Thursday, September 09, 2010

A couple of techie bits...

First, as a follow-up to my post about how much I loathe Flash, here is an amazing interactive video for Arcade Fire's We Used To Wait.

You must use Safari, Chrome or one of the many other WebKit-based browsers, but do so and you'll see "birds" that follow your mouse and the formation of which also follows the music; you'll see the video use satellite pictures of your home town; be able to write a postcard, and then see the video interact with more satellite pictures. It's utterly, utterly enthralling.

And it's entirely built in HTML5 technologies—no Flash at all.

Obviously, it's pretty processor intensive and only works on the latest and greatest browsers, but as an indication of the capabilities of HTML5 (and CSS3) it is simply stunning. The Chrome Experiments website has some more beautiful examples of interactive HTML5 projects, some of which are really amazing.

And things, as they say, will only get better.

Second, in a bid to annoy the hell out of Dizzy, here is a Techcrunch article summing up the problems with the openness of Android...
In the post, I posed a question: if it’s not the iPhone/AT&T deal, why do you choose Android? Nearly 1,000 people responded, and a large percentage focused on the same idea: the idea of “openness.”

You’ll forgive me, but I have to say it: what a load of crap.
...

In theory, I’m right there with you. The thought of a truly open mobile operating system is very appealing. The problem is that in practice, that’s just simply not the reality of the situation. Maybe if Google had their way, the system would be truly open. But they don’t. Sadly, they have to deal with a very big roadblock: the carriers.

The result of this unfortunate situation is that the so-called open system is quickly revealing itself to be anything but. Further, we’re starting to see that in some cases the carriers may actually be able to exploit this “openness” to create a closed system that may leave you crying for Apple’s closed system — at least their’s looks good and behaves as expected.
...

But who cares whether it’s great or it’s crap — isn’t the point of “open” supposed to be that the consumer can choose what they want on their own devices? Instead, open is proving to mean that the carriers can choose what they want to do with Android.

This has become more and more obvious as each new Android model is released, and it is going to become an increasing irritation. And whether Google can do anything about it—indeed, whether they want to—is unclear...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought my phone on its own (not in the UK actually), so I can do anything I like with it using wifi (which is free at work and available at home). I don't call or text that much, so I have a PAYG from ASDA which I believe is the cheapest in the country (below a certain amount of calls and texts). As I have 40G of space, I simply download everything I need for my 45 minute commute beforehand. So the carrier doesn't really matter to me. In fact, I could go SIMless for most of the day but as it goes behind the battery I'd rather leave it in.

John B said...

@DK: I don't understand why you're seeing what's happening to Android as a bad thing. Rather, it's enhancing consumer choice. People will be able to choose:

1) an astoundingly cheap carrier-branded smartphone based on Android that's astoundingly cheap because they're partly locked-in to their carrier's services

2) a branded smartphone based on Android that's mid-priced and freely available (while HTC and the other Taiwan firms will be happy to create 'Vodafone' models that lock you to Vodafone for services, no way will the big branded handset players do the same for phones that carry their logos too).

3) a branded smartphone based on a closed OS that's vastly expensive and locks you in, but gives hipsters a hard-on.

...and that's even before you follow what Anon (and I, come to that) have done and buy unlocked phones in Hong Kong that you run with SIM-only contracts.

Stop Common Purpose said...

That http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ is a serious memory sucker.

Shaun Pilkington said...

I went for a Desire as I wanted to play around with AR and couldn't afford to buy a mac just to develop for an iphone. And I like it.

So that's my 'interest' declared.

The biggest disadvantage for Android is the Marketplace which is rubbish. If you don't know what you're searching for, interesting stuff will seldom come to light.

As for the 'open is proving to mean that the carriers can choose what they want to do with Android' point - well, it's still a choice - between carriers (unless you buy sim-free). What does Apple give you?

Whatever St. Steve of Jobs decrees you can have on any given day.

So I'd not talk about 'openness' in an 'iphone is better' context! The ease of use of the app store and apparent 'quality' therein would be a more valid critique, I think!

Rational Anarchist said...

I have an HTC Desire, and I'm loving it. I'm with Orange, so I'm still waiting for 2.2, but I could just root the phone (and not invalidate my warranty) and install it if I was that desperate to get the latest thing.

I have built several apps, which is a damn sight more than I could have done with an iphone by now. They're only simple, but I'm learning :-)

And for those saying that the "average" user can't do things like rooting the phone - consider that the "average" user is probably perfectly happy with what they have already. If they wanted an upgrade and took the bare minimum effort to research it, they could get one.

I do dislike the things like the eFuse chip that was in the droidX, but that's the penalty of a free market - some manufacturers are going to lock things down, and may the buyer beware. I am encouraged to see that some people are working around it though.

Given the choice between an iphone that lets me run only apps that have been approved by the mighty Jobs, and an Android device that lets me run anything I want, I know which I'd pick...

pharmaboy said...

And here (probably) is why: http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/10/google-nexus-one/

money > principles?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't work on Opera, stuck on 94% loading...doesn't even work on Chromium, crashes the browser...uses ridiculous amount of resource even on 3.4 Ghz quad core.

Not impressive.

bascule said...

Works fine on my old dual core 3Ghz with a couple of gig of ram. I also had ie8 (5 tabs) and livemail running in the background. You got the latest chrome. I only re-installed it this week after they got rid of the ridiculous crash-handler and notifier.

Anonymous said...

I can go to T-Mobile and get an unlocked G2 running Android 2.2. Today.

Anonymous said...

I want an android version of the iPod Touch. It doesn't exist.

Roue le Jour said...

Doing what you want with the phone isn't the point, it's doing what you want with the network, and yes, the carriers own that.

SadButMadLad said...

Wilderness - not impressed. Open a lot of browser windows and move them around the screen and move some googlemaps and streetview images around. So what. A processor hog, which is what the complaints about Flash are. So not any better.

Android - The point is that although the carriers can use it to make their own closed systems, consumers can still choose. If consumers don't like something then the carriers don't make money and will find something that consumers like. Apple is just one of many manufacturers, just a bit more tightly controlled than others.

Francis Turner said...

Re android - see http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2534 and previous posts

That wilderness thing also works in Firefox FWIW but I'm not sure what the point if it is.

Willy said...

Root your phone!

WTF Dude?