Say it isn’t so Microsoft!!!

After months of waiting and saving for my birthday present to myself, I just found out that Microsoft has killed production on the courier.

This day sucks!!!

I am sitting in an airport restaurant in Milwaukee eating the worst meal I have had in a longtime, but I’m hungry and pissed off that my flight got delayed and I missed my connecting flight I now I have a 3 hr. wait. My new flight has a 50% chance of being delayed or cancelled due to an approaching storm, so what do I do? I get online to catch-up on the news and check on my favorite gadgets and the first article I read is this, “It has been made official by Microsoft that the production and development of its tablet Courier has been terminated. Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division

So to sum up, I get to spend my birthday-eve in an airport, the one tech toy I wanted is dead and the sky looks like the end of the world is upon us.
Now to go find a power outlet.

Android vs. iPhone vs. Windows Mobile, Part 3

A year later and several updates have occurred in both the iPhone (the iPhone 3Gs) and Android (the Nexus One) world, not to mention the launch of the Kindle, Nook and iPad, with Dell and HP to release Windows 7 tablets and Microsoft Courier on the way, so it’s time to issue and update here as well.

So let’s start with the iPhone, not enough has changed here, so we got copy and paste, multimedia messaging, Bluetooth head phone support, video recording and voice dialing, these are all things that all of the other devices on the market already did, the funny thing is that Apple advertises it like something new. The GPS on the device is still weak when compared to standalone GPS devices (Garmin), you still can’t tether the device (not allowed with AT&T or you have to pay extra), the browser still sucks (no flash support and a lot of the multimedia on the web does not show) and working with it for anything besides music or games gets annoying. Apple’s tight control over the App store is killing innovation and forcing users and developers to live within their ecosystem. To get many of the really useful apps you have mod your device and live outside of their world.

The Android phone, here was a chance to take the touch screen phone to a new level and Google and its partners have dropped the ball. They came close to answering the call of the public, yes, copy and paste was there from the start, and they added full Bluetooth head phone support, video recording and GPS capabilities that rivals that of many of the devices on the market (in fact the addition of live traffic and other features (like social networking), but the haphazard device update strategy that seems to have been left into the hands of the business partners (phone companies), has left a number of users in the dark, as they see features advertised that they can’t get because their vendor has not pushed the update.

Windows phone 7, the new player. This is a combination of the Zune player and a Windows 7 approach to their mobile phone operating system. Guess what? It works! Microsoft got it right finally! They’ve taken a new approach on the user interface and experience and have added a significant amount of discovery features. To understand what I mean by discovery features, just download the Zune desktop software (no you don’t need to own a Zune), the Zune pass feature allows you to download all the music you want and keep it as long as you want (so long as your subscription is in good standing) and they allow you 10 DRM free songs per month. I have discovered so many new artists via the bio and related artist features in this software that I was compelled to try out the Zune HD device, well, to make a long story short, my iPhone has not seen the light of day since. The Windows phone 7 interface is like viewing a web application for each feature area via an aperture, you can scroll (swipe) across the page (Hubs, people hub, pictures hub, games hub, etc.) to see more. This is far better than trying to fit everything into the small single pane. Gone are the icons and menus associated with the Windows world , the phone interface is Zune HD inspired, focused or user habits and a clean picture like interface. What’s missing right now are apps. I was disappointed at the lack of apps in the Microsoft Market place, but I’m sure there will be a flood soon.

 The iPad, another disappointment. The same iPhone, only big and bulky, with no USB port, memory slot or print capabilities. This device quickly becomes a living room coffee table novelty. If you are in the market for an eBook reader, then this is an expensive choice. I found that got tired of fighting the restrictive iPhone interface and bulkiness of the device and each time I tried to read a book with it, I always ended up play a game or listening to music instead (web browsing when the wifi works was just as bad as it is on the iPhone, because is it the same device). I quickly got over the hype that Apple works so hard on and had buyer’s remorse, but then I remembered that it was a loaner  :-).

Kindle and Nook. Now these are eBook readers! They both try to do a little more, like media players, but the interface leaves much to be desired. The nook takes things a bit further and adds a little color, and with its next update they promise a web browser. Both of these devices are exactly what they state, they don’t pretend to be anything else, they both feel right in one hand and the screens are perfect for reading. No buyer’s remorse here if you are an avid reader, with all the instant gratification of automatically downloading a newly released book without having to go to the book store. Note, these are not speedy devices, but the act of reading isn’t fast like video, so speed isn’t a major factor when the single page is being looked at for minutes at a time.

Windows 7 pads. Well, I already use a tablet PC, so I know what to expect. The stability of Windows 7 and the tablet features that are built into the operation system makes for a solid performing device, the promise of a pad sized device I find interesting and appealing, but I like having a keyboard, so the devices that come with a removable keyboard base would be the way that I would go, but I’m holding out for …

Microsoft Courier, now this is the one I’m waiting for. This is a digital journal and eBook reader and it sports dual 7 inch touch screens that fold over like a real book. This device is due this year and I’m saving my pennies for it