ned Productions Consulting

Technology musings by Niall Douglas
ned Productions Consulting
(an expert advice and services company based in Ireland)

Thursday 12th July 2012 2.57pm

Just spent half an hour playing with my new +Android 4.1. In fairness, it's a reasonable update from Android 4.0 - in particular, Google have finally - and at long last - matched the +iPhone for flashy, fadey UI gimmicks, and the UI is now fast enough you can't usually outpace it with your tapping. It now feels very like an iPhone in use, except that everything is darkly themed whereas the iPhone is brightly themed. The new Siri sort-of-clone might actually be useful sometimes too to save typing and navigating - I'm still unconvinced such a thing can be useful anywhere outside a quiet room though. I do very much like that the voice stuff works without an internet connection - that makes it fast here with my lousy internet. Also, voice synthesis is vastly better than before, it's nearly human sounding now, even in Spanish where it adopts a mid-Atlantic Spanish accent.

Is #JellyBean  the +iPhone killer at last? Not quite. 4.1 is huge advance over 4.0 in integration of Google services into a single phone platform, but it doesn't yet replicate the seamless combination of consumer vending outlets with media storage and indexing the iPhone has (i.e. iTunes, iBookstore). On Android 4.1 the vending bit still feels tacked on, and there is still the concept of silos of services which don't massively know about one another. Personally, I prefer it this way, but I can see your average consumer wouldn't and I do agree it isn't obvious how to share a web page to Google+, or why the web browser tab selection is separate from the task selection, or why you can't add todo tasks to the calendar instantly from within any app without exiting what you're doing and opening Calendar, or why Email, Gmail, SMS, and IM apps are all still in their own silo apps instead of a common "other people communications" framework and so on.

If Google can nail that software service integration problem, I think Apple are dead men walking because then their only comparative advantage is outstanding though pricey hardware, and that's no sustainable advantage. And that opens a door for +BlackBerry and my employment there starting October, because #BB10 is no Android nor #iOS clone. So, for now, Apple continue to rule the roost but they'll get lapped soon at this rate.