Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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Spillikins ¹172. Stupidity Triumphs
For about a year now, I have been studying the ways mobile communication has affected our lives, changed our habits and customs. Some of the issues I want to cover in this respect are very trivial but interesting nonetheless. Today I want to discuss what time it is appropriate to make phone calls and what it means to work 24/7.
I spent last week on a business trip in the US. The nation you visit always affects the way you see things. Most importantly, you see things from another nation's perspective. I have been hearing about Facebook IPO a lot recently but only in America this news was literally everywhere. It is hard to underestimate the success and importance of this IPO but the hysteria it caused is probably just human megalomania – we love everything big and we could not have possibly missed a story about the biggest social network. No need to give any details as there are plenty of expert analyses available on the web.
Probably the biggest hi-tech news was the bit about NVidia introducing a cloud gaming service as well as a new GPU series for supercomputers and external computing servers. I have covered this topic in another article so check it out if you find this story interesting.
I have been using my Galaxy S3 for two weeks and have tested it to the max. I think I will review it by adding more pieces to the first look. I will soon post a bit on the battery life of S3. I have run many tests on the battery time and S3 is a real battery champion among Android smartphones. A bit later a will post a piece on the camera and so on so don't forget to check older articles on S3 because they get updated. The first look is promising to become an epic review with every detail of S3.
Unfortunately, there was a lot more stories last week than I can cover in the Spillikins but I may cover some of them in upcoming issues.
When abroad I am always trying to find time to visit a museum. Mountain View, CA hosts a computer history museum I visited for the first time. The museum's collection has a great number computers, their prototypes, all sorts of computing devices and computer parts. The collection is so vast that the hour I spent there only allowed me to take a peak. I run through the collection only stopping to take a closer look at something familiar to me.
I made a few videos there and uploaded them to our YouTube channel. I really want to write an article about this place and I would like to hear your opinions on this. What would like to read about the most? I would also like to make a series covering peculiar museums around the world. Let me know what you think about this idea.
I have an alarm clock on my bedside table. It is one of those round mechanical things you have to turn the alarm arrow to set the alarm time. Right now it is set to eight and I have yet an hour to sleep. Next to it is my phone which its vibration alert humming annoyingly. Some very enthusiastic girl on the line who apparently never heard of time zones is citing a text she must have learnt by heart. I don't understand what she is saying so I beg her pardon. She is telling me that a friend of mine is preparing an exhibition in Yekaterinburg and inviting me to visit it. I say yes and I would say anything to make her leave me alone and snooze. We exchange goodbyes, I wrap myself in pillows but sleep won't come.
The only thing on my mind is why on earth I cared to take the phone to bed. I guess it's the good old Murphy's law. Naturally, when I'm in my study and the phone is charging no one dares to disturb me. But the moments you want it the least some is there for you. Thank you very much and welcome to my blacklist you I-don't-care-about-what-other-people-might-be-doing types.
Unwanted calls are especially bothering when you are abroad and your circadian rhythm is going crazy even without help from unwanted callers. I wish carriers would come up with a service that would notify the caller of the current time in wherever the callee is and offer them a choice to continue the call or to hang up and let people be. I think then some people would realize how intruding they might be and stop calling you in the middle of the night.
What time is appropriate to make phone calls? I think everyone has his own idea. Sleepyheads don't like call others until 11 or 12 a.m. In the night people usually stop calling after 10 p.m. I only call people on business matters in working hours and really hate to break this rule. And I find it unthinkable how some people can ruin someone others day-off. However, I quite understand journalists who often are sandwiched by deadlines and lose perception of time. But I cannot afford making such exceptions for everyone
It is often quite enough to text if the time is not appropriate but for some reason people call first and only after realizing they are intruding they start texting. Only I don't feel like replying to those texts.
When I was a kid we had a rule at home – no phone calls after 10 p.m. We could only break this rule for family members for an urgent matter. I think most people have the same rule and expect understanding from intimates when they have to disturb them with an inappropriate phone call.
