Eric’s Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone

Eric Schmidt:

Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android. The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface. They are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!

I’m sure Eric Schmidt has many friends, and of those many who use iPhones. But to infer a broader trend of iPhone users converting to Android is a market research rookie mistake. Having said that I do have many friends who wish the iPhone had a bigger display.

What would Eric Schmidt know of better screens. I’m assuming he goes by the assumption: Bigger displays are better; more pixels are better. And if that is the case, he is right. Android smartphones have way bigger displays than the 4-inch LCD on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s. Some Android smartphones also sport resolutions that are much higher than the 326 ppi found on the latest iPhones.

I wouldn’t say the 4-inch LTPS IPS LCD used in the latest iPhones are better than the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Google Nexus 5, but I don’t think you can claim it’s the other way either. I’m an iPhone 5 user, but I am itching to get some time on a much larger smartphone like the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. I want to find out for myself if a massive smartphone works for me or not, and why. Any Android users out there (I’m looking at you Eric Schmidt) generous enough to send one to me as a Christmas present?

Nokia Lumia 2520

Dan Seifert, The Verge:

Without those extras and no kickstand, the 2520 feels very much like any other 10-inch tablet. Its 16:9 display is great in landscape orientation, but it’s cumbersome to use in portrait mode for reading and other tasks. The 1920 x 1080 pixel panel looks great — it’s really bright, has the same ClearBlack technology that Nokia uses on smartphones, and can be used outdoors without issue. It’s great for browsing the web, playing games, and watching videos, but it’s a bit too contrasty and harsh when you want to read a book. The 2520 has a pixel density of 218PPI, which is less than the iPad Air and other tablets in this range. But while pixels are visible if you look closely, for the most part it’s not an issue and text is crisp enough to my eyes.

Reading an ebook is very similar to reading text on websites, so I’m concerned with Seifert’s observation that the Nokia Lumia 2520 is “a bit too contrasty and harsh when you want to read a book”. Why the good engineers at Nokia don’t understand color accuracy is more important than punchy inaccurate color is lost on me. Perhaps the problem isn’t the lack of knowledge by Nokia’s engineers, but by upper management.

HP ElitePad

via John Gruber. Denise Calnan,

In a letter sent to parents, Mr Gleeson wrote, “The roll-out of e-learning which involved the use of HP Elite Pads and e-books should have been an exciting and new way of moving forward.

“The HP Elite Pad has proved to be an unmitigated disaster. We have met with HP representatives on a number of occasions to address the issues.

“To ensure stability and continuity of education I have ordered a full set of books for all the students.”

Students experienced problems such as tablets failing to switch on, tablets spontaneously going into sleep mode, devices looping while performing automatic repairs, system board failures and issues with wi-fi.

Let’s take a quick look at what the press had to say about the HP ElitePad 900. (I am not certain the ElitePad 900 was the exact model — it’s even spelled wrong: Elite Pad? — Mountrath Community College procured.)

Dana Wollman, Engadget:

All that said, the ElitePad is still a solid tablet in many ways, but it’s only at its best when you splurge on the extras.

Dan Ackerman, c|net:

Of all the Windows 8 tablets we’ve tested to date, or at least the ones with Intel Atom CPUs, the HP ElitePad 900 has the most in-depth ecosystem of add-ons and accessories. Pick the right set for your needs and you can overcome most of the limitations of trying to work on a small, low-power tablet […]

Michael A. Prospero, Laptop:

And, while the ElitePad 900 gets a lot right, HP hasn’t quite perfected the mix. Among the Atom-based Windows 8 business tablets, we prefer the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which not only offers better performance, but stylus support and longer battery life. However, HP’s slate offers more expansion options. Overall, the HP ElitePad 900 is a good Windows 8 tablet for the price.

