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Thread: Beast over Beauty: The Kindle and the Google Phone

  1. #1

    Beast over Beauty: The Kindle and the Google Phone

    http://www.time.com/time/business/ar...850888,00.html

    Beast over beauty. The latter of course refers to the iphone. It is beautiful, svelt, and sexy. The g-phone, however, is ugly, chunky, and nerdish. Don't get me wrong, I love the Mac and cannot use Windows if my life depended on it. But, for the past six months, I have been using the Kindle which is a beast compared to the Sony Reader which is a beauty, and have become a fan of beasts that work.

    The Kindle connects automatically and freely with the Internet and Amazon through a cell phone network. I use it to read books and newspapers. I had an iREX Iliad that I struggled to use for three years. The Kindle made it easy to download books directly from Amazon and I read all my newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, several scientific and political blogs).

    The Kindle is a beast. It is not sleekest (the Sony Reader is). Its screen is not biggest (the Iliad is). Its page turning buttons are oversized and too easy to push accidentally. It gives you a very limited choice of fonts, ridiculously poor navigational tools. But, it is great for reading. Over the past six months, I have read more on the Kindle than I did over 3 years with the iREX. That is what counts.

    But, even more important, Amazon just unveiled the program that make me a loyal Kindle user for the rest of my life. They will publish Kindle books for anybody All you have to do is to submit a pdf or other file to their web site, enter the price that you want to charge for the book, and an advertising blurb for the book, and it is converted into Kindle format and placed on the Amazon web site and Kindle book list. Amazon takes a third of the revenue and you get the rest. That's it. You are now published with an initial 5 million Kindle users as potential buyers.

    It is a way to read, to distribute, to publish, to sell, and to fundraise, all though one ugly nerdy device. For example, what if I edited and selected the best of 32,000 posts that I have made into a 1000-page book, sold that as a Kindle file for $9.99, Amazon took a third, and I donated the rest to spinal cord injury research? If 10,000 people were to buy the book a year, that is be only $66,000 per year. But, if 100,000 people bought the book, it could get to be real money.

    But all of a sudden, another device comes onto the market with the same world-changing potential: the Google phone (Source). On the surface, it is an ugly device, a bit too big for the hand or for your belt, thicker than most cell phones, and awkward to be holding to your ear. But, it is fast, really fast. Connect it to your computer through the USB and it looks like a memory stick where you can drag and drop files. It is linked to Amazon where you can buy books and music. Finally, there is a wide-open architecture that invites any and all nerds to write apps for it.

    The G-phone that is about as different from the iPhone as you can get. Unabashfully thick (i.e. not even trying to pretend to be sveldt by slimming on the periphery like the MacAir), the screen slides to reveal a full qwerty keyboard underneath. It uses a menu key to pop up the icons. You have to + and - keys to enlarge or reduce the image sizes, rather than using your fingers tips. While it has a position sensor, it doesn't flip the image horizontal when you turn it around to type. You have to do this manually. It even has a built-in trackball. A Time Magazine Article declared, "If the iPhone is the beauty, then the G1 is the brains." (Source)

    Fans of the iPhone will protest of course. Their sleek iphones are no dumb blondes. But, the google phone has several unique features that reflect the thinking of the google founders.
    1. Open Architecture. The Android operating system they developed for the G1 is open architecture. In other words, they are inviting the whole world to write no-holds barred applications for it. While this of course means that there will be an influx of viruses, worms, cockroaches, and other unwanted vermin, it also means that most of the nerds of the world will gravitate towards this cell phone.
    2, Speed. The G-phone is designed to be fast. Because it is 3G, it is of course faster than the original iphone which is based on EDGE technology. A direct comparison of G-phone and iPhone's web browsing speed could only be made in October because T-mobile had delays in getting the government to relinquish the 3G spectrum that T-mobile paid for two years ago (Source). A few reports suggest speeds as high as 900 Kb/sec (Source). Google was recently awarded a patent for CDMA technology for high speed data transfers (Source).
    3. Google applications. The G-phone will be designed to work using internet as its backbone and Google apps to support it. There is no doubt that Google will also continue to optimize their applications to work with the G-phone. The centralized approach using internet Google applications for email, calendar, contact, and documents will be very powerful.
    4. Internet calls. The G-phone can use internet phone applications, including Skype. While the international calls have lower charge, it still counts in terms of minutes used from T-mobile. T-mobile is the sole provider.
    5. Amazon. You can buy music and books directly through Amazon, downloading them into the G-phone. I would not be surprised when they combine the Kindle and the G-phone.

