Archive for January, 2010

January 19th, 2010

My Smart Phone delima…

iPhone 3Gs and HTC Tilt2

I recently received an offer from AT&T; inviting me to trade-in my old Smart Phone. I would bring in my old Blackjack II and get $100 rebate on a new HTC Tilt2. From a marketing perspective this was a timely email. I am in the market for a new Smart Phone for two reasons my current phone (Blackjack II) is getting a little warn out AND I will be attending MIX10 this year in Las Vegas and I will be tweeting, blogging, networking with my mobile device so I need something that can keep up with me.

There are a few factors that I am considering before buying my new Smart Phone.

1. Price

The HTC Tilt2 is $250 w/ 2 year contract + $50 mail in rebate + $100 email discount for trading in my old Smart Phone. Data plan is $30/mo and talk is part of my family plan.

The iPhone 3Gs 16 GB is $199 w/2 year contract and no rebates. Data plan is also $30/mo and talk is again part of my family plan.

2. Speed

I played with both devices at the store and the Tilt2 is noticeably faster than my Blackjack II but also noticeably slower than the iPhone 3Gs, which just plain smokes. The touch interface on the Tilt2 is clunky running Windows Mobile 6.5 and the iPhone is “zippy-zoom” responsive.

3. Features

Applications – everyone knows about the iPhone App store. The Windows Mobile app store has a few useful apps that I currently have installed on my Blackjack II. No games to speak of on the Tilt right now.

Keyboard – I have an iPod Touch and I have used the screen keyboard on it. It’s clunky and makes for lots of typos, but it’s not overly horrible. The Tilt2 has a slide out QWERTY keyboard in addition to the touch screen keyboard. The slide out keyboard feels amazing. The keys are a perfect size for my fingers, the buttons are easy to locate and the device sits effortlessly in my hand while I type. This is a HUGE plus for the Tilt2.

Media – iPhone offers the same features of my iPod Touch (which I love except for the lack of HD Radio). An iPod is a WAY BETTER media device than a Tilt2 especially with iTunes attached to it. Plus all my music/media is already in iTunes.

Storage – Tilt2 has built in 512MB but expandable to 32GB with a microSD card (~$50). The iPod at my price point has 16GB and isn’t expandable unless I get the next level up which is 32GB for an additional $100.

Screen Size – I believe both devices have the same screen size. The iPhone UI makes better use of the space with their app layout design.

Battery Life – Tilt2 up to 6.5 hours iPhone up to 5 hours.

E-mail – iPhone and Tilt2 both have full Office Exchange support so this is a wash.

So I guess the final question; is $100 less (via rebate) and a much more usable slide out QWERTY keyboard on the Tilt2 worth more than the iPhone dominating in every other category?

On a side note, I was considering getting a Zune HD just because it can listen to HD radio. There are rumors that Windows Mobile 7 or “7″ will be out later next year about the time I’m ready for another upgrade, so maybe sticking with (or suffering through) windows mobile is what I’ll do. So many choices.

January 18th, 2010

MIX10: Sales pitch or career resource?

I believe it’s common knowledge that vendor lead conferences will involve some level of marketing, otherwise how could you justify the expense to the bean counters. MIX10 is no exception.

Last year, there was a lot of hype about Blend/SketchFlow, Silverlight, Azure, and IE8. Some products lived up to the hype, others not so much. Regardless, the message was pretty one sided, Microsoft has some great new tools to help the designer/developer work flow improve and deliver outstanding content to users.

One thing I am seeing this year both from Microsoft as a company AND in some sessions is a real commitment to Open-Source and alternative technologies (JQuery, HTML5, PHP, MySQL, Ruby, Python to name a few). Seeing Microsoft include these technologies in the box with their software makes me smile. Windows Platform Installer will install and configure these technologies for you automatically. That’s a far cry from the nightmare it was to get PHP/MySQL running on an IIS server in the (recent) past. It now takes minutes. I also love seeing the Mix lab work with projects like Oxite, Gestald, and WordPress. I’m also seeing more session content revolving around these technologies. That’s a good thing.

I attended an event in Seattle put on by Interact Seattle a few months ago where two software evangelists Adam Kinney (Microsoft) and Ryan Stewart (Adobe) showcased their respective products Blend & Flash Catalyst side by side. This session created an amazingly interesting dynamic. It wasn’t about which features were better, it was about how tools could help execute and ultimately realize ideas. There was some great dialog during and after the presentations.

Seeing Open-Source technologies being talked about and used at MIX is a great step forward as far as breaking out of the “Marketing Marketing blah blah” of vendor conferences. I am hopeful that today, when the Open Call sessions are announced more of these alternative technologies will be showcased.

Finally, the part of MIX10 I’m looking forward to the most is getting a chance to talk with other industry professionals, most of which use Microsoft technologies, but not exclusively. It’s those conversations that I find the real value of a conference regardless of who is footing the bill.

See you in Vegas!