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December 29, 2009

Geek Frisson du Jour

That's frisson (the shiver of excitement), not 'fusion', just to be clear.

Apple has the wildly successful iPhone, packaged with an exclusive AT&T service that delivers poor service in cities with a lot of iPhones (notably New York and San Francisco). The iPhone isn't a stand-alone product, it's entry to All Things Apple, it's a platform backed by iTunes and the AppStore. It has been the Next Big Thing. Something happened in New York over the last few days where AT&T stopped selling iPhones online to people with New York City zip codes, but that's gone away now.

The whispered challenge to Apple's iPhone is Google's ... well, GooglePhone. Although several manufacturers are now selling smart phones running Google's Android operating system, the new Nexus (named in homage to Blade Runner's androids) is a phone designed and spec'd by Google, and produced by a manufacturer partner. They may introduce it this week, just prior to the CES trade show.

So that's an impending geekfest, Apple's iPhone vs. Google's Nexus phone.

January teases us with the titillating possibility of an Apple tablet. Whether the tablet is a large iTouch or a small MacBook is an open question, and some inquiring minds have discovered that Apple owns the domain, which may be the product's name.

Not willing to cede the vaporware buzz to the other guys, Google has leaked the specs for the Google tablet, running the Chrome OS and using a multi-touch interface. The Google tablet is reported to be a Cloud device, meaning that you'll store both documents (ie, work) and applications on the internet, and the client side (that is, your side) won't do the heavy lifting.

What I find most surprising is the identify of the players. At the consumer product level, nobody's talking Wintel (ie, Microsoft Windows and Intel); the discussion is Apple vs. Google, and the chips are mostly AMD. The only discussion you hear about Microsoft is they're selling a new version of Vista Windows7 that's not as terrible as Vista.

Here's a list of the lineup in the Apple vs Google competitive marketplace:
  • Smartphone operating systems: iPhone vs. Android
  • Web browsers: Safari vs. Chrome
  • Music and video: iTunes vs. YouTube
  • Cloud computing: MobileMe vs. iGoogle
  • e-mail services: Mail vs. Gmail
  • Address lists: Address Book vs. Contacts
  • Calendars: iCal vs. Google Calendar
  • Chat: iChat vs. Google Talk
  • Photos: iPhoto vs. Picasa
  • File storage: iDisk vs. Google Docs

Ah, it's a good time to be a geek. It's always a good time to be a geek.


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