    Evidence of nerdiness in the Google applications for the G-phone is perhaps exemplified by the 360˚ google-map application. What does the 360˚ stand for? Well, the cell phone will reorient the map as you rotate around 360˚ but if you point it up at the sky, it will show the blue sky and if you point it down, it will show the road and your wheels.

    Wise.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young View Post
    Evidence of nerdiness in the Google applications for the G-phone is perhaps exemplified by the 360˚ google-map application. What does the 360˚ stand for? Well, the cell phone will reorient the map as you rotate around 360˚ but if you point it up at the sky, it will show the blue sky and if you point it down, it will show the road and your wheels.
    The Google Earth iPhone app does this as well.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what Google continues to develop. That company is a force to be reckoned with.

  3. #3

  4. #4
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    I have a serious case of Kindle envy. I am thinking that once I get the holiday expenses out of the way I just might have to buy one. I can justify the expense to myself by the fact that I live in a studio condo, and just think of the room it would save over hardcover, or even paperback books! Also, what a boon to the environment not having to throw out daily newspaper's.

  5. #5
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    I have Kindle envy as well, but can't use it here in Canada.

    Anyone's take on the Sony Reader would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I have a serious case of Kindle envy. I am thinking that once I get the holiday expenses out of the way I just might have to buy one. I can justify the expense to myself by the fact that I live in a studio condo, and just think of the room it would save over hardcover, or even paperback books! Also, what a boon to the environment not having to throw out daily newspaper's.
    Eileen, have you looked on e-bay for a used Kindle? There may be a few on sale. In fact, I would not be surprised if there are second hand Kindles for sale on Amazon itself. You might be able to save some dollars.

    I figure that the savings on the books and newspapers have already saved me the amount that I paid for the Kindle (i.e. about $359). Over the past 6 months, I have purchased 60 books, three newspaper subscriptions, and 2 magazine subscriptions. If I saved $5 per purchase, and $50/subscription (since cost $9-$15 per month, compared to >$30/month if I subscribe to the paper edition), I have saved well over $400 just in the past 6 months.

    For a long time, I disliked the look of the Kindle sufficiently to have avoided buying it. Now, I am a fan. It is so ugly that it is a little bit cute. On the other hand, it works and has kept on working. When I turn off the cell phone connection when I travel go on a plane or go overseas, the battery lasts nearly a week. Its navigation is so bad that it is ridiculous and you don't expect to or even try to move around nimbly from book to book or paper to paper. On the other hand, if you want to skim through a book or newspaper quickly, it is great whether you are left or right-handed, sitting in a bathtub or eating breakfast. I carry it with me at all times.

    Wise.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by shelley View Post
    I have Kindle envy as well, but can't use it here in Canada.

    Anyone's take on the Sony Reader would be appreciated.
    Shelley,

    You can download your books and newspapers over your computer and load them onto your Kindle. It is actually quite easy to do because the Kindle appears as a disc to your computer and you just drag and drop your downloaded file into the Kindle. You have to do that with the Sony anyway.

    The sony has a smaller screen and is perfectly sized for you to use in one hand. It is not much faster and the Sony collection of books is not as great. Kindle not has nearly 200,000 titles and it is growing exponentially. My son has a Sony because he really liked its size and its looks.

    The Kindle is really a two hand machine. Yes, you can hold it in one hand but it is a bit awkwardly shaped. The Kindle screen is bigger than the Sony's but I don't think that it is big enough to make a difference. The Sony is significantly cheaper than the Kindle. I think that it is about $180.

    Wise.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young View Post
    You can download your books and newspapers over your computer and load them onto your Kindle. It is actually quite easy to do because the Kindle appears as a disc to your computer and you just drag and drop your downloaded file into the Kindle. You have to do that with the Sony anyway.

    Wise.

    Thanks Dr. Young, but it's my understanding that you have to have a credit card with an American address to make payment ~ that I don't have.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by shelley View Post
    Thanks Dr. Young, but it's my understanding that you have to have a credit card with an American address to make payment ~ that I don't have.
    I am sorry to hear that. Maybe they will soon expand. It makes sense. Wise.

