Monday, September 06, 2010

Head in the cloud

As usual my mind is adrift with ideas. Recently I upgraded my phone from a Pantech Windows CE smart phone (6.2?) to a Samsung Captivate Android based smart phone (2.1). So far I'm pleased with it though some of the apps are lacking. What I really like is the screen. I can see it in sun light and it isn't as dim as the iPhone (which looks a little washed out). I also like the fact that while I'm talking on the phone I can surf the Internet over the 3G network. This has come in handy several times. My wife also picked a Captivate to replace her old Treo (though she's still learning the differences between the two phones).

One of the things you'll notice quickly is that the phone is very Google oriented (gee, I wonder why? ;-). Part of this is taking advantage of Google's cloud services (the Google Data Protocol). One of the other things I keep seeing is how these smart phones are going to replace desktop computers. I'm pretty certain that won't be the case for the heavier lifting applications of the desktop (such as word processing, etc.). What it is perfect for is the lighter applications such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, IM's and email) and web browsing. Smart phones are better information devices than computational devices and touch screens are great except when you really have to do heavy typing (although Swype works really well!).

One last thing I've noticed a lot lately. Every time a new touch screen phone of tablet is released it's touted as the iPhone killer. Sorry not going to happen (not unless there is a serious price difference and Android and Apple iOS are similarly featured). What I do see is that Apple's initial lead will be whittled away from when it was the only thing in the market. The new devices (mostly Android devices as the rest of the competitors are not really close) will share a segment of the market, Apple will probably retain it's lead with the "Cult of Apple" type folks and the initial users. Most who abandon Apple will do so because of cost though I expect Apple's prices to become more competitive as Android devices improve.

Of course I've been known to be wrong. :-) So anyway, what does this have to do with HA? Well with the advent of iOS and more so Android I see a touch screen in every home. Whether it's a tablet in the living room or on the wall, or a smart phone. The smart touch devices allow for two-way communication. Something my Nokia 770 couldn't do when it went to sleep. I can get update notifications while the device is just sitting there or interactively communicate with my HA system. Even the market place or iTunes store will be used on the home touch screens. And what of the cloud? I think (hope) that we'll see the cloud shared across a local, in-house, server and services from the cloud. Also, why not Android and market on the new HD TV (are you listening Sony?) ? So far the Applicast junk and the Yahoo widgets have been a bust. They occupy precious viewing space on my TV (Hey! I'm watching sumthing here!) and they are difficult to reach (too many button clicks). Android would be a much better OS and user experience than their current setup and I wouldn't be locked into Sony's view of the world. That's just made me view the TV as nothing more than a TV.