Apple is going to beat all competitors

Ted Lemon mellon at
Fri Sep 7 21:35:40 CEST 2007

On Sep 7, 2007, at 11:27 AM, Andreas Utterberg wrote:
> What the v2 neo needs is a nice oi, the best would be if its  
> possible to add compiz fusion, beryl effects to it. That would  
> really boost the interest to the mass, just look at the development  
> speed to the berylproject had, and the very big community around it  
> in a very short amount of time.

I like cool effects as much as the next guy.   But what the phone  
needs is a really good UI.   To sell against the iPhone it needs to  
be as good a value proposition as the iPhone.   Doesn't necessarily  
have to be better, but has to be as good, and it also has to be  
different.   For me, right now, it's already better, because the  
iPhone isn't open.   But for an average person, what's going to make  
the value proposition work is that it does the things they want their  
phone to do nicely, transparently.   Frankly, we are many person- 
years of coding away from that right now.

At a minimum, we need:

- It's got to actually work as a mobile phone.
- At least several hours of H.264 playback.
- A good music app, ideally tied in to the Amazon/Universal store.
- Smart connectivity - connecting up bluetooth devices has to be  
easy, and sensing and connecting to known WiFi networks has to be  
seamless and automatic.
- Mobile Safari-like web browsing - that is, you get to see the whole  
web page, and you can expand and contract the image.
- Leverage the GPS to do things the iPhone doesn't do.

Most of this is self-explanatory, but just a couple of notes.

Remember that a touch screen is not the same as a mouse - you have a  
lot of built-in positional cues when using a touchscreen that a mouse  
UI has to *show* you.   One example of this in the Neo UI that's  
already been adopted is kinetic scrolling.   Another thing that the  
iPhone UI has that we don't is shrink and grow.

Since we don't have multitouch, we can't do shrink and grow the way  
that the iPhone does.  The way I would do it is to designate an area  
of the screen to be the size zone.   Maybe the bottom.   When you  
hold and drag in the size zone, it shrinks or grows the view.   So  
hold and drag to the left, and the view zooms out.   Hold and drag to  
the right, and the view zooms in.   The new GPU ought to make this  
possible.   I think this is more important than any of the stuff i've  
seen demoed in compiz/beryl.   I don't understand why the compiz/ 
beryl people spend so much effort on window dressing.   But maybe I'm  
missing the point - I've never actually run the stuff, just seen the  
online demos, none of which have ever impressed me.   Sigh.

As far as leveraging the GPS, something like a remotely-updateable  
locational todo list would be smart.   Say you go out to pick up  
groceries.   At home, your sweetie remembers that you need more tp.    
No problem - she updates the todo list for the supermarket you're  
going to.   When you get there, the phone bleeps with your complete  
shopping list - the stuff that was already on it, and the tp that was  
just added.

You're making coffee, and you notice that you're almost out.   You  
select the local coffee roaster and put in a note that you need  
more.   The next day, you're at the Indian restaurant a mile away,  
which is relatively close in your milieu, and it bleeps to tell you  
to stop at the coffee shop on the way home.   Or, if you're a New  
Yorker, it bleeps when you wander by the store.   Proximity depends  
on your milieu.   Extra credit for locational milieu sensing.

Another app - you have a list of friends, and your phone and theirs  
share information at a common site somewhere. You can update your  
drop-in-ability - when you've got dropins available, your friends'  
phones will all tell them if they are near you.   If you're trying to  
meet your friend who has a Neo, you both tell your neos to be on the  
lookout for the other, or to give you a running positional  
commentary, and using that, you plot a course toward each other and  

These are things the iPhone doesn't do, so they create a new value  
proposition that makes the Neo competitive.

Another thing that would really change the Neo value proposition for  
me is that I'm afraid to put it in my pocket because of the  
touchscreen, and the carry bag we got with our Neos is (a) completely  
artificial and stinky and (b) has too much padding, so it's too big  
to use.   The Neo needs a protective case.

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