*Netbooks were low-powered mobile devices (basically mini laptops) that launched in 2007 and basically disappeared (as a viable market category) after the iPad and its kind were launched in 2010.
EDIT added "form factor" for clarification
These aren't cheap (like the original netbooks), but they're pitched against the low end of the ultrabook market, for folks who need a better keyboard/typing experience than a Surface Go.
(Disclaimer: I own a One Mix 3S, predecessor to this new version and I rate it quite highly, except for support from the manufacturer which is patchy at best.)
Chromebooks are very much alive and well.
Back then, all netbooks seemed focused on price alone - almost like they knew it was a fad, so made them cheap enough for an impulse buy.
The tech of the day just didn't stack up - but it does now. I wonder if we might see a netbook revival - small, cheap machines that are actually of doing things?
Chromebooks aren't a panacea.
Hence NeXT's focus on educational institutions prior to being bought by Apple.
They are almost nowhere to be seen across European consumer electronic shops.
Facebook is working on building out the tech via VR, but with an eye to AR and generally out in the open.
Apple is building out the underlying software support while working on some AR hardware in secret.
Microsoft has their enterprise hardware, but not sure what they're thinking about otherwise.
Using the phone as a computing device that powers a visual digital AR layer for the real world where you can interact with AR overlays either with thoughts (Neuralink?) or more likely basic gestures (like Oculus' camera tracking, or armbands) would be another revolutionary shift in platform UX and be the big shift away from phone screens.
I'm not sure how possible this hardware currently is or how soon this transition could happen, but people seem to be laying the ground work. Michael Abrash wrote an old blog posts about a couple of reasons why this is hard (primarily drawing black in AR), but he's been at Oculus a while now and I'd be curious how his thoughts have changed.
These foldable phones strike me as a dead end nobody wants.
Do you consider the hololens exclusively enterprise?
There’s also magic leap, but I found their hardware pretty disappointing and I’d be surprised if they survive to actually be a serious player in AR platforms.
In general “we” don’t need a revolution of the current form factor. A sizeable portion of users have stopped upgrading and wait for their current phone to be dead, some are already clamoring for less, going back to iPhoneSE like phones.
I think the duo is not targeting the “we”, but way more specific user niches who have non generic goals and are not happy with even the bigger phones we have now. These people could be enough to float a product line, even if it doesn’t fish the other 90% of the users and their dogs.
I’d compare it to the Surface Studio, which was never expected to be a general public device as well.
I'm not happy with today's massive phones, but that doesn't mean I want a massive phone that can fold in half!
I just want a non-slippy phone that fits in my hand and pocket, and has a high-res screen. Truely, I don't understand the trend for slippy phones that keep getting bigger and bigger :/
Another niche is people who used their phone mostly as a notification device, but switched to the watch for that, and now are frustrated by the tininess of the phone as they use it more and more for “serious” business only.
I am not in any of these niches, but also feel that I am happy with a smaller phone only because I need to pocket it. If I was using a purse everywhere I’d want the biggest thing I can get away with.
Except these will be >$1000 netbooks.....
I think the future is conversational computing. I don't own an Alexa/HomePod/etc (yet... maybe some open source on prem thing at some point), but I think that's where the puck is moving. It's just that today their capabilities are somewhere around a rotary phone vs. an iPhone. Better than a telegraph (which I guess in this analogy is _typing_ your words into a document) but still very rudimentary. All it needs is time and effort.
Similar to HomePods, we have AirPods and their equivalents. The phone is just a conduit through which can pass the data necessary for the OS to talk with you, to do what you need.
For one, there is zero discoverability. I can ask Google today's weather. I can ask tomorrow's weather. I cannot ask yesterday's weather. Leaving aside why that would be (I would find it useful to know that it's X degrees hotter/cooler than yesterday) there's no way for me to know that without asking. It's the audio equivalent of fumbling around on a keyboard in a pitch black room. Just imagine placing a food order. It's going to have to read a menu to you and you're going to have to remember it all. No amount of tech improvement is going to change that fundamental fact.
Secondly, you can't multi-task. Or have more than one person using it simultaneously. Right now my wife and I might be looking at our phones at the same time, perhaps looking stuff up, maybe tapping out an e-mail. We'd have to go to separate rooms to do that.
But if I want to know today's weather or play a song, it works fine. As long as it recognises my voice correctly and there isn't too much background noise.
You've laid out some good criteria though. I wouldn't say voice interfaces have really "made it" until it gets to the point where you don't have to ask how to ask it to do something (discoverability). You just ask it to do something and it does it. Although that's just one of many criteria.