These conventional rules apply to many people but there are also specific cases. People who have corporate phones often turn them off when they are not at work or set an automatic profile change at certain time/ They know that otherwise they would have to work 24/7.
As if responding to this some employers oblige their employees to be accessible 24/7. if an employee turns his phone off it is considered a breach of the contract. And it is not only doctors and firefighters who has to sign such contracts. Fashion models also have to be available 24/7. Why? No idea, but it is true and some people I know in that business confirm it. PR officers also have to be ready to represent their employers anytime. I guess you can give more examples or may be share a personal story – please do in the comment section.
The fact that you have to be on the phone every minute of your life seriously affects your lifestyle. I have heard many people who live this way that they truly hate their mobile phones as it keeps interrupting and ruins all your plans. Of course, career choice is not the phone's fault.
Until recently, mankind was not able to keep in touch 24/7 but this new opportunity has brought a great deal of inconvenience especially in nations where they for this or that reasons don't have a phone call ethical code. But as mobile phones become ubiquitous the phone culture becomes international too.
How popular do you think your product is going to be if it is obsolete since the release and the platform it is based is discontinued as you have announced previously. It does not really matter what you pack into it or rather make it seem like you packed something interesting into it – it is a lot more important what the potential buyers think about it. And this is the main problem of Nokia – people don't like this brand anymore and the sales are not nearly what they used to be. As a result Nokia's partners turn away because they don't want to offer their clients something they will never buy. The price also does not matter if the product simple has no market. Bunch of Nokia fans will purchase it but all in all the release will pass unnoticed.
Nokia 808 PureView is exactly a case in point. Initially in Barcelona Nokia announced that it was going to cost ˆ480 without taxes in most European countries. Russia is still Nokia's biggest market and guess what – the MVideo chain announced the release price 26990 RUB (ˆ650). Nokia only hopes to have some sales with this phone in Russia and India. Their logic is simple: Nokia's positions are still strong in these countries and these two nations have a 'thing' for technologies like the 41 MPix camera that is technological ignorance. Ukrainian retailers refused to work with this model as they quite reasonably predict a failure in sales due to the outrageous price. Only one Ukrainian retailer agreed to sell it for a price even higher than that in Russia and ordered a batch of 200 handsets. This number is the epitome of where the current strategy is taking Nokia. No one could have ruined the company in a more effective way than their own management.
A lot of stir was caused by the information that came from Michel van der Bel, the COO of Microsoft in Greater China, last week. In his interview given to one of the mass media, the company's top manager said that during the two-month period since they started to sell Windows Phone 7 devices in China, the market share for such devices has amounted to 7%, which is higher than that for iOS devices equaling to 6% only. Those who like the Windows Phone 7 operating system became very much enthusiastic right away, speaking of their victory over Apple, while iPhone admirers started criticizing the information by saying that it should have come from an independent source, otherwise no one was expected to believe it. To put it briefly, there has been a lot of commotion, with a number of contrary viewpoints expressed.
I guess there is just nothing to argue about here. Considering that Apple is not too much active in China, that the iPhone price is extremely high for the Chinese market, and that the market offers a lot of copies and substitutes by local manufacturers, no one could expect any booming success of the Apple device. It is just an expensive model sold very well there. The key word is 'expensive'. The model cannot leave the limits of its price segment, while Windows Phone 7 devices are cheaper, and the price really matters there. So one should not think that Microsoft decided to make any PR for their sales, as I believe that the information is quite correct and the company has really gained their 7% of the market share in China. It is going to be of great interest to see the way the sales will be developing and the way the market share will change after the primary demand comes to its end.
As an indirect proof of the situation on the markets where Apple is not that active, I might as well quote the information on the Russian sales. The independent information is best to depart from, so we will consider the data obtained from the MTS Company. They have made calculations on the market for mobile phones for Q1 of 2012. You can have a look at their report here.
