don't hate Apple. I simply think their products have limitations, just as most anything does.

Here's a weird and perhaps unique example: without fail, Quicktime crashes my WinVista desktop's browsers. All of them. (Opera, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) I haven't yet narrowed down why. I can't imagine this is a widespread problem.

I use QT and convert movies to and from that standard all the time at work but can't use it at home. When I have a moment, I'm planning to put it up on AskMe to see if someone can help me track it down. I may just upgrade the machine to Win7, though and see if it fixes the problem.

I don't hate Apple or Windows for this. It's just damned annoying to me.

Let's face it: if their software doesn't work on someone's machine as advertised that's going to piss people off. Even if it's free, and can't be tested on every single possible hardware and software configuration.

iTunes was annoying as hell. It was slow. It wouldn't let me do what I wanted to within the iPod's file system. So I switched to something that better served my needs where possible. To me, that's just being practical.
posted by zarq at 8:08 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Incidentally - with iOS 4, I just created a new category called "Unused apps" and put all the stock apps I don't use in there. :)

I haven't personally had any troubles with iTunes for Windows... Other than trying to move one's library to a different drive, which is definitely a pain in the ass. But I really, *really* wish Apple would let me right click things in iTunes. Come on, guys, this is STANDARD Windows development behaviour.
posted by antifuse at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2010


How is the iTunes mp3 software failing?

iTunes is integrated software, not a suite of programs that you can use separately.

iTunes fails because it bluescreens biscotti's machine when she tries to move files to the ipod.

So no-one is able to use the iTunes Music store on Windows?

My beloved can't. Or, if she can, she can't use her plain-vanilla XP desktop to do so, because iTunes blue-screens her machine every time she tries to move files to the ipod.

Apple is supposed to write the USB drivers?

Apple is supposed to, and does, write the USB drivers for their products. The filename for their USB driver is cleverly named usbaapl.sys. Their USB drivers crash XP, even though zillions of other file-storage device developers can successfully write USB drivers for their products that don't crash the OS.

Again, is someone having trouble getting iTunes for Windows to synchronize apps, music, and books? Is it failing? Syncing incompletely? Corrupting the sync?

It is BSODing the machine when used to perform the insanely difficult task of file transfer with a USB device.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:20 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


without fail, Quicktime crashes my WinVista desktop's browsers. All of them. (Opera, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) I haven't yet narrowed down why. I can't imagine this is a widespread problem.

I've had the same problem. Quicktime on Windows is bleh. i don't think I've had a positive experience with it... ever.

It wouldn't let me do what I wanted to within the iPod's file system.

Just curious: what is it you wanted to do within the iPod's filing system? and what solution did you find that let you do that?
posted by grubi at 8:22 AM on July 19, 2010


But I really, *really* wish Apple would let me right click things in iTunes

Wait, what now? I can pretty confidently assure you that you can indeed right-click on elements in the iTunes UI in Windows and it will helpfully offer you a fair-standard right-click menu.
posted by kingbenny at 8:23 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


ROU_xenophobe: it sounds like there's a problem on one machine here. Not dismiss the issue (as it sounds insanely frustrating here), but have you seen this issue on other machines?
posted by grubi at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, so that's the phone's fault. I had no idea.

I don't give a shit who's fault it is. If you can't make or receive calls reliably on the phone, that's a problem.

Again, is someone having trouble getting iTunes for Windows to synchronize apps, music, and books? Is it failing? Syncing incompletely? Corrupting the sync?

Uh, yeah, actually those are all fairly common problems if you checkout iPod Lounge. Our two iPods lock up about half the time that we sync them, which is why I never try to sync mine the day before I want to go somewhere with it. I've had all sorts of problems with iTunes for Windows over the years, but since my spouse occasionally buys music through iTMS I haven't felt comfortable switching to an alternative.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2010


I don't give a shit who's fault it is. If you can't make or receive calls reliably on the phone, that's a problem.

Yes. And you solve problems how? By telling everyone the hardware is shit, when you have no idea whether it is or isn't?
posted by grubi at 8:37 AM on July 19, 2010


Ugh, iTunes. I want to put something on my phone here at work? Oh, I can't, doh. No iTunes installed. The thing should just show up like a USB drive.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:42 AM on July 19, 2010


And you solve problems how?

Probably by getting a phone on a network with better coverage. Or emailing Steve Jobs asking him to offer the iPhone on other networks. Bonus points for writing Mr Jobs, tear up this contract.
posted by DNye at 8:43 AM on July 19, 2010


Ugh, iTunes. I want to put something on my phone here at work? Oh, I can't, doh. No iTunes installed. The thing should just show up like a USB drive.

Worse! It only syncs to one iTunes installation at a time. If you *did* have iTunes on your work machine, it would overwrite whatever you sync'ed from your home machine. Weird.

SEE I COMPLAINED ABOUT APPLE OK?
posted by grubi at 8:46 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My hardware is getting kind of old (Thinkpad X40 with a 1 GHz Pentium M), but Itunes for Windows is the only software I run that loses mouse clicks and keystrokes. Mediamonkey runs really well on this laptop, too.

Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.
posted by rfs at 8:50 AM on July 19, 2010


Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.

I mostly agree, but once in awhile (very rarely), iTunes has an album a little cheaper or a little sooner than Amazon. There are reasons. Not to mention you can't download from Amazon MP3 while on your iPhone / iPad / etc.
posted by kingbenny at 8:53 AM on July 19, 2010


grubi: "SEE I COMPLAINED ABOUT APPLE OK?"

Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you.
posted by mullingitover at 8:53 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


grubi: “Richard Stallman can blow me.”

Geez, is it that hard to not be a dick? Nobody told you that you were a bad person. Nobody in this thread has even endorsed RMS's view of things or made any recommendation one way or the other.

Richard M Stallman may seem like a crochety old man, but he's fought for software freedom in essential ways. And given that he's not even here and hasn't done you any harm at all – heck, honestly his legacies have actually had a good impact on your life if you've used a computer in the last ten years – what good does it do to say that he can "blow you"? What a ridiculously antagonistic thing to say.

Seriously, the more I pay attention to this whole obnoxious debate, the more I realize that I will never own a smartphone. I'm just going to keep going with my $30 Nokia with pay-as-you-go minutes. I avoid signing stupid contracts that way. And I'd rather not get involved in the pointless arguments.
posted by koeselitz at 8:57 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Root cause that, koeselitz, and stop paying attention to obnoxious debates. Then do whatever you want for your phone.
posted by Wood at 8:58 AM on July 19, 2010


Just curious: what is it you wanted to do within the iPod's filing system? and what solution did you find that let you do that?

Special case: I had an mp3 become corrupted on my iPod mini (this is going back a few years, obviously) which would lock the device when trying to play the file. I had to do hard resets on the wheel to get it working again. Tried to delete the file through iTunes, but would get an error message.

I couldn't back up the device -- every time I tried iTunes would stop when it tried to read the file. Took the iPod to an Apple store and was told the only official fix was to reset the whole thing to factory specs. But the tech then told me about Sharepod. I have no idea why it deleted the file when iTunes wouldn't. But Sharepod also let me back up the device, reset and restore it.

Keeping things in perspective: I'm betting this problem was never encountered by the vast majority of users. But I was really, really happy to be able to fix it at the time. :)

I wound up using Sharepod a lot over the years, mostly to save podcasts to my hard drive so I could listen to them outside of iTunes, or install them easily to my brother-in-law's BlackBerry. If you surf through the ipod mini and nano file systems looking for mp3 files outside of iTunes, they aren't given "proper" names. Sharepod was able to read those files, show me what they were and let me save them with normal names without incident.
posted by zarq at 9:02 AM on July 19, 2010


Well, I don't want to be insulting – and honestly I'm no enemy of a little debate here and there. It's nice to have a good back-and-forth about something, particularly technology, which I tend to care about a bit. But tossed-off one-liners like "Richard Stallman can blow me" aren't exactly a pleasant way to go about it. Yeesh.

Yeah, you're right, though. I'll move on.
posted by koeselitz at 9:02 AM on July 19, 2010


Worse! It only syncs to one iTunes installation at a time. If you *did* have iTunes on your work machine, it would overwrite whatever you sync'ed from your home machine. Weird.

It wasn't always like that! In the old days, when iPods didn't even have color screens you could hook your iPod up to any machine and have it read and write to your device.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on July 19, 2010


I have no idea why it deleted the file when iTunes wouldn't. But Sharepod also let me back up the device, reset and restore it.

Very nice, very slick. I'd be foaming mad at that issue. You're more patient than I am.
posted by grubi at 9:06 AM on July 19, 2010


Geez, is it that hard to not be a dick?

Some days.
posted by grubi at 9:07 AM on July 19, 2010


Their USB drivers crash XP, even though zillions of other file-storage device developers can successfully write USB drivers for their products that don't crash the OS.

If that happens you should really give Microsoft a call about a bug in their HAL, right? If we are being fair and factual.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on July 19, 2010


Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.

People "buy" songs?

I keed.
posted by grubi at 9:08 AM on July 19, 2010


I've had the same problem. Quicktime on Windows is bleh. i don't think I've had a positive experience with it... ever.

Older versions worked well on my last machine -- a WinXP box. But my current WinVista machine does almost everything well except play QT files. :P
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2010


Very nice, very slick. I'd be foaming mad at that issue. You're more patient than I am.

I was furious at the time. But what could I do?

BTW, the tech never said so and I doubt I ever asked, but I was convinced at the time that the problem was that the iPod's drive was FAT formatted instead of a journaling HFS+ format. If so, that would have been a Windows / hardware architecture issue. If I'd been using a Mac, perhaps the corruption wouldn't have happened? Hard to say.
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on July 19, 2010


Before I saw the light and switched to OS X, I used iTunes on my circa 2002 AMD Thunderbird running XP SP2. Nary a problem, certainly no blue screening. Don't blame Apple for something that is clearly a Microsoft issue. (Did XP even bluescreen? I though that was only through WinME.)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:14 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


If that happens you should really give Microsoft a call about a bug in their HAL, right? If we are being fair and factual.

Clearly, yes, it's MS' fault that Apple's USB drivers don't work correctly, or lock up the device. The fact that no other MP3 players have this problem (they just get seen as generic USB drives) is purely coincidence.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:17 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was convinced at the time that the problem was that the iPod's drive was FAT formatted instead of a journaling HFS+ format. If so, that would have been a Windows / hardware architecture issue. If I'd been using a Mac, perhaps the corruption wouldn't have happened? Hard to say.

Ah. Weird, I wouldn't have thought of that. Ten-to-one, you're right.
posted by grubi at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2010


(Did XP even bluescreen? I though that was only through WinME.)

Yes, yes it did.

Usually when I was right in the middle of writing a very important %*™£@^#! press release.
posted by zarq at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2010


Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.

Out of curiosity, can you buy music directly from your iPhone and download it over 3G without connecting to iTunes? I just bought the new(ish) Drive By Truckers album from Amazon (for $5!) and downloaded it directly while sitting here in my office and am listening to it now. Can an iPhone do that? Googling around seems to give me conflicting answers.
posted by octothorpe at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2010


Why does Apple have to be so complicated and unwieldy?

I think one of the main complaints people have about apple products is that they're uncomplicated to the point of being simplistic.

but since my spouse occasionally buys music through iTMS I haven't felt comfortable switching to an alternative.

You know that iTunes music no longer has DRM, right? You can manage the music she buys however you want.

I've personally never had a problem using iTunes under XP. I basically only stream from my media server, though, so that's not saying much.

Honestly, though, I could make the same 'it sucks' statement about almost everything I run on Windows... WoW crashes XP, so WoW sucks. I have to restart Ventrilo on XP, so Ventrilo sucks. Firefox locks up on XP, so Firefox sucks. iTunes is actually the only program I use regularly that never has problems.

In the interest of fairness, WoW runs at half the FPS under OSX as it does under XP on the same machine, so macs suck.
posted by Huck500 at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2010


can you buy music directly from your iPhone and download it over 3G without connecting to iTunes?

Yes, you can. I've done it a dozen times or so.
posted by grubi at 9:22 AM on July 19, 2010


You know that iTunes music no longer has DRM, right? You can manage the music she buys however you want.

Yeah, I know, but he's not exactly big on changing things. I don't want to introduce new home tech support issues.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:23 AM on July 19, 2010


Out of curiosity, can you buy music directly from your iPhone and download it over 3G without connecting to iTunes?

