A Week Dominated by a Phone That’s Not an iPhone

I still run hot and cold on the prospects for Google’s Android OS. With this week’s launch of the T-Mobile G1, though, I’m feeling fairly upbeat about it. For now, at least…

The T-Mobile G1 Gets Real
You can fixate on the ways in which it’s similar to an iPhone. (Big display, accelerometer, GPS, Wi-Fi, YouTube, app store, and lots more.) You can fixate on the ways it’s dissimilar. (Open platform, no multi-touch, no full-blown video player, lack of Exchange support, odd proprietary headphone jack, and lots more.) Whichever way you look at it, the T-Mobile G1, the first phone built on Google’s Android OS, is a significant product. It’s already been the subject of controversy, and there’s much we still don’t know about the G1 and Android in general. But you gotta think that T-Mobile ended up mostly happy with the reception so far–especially since it’s apparently already seling scads of them to existing T-Mobile customers on pre-order, which is the only way it’s selling the phone so far. (It goes on sale on October 22nd; your humble reporter may be among those in line to snap one up.)
Read more at: TmoNews, Engadget Mobile

The First Rule of iPhone
It’s become a familiar pattern: Developer submits iPhone application to Apple. Apple refuses to offer it through the App Store. Developer blogs about Apple’s explanation. Apple gets pummeled in the blogosphere. How has Apple reacted? By telling developers that the non-disclosure agreement they signed concerning the iPhone forbids them from telling anyone why their program was rejected. And the same NDA has left book companies afraid to publish books to teach programmers how to develop for the iPhone. A couple of months ago, the iPhone platform seemed like the most exciting thing to hit the tech world in eons; at the moment, I get depressed just thinking about it. This too shall pass, or so I hope…
Read more at: Macworld, Furbo.org

A Less Appy Windows
We still don’t know all that much about Windows 7, but news broke this week that Microsoft is stripping out Windows’ apps for e-mail, photo editing, and video editing, and will offer them only as free downloads. I think that’s a swell idea for both the operating system and the applications–I was never clear on why Microsoft often highlighted tools like Windows Movie Maker in Windows ads when they weren’t core to the OS, and apps bundled with an OS that’s only updated every few years are doomed to feel permanently stale compared to Web-centric rivals. I still think that Windows should evolve into a sort of DOS for the 21st century–a piece of reliable and unglamorous middleware. I’m sure that Microsoft isn’t going to follow that strategy, but I’m glad to see even small signs that the company is tippytoing back to basics.
Read more at: Cnet News

A New Way to Buy Music in Physical Form
I kind of thought that we’d seen our final new physical media for music. But memory card kingpin SanDisk has introduced slotMusic, which repurposes MicroSD into a format for album distribution. It’s got the support of major music labels, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart, so it may be a mistake to declare it dead on arrival. But the selection of albums on slotMusic at launch will be tiny, the cards themselves are so tiny that they seem like more hassle than they’re worth, and the format is arriving just as digital downloads are poised to render physical media irrelevant. Okay, on second thought I will declare slotMusic DOA.
Read more at: Computerworld

Steve Ballmer is Anything But Retiring
Bring out the cryogenic freezer! Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who had supposedly been planning to retire at 62 in 2018, has apparently said that he won’t follow recent retiree Bill Gates into that good night until Microsoft’s Live Search has a larger market share than Google. How does the race stand at the moment? Google has 63 percent share, and Live Search has 8.3 percent and dropping. I sorta admire the bravado behind such a pledge, but I don’t know if any number of developers, developers, developers will prove enough to close that gap.
Read more at: All About Microsoft

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