Thursday, January 30, 2014

Motorola Reflections: Reality Is Strange. What You Forgot, Never Happened

Yes it's a philosophical thing. What is forgotten, never happened. If no memories are left, there is no way to prove that something happened in first place. Maybe that is why some desperately trying to clear things out of people minds, or out of Google's auto complete. And maybe some people at Google now wishes the Motorola deal would have never happened. Was it a fail? No, it fulfilled its purpose.

The news when Motorola was bought from Google, was a big deal. First some stated it was only for the patents, but then the Moto Line came out. It was clear that, despite the over-presented American patriotism for this company, the lack of tech specs that shakes the competition, would lead to a good, but not overwhelming number of sold devices. Mid-range, with the only real highlight the configurable back cover, it wasn't tempting for everyone.

And now another big news broke. Google will sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, if the Chinese and US authorities are okay with this deal. But without the patents. Oh! Yes, Google will keep the important patents and licensing it to Lenovo. Now, you can say what you want, but this smells like the old thinking was true. It was all about the patents.
And thats why it's still not a disaster to buy a company for $12.5 billion and sell it for $2.9 billion not even 2 years later. The deal was done and completed like intended. Sure, I'm not saying with the Moto X and Moto G being a success, Google wouldn't have kept Motorola Mobility. But with this numbers, it costs Google even more money to keep it.
Lenovo now wants to position Motorola against Apple in their home market.

And people will forget about this news quickly. Then nobody knows that Lenovo, a Chinese company, bought Motorola. And the company will keep living on with that American patriotism that Lenovo needs to get a stake in the US market. The Motorola deal? It never happened.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Does Google go the Apple-Way with KitKat 4.4 ?

Important features are missing in updates to +Android 4.4 KitKat. NOt even the launcher is the same. Transparent in status line and soft keys are missing. Is this the start of Google doing it the Apple-way and leaving out features for older devices?
I have to say I'm upset about this. For me the most important updates are the ones I feel and see. Personally I do not care much about the Launcher, which is basically the search app, because of doubts about spying out my usage behaviour, but the transparent status line on top and the ugly onscreen buttons on the bottom. Believe it or not, I want it. It's a totally new user experience and gives you the feeling you just have a new device with a bigger screen.
In addition to this, having the left-swipe Google Now permanently on the desktop is also a main improvement.

This is not cool. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 are totally able to handle all the features very well. What is Google doing?
The Google Experience Launche (GEL) is said to be available for those devices afterwards. That is not very soothing. First of all, Google never said officially something about a "Google Experience Launcher". And second, it doesn't sound good to have the transparent effect on launcher level only. This should have been integrated on a deeper level of the OS. And it's not even assured that the GEL really brings transparency to the N4 and N7.
And in the end, people will get totally confused, having to install a launcher to get the latest Android experience. It's okay to make it uninstallable. But it needs to be there by default on a Nexus device. Period!

All in all this is not a good development. I always hating this fraud from Apple, to tell users they have the "new OS" and in reality it's something different than the real devices. +Google , you can do better than this. And by the way, what about the open source status of the GE launcher?


Related articles

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What Is The Reason For The Microsoft's Nokia Purchase?

After the first waves of shock, the Microsoft deal to purchase the phone business from Nokia is getting clearer and clearer for me.

Many ask themselves why Microsoft did this. Speculations about different things went popular on the net. For me it's obvious: The didn't want to lose their only big partner for spreading Windows Phone 8.
The Nokia contracts with Microsoft were about to run out. From the beginning Stephen Elop were bothered from inside and outside Nokia why they didn't chose Android over Windows RT. While Elop, as a former Microsoft employee, refuses any attempt to do so, it was only a matter of time. Nokia's downfall in the smartphone business is descriptive for a bad business decision. Nokia could have been easily No.1 in no time with Android. I think there is no doubt that their hardware is very good.
Now with the contracts running out, I don't think Elop would have withstand the demands of the share holders to produce an Android phone. And Microsoft knew it. The only way to keep Nokia on the Windows train, was to buy them.

