So, Google are releasing another messaging/conversation app. After Google Talk, Hangouts, Voice, Google+ Chat, Wave, Gmail chat, Messenger and Spaces, comes Allo. You’d think that after eight attempts, Google would have learned what it needs to do to make a chat app succeed, but no: Allo doesn’t have SMS integration. Director of engineering Erik Kay says the diversity of Android hardware precludes Google from creating an iMessage-like system that co-opts SMS, according to The Verge.
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of SMS, the mobile phone Short Message Service. Coincidentally, I needed to ask my cousin a question. He wasn’t available via instant messaging, so I resorted to sending a text message to his mobile number. A lot of people don’t realize that SMS is not guaranteed delivery. The network(s) may simply drop the messages if they lack capacity or if the recipient’s phone is out of service area.
In mid November, our contract with AT&T (formerly Cingular) expired. We switched to T-Mobile and got BlackBerry Curve phones. I was a BlackBerry skeptic for a long time. I didn’t think I wanted a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. This changed when we looked at the phones available. It turned out that the Curve was only marginally wider than the average phone, perhaps a centimeter or so. It’s otherwise comparable to mid-range phones in size.
When I moved to the USA, one of the first things I did was get a cell phone. I was going to be living in a big city, rothko was working in a different part of town, we needed to coordinate things–it seemed to make sense. We went to Omnipoint, got a couple of phones, everything was good. A few years later, Omnipoint were purchased by Voicestream. We got a phone upgrade.
As the reality distortion field begins to fade, people are starting to wake up to the iPhone’s shortcomings. I’ve been assembling a list of issues I’ve seen mentioned: No SDK. No Flash. No Java. No Bluetooth file transfer. No DIY MP3 or AAC ringtones. Although the camera takes 2 megapixel photos, the only way to get them out is to e-mail them, which resizes them to 640×480. No Bluetooth keyboard support.
I was kinda enthusiastic about the iPhone…then I found out from Macintouch that it’s a closed, locked down unit. Forget about installing software to use it as an e-book reader, or reading Word documents or PDFs. You’re not going to be using it to give business presentations. Forget about downloading music via the WiFi connection. Forget about writing your own neat applications and running them. There’s no Xcode iPhone developer kit, and Apple apparently has no plans to produce one for public use.
I got in to work, and my boss passed me in the hallway and said something about terrorist activity and a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I thought he was talking about a little Cessna or something, so I got in and sat and started on my coffee, glanced over my e-mail, and then hit the BBC News web site to see what was going on. I soon had the live BBC News video stream going, and sat watching it in disbelief.
Never let it be said that I’m not doing my bit to try and prevent a recession. This weekend it was time for a new mobile phone. My old phone is a Bosch World 718. It’s a lovely phone; reliable, good sound, excellent build quality, adequate battery life, and works pretty much anywhere in Europe or the USA because it’s dual-band GSM. The only problem is, it’s 1996 technology, which means it’s the size and weight of a brick compared to today’s phones.