We are interested to see how the market is shared between different operating systems, and that is the way it looks like:
MTS says that 2.528 mln smartphones have been sold. But only the official Apple iPhone sales count there, with no unofficial channels or suitcase deliveries taken into account. I guess it is quite O'K as the only way to judge on this market sector is tracking the IMEI numbers of the devices registered in the network and their monthly variations.
Among other interesting data provided in the report, the MeeGo sales (Nokia N9) are worth mentioning. MTS says that the market share of the device is twice bigger (0.2%) than that of Blackberry (0.1%), which means that five thousand handsets were sold in Q1. So I cannot understand where the Nokia fans take their information from when saying that millions of copies of the device have been sold. The independent numbers serve the proof for what I said before: the production volume of this handset has been minimal and only amounted to 220,000 copies for the entire period of its market life. And Russia has been the key market for the model, as almost half of that quantity were sold here. That is how funny the stats are, and it seems nothing can ever be any funnier.
Coming back to Windows Phone 7, I would like to mention that local success gained on certain markets is not just possible, but it is the most probable way it may go, considering how active both Nokia and Microsoft are with their promotion. The key values for the WP7 market are coming from the USA, and if the share of this operating system in the US market begins to grow, it will automatically result in its global growth. If the situation does not develop that way in the States, no local success on any certain markets will really matter.
There are a lot of serious arguments flaring up about the HTC flagship as the regular users are learning more and more about the way some standard features of the device are implemented in practice. For example, one of the major complaints is that the One X closes applications stored in the memory without dedicated requests. Thus, when you switch to another application, the handset closes the previous one in a fairly aggressive mode. Lots of users consider it a mistake, but HTC declared that this is exactly the way the device had been designed. So they say it is not a mistake, but a feature. One can be sure that there will be few users who will like it, as people have got used to decide for themselves what is to be closed and how it should be done. But they have been left with no choice there (a selectable option of how the device handles the applications would be quite appropriate). This kind of aggressive memory cleaning is caused by the Sense 4 interface requiring lots of the resources for its operation. So HTC decided to solve the problem not by improving the hardware capacity, but by cleaning the memory only.
The video below shows that on the left handset applications activated from the task manager are simply started anew, but not re-activated from the memory.
As for me, this is the worst way ever, as if you have a handset that does not close any applications by itself, you can install a memory manager that will do it according to your own settings. But you cannot get back to the normal way of working with the applications here, which is truly disappointing.
Another issue that lots of HTC One X users complain about is the battery life. The main part of the problem is that Tegra 3 is used in the handset, but with no control manager by NVIDIA. HTC decided to use their own solution instead, and it has turned out to be ineffective. The battery life is considerably better on other Tegra 3 devices featuring similar hardware specs. And it remains a mystery to me why HTC has refused to use the complete solution by NVIDIA. Today, the HTC One X uses the solution by NVIDIA which was designed for older models!
Another issue that seems ridiculous but makes us thoughtful is that the energy control manager is placed into the wrong system folder in the HTC One X firmware. Here is the description of the discovery. If you only change the location of the app, the battery life will increase by 10-15%.
Following the European and American regulators, China has approved Google buying Motorola. It means that within the nearest weeks, or maybe a bit later, the deal is going to be closed and Google will get a huge pool of patents, as well as their own handset manufacturer. Earlier, Google representatives said that they were not planning to change the rules of the game and that Motorola would only be one of the companies working with the Android OS, without any special preferences granted to the manufacturer. But the closer the final deal was, the more doubts were rising inside Google regarding the possibility of such a neutral position. It is very costly to own a huge company without letting it develop to the max, but restraining its potential on the contrary. There are some rumors saying that the Chinese authorities approved the deal under the condition that Android is kept as a freeware for at least five years and that all manufacturers will preserve their equal rights to access the technologies.