  10. #10
    Here are apparently some android apps for the g-phone.

    http://www.sizlopedia.com/2008/09/26...-android-apps/

    CompareEverywhere

    CompareEverywhereCompareEverywhere is a neat application that lets you scan a product bar-code from your camera and and get reviews, price comparisons, related products, and local retailers with driving directions.

    You can order the selected products to be shipped as gifts as well as make and monitor wish lists.

    Locale

    LocaleThis handy app changes your phone settings based on your location. For example, if your college is at 52 South Street, you can set specific settings when you are at that location, like your ringer to vibrate (I could really use this). Locale uses Google Maps API, and the touch screen interface to drag and drop location hot-spots. The app also presents ‘integration points’ for other applications, adding extensibility features.

    Teradesk e-Storage

    Teradesk e-StorageTeradesk is a virtual file storage
    and remote file access tool through which users can store files on the Teradesk Server and transfer them in encrypted form to and from the cellphone. Teradesk allows transfers of any size with pause control, resume and full recovery of broken transfers even if your battery life ends or your Internet connection crashes so there is almost no chance of data loss. Some more features include hierarchical and relational navigation, file sharing, file versioning, comments on files and folders, GoogleDocs integration and remote access to other devices and computers running Teradesk.

    LifeAware

    LifeAwareThis happens to be one of those apps you always wanted. LifeAware™ connects you to interact with your family or friends based on their location. You can opt in to be notified when your friends enter or near certain hotspots (defined by you) or when they are in your proximity. It relies on Android’s GPS and Google Maps API to monitor your friend’s location and allows the information to be easily accessed from your device or the web. The application can run in the background while in “always on” mode to conserve resources and power.

    Life360

    Life360This application presents a new way for you and your family to connect and share messages from your cell phone. Life360 is designed to keep you update and connected with your loved ones and your surroundings. It uses GPS and Maps API to track and monitor the location of your important contacts. Unlike other social networking apps, Life360’s aim is to help you overcome the troubles in life by alerting and requesting assistance from your surroundings. It uses the accelerometer to detect if you had an accident and instantly notify your family and friends about your location as well as your medical profile. You can also ask for support in case of other emergencies like fires or a runaway pet.

    BreadCrumbz

    dgcshxtk_47c9p5zxht_bBreadCrumbz is a fun new way of navigating using the GPS. In addition to traditional maps, you can also display and capture images along your route. Images are easier to recognize and remember and this technique also helps when trying to set navigation points for an indoor location. NavPoint images can be recorded with the camera, and the route can be geocoded and emailed to your friends with ease.

    Fingerpaint

    dgcshxtk_48cc8xfgd9_bFingerpaint utilizes Android’s multi-touch interface to allow users to make collaborative drawings in real time. You can collaborate and annotate pictures, maps or even websites with this application and share them with other friends. This can be used to discuss business models and work-flows for a project or as a board for an e-classroom. You have a canvas of infinite size to draw meaning that you can draw almost anything you like from fun scenery to a new application work-flow to the wiring layout of a multistory building. The application instantly saves your every action using the built in SQLite RDBMS.

    Wertago

    snippet2An application for the teenage nightlife, Wertago keeps you updated with what’s on in the town. Up to the second information, including parties, clubs, events and updates from your friends make this a must have app for every party lover. The application features location based search results which showcase hot items around you as well as events. You can also setup your public profile which is visible to other Wertago users, enabling detailed social networking features in this application.

    PicSay

    dgcshxtk_42dh9nrfct_bPicSay brings basic photo editing to your pocket and allowing you to quickly add word balloons, titles, and props to the pictures you have in your phone. You can enhance them further with various color correction, highlighting, and distortion effects, as well as add annotations. You can upload the edited pictures to various photo-sharing and social networking services
    , or you can email them, or post them on your blog. This application is a must have for all those who love to take photos from their cell phones.

    TuneWiki

    dgcshxtk_44fhg8j3f2_bTuneWiki is a social media player that lets you play audio and video with synchronized lyrics and captions. It can translate lyrics to and from various languages and allows you to share what you are playing, even to users who are not on Android. The media can be located on the device or can be played directly off the cloud by utilizing Android’s always on Internet connection. The application uses Google Maps and YouTube in an innovative way, allowing you to see what is playing on a specific geographic location and get charts and recommendations accordingly. It uses the Open Social API and Google Translator to translate lyrics and share your content to a number of social networking applications.

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