Samsung’s Superbowl Ad, the Galaxy Note and the Dreaded Netbook “Zone of Suck” [Updated]

Update: Newsy have put together a piece summarizing the tech news’ reaction to the Samsung Galaxy Note ad. It’s at the end of this article – check it out!

i believe in a thing called loveEven if you missed the big game, you can still catch the Superbowl ad for the Samsung Galaxy Note. Directed by Bobby Farrelly (one of the Farrelly Brothers, creators of high-larious films like Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and unfortunately, the upcoming Three Stooges Movie), it’s a continuation of the series of ads that poke fun at Apple fandom. It opens with a scenes from lineups outside Apple stores. The bored Apple fanatics are tethered to their white earbuds and awaiting their next gift from the gods when one of them sees a passer-by with a Samsung Galaxy Note.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa – what is that?” he asks.

“Here,” says the passer-by, walking towards soon-to-be-ex-Apple-worshipper. “It’s the new Samsung Galaxy Note.”

samsung galaxy note

Then comes the kicker: “It’s got a pen?” That’s right: it’s bringing back the stylus, the very thing that iOS devices put out of style.

After that, the Apple fans break free of their self-imposed imprisonment in line – a line that Samsung probably wishes they had – and partying, powered by The Darkness’ hit I Believe in a Thing Called Love – ensues.

It’s a little hard to tell from the ad, but the Galaxy Note is bigger than your standard phone; in fact, it’s bigger than even the biggest of the notoriously oversized Samsung phones. Size-wise, it’s in Newton territory: smaller than a tablet, a tad too big to fit into most pockets. Perhaps they’re also trying to bring cargo pants back:

samsung galaxy note vs iphone 4 size comparisonPhoto from TechInferno.

I’m reminded of this promotional photo, where Sony tried to convince you of how portable their smallest VAIO was:


It sits somewhere in the “Zone of Suck” from my 2009 article, Fast Food Apple Pies and Why Netbooks Suck (I’m going to have to revise the graphic to include tablets as well as the Galaxy Note):

As for what it’s like to use the device, consider this review in TechInferno. The reviewer loves the Galaxy Note and says he’s never going back to an iOS device, but he damns it with his faint praise:

  • “Is the Galaxy Note as smooth as an iOS device? Not really, it still has the android signature stuttering when you scroll and the occasional semi-freeze here and there.”
  • “Is the Galaxy Note built as good as the latest iPhone? No, it is not, I think that a fair comparison would be to equal it to the build quality of the 3G/3Gs versions of the iPhone.”
  • Sure you can expect some hiccups here and there, not everything is so custom tailored to the device and to bring it to full functionality you need to invest some effort but in my personal opinion this phone is worth it.”
  • “Who I would NOT recommend this device to:
      • People expect the device to “just work”
      • Women or men with small hands
      • People who like to operate the phone with one hand only.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note3You know what they say about guys with big phones…

  • “Build quality is very good and the device feels solid in the hand although iPhone 4 build feels better.
  • “Out of the box with all options at their defaults the device will eat through the 2500mA/h battery in less than 10 hours of normal usage.”
  • The stylus needs a fair amount of pressure to operate, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
  • I still haven’t found a keyboard that matches the precision of the iPhone, i can’t type as fast but maybe it’s a matter of getting used to it?”
  • “I keep accidentally pushing the Back or the Menu buttons especially in landscape mode when trying to type/interact with the screen – a big design flaw.”
  • “Expect surprised looks from people around when you put it to your ear to talk. It really does look a bit ridiculous, almost like holding an iPad to your ear.

iPhone 4s Samsung Galaxy Note side by side

  • “The text to speech compared to Siri is awful.”
  • Keep in mind that Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Note is around the corner and is expected to fix a lot of issues listed here and introduce lots of neat features.” That, and the Lord Jesus Christ is due back any day now, so look busy!

I think I’ll be sticking with my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 a little while longer, thanks.


Newsy’s got a good piece summarizing the tech press’ and pundits’ reaction to the Galaxy Note ad. Check it out!


iPhone 4S Pranks with Siri

Comic - Guy 1: "I just bought the new iPhone 4S. Check it out...SIRI..." Guy 2: " folder titled PORNOGRAPHY to Mom." Siri: "Email sent. Anything else?" Guy 2: "Google search TOP 10 BESTIALITY SEX TOURS, forward results to BOSS then reset iPhone to default settings; confirm."

Comic by Jason Pultz. Click to see it at full size.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


“The iPhone of Night Clubs”

the iphone of night clubsFound via The High Definite.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Turning Up Where Least Expected

ip3 forumA conference devoted to devices that run iOS might be the last place you’d think you’d see a Microsoft developer evangelist, but here I am!

I’m at iP3 Forum, “a one-day event that will explore the changing mobile landscape and the business opportunities associated with Apple’s Touch Platform (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), as business models adapt to a market where people are always connected.” It’s organized by Interactive Ontario, a group whose mandate is to promote the development of interactive media in Ontario.

iP3 Forum has two tracks: business and technical, with some sessions common to both; if you’re curious about its sessions, take a look at the schedule.

