Archive for November, 2010

A tale of two platforms….Sameapp Shodown!

 

 

 

 

Netflix:

iPod Touch v1.1.2-773

Windows Phone v1.1.5.1

 

As soon as the Windows Phone came out I couldn’t wait to compare the same app on both it and the iPod/iPhone.  The obvious first one of these is of course Netflix.  Netflix goes out of their way to try and offer a similar experience across all screens for their app, so this would provide a good opportunity to highlight the GUI advantages/disadvantages.

The first thing we are presented with for both apps is of course the home screen.  The iPod screen features a familiar row of soft buttons along the bottom of the app for Home Genre Search and Instant Queue.  Windows Phone has the same topics implemented through sliding text at the top.  Being that Windows Phone is panoramic in nature, the text actually scrolls off the screen.  This would seem to give the iPod version an advantage since you can click any of the buttons without scrolling.  However, I noticed that when I turned to landscape for the Windows Phone all categories were now present.  I could then click on each one just as I would the IPod soft button.  Trying the same thing on the iPod reveals….well, it reveals that the home screen doesn’t switch to landscape.  Bummer.

Another point to the home screen is that the recommendations are broken out into screens.  On Windows Phone, the recommendations are presented all on one scrolling page with thumbnails and the ability to stream directly.  Definite advantage to Windows Phone here as you are not flipping back and forth between pages.

When it comes to playback, the iPod shows some advantages that Windows Phone chooses not to implement.  One is the 30 seconds back button on the player.  The other is an aspect ratio button that allows you to view 4:3 in original or stretched.  I could find no such functionality on Windows Phone.  One hindrance to the iPod Touch version is that due to the lack of a hardware back button, it has a “done” button.  However, what I have found with this is that if you hit “done” in the middle of a movie, Netflix does not save your spot.  It actually makes the Resume function worthless because you are always going to start the show over.  I presume this is something that will get fixed when Netflix brings it up to version parity with Windows Phone.

 

In all, I have to give the Windows Phone version of Netflix a slight edge here.  The ability to browse in portrait or landscape as well as browse all recommendations from one page definitely shows some UI advantages of a modern phone OS.  The iPhone version does show some refinement in the playback portion, but these are minor features that get little use.  If the next update to the Windows Phone version adds 30 sec back rewind and aspect, the iPod version will definitely start to look aged.

Google + RIM: The Perfect Shotgun Wedding

Now that the sleeping giant has awakened and graced the world with Windows Phone 7, many are looking around the room at who the odd man out is.  Most people will agree that the incumbent, Apple, is not too concerned about this sudden 4th player coming to the table.  I think soon the stats will show that not too many defections occurred with the release of Windows Phone.

However, the ones that seem to be knashing their teeth the most are the Android crowd.  In fact, shortly before WP7’s launch, Google was bold enough to come out and say the world doesn’t need another OS….clearly worried about fragmentation.

What then of RIM?  The Blackberry is flailing to find a voice in the consumer smartphone fervor.  Certainly, it provided a good corporate alternative to Windows Mobile when it came to email.  But how many people do you know are saying “hey, I want to go out and buy a Blackberry!”…?  The Torch was a miserable failure from a consumer standpoint.  No doubt, corporate users will replace dying BBs with Torches, but one has to wonder how many of those users carry an iPhone or Android.

Then we have what is perhaps the most damning announcement, Dell is kicking RIM out of the house.  Even in good economic times, CIOs had a hard time stomaching a secondary server that was needed to work with the corporate Exchange infrastructure.  Now Dell is boldly announcing what more companies are thinking…why do we need a Blackberry Enterprise Server when now we have a phone that works directly with Exchange and is something people would actually want to carry?

Certainly not the position RIM wants to be in, and with the recent privacy fervor with India, Saudi Arabia, et al…how comfortable do you feel emailing someone with a Blackberry?  It could all come together for a perfect storm of bloodletting (or juicing as it were) for the Blackberry.

So who might be the white knight in all of this?  Well Google of course.  They are dying to get inside enterprises, and their Google Apps suite certainly hasn’t been doing the job.  Google and Blackberry hitching up would suddenly get Google’s name on a server in practically every major company in the world.  From there they could launch an attack on the enterprise from the inside. 

First task would be to separate BES from Exchange and make it a force unto itself with a Google messaging platform.  It would essentially be an Exchange and Office Communication Server (now Microsoft Lync) wrapped up into one.  Consumers already rave about Google Voice….GV for the Enterprise?  Even better.

Then of course Google could put the aging Blackberry OS to rest and migrate everything to Android, while keeping the more coherent app store Blackberry has fostered.  No need to stay in the hardware business either.  There is something to be said about letting OEMs make the hardware, just go the Microsoft route and establish a chassis standard.

RIM escapes their current debacle altogether and Google removes a player from the market while firmly wedging themselves between Microsoft and Apple….while staying relevant.

Funny things my son says

So this weekend the weather was particularly nice, my son and I were sitting out in the back yard in our chairs watching the airplanes and I was telling him the name of each tree in the back yard.  I told him botany was the science of plants and trees (way over the head of a 4 yo, yet it spurned this thought):

“Dad, when I was at Mimi’s we learned about science”

“Oh really?”  “What science things did you learn about?”

“Pirates.”

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