During its already-infamous iPhone 4 conference on Friday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed that antenna issues are native to “most phones.” He went on to specifically point to phones made by HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and RIM. It’s as though the tech giant is trying to make light of their design flaws by trying to paint a picture wherein all cellphones of the world have the same issues. According to the named manufacturers, though, this is NOT the case at all. These five companies all issued press releases today refuting the “facts” as Jobs outlined them.
Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.
Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.
In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.
“Studying the way people hold their phones out in the field” – isn’t that an interesting concept? Apple themselves should have thought of this. This is something that needed to be thoroughly tested. You cannot tell me that it was and that they “didn’t know” how much of an issue this is. If they did, then we have a serious case of “we’ll do it our way anyway, and you’ll go along with it because we’re Apple.”
Research in Motion states:
Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.
Let’s repeat a small part of RIMs statement again: “Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions.” I have to agree completely. If someone at Apple decided that we consumers wanted a thin phone rather than one whose antenna simply works, then they need to own up to that. If they believe they know what we want without asking us, they again need to step up to the plate.
The bottom line is that Apple needs to take ownership of this issue – and fast. People aren’t returning their iPhones in droves, no. However, by continuing this charade of “we didn’t do anything wrong,” they are starting to chip away at the sterling product reputation they once had. And, of course, they’re showing people that perhaps they really don’t care all that much when it comes to what we want and need.
Sprint launched 4G service in seven new markets today, bringing the current total to 43. The company predicts that large markets such as Los Angeles and New York will see the same service before the end of this year. However, there aren’t any phones to be had anywhere. The only available 4G phone (as of the writing of this post) is the HTC EVO 4G. Sadly, HTC cannot begin to keep up with demand due to parts shortages.
The EVO accesses the web over 4G and can also share the WiMAX connection with other devices… for a fee. With capabilities such as this, the phone is the flagship for Sprint’s next-generation network. If the phone isn’t available, though, how much of a crimp does that put into Sprint’s timetable and plans? HTC says that they have contracted with additional suppliers to ratchet up EVO production. Let’s hope this is the case, and that we’ll see EVOs back on the shelves in the near future.
This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC.
For Apple iPhone 4OS fans, it’s Christmas in late June.
Millions of iPhone users will be picking up a pre-ordered phone or skipping happily to their doors when the delivery person arrives Wednesday June 23 and Thursday June 24, whilst newly recruited buyers will wrap their hands around their first iPhone.
As the “n00b of Social Media” and an observer to the cult-like following of the new iPhone 4OS, I’ll make my first light-hearted predictions: 1) AT&T will likely suffer a day’s disaster on their network from the surge of new users, 2) You won’t find many lines at Apple stores for the iPhone, as savvy customers have been alerted to how they can obtain iPhones without long lines, and 3) Android fanboys will continue to downplay the new iPhone 4OS’s features while punishing users and reviewers of Android products if they do not sing the praises of their beloved OS and features to the right tune.
As a psychotherapist, I lay on the table this statement: by opening my mouth and sharing my opinion, I know that some people might make it their personal mission statement to vomit something lewd, judgmental, or demeaning simply because they don’t agree with my opinion. This, in fact, is what has been happening on the Internet in such forums as Facebook updates and Youtube comments found on the pages of technology bloggers and reviewers.
If you take a few minutes to scan through the comments on Chris Pirillo’s video impressions on the HTC EVO 4G, as well as his impressions on the iOS 4 update as recorded from the HTC Evo, and finally the 12 things to love about the HTC EVO 4G, it doesn’t take a geek to notice a shift in the comments away from questions or descriptions about the products themselves. Without warning, comments contained character assumptions and assassinations, name calling, and unsubstantiated comparisons to just about anything in the universe.
Here’s a few “tame” examples (the worst were removed), in italics, below:
What a HATER…….remove the iphone from your colon….everyone loves this phone except you…no one is that stupid like (mr. likes dressing up his gay dogs) makes them out to be
I imagine your entire LIFE is too complicated and SUCKS.
This is what happens when you have Apple fanboy-ism invading on anything other than Apple. Apple could make a Tonka-like toy with one button and moo’s every time that button is pressed and these fanboys will say it’s better than absolutely anything on the market.
