Sunday, September 02, 2012

Hey Apple, just so your remember, this is what innovation looks like.

Although I an writing a piece on the Apple vs Samsung decision last week, I found myself having to take breaks from writing. Not for lack of ideas, though. I had to stop writing because I was starting to sound either like Samsung fan-boy or an Apple-hater. And I am neither. I use and Android phone but I have used Macs in the past and understood it's minimalistic design philosophy and the focus on the use experience. I was more interested in why I was writing that way.
I can understand Apple wanting to defend what they thought is theirs. However, the geek in me hated what Apple is doing now. Rather then embrace change and become change, I get a feel like Apple is trying to control change. Like Microsoft in the early 90s, they are incensed that someone else is playing in "their" field and better at it. So the decision is made to do whatever is necessary to keep out these "newcomers". The problem, like Microsoft in the early 90s, they are not the first ones in the field nor was it theirs to begin with. If anything, the field is the consumers'. So what Apple is doing now, like Microsoft, feels like bullying. In geekdom, talk is cheap. The value is in what you do. Put up or shut up. Don't just tell me, show me.
So it came as a surprise when I open the paper and sat the ad for the Samsung Galaxy Beam. I'm not going to review it here. Instead you can read a good one from PhoneArena. I've seen pico projectors before but the idea of merging it with a phone is brilliant. It's like taking a big screen everywhere. The ability to own a wall and share. The coolness factor is high. But the proof is in the pudding. Put up or shut up, remember? Samsung designed it to last with the projector on for about 3 hours, more than enough to watch most movies. And it goes beyond that. Since the battery usage is the big deal, Samsung decided to pack in a second battery! If that is not thinking of the customer, I don't know what is.

I think that is why I am somewhat sympathetic to Samsung. It tries hard and it tries everything. Samsung has a phone for every budget. From low-end phones that the bigger companies don't come out with to a phone is convinced it is a tablet, too. The Galaxy Beam is not for everyone. I don't think that the pico projector will become a standard feature of phones. But at least Samsung tried. And there will be people who will find it useful and cool. And that resonates with the geek in me. Now compare that to Apple's controlled, sanitized releases. And their efforts that imply that they don't want anybody else innovating in between their releases. So Apple, just in case you forgot what it looks like, here is what innovation looks like. It's the guts to try and not be afraid.

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