Yes, you can.

However, I agree that buying from Amazon is the better choice, because you get the more compatible format.
posted by Huck500 at 9:23 AM on July 19, 2010


The Nexus may have been a bit of a bust in the marketplace, (although it's a sweet phone) but "Steve Jobs confirms: Android outselling iPhone"
posted by octothorpe


And? I'm not sure what you're implying with that statement. Android will be sold on multiple carriers, on multiple phones, on buy one get another phone free deals. Of course it will outsell the iphone, which is on one carrier, one phone, and one (basically) price level.

You're comparing a smartphone OS with an actual phone.

I assure you that the numbers don't imply what you believe they do.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:24 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


D. Murphy, I was responding to the subject of this post which was that the Nexus was a failure, which may be true but I wanted to point out that the Android platform is doing better in the marketplace than the iPhone.
posted by octothorpe at 9:29 AM on July 19, 2010


Clearly, yes, it's MS' fault that Apple's USB drivers don't work correctly, or lock up the device.

No, that's not what was said. What was claimed was that Apple's drivers crash the OS, which should never happen on an XP machine. If we are being fair and factual.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:29 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You really shouldn't be using XP at this point if you can possibly help it, since support's been discontinued and it's no longer being patched.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:37 AM on July 19, 2010


It's too bad it won't live! But then again, who does?
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:43 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What was claimed was that Apple's drivers crash the OS, which should never happen on an XP machine.

Why should that never happen? Drivers don't run in user-space, they run as part of the OS. Poorly-written drivers can in fact crash the OS.

But in any case, my specific problem isn't that the drivers crash the OS, it's that the iPod locks up about 50% of the time when I sync it.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:44 AM on July 19, 2010


Odd - I was actually thinking that, the odd outburst of ALLCAPS aside, this had been an unusually even-tempered and well-informed discussion, considering that the word "iPhone" appeared in the intro paragraph alongside a product which was not the iPhone. Still, it had a pretty good run.
posted by DNye at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2010


Pope Guilty: "You really shouldn't be using XP at this point if you can possibly help it, since support's been discontinued and it's no longer being patched."

Around half of the computers out there are still running XP.
posted by octothorpe at 9:54 AM on July 19, 2010


I've personally never had a problem using iTunes under XP. I basically only stream from my media server, though, so that's not saying much.

My problems with iTunes are really mostly user-interaction design complaints. If you're using it vanilla-style, it's fine (certain syncing issues notwithstanding). But if you like to dig into things and use advanced features, etc., it's irritatingly counter-intuitive to a Window's user. Doing certain things (say, backing up your entire library to an external drive, for instance) requires paging through too many screens and too many clicks. It's just not very elegant UI design if you're doing anything more than the basic stuff. But then it is meant to be a piece of highly consumer-oriented technology. It's probably fine for 90% of users 90% of the time. Also, it seems to take a long time to load when you first launch it on every Windows machine I've seen.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:59 AM on July 19, 2010


ROU_xenophobe: it sounds like there's a problem on one machine here. Not dismiss the issue (as it sounds insanely frustrating here), but have you seen this issue on other machines?

It is/was a very widespread problem for itunes 8. I've no idea whether it persists in itunes 9; I use a Cowon media player that appears as a standard USB drive and biscotti gave up and uses our laptop to sync to her ipod.

If that happens you should really give Microsoft a call about a bug in their HAL, right?

No, the fact that it is somehow possible through massive incompetence or design to write a driver that crashes XP seems more or less immaterial to me in the face of so many developers who didn't.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:04 AM on July 19, 2010


I'm not going to wade into the Penis Size Comparison Festival that is every Apple-related thread on MetaFilter. But I will say some things in favor of T-Mobile.

T-Mobile was my cell phone company for most of the 2000s. I only switched because of the stupid AT&T lock-in with the iPhone, but I seriously would have stayed with T-Mobile if I could.

Cell coverage is limited to cities, yes, and yes, I was using it in Seattle (T-Mobile entered the US market by buying Bellevue-based Voicestream, so the Seattle market is saturated). But yeah, I think I had one dropped call in six years. I couldn't use the phone inside this concrete institutional building I work in, but that was mainly because AT&T owns the only cell mast mounted on the building. Everywhere else in town, coverage was great. With AT&T I get dead spots all the time, for example, at our previous house.

Every city I went to had great coverage with T-Mobile. The one place I ran into issues outside of Seattle was rural Alabama, but even with AT&T the coverage was terrible, and that was remarkable given a) it's AT&T/Cingular's home territory and b) we had line-of-sight to a tower not more than a mile away. There was one spot in the house you could get EDGE. (I think I single-handedly led AT&T to upgrade that tower to 3G; we had to keep going down to see my dying mother-in-law, and I spent most of that time downloading stuff illness-related and otherwise. Her dial-up connection was 28.8.)

Oh, and T-Mobile had great customer service. I never had an issue with dealing with them, and they never contradicted themselves from person-to-person or person-to-online. AT&T, OTOH, I have had nothing but terrible customer service, and that, surprisingly, extended to the Apple Store -- I had an issue with my phone setup that took me going to the AT&T Store to untangle because the Apple Store messed up the setup and no one in the sea of AT&T and Apple customer service could fix it until I got in front of a live person at the AT&T Store. And even then, they were pretty nasty and sarcastic to me -- "Why would you get your iPhone from the Apple Store? You should ALWAYS get it from us."

Our AT&T contracts expire this fall. I'm strongly considering an Android phone on T-Mobile, despite the Android Tax, despite the iPhone's superior UI, because I'm just tired of dealing with Apple's Reality Distortion Field around the iPhone, but mainly I'm tired of dealing with AT&T.
posted by dw at 10:09 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wanted to point out that the Android platform is doing better in the marketplace than the iPhone.
posted by octothorpe at 11:29 AM on July 19


Unless by 'doing better in the marketplace' you mean 'by far the most profitable actual phone (and platform) currently sold by any company', then I agree.

And if it's actually platforms you're comparing, you'll need to include iPads and iPods with iPhones.
posted by kingbenny at 10:10 AM on July 19, 2010


Oh, and on iTunes/Win: When you have an MP3 collection as large as I do (measured in multiple days, not houes), Apple's XML-based database is so huge that iTunes can barely handle it, and it corrupts more often than not. Meanwhile, Genius takes forever to run and update and sends my CPU's fans into overdrive.

And while it's not a Windows-only thing, the iPhone backup process is measured in epochs, not minutes. On a good day, it takes 30 minutes to sync. On a bad day, I leave it overnight and hope it's sync'd in the morning.
posted by dw at 10:17 AM on July 19, 2010


My favourite iTunes/iPhone syncing trick is when it screws up the XML during sync, and you only notice when, say, you're left on a long car journey with a child you want to placate with Toy Story. Really rather charming that is.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2010


You know if nerds just bit the bullet and got into supporting sports teams a lot of these discussions would be a lot shorter.

(Conclusion reached between Android/Windows friend & Mac/iPhone me yesterday.)
posted by i_cola at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Using XP is a great idea for people or companies who are too cheap to upgrade to Win 7 and too chickenshit to use Linux. Security? Who needs that?!
posted by entropicamericana at 10:21 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Around half of the computers out there are still running XP.

This is what we call a "bad thing".
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. Blazecock, just don't comment next time if you're gonna keep it up with this needlessly fighty shit.]
posted by cortex at 10:31 AM on July 19, 2010


So true. Android phones, for example.

The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes, the battery life suuuucccccckkkkkksssss, and I don't relish the idea of being locked into one version of the Android operating system that the telco companies offer. If I want to be a full-time sys admin I'll buy a license of Windows, but I just want a phone that works with a Mac, has decent battery life, and can play my music easily. The Android phones can't do this.

But I am looking forward to seeing what can be done with iPad clones in a year or two, once they start coming out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:32 AM on July 19, 2010


Apple users will never understand that iTunes sucks on Windows.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Heh. XP has had a great history as possibly the most successful operating system of all time, but at this point contuing to use it IS abit like having a gigantic KICK ME sign taped to your back.

...Also, for web developers who like to dream of such things, the last day that anyone boots XP will be the last day that anyone uses IE6...

But I can confirm that iTunes is flakey and unreliable on Vista as well, and I would assume continues to have the same problems on Win7.

UI Wise it's kind of a dog as well, and not just in that it uses Mac UI conventions - There's way too many things that are sort of, kind of contextual in a way that is pretty muddy, and yes, i would say the right button (or ctrl click) is under used - there's plenty of things you could use that for that for that instead you have to hunt around the interface to find.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know if nerds just bit the bullet and got into supporting sports teams a lot of these discussions would be a lot shorter.

Hey now, we can multitask. I can perfectly well hate on Apple fanboyism, the Yankees, Manchester United, USC football, and Republicans, all at the same time.
posted by kmz at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You really shouldn't be using XP at this point if you can possibly help it, since support's been discontinued and it's no longer being patched.

That's not entirely accurate. Security updates and hotfixes will continue to be released for Windows XP until April 8, 2014.
posted by jedicus at 10:37 AM on July 19, 2010


The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes,

Wait, what? It's Android's fault it doesn't work with a closed proprietary platform that deliberately locks out non-Apple products?
posted by kmz at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


THE BEAST NEVER DIES!
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


bp: The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes

This is doubletwist, your argument is invalid.
posted by mullingitover at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is doubletwist, your argument is invalid

Doubletwist is not iTunes. Your argument makes no sense.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 AM on July 19, 2010


And it's interesting that the short battery life and telco issues are being ignored over the focus on iTunes support. But it's just another of many dealbreakers, to me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on July 19, 2010


What battery life issues? One Android phone that I know of, the EVO, has been criticized for battery issue. My Droid can run a couple of days in normal used and at least a day under heavy use. It's now eight hours since I un-docked it from its power cradle and it's at 80% battery.
posted by octothorpe at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2010


bp: "Doubletwist is not iTunes. Your argument makes no sense."

You can get your music from iTunes onto your Android phone (and many others), sync any iTunes playlist, and unless you simply have an application fetish, that's the goal of connecting your phone to iTunes anyway. Meanwhile, battery life? None of the many people I know with Android phones have made a peep about it. Non-issue in the experience of every Android user I know. And do you really want to get into teleco issues? Great, let's talk about why my iPhone frequently displays 'No Service' in the middle of the biggest city on the west coast.
posted by mullingitover at 11:02 AM on July 19, 2010


The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes, the battery life suuuucccccckkkkkksssss, and I don't relish the idea of being locked into one version of the Android operating system that the telco companies offer.

I assume you're just responding with your own rewritten version of common Apple complaints, but just to play along and treat this as a real comment:

- Doubletwist lets you sync your iTunes playlists and music from iTunes
- the battery life of my Droid is fine, and it's nice to have the option to actually swap the battery myself if I ever need to do that (I haven't yet)
- most Android devices are rootable and you can put your own OS version on there, but in any case you can choose your provider and device.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I use iTunes on Windows 7 to put my radio show together; the playlist and library functions are better than any of the other free media players I know of. If I find something with better, I'm switching, because it's crashy and the interface basically disregards Windows UI conventions in favor of OSX UI conventions wherever possible.

(also holy shit that brushed steel look is fucking ugly.)

(amarok for windows plsthx)
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 AM on July 19, 2010


Wow, they still have the brushed steel look on iTunes for Windows? I guess they figure Windows users aren't exactly obsessed with UI appearance and intuitiveness.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:16 AM on July 19, 2010


The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes

Actually, Android will play AAC formats (unlike Windows Media Player).
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 AM on July 19, 2010


Holy fucking shit. Is it possible to discuss something smartphone related without turning it into the same goddamn thread that we have every week? Do you think you might do that as a courtesy to the other users? You have to realize how irritating this is to people who want to talk about what the goddamn thread is about, and not read you people hash out the same arguments ad nauseum.

For Pete's sake.
posted by codacorolla at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes, the battery life suuuucccccckkkkkksssss, and I don't relish the idea of being locked into one version of the Android operating system that the telco companies offer. If I want to be a full-time sys admin I'll buy a license of Windows, but I just want a phone that works with a Mac, has decent battery life, and can play my music easily. The Android phones can't do this.