He didn’t point out any flaws. His whole purpose was to try and make the phone look stupid (it doesn’t SAY to swipe downward .. so the phone is dumb!). Actually.. he’s dumb. “Is WiFi on??” Well, idiot… try READING THE MANUAL! Does the phone have to provide moron tips on every screen to make this guy happy? For someone ‘reviewing’ smart phones he’s an idiot.
I can’t help but be fascinated by this phenomenon. What exactly are we seeing here? Humor me as I share with you my personal theory about why these tech-obsessed commenters have moved from opinion into hate statements against another person’s character and intelligence.
While society used to have rites of passage for young boys to prove their manhood, today’s kids have little left to them than the ability to pay for their tux and tails at a senior ball and an adult’s talk on how to use a condom to prevent a pregnancy and the spread of STD’s. If you click on the handles/names of the commenters, you’ll find that the majority of the “haters” are under the age of 25. Spelling and grammatical errors tip off readers when commenters age ranges are more likely 12 – 15 years old. If you’re a 12 – 15 year old boy (who likely isn’t even paying for the phone or the computer he uses), what would be one way to let people know you are a force to contend with?
Social scientists have an answer for that: Bare your teeth. Growl. Do what you can to get attention. These actions were all parts of rites of passages for young boys to prove that they belong to the world of men. They are no longer their mother’s boys. And these rites of passage are all but lost in the modern world of technology. Or are they?
Elizabeth Landau recently posted an interesting study about men’s health issues on Dr. Gupta’s blog for CNN. com. In her article, she cites a British study about men’s voices as an accurate predictor of the physical size of men and their ability to fight.
I’m wondering if social media platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Youtube are being adopted by teens and young men as an urban rite of passage. Without a spear to catch a fish or kill a giraffe for food, boys may be turning to the Internet to hunt for proof of their ability to “take on” the giants. They have access to technology writers, big companies, and celebrities in ways they didn’t have just five years ago. And what better way to quickly demonstrate the fight within them than to defend and use the tools they have to take their giants down?
If my theory is correct, what we’re seeing in the commentary thread is a fight against shame (i.e. Am i worthy? Am I tough?) fronted by a defense of one’s most beloved tools (an OS, a laptop, a smart phone, a software program, a platform). The tools are what allows these voices to be heard for their growls and grunts, and these must be defended at all costs. If and when the tools become obsolete or shown to be inferior, might the user also feel a sense of inferiority and shame? Does this explain the over-response we’re seeing in the commentary threads?
The fight becomes about the sword, not the samurai.
When there is nothing left to be done, the commenter moves onto character assassination mode. Get ready for some of the most boring use of expletives you have ever seen. [BTW, in my private practice, I remind clients that they should feel free to swear, but only if they do so in an interesting way]. Be prepared for a host of subjective and unsubstantiated comments, especially about your appearance, IQ, the way you sound, their projections and speculations about your sexual orientation or practices, or the level of happiness you may or may not be experiencing.
All in all, Social Media users should be prepared for less mature users to project their mother and father issues on you. They want validation for their tools, which they can then attribute to their own sense of character and self-esteem. Yes people, we’re seeing a correlation between online gaming and real life at its best: he who has the best tools gets the girl, has the charmed life, and wins the crowd. [Yuck.] It’s just not true. You still need to be a decent person. And for now, you still have to know how to write [there could be a day when writing becomes obsolete. But I digress.]
Rather than taking it personally, I would encourage readers to look beyond the commentary. Someone only defends something when he feels threatened. The threat could simply be a fight to belong. And ironically, the young samurai inside the armor may be trying to sock you in the arm to see if you will accept him. Don’t scrub comments that do not cross the boundaries of vulgarity and disrespect; allow these young samurai to learn from the community as well as the greater society about the reality of action and reaction.
Soon enough, they all learn what the rest of us know all too well: whatever gets said on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter ends up on Google forever. And ever. Amen.
B. Imei Hsu is a nurse psychotherapist, professional dance artist and instructor, and occasional guest blogger for Lockergnome. She continues to write about her 365-1/4 days as “the n00b of Social Media.” She owns an Android phone, a MacBook, and iPad, and a low-tech Siamese cat. And no, she did not pre-order an iPhone OS4.