The food menu problem is interesting, but pretty much everything that prints out on a ticket in a kitchen is structured data–it should be able to be efficiently conversationalized (preference notwithstanding, of course). Certainly there are many ways you could talk to someone about a menu: what kinds of dishes are there? Appetizers, grilled entrees, pasta, salads, desserts. What kind of entrees? Vegetarian, pork, beef, seafood. OK, but what styles of cuisine? Jamaican, Italian, Szechuan. There's probably an analog to the 5 Why's for figuring out what someone wants to eat! Asking yesterday's weather, though, is a specific case that could probably be solved by an intern, provided that data is easy to find on the Internet (FWIW, I've searched for the very same thing many times and it's much harder to find vs forecasts).
I concede that there will always be a need for graphical interfaces. How do you "speak" a map, or a CAD model? I guess I was just thinking of things that can accomplished with a keyboard. You can speak anything you can type, even if it's as rudimentary as today, where you have to say "period newline newline" to end a sentence at the end of a paragraph while dictating.
I agree it might seem tough to multitask. But consider WiFi routers serving multiple computers, or hell, even CPUs serving different processes, "simultaneously." If voice recognition and NLP become sufficiently sophisticated I could foresee being able to isolate multiple overlapping voices in an audio sample. If not, consider that you could ask it to look something up, immediately followed by your wife dictating an email to send–or one of you could even interrupt the other–and it could be able to handle the context switching and queuing at speed.
And I understand there's a lot I don't know, and I do remain skeptical that this could ever be perfected. Would it really be able to dictate poetry? Would the forms I create or creatively destroy in free verse just totally confuse the voice interface? Would it be smart enough to side step the confusion via some pseudo-meta-cognitive process and ask me what the hell I'm doing?
To me this is the core of why voice interfaces will always be inferior. In the time it would take that voice conversation to happen I would have been able to scan a menu a dozen times over. Our brains are incredibly adept at picking out visual details - identifying the headers that note each section of the menu, picking out key words that may interest us and so on. There is no technological improvement that will help a voice interface rival that.
Just yesterday a colleague I was pairing with was VoiceOvering JSON packed with API keys and stack traces. I, conversely, have many times stood with the fridge door open trying to find something that was plainly front and center. Of course, the answer for many things may be a combination of both hearing and vision.
I also wonder if this easily navigable menu you are thinking of is already cognitively mapped in your mind, and you know what to look for. What if the menu is in a foreign or second language, that the voice assistant could translate for you? Or is a completely foreign-to-you cuisine, or just creatively organized in a way you aren't used to, like by seasonality, emotion or geography? I've sat and stared at some dense menus, that I've had to reread multiple times to remember just a subset of the items. In the end I asked the waiter something like in my example: "something with shrimp" or "what do you like?"
I'm not so sure about the things you say will never or always be, and I don't even consider myself an optimist. Finally, thanks for taking this ride with me, it's definitely made me consider more things!
Let's be real, "conversational computing" may work in movies, but in reality you don't want people in the office or on the street hearing your interactions with your phone.
But then I think again and wonder if maybe this is one of these things that seems unthinkable now but in 10-20 years, everyone everywhere will be doing it completely naturally, it's become part of the background noise of life, and nobody will care enough to really listen to what you're telling your computer to search for / do.
Yes on a silent train it might be awkward - but on the street I can honestly see it being fine, especially if attitudes and culture changes a bit as it's wont to do with new technology usage (see bluetooth headsets for a past example of this).
Also, talking to any of those assistants is literally the worst imaginable mode of interaction with a computer, period. Touchscreens in cars are in close second place.
I hate people who talk like this, as if there is something magical that people should be working on.
But I agree that innovation is often incremental efforts of exploration and convergence, like how we got to where we are in VR today. Magical phenomenal change like iPhone is rather exceptional.
I'm still waiting for a phone on which I can comfortably edit, build, and deploy code.
I don't think the reliability of a truly foldable display (e.g. Samsung's Galaxy Fold) will be very good until another couple versions of generational improvements.
The foldable display seems cool, but also seems to be, IMO, an expensive solution looking for something we don't know to be a problem yet. The problem is having no screen at the hinge. How big is this problem though? In theory it's nice but people don't even have foldable devices in these form factors yet. For all we know, most people might not mind the dual-screen approach, just like a lot of people have not minded the notch or other shortcomings of previous and current devices.
Otherwise it's just a thick phone that converts to 2 phones...
In case anyone hasn't seen Westworld: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3dD7jOLaes
I find the ability to completely "close" my phone really appealing. It feels easier to ignore it, and the screens feel more protected to me.
I can also only describe the second benefit as "its like two monitors". I can watch TV on one and respond to messages/browse on another. I use a Note8+ already, so big screens for watching crap are already my preference though.
