iphone / mobileNo Comments
21
Sep 13

Nokia Lumia 1020: The Windows Phone experiment and why I am not keeping it

The Lumia 1020 is a great device. I am also going to try and return it.

The camera is awesome. The operating system is really nice. In my opinion Windows Phone is in many areas superior to iOS 6 and probably looks better than iOS 7.  There are a lot of smart features (People app), and on the Lumia 1020 the terrific screen and fantastic camera make it a very compelling, high quality device.

There are unfortunately several things that together make this a device that falls short for my needs.

  1. Email and Calendar – While my micro-business uses Office 365 and I still stick with Outlook on both the Mac and Windows, Windows Phone’s email app is just good. The fact you cannot reply to an email in the quoted section, that you must have meeting attendees in your contacts list – are both mindless and disappointing.
  2. Facetime-equivalent – Skype is a great app. I could not get it to video-conference properly with iOS (which my family uses) and as such, it’s a knock on the phone.
  3. Photo syncing – So you have a terrific camera. There is no way to get the full-resolution files off the camera without a sync to your computer. Yes, 12MB per photo is a lot but WiFi can do that. Furthermore, this would have been easier if the Windows Phone app – on Mac or PC – was better. You can either fully sync the device (bi-directionally, mind you) or pick files. I am fine picking files, but you cannot even pick photos – it’s a file list which you cannot sort by date. Luckily the file names have the date in them but is this 2013 or 1989?
  4. Apps – yes. There are too few of them. While there are great ones – 6tag, the People app (again), and there many apps that were ported to the device, you are not where things are happening. There is no Dropbox (you can use Microsoft Skydrive or a very decent API client like Filebox) or YouTube, or a decent web video player. The new-new is not on Windows Phone.
  5. Too many photo apps – Difficult to knock on the phone with the best camera period but there are too many apps there to make it a seamless experience.
  6. Mobile web – Internet Explorer on Windows Phone is more than perfectly decent. It’s actually pretty good. But again – mobile sites don’t necessarily aim to support mobile IE. They normally gear to support the HTML5 Safari likes, and since this is not Safari, things are a bit subpar.
  7. Windows Phone – Microsoft shows it wants to support Windows Phone by acquiring Nokia. But how long is Windows Phone 8 going to be supported? Is the 1020 going to be upgradable (a la Apple) or is it going to be dumped on an older OS (Lumia 800 anyone)? And now there’s talk Windows RT will make its way to phones. Windows Phone is great, but certainty would have helped and Microsoft, with a new CEO coming and god knows what changes, is not making matters clear.

If I did not need the best email and calendaring possible, have a family with lots of Facetime users and were taking many many more photos than I do now, I would keep it. But right now, I don’t think it is the right companion for the next couple of years. I love you but…


10
Jul 12

United Airlines’ adventures in mobile web

I occasionally use Kayak’s rather good app for the iPhone to check airfares for actual and fantasy travel. Recently, all referrals to United Airlines tickets originating from the Kayak app end up in the United’s mobile web site. All data about the ticket search from Kayak is gone in the process. Bummer but it’s not my money to lose.

What I noticed is that United appears to bring you to a mobile ‘text’ website, as shown below:

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It looks like a generic mobile website but intrigues you with a link to the ‘smartphone version’. When you click the link the page transforms itself to…

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…the exact same thing.
Great job, guys.


18
Apr 12

Is nothing really that much worse than something?

How much is a brand worth to a company? For most small companies it means virtually everything. They are one and all with the brand. Bigger companies often pour massive amounts into building and maintaining brands. According to David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, such brand positioning makes or breaks the brand. Something breaks, though, when it comes to mobile. 

Companies and organizations that make such huge investments in their brand suddenly realize their website, often times their core offering, looks bad or does not work on mobile devices. In a world where budgets are almost always tight, they look to do something out of nothing to address this problem. They want to be available to the growing smartphones and tablet-using masses. They need something

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