So what am I doing here? Learning. There’s a lot to learn from the mobile app cultures of the Esteemed Competition, and I want to take those lessons (I refuse to use the Microsoft term “learnings”) back to Windows Phone developers. At the same time, I’m also reaching out to iPhone developers to convince them to add Windows Phone 7 to their mobile OS roll, and I need to know about their world. I’m even doing a little noodling with iPhone and iPad development in order to learn more. As they say, travel broadens the mind, and that holds true even for “travel” to different operating systems.

My time at iP3 Forum has been peppered with interruptions – it’s the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year, which means meetings, meetings, meetings – but I’m taking notes for those sessions I’m able to catch and I’ll post them soon.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Maritime DevCon: June 18th in Moncton

martime dev con

If you’re a developer out in the Maritimes, you might want to check out Derek Hatchard’s Maritime Dev Con, which takes place on June 18th in Moncton. It’s a single-afternoon, two-track conference – which means you should be able to take time out to attend it – covering a number of topics including:

  • .NET and ASP.NET
  • Java
  • iPhone development
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Groovy
  • NoSQL and MongoDB
  • “Rockstar Estimating Skills”

Maritime Dev Con has a registration fee that won’t hurt your wallet – it’s a mere CAD$19!

I’m a big fan of small, regional gatherings like Maritime Dev Con and its western counterpart Prairie DevCon. Each region has its own specializations and needs that a by-locals, for-locals conference can do a better job of serving, and the smaller size of these conferences allows for more back-and-forth between audience and presenter, and between attendees. Support your local conference!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Dear Lyons: You Got Pwned Even Harder

John Gruber: Slick. Dan Lyons: Dick.

In his latest Daring Fireball blog entry, So Dan Lyons Called, John Gruber does a great job giving Dan “Fake Steve Jobs” Lyons a much-deserved pimp-slapping. It’s a fun-to-read response to Lyon’s article on the Fake Steve Jobs blog titled Dear Gruber: You’ve Been Pwned, in which Lyons, writing as a fictionalized Steve Jobs, takes great glee in the fact that Gruber got the story wrong – he wrote that AT&T killed the Google Voice app for the iPhone, after which it was revealed that it was Apple all along.

While Gruber got the story wrong, he did something very admirable and honourable: he very clearly and plainly admitted it, without weasel-words, and even went to the trouble of analyzing where we went wrong – openly, on his blog. It’s going to happen to all of us who blog about technology news, and especially when it’s news about an organization that’s as notoriously tight-lipped as Apple: sooner or later, you’re going to report something that’s not true, and the best policy, as mom always said, is honesty.

Even when Gruber makes seat-of-the-pants predictions, as he often does before big “Stevenotes” when it seems that Apple is about to announce something new, he tends to be more right than wrong, and that’s one of the reasons I read Daring Fireball.

In the article, Gruber does a good job of reminding us of where Dan Lyons is coming from – remember, he writes for Newsweek, which is a pretty sad substitute for Time, where the preferred style of reportage was described to me by a friend of mine who wrote for them as “sustained obviousness”. Yes, it’s all ad hominem-y. but it’s entertaining and filled with lots of truth. Besides, I’ve made my feelings clear about Mr. “Fake Steve Jobs” in my article titled Fake Steve Jobs is a Dick.

I come away from reading Daring Fireball articles knowing more than before, even when Gruber is operating in Smug Apple Fanboy mode. He’s great at “reading the tea leaves” where Apple is concerned, and there’s plenty of food for thought. The ideas, analysis and pointers in Daring Fireball make it a worthwhile read for me, even though I work for The Empire and he cheers for the Rebel Scum. On the other hand, the Fake Steve Jobs blog is just Dan Lyons doing a Steve Jobs impression with the dials turned up to eleven. There’s the occasional tidbit that’s amusing, but for the most part, there isn’t much meat there. If Daring Fireball is The Daily Show, Fake Steve Jobs bounces between being Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” segment and the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

(For those of you who haven’t seen the Royal Canadian Air Farce, consider yourself very, very lucky.)


Windows Mobile Case Study: Porting Amplitude to WinMo

HTC phone with Amplitude on screen (simulated)

The Windows Mobile Blog points to an MSDN article covering how Amplitude, an application for the iPhone, was ported to Windows Mobile.

Here’s a quick description of Amplitude, which is developed by Gripwire, a mobile and social app company based in Seattle, courtesy of the Windows Mobile Blog:

Amplitude picks up any sound in a user’s surroundings through the microphone and then amplifies the sound, rendering it into a rich graphical representation on the device. Amplitude can be used to amplify any sounds, such as human or animal heartbeats, that usually wouldn’t be picked up by the human ear. Amplitude provides a cool user interface featuring an oscilloscope that allows users to view and visually quantify, signal voltages, as you can see the volume of the sound that you are listening to.

The MSDN article on the Amplitude porting project covers a lot of ground, including:

Whether you’re thinking of expanding your iPhone application to other platforms or starting a new Windows Mobile app project, you’ll find this case study packed with useful information and links. I’m going to expand on some of the topics covered in the article in future posts on this blog.

And don’t forget – there’s the Race to Market Challenge, in which you’re automatically entered whenever you submit a mobile app to Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Here’s a quick reminder of what Race to Market is all about: