Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tech News : Verizon to aquire Alltel

In tech news, Alltel will be acquired by Verizon. Hopefully this will improve Verizon's service in general. I've been a Verizon user for years. When my parents and I moved back from Korea in 2002, the "everyone owns a cell phone" shift had just began. We initially started with Sprint but then switched to Verizon, which for the most part, was a good move. However, now that I am starting to desire data access on my cell phone and there are devices like the iPhone all around, I'm surprised Verizon has continued to stick with its VCast/browsing software. The software itself is poorly designed and severely lacking in features. I guess the web browsing promises of the iPhone and the email accessibility of the Blackberry have spoiled me when I consider standards of mobile data access. But is wanting a simple and reliable way of accessing the internet on my phone too much to ask?

In Related News:
I FINALLY saw a Kindle out in the wild today. All my previous notions of this waste of a product were right. The thing is THE MOST poorly designed, overrated, misplaced concept device I have ever seen. My main issues (mostly design related).

I'll make this short:

1. It's not symmetrical. The body of the Kindle is a mess of polygons gone wrong. It awkwardly fits into the cheap looking jacket it comes with. Oh, and Jeff Bezos, don't think I didn't notice the stolen strap design to hold the jacket Moleskin stealing ass. (I know I'm being mean and unprofessional, but the guy just annoys me!)

2. It's so BIG. Now, it could get away with being as big as it is, IF it had a good symmetrical design, but it doesn't. It is fairly thick too, I'd say about an inch at its thickest. If you read my earlier post about the Kindle, when it first came out, you'll know I don't even believe in its concept. However, if the market demands a portable e-book reader, then I at least want it to be stylish and slim. The Kindle fails at both.

3. Lacks two very important features, one of which is an industry standard in my opinion; color and touchscreen. I'll give the Kindle a pass on the touchscreen technology (even though Jeff Bezos claims the Kindle is "revolutionary", but when you're "revolutionary" it means you're at the top of the game, not meddling in the lukewarm waters of a SCROLL WHEEL!), because it isn't fully developed yet. But the Kindle not having color is unforgivable. How am I supposed to enjoy content without color? One of Kindle's main selling point, according to Amazon, is access to thousands of newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Let us go through these three media sources and weed out the ones that only use black and white text...hmm let me think here...carry the 2 and subtract 1...ummm oh that's right..ZERO! When the lady I saw using the Kindle paged up the entire screen inverted the black/white contrast and then loaded the next page, it looked so low-tech I couldn't believe anyone would ever spend $340 for it.

I know I'm being very critical here, and I know all you e-book lovers will defend the Kindle and e-publishing world in general. However, my essential beef with the Kindle is the way in which Jeff Bezos and Amazon have framed its creation, release, and marketing. They have framed it as "revolutionary". PROOF:

It is not revolutionary. Every feature claim is neither unique nor innovative.

NOT UNIQUE: Instant access to books, newspapers, blogs, and magazines = iPhone, MacBook Air, any device with Wi-Fi essentially. Portability = again, iPhone, MacBook Air, any device with Wi-Fi. Specific e-book reader = Sony's portable reader.

NOT INNOVATIVE: A scroll wheel (should be touchscreen). Black and white only (should be have color capability). Industrial design that looks like you bought it at the dollar store (should be symmetrical and thin).

The arrogance of Bezos is incredibly annoying. End rant.

One final note in this extra long tech entry. I bought it! Pictures of set up, soon to come! Dell told me in the email it is expected to arrive June 6th, i.e. TOMORROW, which I highly doubt. I'm more expecting Monday, but here's hoping!

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