Umm. I hate to differ, but android syncs quite merrily with iTunes - which considering apple go out of their to way to block everyone accessing iTunes except iphones/ipods isn't bad at all (remember the palm pre and itunes?). Yes, DRM encrusted music files won't sync, but well, that's your fault for buying DRM locked in files that will never work with anything except an apple product. You might as well bitch that DRM'd windows media files won't sync to an iphone.

the battery life on iPhones DOESN'T suck? Err. OK. My galaxy S easily lasts the day when in heavy use (gaming aside), and will go three days with light use. Smartphones as a whole are pretty crap here, no matter their platform.

The one official version that the telco offers is a fair point. It's mostly easy enough to flash your phone with a roll-your-own ROM (Droid X aside) and the nexus made it very easy. But yeah, I do wish handset makers would issue more updates, and carriers wouldn't do their own thing on top so you had to wait for the carrier version of the handset version of the android version. At least you get a choice of carrier/handset so you can try and choose one that sucks less.

If you don't want to do that, fair enough. But the complaint often enough about iphone lockin (i.e. no unapproved apps, such as ones the compete with core functions, like email) is usually dismissed with 'just jailbreak it then' which is effectively the same thing.

Look, you like iPhones, we get that. Nobody is forcing you to buy an android. But your personal experience does not make them shit for everyone else, just like the proximity sensor issue and antenna problem doesn't make your iphone 4 useless for you.

For me, not having to use iTunes, and not being limited to use apple sanctioned apps are killer features. I have a nice multi-account IMAP IDLE mail app, evernote, copilot GPS, a choice of great browsers with different strengths, spotify and all the proper syncing with google calendar, docs, gtalk I could want. It will be getting froyo, for sure.

About the only thing that would be nice to get working is skype - but that's skype's fault for not including my phone on the 'approved' list of android phones, and for blocking off the third-party implementation. And the phone works when I hold it to my ear in my left hand ;)

So it suits me, it clearly doesn't suit you. Good thing there's a wide range of choices in the market for us all to choose the one that suits us best!
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:31 AM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


High Contrast OS.
posted by new brand day at 11:31 AM on July 19, 2010


I have a growing harem of apple products, but will likely never get an iPhone.

1. I have been on T-Mobile since my first cell phone. They've always worked just fine for me. I once tried out a Verizon phone for work. I lived 50 yards from one of those "can you hear me now" billboards; I got zero bars. My mom has AT&T for her work phones, and complains constantly about them.

2. Android supports promiscuous wifi. It looks like at one point in the past, apple supported it as well, so you could have a war driving app that monitored GPS and wifi, and let you create a map of access points. Now, apple has removed any app that used promiscuous wifi. You can only get apps that have pre-defined lists of access points, no actual scanning the airwaves.

iTunes on windows is required if you want to watch certain shows that only release via the iTunes store. For me, Sheep in the Big City is worth the pain.

Worse! It only syncs to one iTunes installation at a time. If you *did* have iTunes on your work machine, it would overwrite whatever you sync'ed from your home machine. Weird.

There's an easy fix for that. Open up the itunes library xml on one machine, and copy the library ID to the second computer, no more "You must sync, I must erase everything" messages.
posted by nomisxid at 11:39 AM on July 19, 2010


unless you simply have an application fetish

Let's face it. Dismissing the a functional preference for iTunes over doubletwist as a "fetish" is about as sensible as calling a preference for Microsoft Office over OpenOffice a "fetish" when you need to get things done with whatever software you're using.

the battery life of my [xyz] is fine

A great many reviews of and forum posts on an HTC, Motorola or other Android phone so far have had made mention of battery life issues and the need for the user to get into the guts to do power management, to keep the battery going. It's still an issue. It has to be, because users keep posting tips and tricks for keeping various phones running just a little longer on a charge.

Is it the hardware, the Android OS version, or the apps? Hard to say. I think Google should expect more than a day (24 hours) out of a battery charge, in any case. I think the end user should expect more, too. I don't think seven hours is much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on July 19, 2010


So it suits me, it clearly doesn't suit you. Good thing there's a wide range of choices in the market for us all to choose the one that suits us best!

Which is why I'm disappointed in the Nexus One being removed. it looked sharp, set a standard for competing in the smartphone market, then got left behind. Okay, these things happen. But for Google to respond with "Well, screw it!"... that does nobody any good. More competition in this market is almost a guarantee of more innovation.
posted by grubi at 11:43 AM on July 19, 2010


There's an easy fix for that. Open up the itunes library xml on one machine, and copy the library ID to the second computer, no more "You must sync, I must erase everything" messages.

Hm. Never thought of that. And it'll work cross-platform?
posted by grubi at 11:44 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My reasons why iTunes sucks on the PC (and a lot of this may have to do with having 100+ GB of music so YMMV):

-Slow as molasses. Plug in my iPod, about 2 minutes later iTunes will launch, 3 minutes after that it will be usable. This is probably due to the library size, but if I don't have the music in my library I can't add it to the iPod.
-Upgrading is painful. Be sure to uncheck Bonjour, MobileMe, Quicktime, and once the upgrade is complete it will take about 10 minutes before you can use it because it is reloading your library, cover art, and other misc. crap.
-If there's a way to have iTunes scan your folders for changes and update the library in the background, I don't know it. Every 6 months I clear out my library and reload it; Reloading the library of 100+GB essentially takes all night; and it always stops mid-scan to prompt me to (re-)convert WMVs to AACs and takes several hours to once again re-import cover art.
-the "only sync with one computer" policy (this isn't PC-specific). I decided to make some custom ringtones for the iPhone using GarageBand, so I boot to the Mac side. I finish making a custom ringtone, jump through hoops to get the ringtone into iTunes, then find out that I can't copy the ringtone over because I had already chosen to sync with iTunes on the PC boot- I could sync it only if I blew away all music on the phone and chose to sync with iTunes for Mac- even though this was the same computer, just different partitions.

Depending on how you use iTunes you may never encounter any of these problems, but I have them all the time. I like Apple hardware (otherwise I wouldn't keep buying it) but their software on the PC isn't great and they have some customer-unfriendly policies that make things worse.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:45 AM on July 19, 2010


Open up the itunes library xml on one machine, and copy the library ID to the second computer, no more "You must sync, I must erase everything" messages.

I think I'm in love.
posted by new brand day at 11:45 AM on July 19, 2010


"The Android phones are mostly shit, because they don't work with iTunes"

So.... iTunes being crippled = Android being shit? Seriously?

This is why I avoided iTunes. People locked into iTunes are locked into one phone choice, unless they want to carry two devices when one would work perfectly well. I can listen to my music just fine on a wide variety of phones.

The comment above describes one of the biggest flaws in going with an Apple solution. And it highlights the, frankly, messed up mindset of Apple devoted. Specifically - The idea that a completely open platform is broken because a locked down feature on a locked down platform refuses to play nicely.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:49 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


bp: "Let's face it. Dismissing the a functional preference for iTunes over doubletwist as a "fetish" is about as sensible as calling a preference for Microsoft Office over OpenOffice a "fetish" when you need to get things done with whatever software you're using. "

*Sigh*

The whole point is that you don't have to use a different music management application. It's a wrapper for your existing iTunes database that gives you back things that Apple took away, like the ability to sync non-Apple devices and the ability to purchase from other stores.
posted by mullingitover at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2010


Pointless thread. I have and like my Android phone*. I have friends who have and like their iPhones. All of our phones do basically the same things, but in slightly different ways. Neither platform is limited in any meaningful way.

The fanboi is strong here.

*FWIW- I went with Android because I like Verizon and find iTunes severely lacking.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2010


Apple is supposed to write the USB drivers? Aren't they already installed on Windows before you install iTunes?

As already noted: yes and no. And I'd add to that: depends what you mean by "driver". USB implementations typically have several layers of drivers: a host controller driver that talks to the USB hardware; some common code above that that does generic USB-ey things with that driver; and a bunch of device class drivers above that that implement the various USB device types. (Mass storage; still image; audio; video; HID (human-interface device) for keyboards, mice, and other interface devices.)

These days the host controller driver typically ships with Windows -- unless you've got some really oddball host controller hardware, but they're pretty much all standard now. And Microsoft provide most of the device class drivers.

So: Apple don't have to write the host controller drivers. And they don't have to re-implement the mass storage etc class drivers. But they do have to implement drivers for any vendor-specific (ie, proprietary) functionality that they don't -- or won't -- shoehorn into existing classes.

(And if I remember rightly, iPod is basically mass storage + HID + just enough vendor-specific stuff to make it difficult to work with.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2010


The fanboi is strong here.

*eyeroll* I guess I didn't read the Immutable Law of the Universe that says "If you speak up when someone criticizes something without being completely factual, you're a fanboy." MY BAD
posted by grubi at 11:58 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


iTunes being crippled = Android being shit?

iTunes has problems, but being crippled is not the issue here. That said, Android is shit for lots of reasons. Again, battery life, Mac incompatibility and telco issues are just too overwhelming. This is all up to Google and its hardware partners.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on July 19, 2010


So.... iTunes being crippled = Android being shit? Seriously?

Sure. I have the problem with other phones, like LGs. They make good phones, but their refusal to work with macs is constantly irritating.


The idea that a completely open platform is broken because a locked down feature on a locked down platform refuses to play nicely.

Eh, the Amazon downloader can put tracks in the iTunes folder, does Android?
posted by new brand day at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


-If there's a way to have iTunes scan your folders for changes and update the library in the background, I don't know it. Every 6 months I clear out my library and reload it; Reloading the library of 100+GB essentially takes all night; and it always stops mid-scan to prompt me to (re-)convert WMVs to AACs and takes several hours to once again re-import cover art.

I have about a 60 GB library and every time I install iTunes (be it because it's refusing to launch, or because I've got a new computer or new install, or whatever) I have to feed it my library in roughly 10 GB chunks or else it adds about the first 20 or so GB and then adds random selections from the rest of the folder.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2010


A great many reviews of and forum posts on an HTC, Motorola or other Android phone so far have had made mention of battery life issues and the need for the user to get into the guts to do power management, to keep the battery going. It's still an issue. It has to be, because users keep posting tips and tricks for keeping various phones running just a little longer on a charge.

Your ability to find battery life tips and tricks seems to be somewhat limited. But if you Google "iphone battery problems" you'll find plenty to keep you occupied.

My own experience with a Droid has been that the battery lasts all day, unless I'm using the free built-in turn-by-turn navigation it came with. In any case, though, I can always switch the battery - I haven't needed to do that yet, though.

Which is why I'm disappointed in the Nexus One being removed.

I don't think that Google wants to be in the hardware business. I thought it was a neat idea, but frankly they just didn't deliver very well - I heard all sorts of support and activation complaints. But from Google's perspective, it was a success - they got people excited about Android, and there are now a bunch of vendors and providers competing to have the best Android hardware.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2010


Oh, and:

In the old days, when iPods didn't even have color screens you could hook your iPod up to any machine and have it read and write to your device.

Still can, if you check the "enable disk mode" box in the iPod's settings in iTunes. Then it mounts as a mass storage drive.

Only really makes it useful as a glorified USB stick, though. You can put files onto it, but they won't show up in the iPod's menus. To do that you'd have to also reverse-engineer the iPod's proprietary database file. Which I guess is what SharePod etc have done.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2010


Does anyone know how to make Androaid and OS X 10.6 play nice together? I am using the Sprint HTC and I'm at a complete loss, though I've considered hooking the ting up to a spare PC we've got around the house.
posted by vhsiv at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2010


Galaxy S talk time: 2G/14h, 3G/6.5h
Galaxy S standby time: 2G/750 hrs, 3G/576 hrs.

iPhone 3GS talk time: 2G/12h, 3G/5h
Standby time: Up to 300 hours

iPhone 4 talk time: 2G/14h, 3G/7h
Standby time: Up to 300 hours

random nokia:
Standby time: 3 weeks.

I've seen plenty of reviews slagging iphone battery life. Did you notice that battery test you linked for the droid was using the internet+GPS (google navigation) for 7 hours solid along with the music playing, along with manually the screen at full brightness instead of the auto-brightness?

If you're saying the iphone 4 can use google navigation continuously, play music, and be at full screen brightness for a substantial time longer than 7 hours, I'd like to see it!
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2010


Did you notice that battery test you linked for the droid was using the internet+GPS (google navigation) for 7 hours solid along with the music playing, along with manually the screen at full brightness instead of the auto-brightness?