For Microsoft the deal is a good one. Not for Nokia. While the software giant not only have a reliable platform to marketing their weakened OS, but they have some huge patents on their list, too. Alone the patents was worth the buy as they can now try to harm Android even more.
For Nokia the deal was a disaster. It showed the marode situation they are in. While the remaining parts of Nokia, the network tech e.g., are getting big money, a traditional brand was humilated and now doomed to get along with a tiny part of the business they once owned almost completely.

Related links
[Android Central - What Microsoft buying Nokia means for Android]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Minuum Keyboard: Failure at launch

Did you apply to the Beta-test, too and then get a link sent via mail that leads you to the market for buying the app for €2.90 ?

It happened to me:

Minuum is here!

Because you signed up early, we're telling you first


Thanks for signing up for the second beta phase of the Minuum keyboard, the little keyboard for big fingers. We’re happy to tell you that the beta for Android is ready for you to try!
Ah well, sounds like everything is okay. But then the provided link sends you to the play store for a version that is STILL BETA and cost €2.90

Well this is offending, to say at least. Funny that Thunderbird mail is telling me that this message is qualified as a scam. Nice algo :). But it isn't a scam, it's just a bad business behaviour. Really bad.
Mails I sent was answered with e.g. "By paying a small amount, customers like you can help us to make all this happen."

Well let me tell you something. Customers like me want a trial version, like all major keyboards have. I can't buy a keyboard to find out I can't use it, or the prediction is not good enough, or the kind (yeah it's totally different) of input is not for me.

The size of 20(!)MB is not very convincing, and makes me think that it isn't optimized at all. Swiftkey (pre-Cloud version) does need less space, has an awesome prediction and a trial version was available from the beginning.

I've been waiting long for Minuum, but now, I really have no intention to use it any more. Congratz, with this behaviour, you might have ruined a great idea for a new input.

Nvidia Shield at the Gamescom 2013

One of the few things that really caught my attention at the disappointing Gamescom 2013 was the Nvidia Shield Android portable game device.


There are already some Android gaming devices on the market. So what makes this different. It's from nvidia and optimized to work with their mobile GPU. It has an nvidia store integrated and a UI that is more like a gaming device than a typical Android tablet or phone.

This gaming-handeld was shown some time ago, and didn't change  much. It still looks like a big XBox-like controller with a display slapped on it. But the hardware seems to be good enough. The display can be closed and so you have something you could theoretically put in your pocket, but it's too big to do so. So a bag would be mandatory. I don't know how robust this thing is, but it feels like it could take some hits. Heavy and massive. The plastic cover feels cheap, but robust.


All fine and good but for $299 / €299, it's a problem of the customer attraction I'll guess. For less money you get more power for Android gaming when buying an Nexus 7 tablet and much more. For $199/€199 you'll get a PSP with a huge number of full price games. For Android this is a problem. You can have a lot of casual games, but real good games with 10+ hours of gameplay and modern graphics are rare. Android gaming has come very far. But let's face it, the number of titles that fully uses the capabilities are very low. Many good game ideas for Android are optimized for the touch screen. So again, you're better off using your phone or the Nexus 7 tablet.

I played Riptide GP2, which is Tegra 4 optimized. It ran decent, without hiccups, and the graphics were okay. Not breathtaking, but okay. After that, I tried a Sonic-game. Okay, too, but the graphics were outdated. Of course, it was a remake :). Comparing this to some titles shown at the Sony booth on the PSP Vita, it can't match up. Playing Killzone on Sony's device was a different League. I'm not saying this isn't possible with the Shield. But the games are not quite there. And some brands and titles never ever will be there because of the licenses. And the exclusivity are not present. You want to play Riptide GP2? Just download it for your phone or tablet at the official play store.


Conclusion: Hardcore gamers will rather get a PSP  I'll guess, or a Nintendo device with the great brand and Mario merchandise. The casual gamers are left to be the target audience. And I'm not quite sure if the shelf out 300 bucks to get something they can do with their phones.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Google Play Music All Access losing in Europe

There is a little rant about missing countries for Google Play Music All Access, and the consequences, over on ryocentral.info.
That might concern Android-users, too.

Bye Google Music, welcome Deezer...

Via [ryocentral.info]