Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And the winner is...

I did a little household survey to figure out which of the non-computer gadgets is the house favorite.  I polled all the residents and spent about a minute tabulating the data (I voted along with my wife and child - the cat declined to comment and asked to be taken off our polling list).  Here are the top 3, in traditional pageant format:

Second Runner-Up: Roomba.  We have to at least pick stuff off the floor before pushing the button, but it saves us vacuuming runs when we use it.  A good thing.

First Runner-Up: iPhone.  We all have them (David's got an old one with the chip removed that he plays games on instead of me buying him an iPod Touch).  It redefined what the phone could do.  But AT&T sucks just enough, and other cell phones are usable enough, that it's not our ├╝ber gadget.

And the winner: TiVo (Series 3).  We've been loyal TiVo owners for almost 8 years now, with 5 years on the original Series 2 and now 3 years on the Series 3.  It looks like the hard drive on it is starting to get flakey, and we're trying desperately to decide if we want to fix this soon (and put in a bigger one while we're at it) or hold out a couple more months in the hope that there will finally be a Series 4 shipping.

TiVo's become so integral to the TV experience since we started using it that the risk of having it out of service is painful to everyone here!  That's why it won.  But TiVo has a long way to go just to catch up to modern TV and cable systems.  What they need badly (and this is why we're hoping for a Series 4 soon):

- Tru2Way support (so we can finally patch in to On Demand and PPV)
- SDV support to handle the newer cable systems without an adapter
- Better networking and the ability to transmit from box to box in real time.  The way Verizon's DVR does it (multi-room viewing)
- Bring the UI into the HD era.
- More native storage.  No reason to have anything less than a 1TB drive anymore.
- One or two more tuners on-board.  Right now you get two.  Or add one tuner and devote it to live TV so you can record two shows while viewing one other live.

And please, whatever you do, do it soon!  We only have one TV, and no cable box other than our TiVo - I don't want ours to die and then be forced back to the dark ages!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still not seeing it (a Verizon iPhone, that is)

First of all, if there was a Verizon iPhone on the horizon, would Verizon be trying so hard to piss off Apple with their Android push?  I think not.

Second, Verizon likes to re-brand everything.  Apple has established that they don't play that game.  Verizon's never caved on that point for any handset maker to date.

Third, Verizon and AT&T have roughly equal US market shares.  Apple sells a huge amount of iPhones here, but they also play in the (overwhelmingly UTMS) global market.  Why devote resources to one carrier?

Fourth, UTMS 3G networks allow simultaneous voice/data.  CDMA/EVDO does not.  iPhone uses that as a major selling point.  Why take a capability away from the iPhone on purpose?

Finally - CDMA is on the way out and it's a niche anyway on a global scale.  LTE is replacing CDMA at Verizon, beginning next year.  Also, it's what AT&T is switching to, along with most global cell networks.  CDMA iPhone?  Nope.  LTE iPhone?  Absolutely.  Maybe in 2010?  Outside possibility, but definitely by 2011.

And at that point, maybe Verizon will start selling it.  Which is consistent with what I've been saying for about a year and a half now (ever since the original iPhone 3G came out) and for some reasons the "expert analysts" keep reading tea leaves they don't understand to say otherwise.

Is there a possibility Apple might introduce a device with ties to Verizon before that?  Anything is possible, but I think the idea that the "legendary Apple iMediaTablet" or something like it would be a CDMA device here and a UTMS device elsewhere is unlikely.