Tag Technology

Is Bigger Always Better?

Really liking my new HTC One S…It’s fast, great screen and most importantly the camera works impressively well in low light.

Though I have to say these new, larger screens are great to look at but makes it hard to operate with a single hand. Even the HTC One S’s 4.3″ screen is hard to reach the far corners without moving your hand in ways that compromises your grip. Ironically, Android 4+ has moved primary controls into action bars on opposite ends of the screen.

After using the One S all weekend I had to see if this issue was all in my head and thankfully it wasn’t. My older (and much complained about) LG G2X (4″ screen) fits nicely in the palm of my hand and I can reach the entire screen without compromising my grip. To show what I mean I’ve created this map of what I can reach with my left thumb while holding the phone comfortably in my left hand and not compromising my grip.

Is anyone else experiencing this? Have you switched to using two hands to use your phone? Will Apple stick with the smaller form factor and use reach as their reason?

Steve Jobs – The Pot & The Kettle

No one can deny Steve Jobs did great things for Apple. Not only was he a founder, but he brought them focus and drive to create some of the most beloved/mimicked products to come out in the last few years (read: decade). Still, Jobs wasn’t living in a vacuum and as much as Apple innovated things they also took the best features from what was already out in the market.

So when I read about Jobs vent about his deep anger with Google (or his personal vendetta against Adobe) it makes Jobs look more of a petty, spoiled boy throwing a tantrum rather then the visionary we all respect him for. And it’s true in many ways Jobs was a spoiled brat with a giant frail ego, but his personality short comings are less memorable then his contributions and I hope in memory it’ll stay that way.

Jobs tears into Google in upcoming biography

Google gives social another try

Earlier this week Google launched their new social platform, Google+ and unlike their previous attempts (Wave and Buzz) this one isn’t a beta concept. Currently it’s only in limited release and invites are hard to come by, but beyond that, it’s anything but beta. Instead Google+ is a slick, well designed, full fledged attempt to compete with Facebook. Can they pull it off?

To improve their chances Google has created a clean and attractive UI for both the website and the Android app. Then they add features that people have been asking for from Facebook, like the ability to easily sort your friends into groups (called Circles with in G+); group messaging, think Beluga and GroupMe (called Huddles); group video chat, think iChat or Skype (called Hangouts); content recommendations (called Sparks), though I haven’t seen this is action yet; and this one is for the geeks, you can take your G+ data with you . Also with the Android app they also offer a “local” version of the news feed/stream which shows you the public posts from other G+ users nearby, they don’t even need to be in any one of your circles. Combined it’s a great feature boost, though I don’t doubt Facebook will follow suit with some of these.

So then why switch? Other then it’s new, clean, different, less noisy…at this point not much, as the critical mass hasn’t been reached but when it does it’ll be a force that Facebook will have to deal with. Which is good regardless of your participation with G+. Facebook needs a challenger, clearly MySpace wasn’t up to the task. Speaking of MySpace, think back to when it was the dominant social platform. Then Facebook was the new, clean, different, less noisy new kid on the block…so Google may still have a chance here. And just like MySpace felt back then, Facebook is feeling a backlash of interest from the fickle social masses that have OD’ed on the FB.

Overall, I have to say I’m impressed with Google+. It’s one of the most well thought out, planned and executed tools that Google has ever done. Only now has Google started to improve the design and UX of their search and email services. So I expect big things from Google here. Despite Goggle’s best efforts if the people don’t start using (or getting invites to) it, G+ will die from empty room syndrome and that would be a shame.

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Some related articles on Google+
- How to hack Google+ to send your friends invites (maybe) [TechCrunch]
- Andy Hertzfeld talks about not being the only designer behind Google+
- How To Recreate Google+ Circles in Facebook. by Ian Schafer
- Google+ code reveals intent to unleash Games and Questions to the social world [Engaget]

3rd Party Developers Feeling Twitter’s Growing Pains

My buddy Arpit and I were discussing Twitter’s suggestion that 3rd party developers stop creating new Twitter clients (more at Ars Technica) and he wrote a blog titled Thoughts on an open Twitter replacement: Concentrate on what’s done poorly. Below is my response to both his posting and Twitter’s actions.

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Not to defend Twitter’s recent actions, but this is just the next step in the evolution of Twitter from a social service to a becoming a destination. As Twitter’s popularity has grown, they need to change to support their new users. They are no longer targeting the early adopters and the techies that helped Twitter grow during it’s early years. There was hints of this last year during the launch of the “new” Twitter and earlier when they bought/rebranded the most popular 3rd party app as official.

No doubt Twitter is looking at how users experience Facebook through the official sites and apps. There are alternative Facebook clients but no one is using them, so if Facebook killed access to these clients there may be some rumblings from a few developers but overall no one else would care. Based off the numbers provided by Twitter in September this may already be true for Twitter as well. The thinking then was that users of these alternative clients were the power users and creating the lion’s share of the content seen on Twitter so it makes sense that Twitter is still in support of 3rd party apps for adding content.

Overall Twitter can be improved and the third party apps have help fill these voids. I like some of the idea posted and it’d be great for either Twitter or other service to bring these to the forefront. At the end of the day most users may not be directly effected by this latest change, at least not immediately. In the long-term this will change how and what Twitter is and how it gets used. In the short-term this seems to be about Twitter trying to take control of their service and finally make some money off it, which they have every right to do. I don’t agree with their tactics and it does make me wonder: if the 3rd party apps were such a small percentage of the users, what does Twitter gain by cutting them out of the equation?

UPDATE: Seems like I just found a partial answer to my own question. Mashable is reporting that “Only 58% of tweets come from official Twitter clients

Imitation, the Greatest Form of Flattery

Henry Needle & Sons - LogoA few years ago “Henry Needles and Sons” took their tailoring business online.  It was a beautifully crafted site with plenty of video to fill your broadband needs.  They displayed their tailor made outfits that brought style, craftsmanship and the ability to bring everything with you.  Each outfit offered extra large pockets that you could fit all of your digital devices.  Check them out at GreatPockets.com

Well today I came across another beautifully crafted site, this time for a new cell phone.  One that should give the iPhone a run for the money.  The Pomegranate phone is a sharp little all-in-one cell phone, and so much more.  Like Great Pockets, this site offers a great multimedia experience to show you every detail of their product.  One of my favorite features is the HD projector.  Who knew such a small device could project true HD video for all to enjoy.

Pomagranate Phone

Both sites are also fronts for another product altogether.  Great Pockets was Nokia’s ingenious concept site, designed by FarFar, for the release of their N95 cell phone.  There was a tight connection between all the items that you could fit into your Great Pockets pants and all the features of the N95.  The Pomegranate on the other hand has features even the N95 doesn’t have.  As mentioned there is an HD projector….umm hmm.  I will speak no more of the Pom’s featues, go check it out yourself.  Unlike the Great Pockets/N95 promo, the Pom phone is only connected to its true destination by some well written copy.  That destination being Nova Scotia.  Mad props go out to the Nova Scotia board of tourism for giving this stunt a try.

My gripe with the Pom phone site is that once I got to the true site I couldn’t care less what it had to offer.  The giant disconect from an ultra-high-tec phone and the land of Nova Scotia was too much for me.  I assume I’m not alone here.  I also assume this campaign will be less successful then Nokia’s original.  Either way they are both well worth your time.
Links:
Great Pockets – Henry Needle & Sons/N95
Pomegranate Phone – Nova Scotia
FarFar