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Imagine a World Without MicroSoft…can you?

Bill Gates had a dream: a PC (with Windows installed) on everybody’s desk. Instead, the computing world is taking a different turn: computers are smaller and smaller, and people are getting used to carrying them around.

More and more people today are using laptops, and since a Windows operating system is just too big and bulky to work on a laptop, people are instead installing GNU/Linux (specifically, Ubuntu) on their laptops. It doesn’t matter if you can’t play many games on it, it’s much much faster, it doesn’t get attacked by viruses and Trojans every other minute, and it’s free. When Dell atarted offering GNU/Linux laptops (and then expanding the product line), this made a huge difference to the GNU/Linux market.

Things are changing so quickly in the world of microprocessors that soon it will be
a computer in everybody’s PDA, not everybody’s lap. Now we have Netbooks, which are ultra-portable sub-notebooks, a whole new class of portable computing devices. They are tiny low-cost machines that can be used to browse the web, write letters, and answer emails.

To sum up, the world in 2011 has a good chance of being very different than what it’s like today. People’s phones/PDAs will run Android. Their sub-laptops/netbooks/sub-notebooks will run Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Their gaming machine of choice will be a Playstation or a Nintendo one (hopefully, Microsoft will run out of money to pour into the XBox). Their PCs will be collecting dust on a glorious desk, turned off for weeks on end. Their full-size laptops (if they have one) will run Vista or Ubuntu. They will be able to exchange ODF documents with their office and their friends, and they will be using OpenOffice and Firefox.

Microsoft has very few weapons to fight this: Windows XP for sub-notebooks will be a joke, compared to a fully-featured Ubuntu Netbook Remix (which comes with OpenOffice); Windows Mobile will put them to shame when compared to Android, which will eat up the already small share Windows Mobile has managed to acquire in 11 years of existence; and while there might well be a computer on every desk, well, it will be the “old” computer, hardly ever turned on. Maybe for the kids to play with, and strictly not connected to the internet. So, it’s going to be interesting. Let’s just watch out for patent laws which might turn this dream future into a small nightmare.


April 19, 2009 Posted by | Open Source Computing | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

HTC + Android = Success

HTC, the Taiwanese mobile phone vendor, is bucking the current trend of falling profits and massive job losses so prevalent in the technology sector. Some speculate that is due to HTC’s decision to move into the Android market. HTC actually increased its workforce size.

Prior to developing the now hugely popular Google G1, the world’s first Android-powered handset, HTC had released a range of handsets which although technically impressive, ran a relatively clunky operating system in the form of Windows Mobile. Despite attempts to improve the user experience with the introduction of TouchFLO, their own user interface which ran on top of Windows Mobile, reviews were mixed and HTC just couldn’t seem to match Apple’s iPhone for overall appeal.

All of that changed with their decision to use the Android platform. The G1 handset was released in October 2008 as a T-Mobile exclusive with a sales forecast of 1 million units by December. By the end of the first month, pre-order sales in the US alone had reached 1.5 million. Several months on, and according T-Mobile UK, the G1 now accounts for 20% of all contract sales.

In the run-up to this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, HTC was still the only manufacturer to have actually launched an Android phone with a network provider, and speculation was rife that many manufacturers were set to announce their own Android phones. For the most part MWC was a let down in this regard with the exception of HTC who announced their partnership with Vodafone to launch their second Android phone, the HTC Magic. Although similar to the G1, the Magic is a pure touchscreen phone as it’s lost the G1’s QWERTY keyboard for a much sleeker and lighter design. According to the specifications, battery life (a known issue with the G1) is also improved with a 1340 mAh battery versus the G1’s 1150 mAh. If the G1 is anything to go by, the HTC Magic is certain to be one of the top Android phones on the market.

2009 is definitely going to be the year of the Android phone as manufacturers like LG and Samsung have indicated that they will be releasing phones on the platform this year. There may even be some surprises in the form of phones from Dell and Acer but a lot of that is speculation at this stage. Whatever the case, HTC continues to be the company to watch as industry experts expect another 4 Android phones from them this year. While there may not be that much to choose from right now, in a few months we’ll have more for choice.

Speaking of choice, I am hoping for more of a choice when it comes to Google phone accessories, such as a Google phone plastic case and G1 phone pouches that actually are custom made for the Google phone. It seems as soon as a new mobile phone hits the market a slew of “one size fits all” generic mobile phone accessories will suddenly appear, but will be labeled as G1 accessories, for example. These same items are also marketed as iPhone accessories, you get the picture….. Perhaps HTC could expand into custom fit mobile phone cases that really fit the phone you have?

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Cell Phones | , | Leave a comment