Once he turns those features down or off, he gets another four hours. So that's a whopping total of 11 hours between charges. When not using the phone for anything.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 PM on July 19, 2010


Again, battery life, Mac incompatibility and telco issues are just too overwhelming.

Uh, drop "Mac incompatibility" and you describe iPhones as well.
posted by dw at 12:12 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the way you ignored that I have an android phone that will match or better an iphone 4 and kicks the arse of the 3GS, while being less than 1cm thick. But yes, it must be android is shit.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2010


Sure. I have the problem with other phones, like LGs. They make good phones, but their refusal to work with macs is constantly irritating.

The beef with LG is legit, because Macs don't lock out non-Apple software. But iTunes specifically locks out non-Apple devices, so griping that non-Apple hardware doesn't work with iTunes is blaming entirely the wrong party. Remember the whole Palm Pre iTunes syncing fiasco?

Eh, the Amazon downloader can put tracks in the iTunes folder, does Android?

Putting files anywhere you want on a filesystem is a rather different issue from syncing.
posted by kmz at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


But yes, it must be android is shit.

It's a competitor to an Apple product, therefore it must suck.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have a Nexus One on T-Mobile, and I love it.

1. I have the best of both worlds - I found my device used (yet in pristine) condition, and I'm also on a non Contract Even More Plus plan, which saves me $20 a month in charges because I'm not paying for a subsidized phone.

2. A lot of my personal internet life is already tied in with Google (gmail account, Google Calendar, and the like) and the phone is seamless with this. I'm on the go a lot, and it's very handy to have someone mail me an address, I click that address which then opens it in Maps, and then the GPS locates where I am at the time, and I can get directions to that address for either car, bus, or walking.

3. The Froyo OS update supports making the phone into a portable Wi-Fi Hot Spot. I'm also unemployed, and that proved to be invaluable for the week I had no internet at home, I just made a hot spot, connected my Mac to it via Wi-Fi, and did my weekly job searching. And with a soft cap of 10 GB of data usage a month, having my phone chew through data while I used it in this fashion really didn't make a big dent in my limit. I don't even think you can do that with an iPhone.

4. I've had no problems with T-Mobile as a company, and their customer service is top notch.

5. And because everyone else has spurned the N1 in favor for the iPhone 4, N1 accessories are dirt cheap on Amazon. I got a rubber case and 3 screen protectors for less than $4!
posted by spinifex23 at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still can, if you check the "enable disk mode" box in the iPod's settings in iTunes. Then it mounts as a mass storage drive.

I'd like to be able to do this with my iPhone without fussing with it too much. As it is, the only time it works remotely like this is when I plug it into my Windows machine and can browse (but not delete) the photos.
posted by grubi at 12:22 PM on July 19, 2010


But iTunes specifically locks out non-Apple devices, so griping that non-Apple hardware doesn't work with iTunes is blaming entirely the wrong party.

I shrug my shoulders here. I like iTunes and iDevices (while realizing they aren't perfect), so Apple choosing to look out others doesn't bother me. I get that in a perfect world Apple should allow others to sync, but I'm like "eh, whatever".

Remember the whole Palm Pre iTunes syncing fiasco?

God yeah, don't know how they though they were going to pull that off long term.
posted by new brand day at 12:22 PM on July 19, 2010


Uh, drop "Mac incompatibility" and you describe iPhones as well.

I get much better battery life than what is reported in Android phone reviews and forum postings, and I get Mac support and somewhat regular OS improvements for free (free, as in, I'd be paying the same or more for an Android contract and still get OS and iTunes upgrades).

I don't live in San Francisco, so my 3G coverage has been pretty good, but I'd agree that AT&T is the only genuine downside of having an iPhone. That said, there are a number of problematic coverage regions for Sprint and Verizon customers, too, and then you have the hardware and OS version lock-in issues to deal with on that side. Once the facts are tallied up, Android just isn't all that. It's just better marketing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on July 19, 2010


I'd agree that AT&T is the only genuine downside of having an iPhone.

And that pesky iceberg was the only genuine downside of the Titanic's maiden voyage!

and then you have the hardware and OS version lock-in issues to deal with on that side.

Right, because with the iPhone you can, uh, what?

Once the facts are tallied up, Android just isn't all that. It's just better marketing.

Are you getting enough oxygen in there?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


hey, if you think the Palm Pre thing was annoying, try syncing a Palm device on a Mac back before Palm devices were phones. BLEARGH
posted by grubi at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2010


I really hate this meme, but if there was ever a time it was justified, it is here:
Did you really just compare the iPhone to the Titanic? REALLY?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2010


Are you getting enough oxygen in there?

*sigh*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2010


"Eh, the Amazon downloader can put tracks in the iTunes folder, does Android?"

Again, this highlights a problem with iTunes. Android doesn't care where your music is. I can leave it where the downloader puts it or move it to a random folder of my choosing (or even not care), either way all of the Android MP3 clients (again, choice) will automatically use it.

The Android model is, "Oh, I see you have music files. Would you like to play them?". Just that. Obvious and flexible. That seems smarter than the rigid and prone to break iTunes model.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2010


Did you really just compare the iPhone to the Titanic? REALLY?

Plenty of calls to my iPhone-using coworkers ended up in the briny deep, that's all I know. But they could play Pocket God while they used a landline, which was nice. I, on the other hand, have crap selection for games - the Android games just aren't anywhere close to being as good - but my calls don't drop.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


blink..... blink......

"and then you have the hardware and OS version lock-in issues to deal with"

Are you honestly going to try and claim hardware and OS lock-in is an Android problem rather than an Apple problem?

An exploding list of choices = lock-in.

You understand you sound literally and figuratively brainwashed? Yes?

Also, I've been traveling a lot lately with several long roadtrips using turn-by-turn nav, listening to music, playing games, etc. Battery life hasn't been an issue. You know why? I can change the battery if needed (which it typically isn't). Android battery life could in thoery be months and months if I wanted to stockpile some batteries. That would be silly, but it's (again) a failing of the iPhone rather than the Android if seriously long battery life needs are the issue.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:46 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Today, my doctor's office called to schedule an appointment. The guy suggested a time and date, so I checked my calendar on my phone while still connected, and was able to confirm that time and date were wide open.

Since we're sharing... :-)
posted by grubi at 12:46 PM on July 19, 2010


I get much better battery life than what is reported in Android phone reviews and forum postings

Well, bully for you. I think at its peak my iPhone topped out at 6 hours of battery life and maybe three days standby. Now, 18 months into this 3G, the phone dies if I don't charge it every other day, and I'm lucky to get 3 hours out of it.

I don't live in San Francisco

No, you live in Seattle, as do I. I've had problems in downtown and SoDo. I've had a lack of connection anywhere where I'm not the only person trying to access the 3G network, which, unfortunately, means a lot of places I shop or eat. I never had these problems with T-Mobile.

That said, there are a number of problematic coverage regions for Sprint and Verizon customers, too

Not on the scale of AT&T, though, which consistently has done little to upgrade their networks while Sprint went all-in on 4G and Verizon imposed limits that allowed them to maintain a 3G network outside of the dense urban cores.

Once the facts are tallied up, Android just isn't all that. It's just better marketing.

Strange. I feel that way about the iPhone. I mean, geez, they're running commercials showing how people can use the Internet and talk on speakerphone at the same time? It's total cupholder envy.

Android is a robust competitor to iOS4, and it's about damn time we had one. Laughing it off as having the same hardware problems as iPhone is empty and silly. Even if Android isn't the JesusPhone, people are willing to satisfice if it costs them less, as has been proven repeatedly over the years with electronics purchases.
posted by dw at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2010


Today, my doctor's office called to schedule an appointment. The guy suggested a time and date, so I checked my calendar on my phone while still connected, and was able to confirm that time and date were wide open.

I brought a big bag of cherries into work Saturday and shared them with everyone, including a few people who'd never had a fresh cherry before.

Since we're sharing... :-)
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Again, this highlights a problem with iTunes. Android doesn't care where your music is.

Shrugs. iTunes throws it all in one folder, which makes more sense to me. YMMV.
posted by new brand day at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2010


"Today, my doctor's office called to schedule an appointment. The guy suggested a time and date, so I checked my calendar on my phone while still connected, and was able to confirm that time and date were wide open."

My friend was trying to call me, but I couldn't get service in Pasadena and so he couldn't get in touch, and we didn't end up hanging out. But I did download a cool fart app which was a hit in the movie theatre while we were waiting for the show to start.

Since we're sharing... :-)
posted by mullingitover at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2010


Do people still actually SYNC their music collections?

Ever since I learned about Subsonic, I just run the client on my phone and stream anything from the thousands of shows I have on my harddrive at home...
posted by mikelieman at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2010


Since we're sharing, what's a good cheese and mint risotto recipe?
posted by new brand day at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2010


Today, my doctor's office called to schedule an appointment. The guy suggested a time and date, so I checked my calendar on my phone while still connected, and was able to confirm that time and date were wide open.

I don't mean to spoil your sense of accomplishment, but I've been able to do exactly that on my BlackBerry Curve since I got the darn thing.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Once the facts are tallied up, Android just isn't all that. It's just better marketing.

You are Andy Ihnatko and I claim my five pounds.
posted by tapeguy at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2010


I don't mean to spoil your sense of accomplishment, but I've been able to do exactly that on my BlackBerry Curve since I got the darn thing.

Or any smartphone since forever. I'll often play games or read Metafilter or mess with Google Maps while on a boring long phone call.
posted by kmz at 1:01 PM on July 19, 2010


a few people who'd never had a fresh cherry before.

What euphemism is there for THAT? "Pop their cherry cherry" seems... off.
posted by grubi at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2010


It's a competitor to an Apple product, therefore it must suck.

Versus "it's an Apple product, therefore it must suck."
posted by howling fantods at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't mean to spoil your sense of accomplishment, but I've been able to do exactly that on my BlackBerry Curve since I got the darn thing.

On which network?
posted by grubi at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2010


a few people who'd never had a fresh cherry before.

What euphemism is there for THAT?


Doing a good deed.

Seriously, the fact that there's people who've never had fresh cherries before is just sad. Fresh cherries are bloody awesome.
posted by kmz at 1:05 PM on July 19, 2010


Once the facts are tallied up, Android just isn't all that. It's just better marketing.

Android has good marketing? Compared to the iPhone/iPod/iPad? Not my experience, but I can see how that is the must-come-to-conclusion if you dislike the Android and have to explain its success. Personally, I think the Android is successful because it hits most people's required minimum functionality for less price than the iPhone, and has enough different models to be somewhat competitive even on the high end.

Derail cont'd: As for QT on Windows machines, it is the worst software I ever had to deal with in 7 years in IT, and I was always shocked if it successfully played a single video on a Windows machine. It looks beautiful when playing back on the Macs that I covet in the Apple store though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2010


Most agreed, kmz. Shame on the parents who did not go out of their way to give kids that experience.
posted by grubi at 1:09 PM on July 19, 2010


On which network?

Verizon.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2010


As far as deleting the stock/spam apps on an Android goes, I picked up a file managing app (Astro) that will do that, so far as I can tell. Haven't bothered to dump anything that I didn't install myself, though, now that I have control over the home screen on my Garminfone and can relegate them to the "all apps" list.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:11 PM on July 19, 2010


Surprise surprise that this has turned into another iPhone v. Android pissing match.
posted by gyc at 1:29 PM on July 19, 2010


Hm. Never thought of that. And it'll work cross-platform?

It does. My primary box at home is a mac, my music-playing box at work is a windows laptop. It's not perfect. I can't figure out a way to sync apps from both places, and I leave both machines on manually sync for everything else, but I'd do that anyways 'cause iTunes-sync is mega stupid if you have more music/photos than will fit.

My biggest gripe with the using my iDevices on the mac is that it always wants to open iPhoto for any images I've saved since the last time I plugged it in.

Disk mode is not available on iTouch, iPhone, nor iPad, annoyingly. There are 3rd party programs to get around that though.
posted by nomisxid at 1:35 PM on July 19, 2010


gyc: "Surprise surprise that this has turned into another iPhone v. Android pissing match."

I think it's less about iPhone v. Android, than about blind allegiance and parroting talking points v. honest criticism and independent thinking. I own no less than four Macs, an iPod, and two iPhones, but if I dare criticize Apple about any of their flaws I'm dismissed as a 'hater,' am told 'haters gonna hate,' etc. It's awesome.
posted by mullingitover at 1:39 PM on July 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think it's less about iPhone v. Android, than about blind allegiance and parroting talking points v. honest criticism and independent thinking. I own no less than four Macs, an iPod, and two iPhones, but if I dare criticize Apple about any of their flaws I'm dismissed as a 'hater,' am told 'haters gonna hate,' etc.

