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Tales of technolust: the appStoreless Droid

My Blackberry 8830 does what it needs to do. I can type on it. I can take it to Europe. With the Gmail app installed, I can read and delete emails and have them deleted from my gmail inbox. I an view web pages through a keyhole. I can recharge it off of my laptop. I can run the vaguely accurate Verizon GPS on it. I can fit a couple of downloads on it.

But I don’t love. I’m very glad to have it. But it does nothing for my hormone levels.

My eye now is roving. Verizon has announced it will be offering the Motorola Droid in November, which runs Google’s Android operating system. Unless there are some gotchas — if it has half of what we’re expecting, can we call it the Hemodrhoid? — I’m going to be explaining to my BBerry that the problem is really with me, not it, and then making the switch.

I don’t expect it the Droid to be as beautiful as the iPhone. Nor will there be as many apps. But, it will be beautiful enough, and as people write more skins for it, it may get better with age. And there are already more than enough Android apps, which is exactly how many I need.

Most of all, though, there won’t be an AppStore. The AppStore is the seductive angel of death for computing. It enables Apple to keep quality up and, more important, to keep support costs down. But a computer that can’t be programmed except by its manufacturer (or with the permission of its manufacturer) isn’t a real computer. The success of the AppStore is a gloomy, scary harbinger. From controlling the apps that can go on its mobile phone, it’s a short step for Apple to decide to control the apps that can go on its rumored slate/netbook device. And since so much of the future of computing will occur on mobiles and netbooks, this portends a serious de-generation of computing, as predicted by Jonathan Zittrain in The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It.

So, some of my technolust for a phone I haven’t even seen yet is due to the political hope it promises. Rally ’round the Droid, boys and girls!

Unless, of course, it sucks.

8 Responses to “Tales of technolust: the appStoreless Droid”

  1. I guess I’ll express my ignorance about phones, but what about the Palm Pre? I’ve had Palm devices for 10 years (beginning with a Handspring in 1999) and find them helpful and reliable. I’ve never had a Palm phone, however the Pre is supposed to be better.

  2. There’s something both ironic and bemusing about turning to Google in the fight against hegemony, isn’t there?


  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this Blog which I came across through Google Blogs Alert which I consider is a Godsend and which has allowed me to become so much more aware of life, people and this world in general which leads me to making a quick comment regarding Mr. Weavers use of the word hegemony. According to my understanding which I must admit is suffering from the ravages of age degradation, This word has been mostly used in relation to state or country over lording. Still I get the connection and do agree with his comments
    Wishing you and all your readers best wishes
    Bruce miller

  4. I only wanted to add, in support of the main post here, that from the potential software vendor perspective, both business and technical relations with Apple over AppStore are strange and non-business – to say the least..

    We have a developer for iPhone in my lab, and for him as individual person it works, but we just do not see yet any way where we (as IT company) could deliver some professional software for the platform !!!

    Maybe it will change soon – if not – they will go out of business on the device and the software – as fast as they came in on it.

  5. Separating OS makers from hardware makers is an inherent problem in terms of usability and quality. (Witness the entire PC platform–and with that one the hardware is way more standardized!) Also, with half a dozen handsets, each with different screens, buttons, etc., how will app makers know what to program for? All of them separately?

    I predict that the user experience will never touch the iPhone AND that its app choices will never be as good or as varied.

    But, as you say, it’s got openness… it’s got “political” appeal…

  6. I really like your articles, your composition is very good.

  7. enjoy it

  8. […] completely out-of-control has this thinking gotten?  Well, here’s David Weinberger — another Harvard Berkman Center worrywart — talking about that supposed satanic font […]

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