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Fixing my iPhone with my Backside

{Things got worse with this phone >>}

Working with Oracle often involves fixing things – not because of the Oracle software (well, occasionally it is) but because of how it is used or the tech around it. Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometime you can find help on the web and sometimes you just have to sit on the issue for a while. Very, very occasionally, quite literally.


Dreaded “out of battery” icon

Android vs iPhone user base. Can I have some real comparisons please?

I’ve just seen another headline about how the Android user base has overtaken that of the iPhone in the US and it really irks me. Let me start by saying I’ve not got either, so this is not a disgruntled fan-boy post. Also, my argument is based on the situation in the UK market, so if the US market is very different I apologize.

My problem with this sort of headline is to do with the lack of clarity in these comparisons. How do the writers define smartphone? It seems where Android is concerned they just mean a phone that can actually run Android. I guess Android does allow for most of the functionality you would commonly associate with a smartphone. OK. So let’s assume this a a fight between iPhone and anything else that can run Android.

If I do a price comparison from one specific UK retailer, based on their “most popular” contracts here’s what I get:

  • iPhone 4: £139 one-off payment, plus £35.75 contract
  • Android: Free phone. £15.32 per month.

So why is there such a discrepancy? Because you can run Android on some very mediocre phones. In some cases the kit is inferior to the first generation iPhones. I would suggest the cheaper Android options, although capable of doing all the things associated with a smartphone, do them so badly (mostly due to very small screen size) that they shouldn’t really be called smartphones. They certainly shouldn’t be compared with the user experience of the iPhone 4 or the top end Android phones. Also, the basic Android contract listed above comes with no data plan, so it’s a phone with no internet connectivity. That’s right, you have bought a smart phone that is really not smart. In the UK market Android phones span the entire market from “cheap and cheerful” to expensive and bleeding edge.

So when I look at these headlines I have to question what is really being compared. If you buy an iPhone and only use it as a mobile phone you are a bit of a muppet. If you buy a bottom of the range Android phone and contract, I don’t think you should be included as a smartphone user because what you have is not usable in a manner that I consider a smartphone should be.

So what I would like to see is a comparison of people using iPhone 4 with people using “real” Android smart phones. In the UK at least, I think this would drastically alter the results.



Profiling with my Boy

We have an article online called "Can you explain Method R so even my boss could understand it?" Today I'm going to raise the stakes, because yesterday I think I explained Method R so that an eleven year-old could understand it.

Yesterday I took my 11 year-old son Alex to lunch. I talked him into eating at one of my favorite restaurants, called Mercado Juarez, over in Irving, so it was a half hour in the car together, just getting over there. It was a big day for the two of us because we were very excited about the new June 17 iPhone OS 3.0 release. I told him about some of the things I've learned about it on the Internet over the past couple of weeks. One subject in particular that we were both interested in was performance. He likes not having to wait for click results just as much as I do.

According to Apple, the new iPhone OS 3.0 software has some important code paths in it that are 3× faster. Then, upgrading to the new iPhone 3G S hardware is supposed to yield yet another 3× performance improvement for some code paths. It's what Philip Schiller talks about at 1:42:00 in the WWDC 2009 keynote video. Very exciting.

Alex of course, like many of us, wants to interpret "3× faster" as "everything I do is going to be 3× faster." As in everything that took 10 seconds yesterday will take 3 seconds tomorrow. It's a nice dream. But it's not what seeing a benchmark run 3× faster means. So we talked about it.