Monday, March 14, 2011

A Rant About Current Technology Trends ... if you will

Anyone not interested in the newest gadgets or technology can go ahead and ignore this one. This is going to be a rant.

So there are substantial rumors that Microsoft will not make a new Zune mp3 player. They will continue to manufacture the current Zune HDs for the time being and the software will still be supported, but they will not release a Zune HD2. (There are even rumors that Microsoft has been in talks with third parties to license the OS and software.)

For those of you that don't know, I hate iPods and iPhones. It's multi-tiered hate. (You can skip the italicized section if you already know why I don't like them.)

1) When I did have an iPod, the scroll wheel would not work when it was less than 35 degrees out, making it impossible to navigate music.

2) They are waaaaaaaayyyy too expensive and a new one will get released within a year making yours obsolete.

3) iTunes is some of the worst software for managing music out there. Even a buddy of mine who runs iTunes on a Mac says its buggy and crashes like crazy. For instance, I could never update iTunes on my Sony laptop running XP. I would have to uninstall iTunes and then reinstall the new version. This was a multi-hour process because iTunes always had trouble reading music tags and I would have to fix it.

4) The songs on iTunes were (they've gotten a little better) more expensive than on Amazon, Zune, or even Dell marketplace and had DRM that wouldn't allow the songs to play on any non-iPod MP3 player.

5) When my hard drive crashed, I lost about 40 songs I bought on iTunes. When I asked for support getting them back, Apple support said, sorry, you'll have to re-purchase those songs.

6) Steve Jobs just rubs me the wrong way.

The Zune was the best MP3 player I've ever owned. I've had a Walkman, Jukebox, and iPod, and the Zune was towers above all the rest. So I am sad to see it go.

Now saying that, these rumors that the Zune is no more, are all qualified with, "Its because Microsoft is going to run with the Windows 7 phone and put all of the Zune guys working on that." Basically we're getting a Zune phone, that is no longer called a Zune.

This probably means that I will have to pay more for a Windows 7 phone, that won't be activated, just to have the Zune functionality.

I don't like the current trend of technology and the multifunction device. This is very much like the reason I don't like the popular game series, Grand Theft Auto. Yes, it can do everything, but it does everything mediocre.

I don't want a tablet or phone that is also my MP3 player, internet browser, and gaming machine. I want dedicated devices for each, that do the function better.

1) Gaming on a touch screen phone or tablet irritates me. Yes, there are some very innovative games out there, and yes some of those games look great on an iPhone. But the truth of the matter is, touch controls aren't as responsive as having an actual controller in hand and having your fingers touching the screen really just puts your fingers in the way of the game.

I've never played a game on my Droid for longer than a few weeks. After a while, tower defense, physics based games, and point and click adventures get old. I would much rather be sitting on my couch and playing the game on a large screen.

2) The multifunction device is a great way to carry less on long trips. This is true. It's nice always having a way to send email or to check news stories while waiting somewhere. But typing a longer email, or navigating multiple pages just doesn't work near as well as having a real keyboard in front of you.

On top of that, videos are becoming more popular on websites. If the video will play on your mobile device, its going to eat your battery like crazy.

Not only are videos problematic sometimes, but some websites won't even load on a phone or will have a pop-up add block everything.

So until there's a standard or phones become more powerful, there's no way this can take over as your main browser. Give me a laptop any day. Or really, the netbook is the happy medium here.

3)Battery life is the main obstacle here. I used to have a phone that would get 16-18 hours on a charge. Now that my phone can connect to Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, has fancy animations, and can play music, I'm lucky to get to 10 on some days. That's not even including the drain on the phone trying to find a 3G signal, GPS satellite, wifi-connection, etc, if I choose to use it. If battery life can improve significantly, maybe I'll listen to an argument.

The iPhone does MP3 well, but a lot of people I've talked to have said that their calls aren't exactly clear (Remember antennae gate?) and the network can be sluggish pretty often. The battery life isn't so bad, but let's remember, the primary function is the phone.

My Droid browses really well, has insanely good clarity on my calls, but the music playing software is a joke and it would be nice to have a standard platform like iTunes to manage all of my applications and games.

Basically what I'm saying is, I'd rather have a dedicated device for each function, and I would like that device to do it well. If someone put out a truly exceptional device that could be both a phone, MP3 player, and browser with a good battery, I'd think about changing my stance, but as it stands now, I'd rather have separate devices.