Ahmed Eltawil's Blog

Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

It’s crystal clear that the BlackBerry community want both Netflix and Skype apps on either (or on both) their BlackBerry smartphone or PlayBook but their wishes and requests have always gone unanswered and for reasons that are still unknown.

We keep hearing from BlackBerry (unofficially) that they are willing to help Netflix or Skype to build those apps on their BlackBerry PlayBook QNX platform if they just asked but still their tweets get no replies (as far as we know). Why? Why is it almost impossible to get Netflix and Skype on board the BlackBerry platform considering that BlackBerry has been around way before iPhone, Android and Windows Phone? This might come as a shock to all of you but even Nokia’s old, slow and outdated Symbian OS has an official Skype and Netflix apps.

The BlackBerry community has been very vocal about this issue through tweets, Facebook posts, petitions and even sending letters to Netflix and Skype’s headquarters to spread the awareness hoping it gives them the push they need to start the development but we haven’t heard or seen any positive outcome.

Look, before I say anything more I would like to mention that as a Canadian I am proud of the BlackBerry brand and support RIM. If it wasn’t for them we would probably still be using dumb phones today. That being said, I must say that I believe it isn’t completely Netflix or Skype’s fault for not building apps for the PlayBook’s QNX platform, RIM is to be greatly blamed as well.

Ponder about this for a minute. Those Twitter and Facebook apps on BlackBerry smartphones weren’t even created by Twitter nor Facebook, respectively. They were built by RIM. So it isn’t just Netflix and Skype that aren’t interested in developing apps for the BlackBerry OS (or the PlayBook’s QNX platform), it seems that both popular social networks aren’t interested either which is probably why RIM took it on themselves to create Twitter and Facebook apps.

Here is another point to think about. As I mentioned above, BlackBerry has been around way before iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, yet all those mobile platforms got official apps from Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Netflix either at launch or during a period of at most one year after launch yet BlackBerry still gets neglected. So how did, for instance, Microsoft get Netflix and Skype to develop apps for their Windows Phone platform even though Windows Phone’s market share is below all mobile operating systems on the market? The BlackBerry PlayBook is in this same spot right now with a small market share (just like Windows Phone) yet, a year later, there isn’t a single evidence that says both Netflix and Skype are working on a PlayBook app. Why is that?

Microsoft, Google and Apple all seem to have that power or influence (or whatever you want to call it) that pushes third party companies to support their mobile platforms. Microsoft definitely did something behind the scenes to get those deal breaker apps on board the Windows Phone platform before the OS had any decent market share. So it is obvious that RIM has a role to play to get those ‘must-have’ apps on their PlayBook as well.

In other words, we can’t just blame Netflix and Skype for not developing apps for the PlayBook or the BlackBerry OS. RIM, just like Microsoft, Apple and Google, has to play their part of the game or else it will always be ‘no-dice’.

Am I the only one who isn’t excited about Google’s latest and official release of Android Honeycomb? I mean, I am happy that the Android tablet market will now start growing effectively while utilizing something specifically made for tablets rather than stretching out Froyo on tablets. But I still have a grudge.

Google still, and looks like will always, create unpolished and developer grade Android releases. Froyo was a major showcase for an unpolished interface and unthought through OS features. Honeycomb is now another example. Google has over complicated and feature-stuffed their latest release that I can seriously see it unusable as well as unattractive and confusing for the average consumer.

Seriously Google, stop hiring more and more engineers and developers and start hiring plenty more human interaction engineers and professional interface designers. Your customers will thank you.

Hey Google, guess what? Apple iPhone has Safari and Microsoft’s Windows Phone has Internet Explorer while Google’s Android has…some nameless generic webkit browser called ‘Browser’. But wait, Google already has a popular browser called Chrome, why not use the same technology that powers Chrome and the same name for Android? Anyone has an answer?

This has been puzzling me ever since Android was released without a Chrome mobile browser like the rest of the mobile operating systems. No doubt there will be advantages gained from using the same app for Android. Think about all your Chrome bookmarks on PC or Mac being automatically synchronized with your Android phone. That alone will give Android an additional reason to attract more buyers.

I am going to give Google the benefit of the doubt and assume they will change the ‘Browser’ to Chrome in their Android ‘with Google’ experience in one of their future builds. I don’t know about you, but it just makes sense to do so.

I have to admit, all the Gingerbread talk and rumors that circulated the web got me excited and eager to have it running on my Nexus One. But once Google revealed to the world the new Android release, my excitement mostly diminished.

The Gingerbread Android update is barely a cheap minor UI refresh to Froyo. Nothing major and nothing worth bragging about, as far as I am concerned. I am sure my Nexus One will be among the first devices to get the update yet you won’t find me jumping from joy as I play around with the new build.

One of the things that disappointed me is the fact that Android Gingerbread still won’t fully support the Arabic language. No Arabic keyboard and no full Arabic text display in the browser or within the SMS Messaging app. The Arabic letters will still be displayed separately in a non-joined format. I mean, how long has Android been around? It took Apple less than one year to fully support Arabic and a range of other languages on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Android has been around for more than two years yet it fully supports just a handful of languages.

Another thing that disappoints me is the final finish of the Android UI. No matter how many times Google updates Android and releases new builds the user interface still feels like developer grade. I’ve heard these comments multiple times from twitter users and across many tech blogs where Google seems to afford $6 billion company buyouts yet they can’t afford to hire professional UI designers for Android. And it clearly shows.

Google has several location and social services that I can’t help but notice the lack of the public’s adoption or active usage.

Take Google Buzz for instance. Google made a big fuss about it when they launched the service and today you hear nothing about it from either the general public or Google too.

Another service is Google Latitude. A great location sharing service that lets you see friends nearby in Google Maps. But who is actively using it? It could be running in your smartphone’s background all day but have you even opened it once to see who’s around?

And of course there is Google Places. A wonderful service that I and million others constantly use to lookup movie theaters, restaurants, gas stations and many more venues. But despite all its glory it has yet to fit in and play a major role as a social service where it certainly and without a doubt will shine.

Google should think of a cool way to bring Buzz, Latitude and Google Places together to work in harmony.

While Google is still preparing to release Gingerbread,  I can’t resist thinking about the possibility of Google announcing a tablet with the new Android system release. I mean, Google did mention before that Froyo isn’t tablet ready, and that obviously indicates that they’re working on a tablet friendly Android OS. Which means that tablets and slate form factor devices is on their minds.

The question is: Is Google working on a tablet device running Gingerbread or are they waiting till next year for an even better Honeycomb flavor?


@AhmedEltawil

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