If I dare question the taking points that get regurgitated here, if I dare post any factual information that contradicts the party line despite using Linux, Windows and Google stuff on a regular basis, I get dismissed as a "fanboi", etc. So I sympathize with you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My biggest gripe with the using my iDevices on the mac is that it always wants to open iPhoto for any images I've saved since the last time I plugged it in.

I find it odd that iTunes wants to sync EVERYTHING, but I have to go through iPhoto to manage that one thing.

i also want to be able to delete and edit metadata for photos on my iPad. That way I can do it at my leisure, rather than have to sit in front of a computer to get it done.
posted by grubi at 1:52 PM on July 19, 2010


You can turn off the iPhoto opening if you want, there's preference in the application I believe.
posted by new brand day at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2010


hm, so as opposed to trying to out-fisk everyone I'll just say that total OTA sync without having to use a PC is the biggest feature on Android for me. Blazecock wants iTunes sync - fine for him, I don't use it so whatever. The gmail client on Android is far superior to the iPhone mail app and I never have to plug my phone into a PC, ever. Way more important than iTunes sync to me. Even bookmarks get synced online so I can factory reset my phone and things come back to about 90% of where they were beforehand. That, for me, is killer.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on July 19, 2010


The gmail client on Android is far superior to the iPhone mail app

Just curious: why is that?
posted by grubi at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2010


I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.

I have T-Mobile and it is clearly better than ATT/iPhone in San Francisco. iPhone users constantly walk up to the windows or walk outside to make calls or send messages.

Or what loquacious said. For thrifty/poor people, T-Mobile seems best.

Richard Stallman recommends not owning a phone.

I must agree. My wife is not as sympathetic, though.

My wife has an iPhone and it has quickly become one of my most hated "gadgets" of all time. Completely worthless for using the Internet. Worse than worthless because it gives off the appearance of adequate functionality.

"Steve Jobs confirms: Android outselling iPhone"

This has been true for quite a while now. I can't imagine how the iOs can compete against Android in the long run (even without the Flash barrier).

Seriously, the more I pay attention to this whole obnoxious debate, the more I realize that I will never own a smartphone. I'm just going to keep going with my $30 Nokia with pay-as-you-go minutes.

Likewise. I spend about $100/year on 10-cent minutes for my Nokia 6230 (which cost $80 back in 2004 or so) and use the money I save by not calling my mother on liquor and drugs.

I never say never, but "smartphones" are a long, long way away from proving themselves valuable to me. Sure, I might like a camera on my phone, but I have a small digital camera (and a Flip for video) and see no reason why all those devices need to be mashed together with less functionality (and higher cost).

I don't bother to access the Internet from anything from less than a laptop these days. It's too damn frustrating.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:03 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't speak for the US market, but in Europe (UK specifically) the HTC Desire running Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense add-on (skin) is rock solid and performs flawlessly. The Desire is technically a Nexus.

In fact, when I looked at the new iPhone I was genuinely under-whelmed. The speed and screen looked no better than my Desire but the UI looked dated compared to the HTC's interface. Apple better milk the smartphone market right now because it will be left behind in the next few years unless Mr Jobs starts to innovate again and come up with something better than iPhone 4 (aka Apple Vista).
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:11 PM on July 19, 2010


Wow mrgrimm. IU can't say I completely agree with you but I admire your resolute old-schoolness.

Personally the phone that is just a phone and internet thing that is just an internet thing route is increasingly tempting for me, but I'm not going to be taking something laptop (or even netbook or iPad) sized with me everywhere I go. Also I know for a fact that if I separate my internet thing/media player from my phone I'll be forgetting to take one or the other of them with me when i go places.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2010


I personally love the google integration on Android. I did have to clean up my contacts list initially, but getting Google Voice helped speed that along (I used to just make it not sync my contacts with google).

I don't have battery life issues with my overclocked Hero on Sprint, but I'm also one of those weirdos that uses their phone as their alarm clock, so it goes on the charger every night no matter what.

I also love how painless it was to root it, and Nandroid backups are just about the best things ever.

The iphone is cool, but just from some cursory reading it seems like it's less fun to screw around with. Are there lots of different UI customization options for the iphone, like the different launchers/homescreens and themes? I personally run a slightly-modified Sense UI in addition to lockscreen, button look, and color scheme based off of the MyTouch Slide.

The Nexus One I still think is a nifty phone, but it doesn't work on my network of choice, and I am kind of a sucker for Sense UI. Not sure whether I'll go with the Samsung Epic or the HTC Evo when upgrade time rolls around in november though; I like the processor on the Samsung, but also love having HTC's Sense.
posted by Bonky Moon at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2010


I haven't seen a custom UI for a jailbroken iPhone that hasn't made me want to claw my eyeballs out. I can customize my lock screen and wallpaper, and that's good enough for me.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:20 PM on July 19, 2010


That's a shame. There's plenty of horrible UIs and themes for android that make me gag, but there's also a fair amount that aren't terrible at all, and a few that are even really good. I wonder if it's a lack of willpower or simply a software limitation that's preventing good UIs from being developed for iphones.
posted by Bonky Moon at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2010


I wonder if it's a lack of willpower or simply a software limitation that's preventing good UIs from being developed for iphones.

Given what's possible and what's out there, I'd say it's a lack of taste. Some are just offensive to my very brain. Others... are just meh.
posted by grubi at 2:28 PM on July 19, 2010


There is a good UI being developed for the iPhone, and it's being developed at 1 Infinite Loop; I don't really see how Joe Open Source who thinks kerning has something to do with popcorn could improve upon it.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but I still prefer a fully informational lockscreen. I wish Apple would give me an option for such a thing (a little checkbox under Advanced in the General Settings, mayhaps?). But I ain't gonna lose my shit because they won't give me the option.
posted by grubi at 2:33 PM on July 19, 2010


Apple users will never understand that iTunes sucks on Windows.
iTunes on Windows is basically exactly what Word 6 was on the Mac. It's downright nasty, and the only reason I can think of for Apple people to defend it is they watched iTunes grow up from the cute and helpful days and like the gangster's doting mother can't see the many flaws it acquired. I think iTunes 4 was probably the pinnacle, and it's been all downhill from there. On the PC, it started with v4, so they gained a buggy and spotty youth and watched it grow into a monster.

Seriously, the Gruber/fanboy mantra is that Apple is a company that makes products that do one thing well, and they polish and refine until they do those things perfectly.

Fine. Yet iTunes does ... iPod syncing, iPhone syncing, iPad syncing, photo resizing and library management for iPods Photos and iDevices, allows you to purchase movies, rent movies and TV series, manage an Apple TV, buy and download eBooks, download and manage Podcasts, manage iTunes U subscriptions, buy music and music videos, update your credit card and Apple ID, redeem iTunes vouchers, publish playlists to the iTunes store, manage playlists and smart playlists, rip CDs, transcode existing files, burn mix CDs, iPod, iPhone and iPad software updates, iPod, iPhone and iPad backups and restores, stream internet radio, create "genius" playlists, visualise playing music, watch movies, browse cover artwork, stream your library over Bonjour, randomly or weightedly shuffle music, stream to an Airport Express, buy, download and manage App Store apps, buy, edit and create ringtones, transfer documents to and from certain apps on an iPhone or iPad to the host device ... oh, yeah, it also plays music.

There's no reason these all need to be the one bloated, single-threaded Carbon app that can barely handle a single task at a time (just trying pausing music while an iPhone's updating). The iPhone model of separate apps is massively better, and bringing back iSync would make managing these devices vastly more streamlined. But Apple is hamstrung because they've created this behemoth and there are commercial pressures to have ever more links into the store.

It's iTunes, too, that has them locked into the "you sync to one device at home" model, and it's going to kill them if they don't sort it soon. They need to start trying to understand the web pronto, because bullshit like the iWork apps syncing model is like something from the Newton Connection Kit days. It's the little things too: the Kindle app lets you read your notes and highlights from any browser; if the iBooks app even allowed that you can be sure it'd be via iTunes.

They're going to want to move past the Mac into iOS uplands some day, that's inevitable. But right now iTunes is a massive boat anchor tying them to the past.
posted by bonaldi at 2:34 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


saulgoodman: "Personally, I kind of wish the market for super portable, non-phone, web-enabled computer devices would open up. "

Nokia's been shipping exactly what you want for years, they call em Internet Tablets. The reason they haven't taken off is that they didn't have a cell phone feature, the obvious component from a company that knows cell phones in and out. Then they released the N900 and it sold like gangbusters.

I question your desire to carry both a phone and a tablet. It's twice as many things to carry or forget, and you miss the synergy between the two techs. Cell assisted GPS and navigation for example. Or the obvious GSM data plan. But also minor things, like bluetooth headsets that can play podcasts/mp3s, and recieve incoming calls.

I'm assuming that your barrier here is Tracphone, which, while a GSM carrier, appears to lock your SIM card to a specific IMEI at their end, so you can't just drop in the SIM card to a standard phone. T-mobile prepaid doesn't have that restriction, which is one of the reasons I chose them; I bought a cheap prepaid phone for a year, watched as Android smartphones came out and became popular, and decided to tough it out until the n900 was released. Now I have no contract and a pretty cheap plan I can jump on the contract bandwagon at any time if I will truly need it (or an employer decides to pay it), or keep skimming off of wifi and pocket the difference.
posted by pwnguin at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They need to start trying to understand the web pronto, because bullshit like the iWork apps syncing model is like something from the Newton Connection Kit days.

Yes, MobileMe should be free or really cheap.
posted by new brand day at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2010


The gmail client on Android is far superior to the iPhone mail app

Just curious: why is that?

Handles threaded conversations better and faster than the iPhone version. When I click on an email I just received that was part of a longer conversation, one tap lets me read the new email, and I have the option of expanding the other emails in the thread. One click of the back button takes me back to the inbox. iOS4's implementation opens up a list of emails in the thread, forcing a second tap to read the email I just got. This also adds to the number of clicks required to get back to my inbox.

Also, if you notice in GMail, how different senders in a thread are assigned different colors. The Android app does exactly that while in iOS, everything is colored the same, making conversations harder to follow (for me).

Colored dots by the sender tell me if the person is currently logged into GTalk. Tapping on their image gives me a variety of options on how to respond (GTalk, IM, Facebook, Phone).

Actually implements colored labels and starring like the web app.

Let's you select multiple emails for archiving, deleting, labeling without going through the edit screen. Just tap on their check boxes and a menu thing appears at the bottom.

I'm sure I'll think of more later, but for the most part, it's just closer to GMail on a browser than the iPhone version.
posted by SAC at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2010


Why does iTunes on Windows seem to suck?

Because they ported half the CoreGraphics stack to Windows and run it on top of GDI.

You might as well try and propel the Queen Mary II with the engine of a Chrysler Neon.
posted by Talez at 2:55 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


iTunes on XP could probably serve very well as a demonstrator of every single problem Jobs claimed would affect Apps built using Flash and ported to iPhone.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Android has good marketing?

Android is largely defined in a vaguely emotional fashion by what is "bad" about Apple, and I think this lack of focus so far on actually making the platform stand on its own two feet will hurt them in the long run. To a reasonable degree, I think its backers market it as "open" and with a "better" feature set (i.e. where "more"="better" features) relative to something else, when, upon closer inspection, the final product is not so much of either, as a whole, at least as those concepts are meaningful to end users.

"Open" is a term that Google and some of its partners are misusing as a marketing term, to contrast the "good" Android with the "bad" iPhone, even though the kind of openness being prescribed is actually becoming somewhat of a real engineering problem, as we have seen.

Google defining itself (tongue-in-cheek) as the Anti-Apple by relinquishing control over the end product, by allowing spamware, by eliminating their flagship phone, by not putting as a high priority on consistent UI design and usability across models, by not supporting Mac users, by not taking on a mantra of simplicity and efficiency for application search, acquisition, installation and configuration, and for making some parts of phone configuration a matter for more tech-savvy users or for tech support, etc. all of this comes at a long-term cost to the quality and overall perception of their product.