Every phone I've had with a case, grit collects betweeen the case and the back of the phone and scratches the phone up. I can imagine the same thing happening between the two screens if folded in my pocket.
Samsung has the Android W series phones which have a similar format.
Regarding the sibling comment, after the Droid 4 and the Motorola Photon Q, there has been a drought of physical keyboard landscape slider phones. Portrait sliders have been available for the Blackberry Priv and KeyOne/Key2, but aside from the soon-to-be-released Fxtec Pro1, not much landscape slider android phone action is going on.
It's also sci-fi and the rule of cool. If someone wanted to parody WW, then a fun scene would be the tech support at HQ. Imagine seeing main characters treating them as disposable and regularly having to pick up new ones.
To make this device, you'd need:
- A battery breakthrough (hard)
- Flexible OLED and peripherals (easier)
- Flexible chips (hard but optional)
- High power efficiency or microfluidic cooling (hard depending on thickness.)
Depending on where you let the device be folded, if you had a small enough SoC, you could protect it from bending and hide it in the panel sections that don't have a seam. The trickier bit is raw power and thermals, which will be the bottleneck for the next few years.
I want to simply have a keyboard and screen that "looks like a laptop" but the brains is actually in the phone in my pocket!
And then when I have a proper dock, I just get a larger monitor(s) and larger desktop keyboard.
But the brains are still in the phone!
The key benefit (of the dumb laptop, especially) is I still want a laptop on the go, but..
1. Why manage data flow across two separate devices. My phone becomes truth, always.
2. My phone already has always-on data. Why worry about data for two devices. (To 4/5-g subscriptions, etc.) Searching for wi-fi.
3. Better power consumption for my "dumb laptop" device. (Less processing power in the laptop, hopefully space for a bigger battery)
I would buy this in a heartbeat!
I am hoping I can do this with the librem5 and a dock.
There was speculation that this would enable Google to swap out the Linux Kernel for Fuschia when it becomes available.
The Windows NT Kernel has had a HAL and the ability to do this since it's inception in the 90s. Microsoft has been toying around with WSL on the desktop, what are the chances that they just beat Google to the punch and are running Android on the Windows Kernel?
How crazy would it be if WSL was just a cover for getting Android running ontop the Windows Kernel?
I think they renamed the NT Kernel to Windows Kernel to simplify things but in usual Microsoft fashion it just complicates comparing or discussing Today with Yesterday.
But like I said before, even without that, it's still the right device for me.
Announcing products like this should be reported on as an embarrassment for the companies that do it.
The best designed UI imo, and a great alternative to Ios and android.
When Windows Phone died and I switched to Android, the UI didn't feel as intuitive as the Windows one did. And of course it doesn't help that Google change the UI, in particular the settings, all.the.time.
So yeah, you don't need a conspiracy to explain this failure.
Verizon refusing to sell and refusing to allow on their network the Lumia 950 because of a hissy fit that they didn't like how the previous flagship performed and that Microsoft got an almost favorable AT&T deal for the 950 was dumb on several levels.
AT&T getting bored with their 950 deal and then refusing to advertise/market/sell the phone, was certainly a death nail, partly because it was so much easier and cheaper to just micro-manage the Android platform.
It might not have killed the platform in the US if there were more than one phone manufacturer in Windows Phone at that point in time.
(That calls into question if the Nokia buy out was the right move. Which with Nokia last one standing already, it was probably the only move, but the platform had enough market share before Nokia was at risk of tanking that had a couple Android manufacturers gotten fed up with Google at the time things could have gone differently. Though admittedly, armchair quarterbacking is easier with hindsight.)
The app situation was always something that could have been addressed if people were (capable of) buying the platform. The lack of OEM manufacturers and the lack of support/interest from the carriers certainly mattered more than apps at crashing marketshare of the platform below the critical threshold for active application development.
You got Android if you overwhelmingly wanted the customization. You got an iPhone if you overwhelmingly wanted something that was smooth and worked well. I tried WP for a while and I missed nothing major by switching away.
The bigger question is "what do you need a folding display for?"...
What people need are actually two contradictory (until now) goals: compactness and large screen size. Folding is one solution to solve this contradiction.
They also released those Nokia branded Android devices.
It is not like MS has been doing consumer hardware releases for that long or anything!
It'll be interesting to see the support, IMHO one thing that keeps people (software devs and consumers) from buying into a new Android OEM that is selling an "Ecosystem" (e.g. Samsung Note) is the fear of a product line being dropped.
Personally I've replaced my last macbook with the surface and my iphone with an android phone, use mostly linux or windows with WSL these days and I see less and less apple products in particular among developers where the windows/linux combo seems to become more prevalent, at least anecdotally.