I’ve only picked three reviews, but the consensus from all three seems to be the HP ElitePad 900 isn’t a terrible Windows 8 tablet. But, and this is a big but, the press has a tendency to go easy on the products they review. I understand why, and that’s the reason why I don’t post reviews of products unless they are really great. If I post a negative review that means I understand there is the distinct possibility the company will no longer send products to review. That being said Mountrath Community College researched for 18 months to find the right tablet and did not have to rely solely on online reviews of the HP ElitePad. And so I agree with Gruber, research skills were severely lacking, to say it mildly. Or perhaps it was testing skills.

Samsung Ordered To Pay Apple US$290 Million For Patent Infringement

Ina Fried, All Things D:

“For Apple, this case has always been about more than patents and money,” Apple said in a statement to AllThingsD. “It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love. While it’s impossible to put a price tag on those values, we are grateful to the jury for showing Samsung that copying has a cost.”

Samsung owes Apple a total of US$929.83 million.

Samsung Galaxy Gear = Small Green Tomato

Brad Reed, BGR:

“What we’re dealing with is small green tomatoes,” he said of the Gear’s first-generation growing pains. “And what we want to do is take care of them and work with them so they become big, red ripe tomatoes. And what you want to be sure of is that you don’t pluck the green tomato too early and you want to make sure that you don’t criticize a small green tomato for not being a big, red ripe tomato.”

The problem for Samsung is that consumers ponying up US$300 for it wants it to be big, red, and ripe.

Samsung Galaxy Gear ‘Sales’

via John Gruber. Business Korea:

Also, on September 25, Samsung Electronics released the Galaxy Gear in time for the wearable computing generation. Yet this product has cumulative sales under 50,000, with daily sales of only 800-900 units. These low sales values for the Galaxy Gear are far below the initial expectations of the industry.

Business Korea reported this on November 22, 2013, probably as a response to Samsung announcing sales of 800,000 since the Galaxy Gear debuted two months ago. Gruber noted Business Korea did not cite a source, so unless Business Korea itself is a point of sale market research company, which I highly doubt, take this with a grain of salt. The two numbers diverge quite a bit, but I’m fairly certain Samsung is quoting how many Galaxy Gear smartwatches the company shipped into sales channels and Business Korea is reporting how many actually were sold to customers. Both are probably right, and if that’s true we can expect blowout clearance sales to commence sooner than later to unstuff mountains of Galaxy Gear inventory from the exact same sales channels Samsung stuffed them into. I’m not surprised Samsung Galaxy Gear sales to customers are so dismal; in its current form with its current features the Galaxy Gear solves a problem that to most doesn’t exist.

Liquid Metal Printer Lays Electronic Circuits on Paper, Plastic, and Even Cotton

MIT Technology Review:

The new technique is straightforward. The magic sauce is a liquid metal: an alloy of gallium and indium which is liquid at room temperature. They simply pump it through an inkjet printer to create a fine spray of liquid metal droplets that settle onto the substrate.

The droplets rapidly oxidise as the travel through the air and this oxide forms a surface layer on each drop that prevents further oxidisation. That’s handy because the liquid metal itself does not easily adhere to the substrates. But the metal oxides do and this is the reason, say Jing and co, that the circuits adhere so well to a wide range of surfaces.

Combined with 3D printing a liquid metal circuit printer would take electronics prototyping to a whole new level.

Why We Can’t Use Google Glass And Walk At The Same Time

Eric Jaffe, Co.Design:

For that reason, the researchers suspect that the brain of someone using Glass might be competing with itself for certain cognitive resources. During the visual task of spotting rectangles, for instance, attention might have been split between seeing where to walk and watching the series of squares change shape. Using our limited visual capacity for two simultaneous visual tasks may, in effect, make us worse at each.

Design Based On User Experience Is Not Enough

Gianluca Brugnoli, Medium:

Great designers deliver design solutions to business problems. It’s not only a matter of understanding the users and the context of the experience, and it’s not only about problem solving. Being experts of the design process is a crucial skill for a designer, but it’s not enough. The process is only a tool, a means to an end. Design leaders are able to get into the core of the specific business problem and goals of the project, and then combine and coordinate the various design activities and tools structuring the design process consequently.