Very quietly, Google remotely shut down some spyware a few weeks back. That's awesome. Why be ashamed of pulling the trigger? Let's see more of that, please, starting with their partners' adware. Let's see them publicly tell Motorola off for making their user interface uglier and more difficult to use. Every phone should be a clean, efficient, consistent slate for end users. People and organizations wanting to use this phone in their day-to-day operations shouldn't need tech staff devoted to supporting Android phones and a whole ecology of junkware, malware, and parasitic "utility" makers which slows down and drains the charge from a class of devices that don't appear to have a great track record for battery life in the first place. These are issues Google should have taken care of before they let it get out of hand in this way. They could have put their best software and design engineers on the problem, and put the marketing engineers to work on something else.

Some bloggers are starting to pay attention to these details. I think some kind of rational analysis of these kinds of downsides would be a boon for Metafilter, given the spiteful anti-Apple cheerleading that has gone on here of late. I hinted at this earlier with the analogy with big box PCs laden with all kinds of junk that is literally impossible to remove without wiping the hard drive. After a while, Android may end up as the Windows of mobile platforms: even as profitable as it may be from driving ad revenue, it would be a shame for it to become a shell of Avatar-ish junk you have to wade through to use your phone, just to show Steve Jobs how awesome it is being "open".

MobileMe should be free or really cheap

I wouldn't be surprised if it became free for iPhone users and at a subsidized cost for iPad and iPod Touch users, once their cloud facility comes online, similar to the business model used for iOS upgrades.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Android is largely defined in a vaguely emotional fashion by what is "bad" about Apple

"So do you worship God or the Devil?" the priest asked the atheist.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2010


given the spiteful anti-Apple cheerleading that has gone on here of late.

This claim is both stupid and tiresome. Why you have this pathological desire to defend a corporation from any criticism, be it intended or off-hand, is baffling to me. Apple is not your mother and you don't need to uphold her honour.

I have both a macbook and and iPhone 3GS, both of which I enjoy massively, and I have a hard time imagining myself going back to the Windows world or picking up an Android phone unless Apple's design sensibilities completely collapse. But this doesn't stop me from realizing that my uses and preferences may differ from those of my friends, and I so don't take it as a personal insult if they decide to purchase a Sony laptop or a Samsung phone.

Blaze, I'm tired of reading your incessant bleating in every thread tangentially related to Apple. It's boring and you're not doing yourself any favours, nor convincing anyone to change their consumer preferences.
posted by modernnomad at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


by not supporting Mac users
Maybe I missed something... how is Android not supporting mac users?

Very quietly, Google remotely shut down some spyware a few weeks back.
Quietly? They put out a press release and noted it on their blog. Every gadget blogger and many news sources wrote about it.

Let's see more of that, please, starting with their partners' adware. Let's see them publicly tell Motorola off for making their user interface uglier and more difficult to use. Every phone should be a clean, efficient, consistent slate for end users. People and organizations wanting to use this phone in their day-to-day operations shouldn't need tech staff devoted to supporting Android phones and a whole ecology of junkware, malware, and parasitic "utility" makers which slows down and drains the charge from a class of devices that don't appear to have a great track record for battery life in the first place.
Here, you're just making things up. I have never had a problem with junkware, malware or parasitic utility makers. Sure, I'd be happier if Motorola or Verizon or whoever didn't add their own apps onto the phone, but neither the malware or parasitic utility makers (whatever those are) are anywhere near as much a problem as you're making them out to be.
In addition, my Droid now has much better battery life than both my first gen and my 3G iPhones ever did. I can't speak to the 3Gs or the 4, but if you think Android phones now have such a poor track record for battery life, did you also think those phones had poor battery life. I remember having to turn off push notifications on both those iPhones just so they'd get through the day. Unless, of course, you're intentionally trying to pass off the problems of one phone as that of all phones running Android.
posted by SAC at 3:47 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.

Me too. iTunes doesn't encode at the highest 320 kbps (DRM-free of course), Whereas the few times I had to use iTunes it was 256 kbps, and iTunes takes forever to open and forever to download.....and is all domineering...

I despised Amazon for a while, because of what seemed like a real ugly goal with their Kindle (quite akin to Apple's with iTunes), but they seem more modest and respectful now that they have some serious competition from other Co.s, with the 600 pound gorilla of course being the iPad (funny that, I have yet to see Apple act like anything other than a spoiled fat cow with all its products, but I digress), but now I love downloading records to my Android MyTouch (have I mentioned what an economical, efficient, high quality, beautiful, sleek, powerful, fast beauty it is? I have? oh Sooorryy..), and loading them up to play on that (the sound is great), and eventually I tether my Android MyTouch (also, called HERO or Magic in other places) with the USB cable and just transfer my mp3 files into iTunes so my music stays in one place and backed up on an external drive.

Anyhow, one of the funniest things to do is sit in a bar and peruse records on Amazon with the Android app and download music and records, like I can't wait to download some old Specials right now, a beloved band from my teens I recently went to see again and was in heaven watching, and hearing all their great songs again...what a trip. Anyhow, yeah, record shopping while your sitting in a bar getting lit up is like so neat and fun I sometimes feel like asploding with happiness....

/drunk dorking out
posted by Skygazer at 3:56 PM on July 19, 2010


I just want to chime in and say I love my N1. I have had it for three weeks now and I love the speed and ease of use, plus the chance to noodle around with it (installing App2SD was fun!). I wish it had better press...because it is a dandy phone and pretty stylish. Anyone can have an iPhone, but not everyone can have an N1 :-) The way a Wireless Wave employee drooled over it made me feel like I had won a beauty pageant!
posted by Calzephyr at 3:59 PM on July 19, 2010


The way a Wireless Wave employee drooled over it made me feel like I had won a beauty pageant!
Until the 4, I always thought the Nexus 1 was the prettiest of all phones. If only they had actually made one for Verizon...

Here's praying for a Nexus 2.
posted by SAC at 4:01 PM on July 19, 2010


Why anybody would buy songs from iTunes when they could get them as Amazon MP3 downloads is beyond me.

Until recently you could not purchase MP3s in Canada; iTunes was the only online store.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:07 PM on July 19, 2010


I too love my Nexus. I've had it from the start and I'm constantly amazed by how much it's changed, even in six months. I have never owned a computing device that's gone through such astonishing evolution - froyo, swype and - as of an hour ago, Google Apps Inventor (my kitty meows!). The situation with the iPhone 4 looks very similar - it seems to be a further step-change from its predecessors. It seems that the intense and well-resourced competition is doing exactly what textbook economics says that it should: delivering benefits to the customer (me!). It's fascinating and exciting to be part of.
posted by grahamwell at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2010


I would bet T-mobiles coverage in other metro-urban areas is also superb.

I have T-Mobile and it is clearly better than ATT/iPhone in San Francisco. iPhone users constantly walk up to the windows or walk outside to make calls or send messages.


Obviously it all depends. In the same apartment in SF, with T-Mobile, I get a very weak connection and constant dropped calls, and there's a deadspot right outside my building where I can't get a T-Mobile signal at all, but with AT&T I get a strong signal in my apartment (so strong that I can't even replicate the iPhone 4 deathgrip problem in my apartment) and have yet to drop a call. I was quite apprehensive about AT&T's purported weak coverage in SF before getting the iPhone 4, but I haven't found that to be the case at all. Of course, it's all anecdotal evidence and YMMV.
posted by gyc at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2010


they seem more modest and respectful now that they have some serious competition from other Co.s, with the 600 pound gorilla of course being the iPad

I find this remarkable, given that the iBooks reader is really clunky and annoying compared to the Kindle reader for iPad. In fact, I find Stanza to be marginally better than iBooks -- Stanza's library access is not intuitive, and I hate the page turn animation on Stanza (feels like you're turning a book of stone tablets), but at the same time it gives you the ability to change the page color to something that's not glaringly white, and on the whole it feels easier to read than iBooks.

There are many, many things I love about my iPad. It is a wonderful device that has allowed me to ditch my netbook (and in some cases my laptop). But iBooks is very disappointing, from the price points of books to the terrible UI that tries too hard to be a book rather than embrace the form factor. I use Kindle and Stanza for most of my reading and will until iBooks actually gets some thought from the Apple UX team.
posted by dw at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2010


dw, check Software Update, they've just released an update to iBooks.
posted by new brand day at 5:30 PM on July 19, 2010


I've tried four different eReaders, and found iBooks to be the best of the bunch. The UI gets out of the way until I need it, and it's the only one I've found that does two things I love: text search and highlighting. Kindle app doesn't.

But that store needs a shit load more titles. I want Gotham: A History of New York to 1898 in eBook format.
posted by grubi at 5:44 PM on July 19, 2010


Tried Barnes & Noble's just now. It has the two features I want! But it has one more: a greyer, ebook-like theme. However it keeps crashing.
posted by grubi at 6:02 PM on July 19, 2010


I did switch my data plan from a standard unlimited data plan to the "Android plan"...the cost was the same, the only difference being that the "Android plan" allowed me to use visual voicemail (which I promptly replaced with google voice anyway). If you had something like a Sidekick, then you had a cheaper data plan, but that was more of a "Sidekick Discount" than an "Android Tax".

They have been steadily ramping the cost of their data plans up, so you might have already been stuck with a fairly expensive one, it's hard to say.

Mine is not a 'Sidekick plan.' It's a totally generic Internet-access plan called 'Total Internet.' They had it for many years, and virtually everyone I know who has been a T-Mobile customer has had it, at least at one point or another. At one point in time it was actually the expensive, premium plan (the cheap plan was WEP-only and about $6/mo). I'm not sure when they discontinued offering it to new subscribers, but I think it was within the last year or two; presumably it was just before or at the same time they rolled out the Android, but I can't prove that.

The whole idea that various devices have different plans, i.e. an "Android plan" and a "Sidekick plan" is just marketing bullshit. With the possible exception of the Blackberry, which actually does have some serious backend infrastructure (if you use RIM's BIS rather than your own BES), there's really no difference between an Android and my Nokia and a WinMo. All they want to do is push packets across the network. It's all just IP.

So I'm pretty offended by the whole scheme, which is basically like looking at your laptop's MAC address when you connect to a WiFi hotspot, and charging you one rate if you have a Dell and another rate if you have an HP, and another rate if you have an Apple, all for the same service. I'm just not interested in supporting that.

It would be fine if T-Mobile wanted to charge one rate for GSM access ($5.99 -- the old WEP plan rate) and another rate for EDGE (say $20, the Total Internet rate), and a higher rate for 3G. I'd actually be quite fine just taking my EDGE-only data plan and moving it to an Android. At least then, I'd feel like I was actually getting something for the extra money they're so transparently trying to squeeze out of me. Similarly, if this was just something they were doing for subsidized phones, that would be reasonably fair. (And they do charge you $10 or so extra a month if you have a subsidized phone than if you don't.)

But it's pretty obnoxious that I could go out and buy a WinMo 3G phone and hoover down all the bandwidth I want for $20/mo (laptop Hotspot access included!), but if I want to do that using an Android, it's going to be $25 for the phone plus another $15+ for the laptop. It's just a shitty way of doing business and perhaps it's because I've come to expect a bit more from them than the "you'll bend over and you'll say 'thank you'" attitude of AT&T and Verizon that it just really rubs me the wrong way. I left Verizon and went to T-Mobile years ago specifically to get away from bullshit like that.

I'm not about to drop my current line of service, but I'm certainly not interested in rewarding them by giving them any more.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:40 PM on July 19, 2010


But it's pretty obnoxious that I could go out and buy a WinMo 3G phone and hoover down all the bandwidth I want for $20/mo (laptop Hotspot access included!), but if I want to do that using an Android, it's going to be $25 for the phone plus another $15+ for the laptop.

Yeah, this is bullshit. Oddly, with VZW, it went the other way - I had a WinMo phone but when I switched to Android it was $10 cheaper a month even though I have to be using 10x the data I did with the old phone. When I got the new phone, I asked why it was cheaper and they said "because of Exchange integration," which is again bullshit.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:24 PM on July 19, 2010


I question your desire to carry both a phone and a tablet. It's twice as many things to carry or forget, and you miss the synergy between the two techs.

