Posts Tagged: Android

Mobile: Just a Few Tomorrows Away…

The most exciting news for the day is that Android is stepping up the mobile game with the addition of 1 gig CPU speeds coming soon, which means that Nokia can’t continue to claim that 434 mhz is good enough for the flagship Nokia N97.
Nokia it is time to step up your game, both in CPU/RAM speeds and in terms of the camera on your devices. The other manufacturers are gaining both in terms of handsets & brand/market share.
By cameras, I was quite disappointed to read in two separate spaces that Nokia does not intend on engaging and competing in the compact digital camera space, but intends on keeping somewhat on top of the camera phone game. Only flaw in this plan is that Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, and others are starting to converge on the compact digital camera with a sim chip & data connection space.
In my opinion as a photographer and a person who buys & recommends camera phones to others, it behooves Nokia and others to work towards making a camera phone that can completely replace a compact digital camera in terms of optics (physical zoom), flash, sensor, and software. I and most other folks don’t want to carry 2 or 3 devices, but one.
If Samsung & Sony are doing it, Nokia can to and do it better if they put a bit of will behind the effort.

Mobile | Web :: Developers <=> Designers

Developers and Designers need each other and need to work together. (duh.)
All of the super exciting internet / computer eco-systems of the last 15 years have had developers and designers involved together as a tight team: HTML/CSS – Web Standards, Ruby on Rails, Django, Mac OS X, the iPhone app world, etc.
By exciting eco-system, I mean that the platform, device, or system has grown beyond the company or small core group of folk who created/originated the system, a growing that goes beyond all the usual vendors for the company/core to take a life of its own in a wide range of design & development professionals and hobbyists who expand the ecosystem to a dynamic space that is much greater than any marketing budget could every afford or create.
This is definitely the case of the Open Source LAMP proponents, the HTML/CSS web standards folk, the Ruby on Rails & Django communities that have had designers working with developers from the very beginning. By dint of Apple’s penchant for design, designers have been on board fully with developers to expand the iPhone and Mac OS X applications and universe.
While I love using Android and Symbian mobile devices, it has recently become glaringly obvious to me that both of these communities don’t have the same co-working / symbiotic relationships with the design community that the above eco-systems have. Yes, Google and Nokia/Symbian can afford high end designers, but what about the community outside of Google, Nokia, Symbian, and their paid vendors?
The Google I/O conference while multiple thousands strong in developers, programmers, and business dev folk, was very poor in terms of designers and any integration thereof.
Android and Symbian dev folk, we need to get designers on board in teams working together from the very beginning of projects to get the eco-system more than just aesthetically pleasing but also to balance the platforms to think outside of the dev/programming box and to grow the eco-systems dynamically as well as spread the goodness.
Design is more than aesthetics, it is an essential part of of balancing the right & left brains as well as the needs of the creators with the consumers. By creating a space for both designers and developers in teams, at conferences, and getting the dialogue moving between both communities means that we build balance applications, devices, and web systems that are usable and delightful.
To grow our communities, to build great apps we need to think of the disciplines of design and development as feeding into each other – feeding ideas, cross polinating, cooperation, and coordination.
Design + Development = Developers <=> Desingers
Ok, Nokia / Symbian and Google / Android, let’s figure out how to get more designers and design thinkers involved in community based projects from the ground up. Let’s start with design tracks at your sponsored conferences and meet ups between developers and designers at the conferences, why don’t we?
Or even better, why don’t we all agree to meet up and have a Android / Symbian conference to cross-pollinate between platforms and invite designers of all stripes (web, mobile, interaction, and user experience) to join us?
Update: Sun 07.26.09 – To clarify, I wrote this post because there has been much talk amongst tech bloggers and early adopters that the reason that folks are buying the Apple iPhone is because of the App Store and not buying Nokias or Android phones due to the poor showings on their app stores. I think this point is debatable, as most of the folks I know who purchase phones find out about the App Stores after purchase, not as a point to purchase.
But I do think it is instructive for those of us who are tech folk/early adopters and|or professional developers|designers to examine the web and mobile communities that have been successful, of which my point was that the communities that are growing organically without millions of dollars of advertising & subsidies from the companies behind the technologies are the communities where both developers and designers are both excited about and actively participating in.
To this end, I think that it would benefit Nokia’s Symbian community and Google’s Android community to draw in more User Experience | User Interface | and good old school Designers. At this point, both of these communities are programmer|engineer heavy. As Mike M. states in the below comment, designers & design thinkers bring an equal set of different skills that are absolutely necessary to the web & mobile site|app|software development process.
To Answer a Few Folk on Twitter: I don’t think that Apple has their mental market share amongst designers due to their TV advertising. I know more top end designers who are working on Ruby on Rails and Django projects than Apple iPhone projects with developers. It is not just about big money, but where is it exciting and challenging to create. A place to create where one can make a difference, prototype quickly, and also make money as well.