Nevertheless, Google decided to modify their strategy and to diverge from the original idea for the first time in several years. Previously, they used to select a single partner to manufacture a device, under the Nexus trademark, featuring a new version of Android, without any interface extensions. But now there will be several such partners – about five of them, according to the rumors. Each company will be able to get an early access to the latest Android version, and the 'Nexus' prefix will be added to the names of all new devices: not only smartphones, but tablets as well. Google expects that such devices will be sold not only through usual channels, but also at the company's website. It seems to me this initiative gives a sober reply to the accusations concerning Motorola getting any priority in the developments. That is not true, so everyone who plays any important role on the Android market will have access to the operating system. I guess this is also an attempt to make the market of the new OS versions more active, as today we can observe some stratification of the versions. The latest version, Android 4, came to the major part of the old models in April only, while the first handset featuring it was released back in October, last year. The delay in the release dates for new models is huge and, I guess, this decision is also expected to eliminate it, partially at least. At the initial stage, we will see new Nexus devices with bare Android. Later, there will come models with manufacturers' individual interface extensions and services. The competition will grow, which can certainly be welcome anyway.
We are living in a really amazing time when technologies seem to make magic. I will show you a video below where you will see a woman that has been paralyzed for 15 years, but she can control a robotic arm with her thoughts and handle objects with it. She thinks of using her own arm, while the sensor implanted in her head gives the command to the computer. This is only a prototype so far, but similar devices may be manufactured for a lot of disabled persons in the near future. The fact is that this is just a fantastic invention which makes it real that this kind of devices will be designed and produced for healthy people, too. With only the power of your thoughts and without any sensors implanted in your brain, you will be able to manipulate various devices, give commands, and so on. Fantastic, isn't it? It is, but we can see that such fantastic things are becoming parts of our reality these days, so we are living in the time when original technologies are being born, and these technologies will only get more and more complicated and powerful in the future. We can just remember that it was quite recently when Google started their researches for the navigation and car driving system for blind people, which could also sound and look absolutely fantastic only a dozen of years ago. Watch the video. I believe everything will be clear there. But the main thing is to pay attention to how much happy the woman is about the fact that she was able to take a gulp of coffee from the thermos without anyone's assistance. This was the first time in 15 years that she could do that.
In the previous Spillikins I told you a story about the fake phone call that I had become an unintentional witness of: /articles/2012/birulki-171.shtml#1. Speaking of why people pretend to be talking on the phone, I certainly did not expect that kind of active feedback and that big number of different stories about it. As I promised, here are some of them.
In a marketplace
Yesterday I went to the marketplace and found the thing I needed. I began haggling with the street vendor, and he was reducing the price unwillingly, saying he was only selling the things but did not own them. Then he said he would call the owner and ask him if he could give any discount. He pretended to dial a number and began saying something in his native language. And right in the middle of the conversation his phone rang, which made him smile and blush a little. Then he sold me the thing I needed for the price I wanted.
As a matter of fact, I really have to talk on the "empty" phone sometimes (once or twice a year). The handset is quite real, but there is no other party in the conversation. This is due to some situations when I need to leave the room urgently, but I cannot invent any sound reason to do that. Or it may happen when I forget to ask for permission to leave the office and here comes something like "I had a phone call… There are serious problems… I've got to be running…" That's the way it goes.
When I was a child, I sometimes programmed an SMS coming from the Megafon website at a certain hour. Just in case I don't like the company or get bored with it. So there's the SMS, I call back… and I have to be running again.
Putting on a show
A friend of mine was pretending to call a girl for the evening. And right at the moment when he started to order some particular color of the lingerie, I rang him up. His phone started to ring… He pretended to give a puzzled look at the screen… and saw me. I have never seen a human face so red anymore. ))))))))
These are the stories told by our readers. They are all quite real and true.
P.S. I wish you all a good week. It is certainly going to be a hard one for me as I am writing the chapters of the Galaxy S3 review which is expected to turn out extremely or even too detailed. Good luck!
Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.
Published 23 May 2012
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