Yesterday, Microsoft launched their new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. As a former enterprise network administrator, and Windows Mobile user, I can tell you that Microsoft does have a place in the smartphone world. Redmond fell asleep at the wheel on their mobile development over the last 6-7 years and let RIM and Apple come in and essentially run them out of the mobile game. With Apple’s “fenced in” strategy, many power users who resist that model were left with few viable options in the way of hand-held devices. Google acknowledged this opportunity in 2005 by purchasing Android Inc. It wasn’t until October of 2008 that we were able to purchase the first available Android device. According to a report released by the NPD group, Android accounted for 33 precent of the smartphone sales last quarter. For an operating system that was only released two years ago, that is an impressive figure to say the least.
Andy Rubin, vice president of Engineering at Google, was quoted recently as saying the following regarding WP7:
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On a smaller scale, the relative beginnings of the smart phone(PDA) industry have gotten started similarly to the progression of the PC market. Two of the same major players are involved, taking familiar tacts, and there is a third open-source alternative headed up by a new major player that didn’t exist during the PC’s early days. Does anyone find it incredibly interesting that three of the largest, most influential technology companies (i.e. Microsoft, Apple and Google) are now in control of the smartphone/mobile operating system industry? This fact tells us so much about the future of technology and where we can expect to see the biggest leaps made over the next 5-10 years.
For those of you who paid attention while Microsoft and Apple divided up the computer industry 30 years ago, the similarities should be pretty obvious. Out of the three companies Microsoft entered the ring first with Windows Mobile and sold their product as software that could run on any manufacturers hardware (to a certain extent). Apple later came to market with a more user friendly and consumer appealing product that was a hardware/software combination, the iPhone. A good deal later, an open-source alternative was released that offered a more developer friendly platform and could save the corporate and consumer markets millions(billions?) of dollars, Android.
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I started using Google Wave on Friday of last week and I’ve got some perspective now on this interesting new service. I am of the opinion that in five years, we will hear everyday people saying “Hey, can you wave that to me?” or “Lets put some of these ideas down on a wave”. There will be a learning curve, much like there has been with the adoption of any new communication tool, whether we’re talking about email or smoke signals.
Wave will save us time, help bring ideas together and produce more cohesive documents through seamless real-time collaboration. Bridging the gap between private conversations and public messaging (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) will take years to come together though. At the moment we use different tools to speak to individual people or publicly to the whole world. Most of those current tools are covered in some way by Google Wave. At the moment, Waves can be made public. This may be to give the relatively small group of users on the system some people to talk to. Without public Waves, It would be just me communicating with the person who invited me…which would be a pretty useless way to test the features of the platform. If Google allows public Waves after the official launch, it will make an interesting alternative to Twitter or possibly Blogging. You can make a public Wave about a specific topic and then let any Wave user add their two cents to the conversation.
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You really have to hand it to Google and their brilliance in creating a buzz. Of course it takes a company of their stature to get people all worked up about not being allowed to try a new service. If I were to create a new app and require users to be invited, I would expect that nobody would care or want to use the application. When Google uses this tactic, they get a million people fiending for the chance to try out their new service (i.e. Google Wave) I must admit that I am one of these people. I was sent an invite over a day ago by a Google employee and it has still not arrived. My hat is off to you Google, even if the service turns out to be a flop, you still know how to whip the internet into a frenzy!
So, I love Google Voice and have been using it for years, ever since it was Grand Central. Today, I finally figured out how to reign in the problem with voicemails showing up in either my cell phone voicemail or my Google Voice voicemail. It was starting to become unbearable to have to check both places for voicemails that were left when people dialed my GVoice number. Here’s what causes the problem: When someone dials my Google number and I click ignore, or am out of service coverage, my Sprint voicemail kicks in early causing Google to think that Ive picked up the phone meaning that the calls are connected straight to my Sprint voicemail and then they would leave a message there. If I was in service but just let the phone ring, Google would time out knowing that I hadn’t picked up in which case the caller would be connected to my Google voicemail. Depending on where I was or what I was doing, voicemails could have ended up in either place. Depending on your cell phone carrier you have to enable two or three types of call fowarding so that if you click Ignore on your phone, are out of service or have your phone off, your cell carrier will forward the calls to your GVoice number. If you are on Sprint, the forwarding service is 20 cents per minute while the person is leaving you a voicemail. For me, that cost is worth it so that I dont go crazy tracking down voicemails anymore. I believe it is free on the other carriers. For instructions on enabling this feature for the various carriers, click here.