Google I/O 2009, Day 2

Google I/O 2009, Day 2
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Here is my transcription of two sessions from Day 2, 05.28.09, of the Google I/O 2009. Per my usual, the following is a combination of live quotes from the speaker, notes off the slides, some paraphrase and a few of my own asides.
So far, Brett Slatkin’s Offline Processing on App Engine: A Look Ahead has been my favorite of the day. Lunch conversation with Prashant and Bastian was delightful.

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Google Wave Announced

Google Wave Announced
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Thur 05.28.09 – Google I/O keynote was Lars Rassmussen, Stephanie Hannon, and Jans Rassmussen giving a demonstration on the new Google Wave that is currently in development and the team is inviting the attendees of Google I/O to participate in developing the product and open source code before public release.

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Google I/O 2009, Day 1

Here is my transcription of two sessions from Day 1, 05.27.09, of the Google I/O 2009. Per my usual, the following is a combination of live quotes from the speaker, notes off the slides, some paraphrase and a few of my own asides.
Chris Nesiadek’s presentation on Android’s Interaction Design was my favorite of the day.

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Google I/O 2009 Rocks!

Google I/O 2009 Rocks!
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Wed 05.27.09 – Or how Ernie, Ms. Jen, and hundreds, if not a thousand plus of us were given free Android HTC Magic phones today at Google I/0.
Or how Google quite brilliantly insured that hundreds of developers would write Android apps by making sure that they would have testing devices!

Off to Google I/O

Off to Google I/O
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Wed 05.27.08 – Due to my plane being an hour late, I may miss the first session on how to code for Android. Even if late, I am looking forward to the Google App Engine and Android sessions today and tomorrow.

The gPhone or Android is Intriguing

I had the opportunity to handle two Google Android first generation mobile phones today, the T-Mobile G1, and while the shape (form factor) is a bit odd, I did enjoy playing with the user interface much more than any of the iPhones I have tried.
Gasp! Shock! Blasphemy!
Every time I use a friend’s iPhone, I am left nonplussed and usually find it to be a bit frustrating of an experience. Yes, yes, yes, I know, I am weird. As with any interface, even learning to use the iPhone takes time. And the truth of the matter is that I am not intrigued enough by the iPhone to want to learn.
The iPhone, as I have detailed out before, has a crappy camera, no video capture, no MMS, and Apple has made it to be a closed sandbox.
For all the claims of the radical innovation and intuitive user interface, I will agree that bringing the metaphor of the web and Apple UI to a mobile device is new and can be delightful to use, but it is not for everyone. I am not the only person I know who has fondled and played with the iPhone and then went and bought another device.
Today I had the opportunity to talk with some folks who perused all the major smart phone options and decided to get the Google / T-Mobile G1 Android phone over the iPhone. After listening to them describe what they wanted and then saw how both of them had hacked/altered the home screen to fit their needs, as well as get a tour of the G1 mobile, I was intrigued.
Yes, the G1 has a crappy camera; yes, there is no video capture; but the UI and the physical handset made more sense to me than any time I have used an iPhone. I did not have to have steps explained to me as I was using it, my hands and mind figured it out. Everytime I use an iPhone, I get stuck and have to ask the owner what to do next – usually this is a question of what to do with the physical handset as I find it too abstracted.
The web browsing experience is good. As good or even better than the iPhone. I ran through a couple of websites that most mobile browsers choke on due to javascript & AJAX and the G1 rendered all the scripts and CSS correctly. Bravo!
What is most exciting to me about the G1 Android phone is that it is open source and one can use python to program it. I like Python. I like mobile python for S60 and will be interested in exploring the Android development platform.
The other two things I liked about the G1 was that it is smaller than the iPhone and I can hold it in one hand without fear of dropping it and it has a physical qwerty keyboard which was easy to use, even easier than the Nokia E71 keyboard.
So, Google, here are my challenges to you:
1) I love open source, but I love unlocked mobiles even better. I am willing to pay the extra for an unlocked phone.
2) Come on, Google, give Nokia, Casio & Sony a run for their money and put a real camera on the G1: at least 5 megapixels or better, with a flash, a quality image sensor chip, and then back it up with the computing power to process the algorithms for great digital camera work.
3) Video capture.
Looking forward to the next iteration of the Google Android phone.