If the tablet were good enough, you certainly wouldn't need a phone. I guess that's why the iPad is supposed to be. Not for me yet, tho. No EZ file transfer.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:24 PM on July 19, 2010


Kadin2048: "
The whole idea that various devices have different plans, i.e. an "Android plan" and a "Sidekick plan" is just marketing bullshit. With the possible exception of the Blackberry, which actually does have some serious backend infrastructure (if you use RIM's BIS rather than your own BES)
"

It's not entirely marketing BS. The idea of all you can eat data plans is problematic, and this is one onery way of segregating people with WEP phone browsers from the podcast hungry, VoIP capable, Youtube watching, WiFi sharing phones. Bandwidth in a area is shared among those within earshot, and those activities are relatively hungry. The alternative would be metered plans, which would scare off a lot of people I think. But there's been movement lately that may make a capped data plan standard. At which point the segregation is less fair and more evil.

Not that the people behind data plans aren't greedy bastards, out to divide the markets into segments and milking every last drop of employer subsidized plans. Hence the fanatical support carriers give to Blackberry, and the borderline criminal blocking of Exchange ports in some plans. You can call it the "enterprise tax." I call it the "I'll stick with wifi, thanks" tax.
posted by pwnguin at 10:07 PM on July 19, 2010


it's the only one I've found that does two things I love: text search and highlighting. Kindle app doesn't.

Kindle's app will let you highlight and bookmark. I do it all the time. Search it is missing (which still baffles me -- how hard is it to plop a search engine in a modern app, anyway?) Stanza will let you do both.

dw, check Software Update, they've just released an update to iBooks.

I'll download it later when I get back to reading the new Shirky book.
posted by dw at 10:25 PM on July 19, 2010


One note on the N1's battery life - I'm able to have a very long battery life on my device, and have yet to have it dip below 50% even when doing things like listening to music on wi-fi, browsing the web, syncing mail, etc.

Why? There are a couple of power-saving apps that you can download, and put on the desktop.

The first is a widget called Toggle Data, that you download. This turns on and off the data usage. So when it's not on, it's essentially a dumbphone because it's not constantly accessing 3G data in the background. The second is a widget called Power Control, which is built into the OS. It's a bar that lets you adjust 5 or toggle on/off 5 elements: wi-fi, Bluetooth, GPS, automatic syncing, and screen brightness. My main screen has these widgets right on it for convenience. I love LOVE this.

When actually using the phone? I'll turn on the appropriate nodes that I need, and then use the phone. But, when it's sitting in my bag, which is 90% of the time when I'm out and about? I shut everything off. Having never had an iPhone, I have no idea if it has this functionality, or if it's so easily accessible. If someone could tell me, that'd be great.

If you're having trouble picturing this, here's a pic of my phone's main screen: http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/294/img0186e.jpg. Power Control is the bar in the middle of the screen, and Toggle Data is the square that is hovering to the right of Diego Forlán's forehead.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:16 AM on July 20, 2010


I love smartphone threads; they inevitably morph into iPhone vs anti-iPhone grar, with added insight into how fecked-up US carriers are…

But this? : the ongoing sync issues Palm Pre users have been having with iTunes upgrades … remember the palm pre and itunes? … Remember the whole Palm Pre iTunes syncing fiasco?

Yeah. God knows how Palm thought they could get away with it - making the Pre say "yup, I'm an iPod!" when asked, and later faking Apple's USB VendorID & DeviceIDs in direct contravention of not Apple but the USB Consortium (putting at risk their own right to use any USB technology, chipsets, or even logos) - rather than just writing their own software using Apple's published methods for accessing the iTunes database.

Stupid, Palm, just stupid…
posted by Pinback at 12:40 AM on July 20, 2010


Do people still actually SYNC their music collections?

Ever since I learned about Subsonic, I just run the client on my phone and stream anything from the thousands of shows I have on my harddrive at home...
posted by mikelieman at 12:56 PM on July 19 [+] [!]


So, this is a slight derail that will probably go unnoticed, but does there exist a Subsonic-like thing for streaming videos? Because that would be extremely handy.
posted by kafziel at 1:26 AM on July 20, 2010


I am the iPhone's target market. I got an N1 4 days ago to replace my dead G1.

I think the iPhone as a physical item has better design.

But I like the N1 because it does what I care about well. I use Google heavily. Mail, contacts, and calendar are quite nicely integrated.

Also, I like Google's attitude towards developers. Google wont block your book reader just because someone might use it to display the Kama Sutra.

And OS updates are free.
posted by zippy at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2010


They are free for iPhone owners too.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2010


Not every statement of "X is true for Y" implies the counter-factual "X is not true for Z".
posted by GuyZero at 8:02 AM on July 20, 2010


One thing to consider is carrying a Verizon android based phone, which can function as a WiFi hotspot (with the most recent v2.1.x update, or Froyo [2.2]) and a WiFi only iPad. Two devices, both OSes, one data plan.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:05 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


kafziel wrote: "So, this is a slight derail that will probably go unnoticed, but does there exist a Subsonic-like thing for streaming videos? Because that would be extremely handy."

Orb, if you have Windows.
posted by wierdo at 8:21 AM on July 20, 2010


@snuffleupagus - that is genius, and the best argument I've seen yet for rooting and upgrading from 1.6. Not that I'm sure I actually want an iPad, but that would work with laptops or netbooks also, without the relative expense of a separate data-only contract...

(Not, I hasten to add, that the iPad isn't a magical and marvellous device, kai ta loipa...)
posted by DNye at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2010


They are free for iPhone owners too.

Ah, good to know. I heard that you had to pay for upgrades on the iPod Touch and assumed it was the same with the iPhone.
posted by zippy at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2010


that is genius, and the best argument I've seen yet for rooting and upgrading from 1.6.

On VZW at least, there is a surcharge ($20/month, I think) to do this, although there are ... workarounds.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2010


On most Android phones you can enable this w/o VZW's help by enabling the configuration menu for the feature and taking the suffix off of the data connect login. Whether or not VZW ever notices this is debated on various wireless user forums (most people seem to think they don't unless you exceed the softcap -- i.e. trigger other reporting mechanisms.) I won't give instructions on how it's done here, but they're not hard to find.

How you feel about doing it that way is sort of up to you--note that VZW doesn't distinguish between tethering other mobile devices and full on laptops when making that surcharge, nor do they increase your softcap (as far as I know.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:34 PM on July 20, 2010


When it came to flogging hardware direct, google customer support frankly sucked. And it had the extra bonus of really pissing off the people it really needs to take on apple, the carriers. They rely on the link between hardware and the contracts to either upsell on the contract, or overcharge for the hardware - and that applies whether it's an android, iphone or blackberry.

Yes, there are retailers selling handsets directly, but with google doing it - and offering immediate updates to android without all the carrier crapware - it was a much greater threat to their bottom line. I'd say that google got into a staring contest with the carriers, and lost, which is unfortunate.
Which is what's so annoying about all of this. The carriers have been making mobile phones suck for years and years in order to squeeze more profits out of the thing (i.e. since they've really been able to run interesting software, it's been disallowed)

It seemed like with android we were finally going to have an open platform, now instead carriers are just messing up Android with junk and forcing it on consumers.

The thing is, this carrier lockdown is really a U.S. thing. In other countries, you can get any phone you want and use it on any network. In europe specifically the government standardized on GSM, which means (I think) all phones work on all networks. If you launch a GSM phone here, it only works on T-Mobile and AT&T. T-Mobile has always come across as the least restrictive/obnoxious provider. I have them and the coverage has been great. No dropped calls, and I'm not in a major metro area (well, right this minute I am but not most of the time). It works great. Certainly I never hear the kind of complaints you hear about AT&T.

--

Anyway, with the Nexus 1, phones these days have a pretty short shelf life before they get obsoleted. There were better android phones then then N1 within a couple months, and the newest generation of phones is probably even better still ("4G" plus front cams, etc). I do hope they come out with an N2 and so on. Even if the phones aren't that popular overall, it helps the brand to have a 'premium' high quality phone without the junk on it.


---
I don't know if it's "amazing" per se, but I know I find Poynt indispensable on my BB. It was launched on BB, and has been ported to the iOS. It is possible there's an Android equivalent I'm simply not aware of, too.
Uh, from reading the description, it sounds like google maps. Which, obviously, Android has.

---
But I am looking forward to seeing what can be done with iPad clones in a year or two, once they start coming out. -- Blazecock
Jesus Christ. There were something like 50 tablet style PCs and media devices on the market when the iPad was announced. Now of course everything released after the iPad is going to be an 'iPad clone'. WTF ever.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2010


Uh, from reading the description, it sounds like google maps. Which, obviously, Android has.

It's not. My understanding is that it has quite a bit of functionality that Maps does not, actually. Read the feature list.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on July 20, 2010


Well, there were tablet style notebooks, but aside from the Nokia N series there wasn't else much like the iPad around--except for the ill-fated CrunchPad (aka JooJoo.)

It's stretching it to label other similar devices iPad clones because the general concept has been around forever--but I wouldn't say that a tablet PC is the same beast. People have also grown accustomed to using dominant product names as stand-ins for the more generic term--even if they don't actually have much brand loyalty. (viz Kleenex vs. tissue, Tylenol vs acetaminophen, Jacuzzi vs spa, Walkman vs portable cassette player, etc.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:09 PM on July 20, 2010


There were something like 50 tablet style PCs and media devices on the market when the iPad was announced.

In Blazecock's defense, none of them really fit well within the same niche as the iPad. I have several of those devices myself, and while some of them are good at some of the same things as the iPad, none are really direct substitutes.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2010


And, perhaps most importantly, I can't think of a comparable device that cost $500. for $500 when the ipad was released you were generally not getting netbook with a screen of that quality in a package that small overall.
posted by GuyZero at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2010


snuffleupagus: One thing to consider is carrying a Verizon android based phone, which can function as a WiFi hotspot (with the most recent v2.1.x update, or Froyo [2.2]) and a WiFi only iPad. Two devices, both OSes, one data plan.

That's nifty, but Verizon gives with one hand and steals with twenty others. The only way I will ever have anything to do with Verizon, for any service ever again, is if they provide routine oral sex.
posted by Skygazer at 3:24 PM on July 20, 2010


Kadin2048: It's just a shitty way of doing business and perhaps it's because I've come to expect a bit more from them than the "you'll bend over and you'll say 'thank you'" attitude of AT&T and Verizon that it just really rubs me the wrong way. I left Verizon and went to T-Mobile years ago specifically to get away from bullshit like that.

I feel very similar to you. T-mobile has so far been pretty decent, great coverage, and good customer service and they let you go to a cheaper plan if your going to be using your phone less (and with Google Voice, I'm thinking I might try gong to an even cheaper plan and the plan I have now which is perfect is $75 (plus tax) and has unlimited data and texting), but there does seem to be this pattern of an inverted hierachy of shit that cell co.s seem to follow, and it all starts with Verizon, who were a not only a shit landline company before cells, they were barely hidden, out and out thieves and scumbags nickel and dime-ing millions of customers. I kid you not. A dime x a million customers per month is a fortune. They've carried over that seriously crippled and disease ridden business ethic to their wireless services, doubling early termination of contract fees, and this is my favorite scam: charging millions of cellphone users data charges of $1.99 each time they accidentally access the web (made easy with phones Verizon asked to have built with instant web access buttons). $1.99 times let's say conservatively a million customers per month??? That's mind-blowing. David Pogue of the NYT addressed this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/technology/personaltech/12pogue-email.html


Hell, why shouldn't they, they can do whatever the hell they want...they pretty much own Congress and the FCC. All those scams they run, buy them a LOT of political power. So they're the business model it seems the other telco's aspire too...Cingular/AT&T was really okay for a while and then they went to shite, in that VERizon F-U, you're our slave now because we have you're damned contract sucker etc..

I'm expecting T-MObile to show it's true face anyday now and turn into another scummy Verizon/AT&T wannabe...but so far so good.

I think once (if) they go to shit, I just might go prepaid and say to hell with the lot of em...
posted by Skygazer at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2010


You must be looking for Boost Mobile: word is they totally blow.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:48 PM on July 20, 2010


Jesus Christ. There were something like 50 tablet style PCs and media devices on the market when the iPad was announced. Now of course everything released after the iPad is going to be an 'iPad clone'. WTF ever.

You've made this point before and will no doubt make it again, while neatly ignoring the simple fact that Apple set the standard, for now anyway. It really doesn't matter if there were 50 or 100 tablets before then, none of them caught the public's eye like the iPad.