Here we go again! While I’m nowhere near ready to make a review (although I have already given my first impressions), I thought I’d take the time to point out some of the nicer features of the HTC Evo 4G – and, vicariously, the Android Platform.
You can’t “love” or “hate” a device based only on its spec sheet, gang – you have to use it. You have to feel it. You have to experience it. You have to share your initial impressions, which may very well be different from a lasting impression. Get it? Good.
Keep in mind that I always try to approach reviews and first impressions from the viewpoint of an average user. I ask myself if the item in my hand is going to be intuitive to them and not just to an expert or power-user.
Twelve things I happen to love about the HTC EVO 4G (and the Android platform) thus far:
I’m digging the screen. It’s about 4.3″ in length and is 480×800 resolution. It’s crystal-clear and very responsive to the touch.
The feedback when interacting with elements on the screen is quite cool.There’s a vibrating touch that happens anytime you are tapping an application on the screen.
I have all of these different icons on my Home screen. They’re widgets! It’s very easy to add widgets, too.
In the background is an animated wallpaper. As you drag across your screen, the wallpaper will change perspective.
I love having the FM radio on the EVO 4G! Believe it or not, I still use the radio quite often.
Even though I don’t feel the output of the default camera app is all that wonderful, I do love the amount of settings that it has. I love being able to quickly change effects, contrast, sharpness and much more.
The Android Marketplace has several thousand apps available. I checked out the “top free” apps off the bat. Before you download an application, you’ll be given information about it. You’ll see more about what the app will do, and how it will interface with your platform. It will tell you what parts of your phone it will have access to. Google is giving users more of an idea of what – exactly – they’re installing.
I am VERY impressed with the voice mail on this device/platform. You can reply to a voice mail without having to dial the person back! You can also mark a message as urgent or mark it for usage later. I am impressed… big time.
The notifications bar could be done a bit better. It’s hard to hit the right area with accuracy. I don’t know if it’s due to the sensitivity of the screen, or the touch-points of the bar itself. It’s great, though, to have easy access to a variety of apps instead of disruptive notifications like I have on my iPhone.
I like the connect options. I can choose how this device is connected to a computer, including being able to mount the internal storage as a disc. This allows me to quickly add files. It gives you more granular control.
If you’re addicted to software in any kind of marketplace, you’ll love this. You can choose whether or not you want the phone to allow you to install things from non-Market applications.
I love being able to turn this thing into a hotspot. I can easily connect other devices to it and save myself headaches when I’m out in the field. It’s a nice feature to have when I’m on the go.
Some of these features are found in any Android device, but others are specific to the EVO 4G. For the money, I don’t think you’ll find a bigger screen and wider array of options. You’ll also find one heck of an enthusiastic community.
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I love open source. I do. I really, really do. I also love Google.
I was sent the HTC Evo 4G (courtesy of Sprint). After hearing so much about it, I couldn’t wait to dive into my second Android experience and give ‘er another go. I’ve been told that the platform improves with every increment, but without budget or access to hardware, I’m left to my own devices (so to speak).
Within an hour’s time, I decided to post my first impressions to YouTube – and that video was met with a cacophony of complaints. How dare I post my opinions to the Internet! What is this world coming to?! Oh, an hour’s time is apparently not long enough to gather a first impression – right?
Some kids went as far as to accuse me of posting a biased review… when… in the title of my post… I clearly pointed out that I was sharing my first impressions. Let’s dive into the definition of “impressions” for a moment, in case you’re confused or hurt by what I did:
An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, esp. one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.
In other words, my knee-jerk reactions – not a review. Capisci?
Android enthusiasts are under the illusion that once anybody holds onto an Android device, it will completely transform their lives and render all other devices worthless. If you deviate from this line of thinking, you’re an outcast. Mob mentality at its finest.
Didn’t we already do this with Windows Vista? Well, I remember being quite vocal about its flaws – and spurned as persona non grata throughout the blogosphere… until, years later, the people who once lynched me finally admitted that Windows Vista was (indeed) a colossal failure on many counts.
So, maybe my problem isn’t that I have opinions that I’m not afraid to share, but sharing them before “everyone else” does? Or, perhaps it’s just a problem with other people being so uncomfortable in their own decisions that they need to admonish those who have disparate points of view.
