Steve Jobs, you make a cute phone.

I was reading a news letter from IBM and the editor in his opening bit closed with something like “Steve Jobs you make a cute phone.” I thought to myself, yes, yes they do. The iPhone is cute. It does what it is designed to do and does it OK, but it has that Apple minimalist style and does the iPod thing so is great for a lot of people.

But the statement got me thinking about smart phones and what I want in a smart phone and why apple’s products do not have what I want in a smart phone. The last phone I had was billed as the ‘genius phone.’ It had everything you want in a smart phone but then more of what I want in a smart phone, that being computing to go. Yes the iPhone can compute. And you can add apps from the apple store but to make our own apps for it you have to sign your life away to apple and it’s not compatible with the programs or programming environments used for desktop computing.

I can’t use java on it or gnu c++ or even MS visual studio. OR my current way of making applications for my current ‘genius phone’ write the applications and compile them on the phone itself. I have a full keyboard on my current phone, a bit small but it doesn’t use up display space. OR I can use my external wireless keyboard with it. I can add sd memory to it as well and it has a half gig of memory plus the rom. I have python and Csharp on the phone.

And now other phone makers are doing what Apple has done with the smart phone, what has made it more popular than older smart phones, dumbed it down to give it more mass appeal. Yes dumbed it down. Like one Microsoft exec said, the older Pocket PCs and Windows Mobile are to ‘computery’ for most people. Yes people want to do things they do with their home computers but they want it simple. So the smart phones have web browsers and music, contacts, texting and facebook, and small games and apps but all computer attributes are hidden and made very hard to get at.

The problem is there are those of us who have been loyal smart phone users for years and we are being thrown out with the older interfaces. I hope that by the time I am to upgrade my phone that there is still an alternative out there for me that still has that computery feel and ability for me to take it and use it as my next genius phone.

So what phone do you use? Do you like the new interfaces for phones or do you wan the start menu back?

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About echlinm

Computer Programmer/Systems Analyst/Hacker S31
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4 Responses to Steve Jobs, you make a cute phone.

  1. Brett Legree says:

    I use an Android phone (in particular, a Motorola Milestone, which is the Canadian equivalent of the Droid).

    You might want to look into a ‘droid phone, perhaps a Google Nexus S when they hit Canada. Granted, there is no real keyboard, but there are many models that have these if you require it. If you select the right phone, it will either come unlocked or can be easily rooted in seconds.

    I use a custom interface that I can configure to my needs, or swap out in moments. My phone has a terminal with full access to the kernel. I can compile stuff if I so desire. I can use SSH and VNC, you name it. The IDE is free… etc.

    Seriously, run, don’t walk, to Android if you require these kinds of things.

    My thoughts on the iPhone are like they are/were on the iPad. I had lengthy discussions with many high-profile bloggers on the iPad, when they wrote of not knowing how *they could ever possibly do their work with one*, that the iPad is useless, locked down etc.

    I always ended by saying, “but you’re not Apple’s target market” – just as you and I are not Apple’s target market.

    Sad but true, there are very few people like us anymore. Probably 95+ percent of people out there want a *normal computer* to behave like a toaster, so why would they ever want a phone to behave like a computer?

    Apple knows this, and they are smart. They have given the masses a smartphone that works like a PHONE, all the time, every time.

    If you want a smartphone that behaves like what it is – a powerful computer – you have to buy a smartphone that is designed as one. Choose the right sort of Android phone and you will be happy.

    -Brett

  2. Woogie says:

    The Nokia N900, running Maemo (and eventually MeeGo) It’s a very small Linux PC that somebody added a phone to. The graphical environment is built in Qt, but you can make GTK apps if you want. You can cross-compile if you like, but a lot of the core software is written in Python already. You can replace all (ALL) the bits and pieces as you please. If you want to replace the application that actually phones people, or receives phone calls? Go ahead. Heck, making phone calls is just done through a D-Bus interface. I did it from the included Xterm (it’s in the default software set) once just for fun. It’s your phone, go ahead and play around. There’s no need to jailbreak the phone, the term doesn’t even apply to this model, because there’s no jail there to break. There’s no shortage of custom compiled kernels out there to peruse.

    All isn’t as it seems with Android. Carriers and phone providers are locking them down to prevent you from upgrading to new versions of Android as they become available, and different manufacturers provide different layers on top of Android (like HTC’s Sense) The provided programming environment for Android isn’t a “bare metal” platform, where you can code in the language you like, either. It’s a constricted VM until you jailbreak the phone.

  3. echlinm says:

    I keep getting surprised by the Motorola Atrix, now it has a laptop attachment. http://tech.ca.msn.com/photogallery.aspx?cp-documentid=27203340&page=1
    It’s a smart phone (Android) and has a docking station and now a laptop attachment.
    Apparently only from Bell in Canada.

  4. Brett Legree says:

    You’re right about Android, Woogie – except, try as Telus might, my phone isn’t locked down, and I am sure that a guy like you is smart enough to be able to figure out how to do it šŸ™‚ hey it was a single step to do it…

    Basically, the way I look at it is this – if you are smart enough to know about or care about an unlocked phone, you’re probably smart enough to know how to root your phone, install custom kernels and so on.

    Sometimes it is (IMHO) a nice idea to select from a wide variety of commodity hardware, hack it and make it your own, rather than have to hunt around for one specific device that nobody uses.

    I mean, not only can I do what I please on my Droid, I also have thousands of applications available – so to me it is the best of both worlds.

    YMMV of course šŸ˜‰

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