Space Ramblings

John C. Dvorak Proclaims the Google Phone is Doomed

In a PC Magazine article John C. Dvorak proclaims that the Google Phone is doomed. This is before there is even a Google Phone out there, which suggests that Dvorak has telepathic abilities or is just feeling really cranky. Considering the Andy Rooneyish tone of the article, the latter seems much more plausible, especially since his arguments are transparently silly.

So now we have the current hogwash slated for release in late 2008—a year from now. And before we know anything, we are told it’s going to be great! Why is it going to be great? Because Google said so.

Actually we don’t know it’s going to be great, but assuming Google can design a decent product and make it genuinely open, we’re set for a revolution in how cell phones and carriers interact. So far Google has hardly been laying on the hype, it’s been slowly building the system while the hype has been coming from outside. So no, Google doesn’t say so.

In reality, I would guess that Rubin isn’t really going to get anywhere with this since he is, apparently, a strikeout artist. He’s the guy behind the unique-but-clunky Danger PDA–cum-phone. The Danger was cool and fun to use, but it was less a phone and more a gizmo. Let me point out something to all the geniuses out there: People buy phones because they are phones and not because they are half-baked Game Boys, GPS navigators, or Web browsers.

Hi John, notice the iPhone. Yeah there’s a few million of those out there. The mobile computing revolution is centering on the cell phone. It’s the future, so deal with it. This is like reading that a company specializing in second day and overnight delivery will never fly because people prefer the post office.

Apple kind of got away with marketing a gizmo as a phone with the iPhone, but it’s being used more as a photo album than a phone, from what I can tell. And if you’re going to go for a gizmo phone, then why wouldn’t you just get an iPhone? It’s shiny and pretty. Oh, and it’s available, too.

It’s available for a few thousand bucks, counting a 2 year AT&T contract, the whole point of the Google Phone will be to get away from that sort of thing. And when did Dvorak become as ignorant as Andy Rooney anyway? Now a cell phone that does more than answer calls is suddenly a gizmo? How stupid is that anyway.

So what is Google trying to do with a phone? First of all, it wants to put Google search on a phone. It wants to do this because it is obvious to the folks at Google that people need to do Web searches from their phone, so they can, uh, get directions to the restaurant? Of course, they can simply use the phone itself to call the restaurant and ask!

*Idiot* Actually it’s pretty obvious from the popularity of Google Maps and all the sites that break down eatery listings. Not everyone wants to waste time calling restaurants and some people would like to get a blend of user reviews, menu items and directions for several places so they can choose the right one to eat.

I’ve actually used various phones with Web capability. They never work right. They take forever to navigate. It’s hard to read the screens. If there are a lot of images, the page may never load. No matter what browser you use, there are issues. In short, the experience sucks.

Gosh, I guess that will never change. Oh wait, web pages are being designed with mobile capability and mobile web browsing has gotten much better. The original experience of using the web wasn’t that great either. There were no pictures and only text and the screen came in two colors.

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