“Geeks” are quick to pit any Android device against the iPhone, but… it’ll always be an unfair comparison. Apple controls the hardware, the software, and the experience. Google doesn’t. You could try to compare hardware features, but even that’s unfair. It’s never about the raw power of the hardware but how a feature it enables is actually implemented. May I return to Microsoft Windows for an analogy? Microsoft Windows 7 on a state-of-the-art PC will more than likely outperform Windows Millennium Edition on the same machine. Get it? The hardware’s the same, but it’s the software that spells all the difference.
So, anyway… back to the whole “problem” with Android.
As I mentioned in my video, the HTC Evo 4G is almost too geeky. There’s an array of options and widgets and possibilities available at a moment’s notice – and that’s entirely overpowering. Some might be quick to blame HTC for the software experience, but Google is who allowed that to happen. It’d be like blaming the dog for eating the cake that you left on the floor. It tastes like there were too many chefs in the kitchen with this one. And you know what? I’m not alone in this belief.
So, apparently I’m wrong to say that the user experience in today’s Android platform is lackadaisical – but Google already sees the problem and is making moves to fix it. How, again, is this MY problem? Take off your Android-enthusiastic goggles for a moment and see that I’M ON THE SAME SIDE AS YOU ARE. I want to see Google make Android better – WHO wouldn’t?!
As a tech enthusiast, I don’t want ANY device to fail. I want EVERY device to be perfect. But you know what? They do, and they’re not.
So, then I posted my “second impressions” after practically using the device for a couple of hours. I needed a recharge:
WTF? People were screaming for me to adjust this, download that, and stand on my head the right way in order to save battery life. I don’t have any friends at Gizmodo, but at least they beat me to the punch with complaining about this particular problem.
You honestly believe that the average consumer is going to know to do any of this? You really think they’re going to buy this shiny new device only to be told that they have to throttle back the features which make it so attractive to them in the first place? Excuse me? You MUST be joking.
I repeat: WTF?!
My favorite moment in this entire situation has to be when I was called “biased” for pointing out somebody else’s BLATANT USABILITY ISSUE. While I have enough knowledge to figure out that grouped dots typically indicate a draggable element, I wasn’t able to ascertain the proper direction to slide the bar to unlock the device. I was holding the phone upright, so sliding up was more intuitive a motion. Nope. You have to slide it down (per my video demonstration). Of course, nowhere did the UI explain that I needed to slide the bar in a downward fashion.
Still, people called *ME* stupid?
Yeah, well… if having to figure out a device makes me stupid, then I dare to be stupid. As an adult, I want to use something powerful that even a toddler can figure out. If you don’t understand that the simplicity of experiences is what makes them powerful, then you need to wake up and smell the usability.
The number of buttons on a gadget appears to be inversely proportional to its ease-of-use.
“Who holds a device that way?” was one comment I read in the YouTube thread. I didn’t realize there was a right or wrong way to hold something? Well, yes – with the Evo, if you maneuver it a certain direction, the touch-screen (hardware) buttons get swiped accidentally. Oops. Yeah, I discovered that again when I was trying to capture some video later that evening.
This, again, is apparently MY failure?
I hesitate to think what people would have said about me had I bothered to point out the visible half-screen refresh when one pops open the virtual keyboard. You can literally see the screen clunk away by half rather than in full. Its incredibly jarring (anything but smooth).
Blaming a user for poor design choices isn’t just asinine – its an exercise in futility.
I never said that the HTC Evo 4G didn’t have amazing capabilities – it absolutely does! I’m seriously interested in exploring its ability to act as a mobile hotspot (though, again, will wrestle with a 1hr battery life as indicated by other users). I’m excited to be able to dive into the Android Marketplace to see what more I might be able to do with the front-facing camera. That voicemail response tool was incredibly nifty – and I even made note of that in the video.
Or, and this was a real shocker: I can’t even connect my existing Google account to the Contacts app (at all), the Calendar (at all), or the email client (with ease). Isn’t this a… phone powered by Google?! If there DOES happen to be a field buried somewhere within the OS which would allow me to connect my Google account to these apps – I can’t find it. Shouldn’t an “account connection” feature be up front within each app, anyway?
…has my point not yet been made!?