Apple makes very good products, a large segment of the populace knows this and Apple, wonder of wonders, isn't shy about letting people know when it has a good product. The question isn't why aren't any of those other 50 devices more popular to the general public but rather why aren't any of the 50 devices available at Best Buy.
posted by new brand day at 4:43 PM on July 20, 2010


The thing is, this carrier lockdown is really a U.S. thing. In other countries, you can get any phone you want and use it on any network. In europe specifically the government standardized on GSM, which means (I think) all phones work on all networks.

Sort of - the network isn't the reason why they don't work is probably a more accurate way to put it. Individual phones are locked so that they only work with SIM cards from a specific carrier, but every high street has a shop that will unlock your phone, although it will invalidate your warranty. Some phones are carrier-exclusive - the G1 on 3, the HTC Magic on Vodafone, the Palm Pre and Pixi on O2. The Nexus One, getting back ontopic, is still available on the high street as a Vodafone exclusive (locked for a Vodafone SIM), but Google UK employees have unlocked versions.

For a long time the iPhone was only available on O2, and one of the main reasons for jailbreaking was that it was the easiest way to unlock the phone to take SIM cards from other networks, whereas O2 will now give you the unlock code at the end of your contract.

So... it's like DVD players, I suppose. The reasons for restriction are contractual and financial rather than technical.
posted by DNye at 5:41 PM on July 20, 2010


You've made this point before and will no doubt make it again, while neatly ignoring the simple fact that Apple set the standard, for now anyway. It really doesn't matter if there were 50 or 100 tablets before then, none of them caught the public's eye like the iPad.
And how many of them had the same marketing budget as the iPad? Look, even if the iPad is a "very good" tablet, that doesn't mean that every future device is automatically an "iPad clone". That's just ridiculous.
rather why aren't any of the 50 devices available at Best Buy.
Well they are. I've certainly seen HP tx series tablets at Best Buy. Those were fully PCs and pretty bulky, but you could certainly buy them at best buy if you wanted.

And by the way, what's with this "best buy" obsession with mac heads? Since when is Best Buy the standard by which consumer electronics are judged? Pretty much any standard commodity component they sell (like ram, usb cables, hard drives, whatever) is going to be way overpriced. And they scam you with "service" deals, extended warranties, mail in rebates (with the post-rebate price being listed) and in general try to ream you.

Wallmart probably sells more computers then Best Buy and, despite their problems, isn't known for exceptionally shitty, scammy customer service. So why not use walmart as an example? Oh right, it's because they don't sell macs and Apple products (as far as I know).

---

Anyway, it's certainly true that the iPad is the first tablet with a full on mass marketing/PR push. It's probably got a nice simple-to-use Cellphone like UI. But it's not really anything new, in terms of hardware, and in terms of software it's a step backwards, extending the locked-down nature of the iPhone to a larger device. Calling future tablets "iPad clones" is like calling all mp3 players "iPod clones"
So... it's like DVD players, I suppose. The reasons for restriction are contractual and financial rather than technical.
You're talking about the UK. Things are a bit worse in the U.S. Even if you had an unlocked, for example, Palm Pre or Droid you could never use it on ATT or T-Mobile's network, because it uses a completely different radio protocol and doesn't even have a sim card. I don't know if phones from Verizon and sprint can work on eachother's networks either (maybe they do).
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on July 20, 2010


@delmoi I am indeed talking about the UK - it was in response to:

In europe specifically the government standardized on GSM, which means (I think) all phones work on all networks

I was just clarifying that, although they don't work on all networks out of the box, that's the phone's issue rather than the network's, so is fixable. I confess that the US system seems pretty strange from here, although maybe it's the invisible hand of the market in action - customer demand will decide what network people actually want to have, whereas the decision has been made for us in Europe. In practical terms it does make life easier, though.

Incidentally, and begging your pardon, but I think the iPad is actually somewhat different from the previous tablets available in high street stores, which almost always had rotating screens, coverable keyboards and a laptop-flavoured OS, usually Windows. Having played with iPads a fair bit, they are doing something quite different - they don't have an OS that looks or behaves like a laptop's, they charge from a dock connector, they sync like an iPod...

Whether that's a new idea is up for debate. Intel was developing its Moblin OS, before it was folded into MeeGo, for MIDs - envisaged as being keyboardless devices with a bigger screen and OS than a phone and a smaller screen and OS than a laptop. Dell's Streak, which came out in the UK a month or so ago, is a step towards that sort of niche - smaller and more like a phone than an iPad, and usable as a regular phone, but still possessed of a bigger screen than a phone. The Archos media tablets have been getting iPaddy at about the same rate as the iPad itself, and there's always the WeTab. When HP releases WebOS-powered slates, they will in a sense be in the style of the iPad, because they will be adapting a smartphone OS for a larger screen.

It's not a wholly original concept - it's a larger and more versatile iPod Touch, although that extra size opens up a lot of app possibilities - but Apple deserves credit, at least, for committing to the space in the consumer market and challenging on cost - and for making something that is really rather lovely to look at and hold.

It's also magical, obviously.
posted by DNye at 7:41 PM on July 20, 2010


But it's not really anything new, in terms of hardware
I think it matters how you define tablet. You seem to count anything that hides the keyboard, but really what's being talked about it by tablet nowadays is "multitouch screen with finger-optimised OS". That's a big change from what went before, and there definitely wasn't anything like 50 of them at launch. Even the Nokias came with stylii.

Calling future tablets "iPad clones" is like calling all mp3 players "iPod clones"
Perhaps clones is wrong, but every MP3 from Oct 2001 was judged by the iPod yardstick, and none of them managed to eclipse it. Despite, and I know this is baffling, some of them having more features on the checklist and some of them working better with Linux.

The same has already happened with the iPad. It's the metric by which future devices will be judged, and in that sense it has completely changed the game in the way that all of your 50 devices categorically failed to.
posted by bonaldi at 2:37 AM on July 21, 2010


Wallmart ... isn't known for exceptionally shitty, scammy customer service.

Never shopped at Wal-mart, have you?
posted by grubi at 6:24 AM on July 21, 2010


For all the people insisting that the Tablet PCs prior to the iPad are the same thing, find me one that was solid state, had a battery life of about 12 hours, and didn't heat up.
posted by grubi at 6:25 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


For all the people insisting that the Tablet PCs prior to the iPad are the same thing, find me one that was solid state, had a battery life of about 12 hours, and didn't heat up.

I'm not going to make the argument that they're the same thing. I think they're quite a bit different. That said, I'm posting from a solid-state Tablet PC with a battery life of a bit less than 12 hours. It doesn't heat up noticeably. It's a (long-discontinued) Sony VAIO UX. I wouldn't want to play games or read books on it, though, as the screen's a bit too small unless it's plugged into an external monitor.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:13 AM on July 21, 2010


delmoi wrote: "And by the way, what's with this "best buy" obsession with mac heads?"

Best Buy is contractually obligated to sell anything Apple dreams up, so their products are well represented there. Until they signed that deal a couple of years back, the only Apple product sold there was the iPod.

After Steve killed the clone business, Best Buy didn't carry Apple products again until iPod.
posted by wierdo at 7:18 AM on July 21, 2010


bonaldi wrote: "I think it matters how you define tablet. You seem to count anything that hides the keyboard, but really what's being talked about it by tablet nowadays is "multitouch screen with finger-optimised OS". That's a big change from what went before, and there definitely wasn't anything like 50 of them at launch. Even the Nokias came with stylii."

Comes with stylus != needs stylus. My N900 and 5800XM both have a stylus, but they aren't needed for anything in particular.

Granted, the older NITs weren't incredibly finger friendly. More so than WM, but there were still things that needed a stylus or a fingernail. Of course, even they had customizable home screens with widgets, something still lacking on Apple products.

I think I've mentioned before that MeeGo is probably going to be where it's at in tablets once some actually make it out the door. It's the only modern tablet UX designed for a tablet and not either a desktop or a smartphone.
posted by wierdo at 7:27 AM on July 21, 2010


And how many of them had the same marketing budget as the iPad? Look, even if the iPad is a "very good" tablet, that doesn't mean that every future device is automatically an "iPad clone". That's just ridiculous.

Hey is the other tablets can't be bothered to market, that's their own fault. And frankly, victory is written by the winners. Currently the iPad is winning, so yes, later tablets will be thought of as "clones" and compared to the iPad. This is perfectly natural, whether it's Apple in the lead or not. For whatever reason, the iPad is wildly successful, when other tablets weren't, so of course everything will be compared to it.

Well they are. I've certainly seen HP tx series tablets at Best Buy.

Interesting, doing a search at their online store doesn't seem to pull them up. It does show that the iPad is only available in the store, while several of the other 7 tablets are only available online. Weird, but I think Apple figured out that putting the tablet in front of people is the way to really seduce them into buying one.

At my local Best Buy though, I haven't seen any of the PC tablets, just the iPad with Ed, the helpful and nice sales guy.

Since when is Best Buy the standard by which consumer electronics are judged?

It's where PCs and Macs are sold, so it's interesting to me to see how they're marketed differently.
posted by new brand day at 7:33 AM on July 21, 2010


The thing is, this carrier lockdown is really a U.S. thing. In other countries, you can get any phone you want and use it on any network.

Someone else already mentioned this, but that's not really true. Some other countries might have single network technologies, but just about every carrier in every country sells subsidized contract phones which are locked to the carrier.
posted by antifuse at 7:49 AM on July 21, 2010


There were something like 50 tablet style PCs and media devices on the market when the iPad was announced.

Almost none of which have the same features and form factor as the iPad. There are some Android-based devices coming which define themselves on the iPad design and specifications, such as the WePad (or whatever it is called now), but they won't be out for a year or longer, if at all.

But it's not really anything new, in terms of hardware, and in terms of software it's a step backwards, extending the locked-down nature of the iPhone to a larger device.

In terms of hardware it arguably has a lot of novel stuff in it, and certainly the combination of certain hardware components is unique. Software-wise, millions of buyers probably disagree about the extent to which the "lock-down" affects them adversely. Most people just don't care, because it doesn't get in their way and it lets them do their thing. The "lock-down" is marketing speak, mostly affects competitors who want in on Apple's profits (Adobe, etc.).

Look, even if the iPad is a "very good" tablet, that doesn't mean that every future device is automatically an "iPad clone".

Practically every Android-based touch tablet these days is being defined by its vendors, no less, as an alternative option to the iPad, offering similar features and specifications while running Android. The "WePad" is probably the canonical example, here. Even HP's purchase of Palm appears to be for making a tablet with a form factor and interface similar to the iPad.

So why not use walmart as an example? Oh right, it's because they don't sell macs and Apple products (as far as I know).

Wal-Mart sells iPods, as well as some Apple-made peripherals and software.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:09 AM on July 21, 2010





How a 15-yo Kid Tricked Apple With a Disguised iPhone Tethering App

Oh, this is AWESOME.

Wish I had known before it was pulled.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:28 PM on July 21, 2010


Have you tried using iTunes on Windows? From what I've heard it's lovely on macs, but I thought it was a seriously poor piece of software using it on Windows.
Nothing but trouble on the pc-seems designed to fail.
posted by uni verse at 12:49 PM on July 21, 2010


Wal-Mart sells iPods, as well as some Apple-made peripherals and software.

They've been available there since 2005.
posted by zarq at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2010


You know, I'm right there with the "way to go, kid!", but you have to question: if he lied about the tethering function, what else did he lie about? Does it collect usernames and passwords passed through the tethering? Does it root your iphone?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2010


You know, I'm right there with the "way to go, kid!", but you have to question: if he lied about the tethering function, what else did he lie about? Does it collect usernames and passwords passed through the tethering? Does it root your iphone?

Isn't that the whole point of vetting applications for the iPhone and maintaining that "walled garden," so that you don't have to worry about spammer, phishers, and hackers (and pornographers)?

Apple's app store is filled with phishing apps
posted by mrgrimm at 9:21 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Practically every Android-based touch tablet these days is being defined by its vendors, no less, as an alternative option to the iPad, offering similar features and specifications while running Android. The "WePad" is probably the canonical example, here. Even HP's purchase of Palm appears to be for making a tablet with a form factor and interface similar to the iPad.

Apparently over in China, the HUGE thing right now is the aPad - a buddy of mine whose friend goes over pretty regularly said they're popping up all over the place, and they're pretty cheap (and run Android).
posted by antifuse at 6:29 AM on July 22, 2010


Interesting.

Google's China rival to create Android-like OS
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2010




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