I haven’t spent enough time with the device to give it an official review (even then, I’ll be likely put to blame for any further perceived shortcomings). Geeks will defend it to the death, I see – but I’m under the belief that this particular communications gadget is being marketed to more than just the nerdy crowd.
But even the nerds write… “Recommendation: Use caution.” Listen to what the rest of the community is saying and ask yourself if this is where you think the industry should be headed:
“this is an advanced ui for advanced people.” [HectorSabogal]
“its a “geeks’ phone, yes. which means it not going to be simple and deliberate in the way it presents the ui and is not going to be that intuitive.” [lsafirkan]
“I think people who are willing to read the instructions will get to learn their Android phone.” [River Khan]
“Also, learn how to hold the phone.” [ivoryman50]
“you say that the PC36100 is cryptic? this phone is not for every user, its for people ith half a brain and know how to operate a smartphone.” [nguyenbryan]
“If you want a simpleton phone. This is not your choice anyways period” [jluketwo]
“ease of use means nothing to me if ease of use means all the restrictions that att and apple put on the iphone i will take complicated and very very useful” [rioandashley]
“That’s not what android is really meant for imo, its meant for the geek who doesn’t care about friendliness.” [kprox1994]
“for some unknown reason you assume that if you don’t connect to a wifi network, you have wifi.” [Tafheemwii]
“some people are just too simple minded for Android” [naruek]
“its stability is questionable due to the fact that its open source and applications developed by us the people might not as consistent but that is one of the trade of for openness and accessibility” [mrdavidchen1122yt]
“It looks like phone made for engineers designed by engineers.” [zahi745]
Perhaps I should stand corrected on this point: the HTC Evo 4G is only for geeks (according to them)?
A “first impressions” is just that – my first impressions. I stand by my original “okay” sentiment in respect to the HTC Evo 4G: extreme power limited by haphazard usability. It requires an incredible amount of refinement at the hands of Sprint, HTC, and Google. All three companies are equally responsible for my experience with this Android phone, the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.
I’m guessing, however, that the most ardent Android supporters will not have made it to this point in the post, blinded by whatever self-appointed righteousness that drives ’em. For someone to become enraged when anybody dares suggest that a product they support isn’t as sweet as they believe it is seems to speak to a wealth of personal insecurities more than anything.
Android still needs to grow up – and apparently, so does 90% of its community.
Apple and HTC are locked in a patent infringement lawsuit. The actual legal complaints blatantly list 20 infractions that Apple feels HTC has made pertaining directly to Android devices. A caller to the live show the other night asked my thoughts on the situation, and on patents in general.
Holding a patent is your way of holding on to insurance. It’s not so much that you’d want to enforce it – it’s that you can use it as leverage. It’s basically a weapon in a peeing contest. Right now, some companies can’t do certain things because of patents. Their hands are completely tied. What is likely to happen is that Apple will allow HTC to do certain things, and HTC will reciprocate to Apple by allowing them to do other things.
At this stage in the game, I feel that Android is closer to a Windows Mobile phone than an Apple device. They certainly have a lot more promise. I think that the newest iteration of the Windows Mobile platform will be a shot in the arm… it will help get them back into the game.
But the whole “Android vs iPhone” debate is bunk. There’s nothing like the iPhone. They aren’t in direct competition with each other, because they are completely different. Apple controls everything about their operating system, while Google keeps things as open as possible. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.
With HTC, Apple could possibly be going after them because HTC has something they want in return for allowing the use of their patents. There’s really no way to know for certain from our standpoint. I’m an outsider, much as you are. That’s usually how these things come about though. The patent dance is a very intricate one.
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These are the latest HTC smart phones shown at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona. This video shows how the HTC Legend is an improvement on every aspect compared to the HTC Hero and offers some talk and explanations for HTC Sense UI, and the HTC Desire compared with the Google Nexus One.
With the HTC Desire, it’s all about your information, your entertainment, your multimedia … your way. A multitude of HTC Sense widgets makes it easy to transform your Home screen with rich content that personalizes your phone experience.
The HTC Legend raises personalization to a whole new altitude. An expanded selection of widgets brings more live content to the surface, for your instant enjoyment. There is even an online widget library, so no matter what your personality, there is content to help you get more out of your phone.
The HTC HD mini utilizes HTC Sense, a user experience focused on putting people at the center by making the phone work in a more simple and natural way.
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