From UNIX point of view, not so much, given that they were one of the first licensees for PC hardware with Xenix.
Exec1: does it connect to Exchange?
Exec2 should have said: it will in the future!
How do seniors learn to use devices?
Mostly from peers or mostly from children? If from peers, how do they seed the ability?
I can't see how you could get seniors to start to use a "dumbphone" specific to them, unless the UI was spectacularly easy to use.
The bigger dual screen device is the Surface Neo.
I doubt the average person can even tell the difference from a 660, to a 835, or an 855, given all the rest of the components (mainly storage) are the same.
2. Does anyone remember the name of a similar Microsoft notebook that was teased 5-10 years ago? It was a foldable notebook and notetaking device kind of like Remarkable. I wonder if this is the spiritual child of that.
2. You're probably thinking about the Courier. You'll see more about that in the thread about Surface Neo, which is the modern take on Courier.
However i'm very dubious of what the dual screen experience will be like bolted on top of Windows (NEO) and Android (DUO).
Somehow in my humble opinion Apple have been able to run rings around Google and Microsoft when it come's to pure UX in mobile tech and given the past history i fully expect that true in the future.
This is where i expect DUO will stumble, in the same way that Samsung fails with its extensions and bolt on's.
The catastrophe that is the Samsung folding phone didn’t send a strong enough message to the industry I guess.
IMO, Microsoft have done a fantastic job with the Surface Book. If they could replicate that high-end build quality while providing a solid feature set and a clean Android build, I can't see it not selling well. Throw a headphone jack in, and I'd wait in line for it!
The dual screen is interesting, but I don't see its use just yet.
It gives a better typing experience than a phone currently does & offers unique controls for apps on the 2nd screen.
Whereas with the laptop version I assume people will be missing their keyboard typing experience or complaining about having to carry around a bluetooth keyboard. I still hope they improve their concept of docking an Android phone & using it as a laptop replacement with a keyboard, mouse & monitor.
Hopefully it makes people watch videos in landscape again & quit recording in portrait mode. That alone would be a win!
- Edit - I just read a better article explaining their keyboard concept for the laptop version. That seems like a slightly better experience than I was imagining. Hopefully it's harder to lose than their pen.
I'm very "disappointented" by the event, as it seems that the Surface Book series is dead.
If this is the case, I guess that the reasoning has been that who want a powerful machine just buy a regular laptop.
It's a shame for those who use the SB both as tablet and dev machine (which is the intended audience). At this point, it's not sure how the SPX will be usable as dev machine (e.g. I guess it will have relatively little memory). The vanilla SP is an alternative, but 12.3" is small for me (and can't imagine for those who own a 15" SB).
I know a load of people with the standard Surface that use it like a tablet, but very few people that regularly use their Surface Book's detachable tablet functionality. I can probably count the number of times I've ever wanted to take the laptop apart on one hand.
In the past, I used it primarily to read electronic versions of several paper magazines; this format is (IMHO) best read on a large screen - the sweet spot is around 14, so 13.5 is the closest (I reckon the 15" is too big; the SB laptop form factor has a bulky design).
In the present, I use it for studying (textbooks, mostly) - for textbooks, even 12.x" is fine, so even a Surface Pro would do.
Having said that, I like it as a tablet so much that I've pretty much ditched the base and bought another laptop for development.
The SB laptop form factor just sucks (IMHO), as it's very bulky, and Microsoft has an insane pricing strategy, that makes it unjustifiably expensive for developers looking for a serious dev machine. Nowadays it's more competitive due to being old, but the 16 GB models have never been competitive, both in price and form factor, to competitors like the Dell XPS.
Of course, I don't imply that many people use it this way because I do, so I really don't know the general use cases :-)
The Surface range is good because it packs so much functionality into a nicely designed package. The same design principles, with a full feature set, would sell like wild-fire, and would put a lot of other phone manufacturers on notice.
Most high-end phones for Android don't sell like wild fire. AT&T and Verizon stores (among others) are pretty clear that Android is "cheap" and the iPhone is luxury/high-end.
I don't think Microsoft has an answer for that existing market dynamic here for Android phones. There doesn't seem to be enough of a value proposition that Microsoft might have anymore luck as Android device competing against the iPhone.
These are all just wrappers around the latest qualcomm snapdragon with whatever twist the hardware manufacture wants to add. Basic functionality in all of them will be badly broken and there's more or less nothing you can do to fix it.
At least the iphone ships with an ssh client and scripting environment now. (not that I'm an iphone fan, it has it's own problems.)
The performance and battery life differences between different phones running the same chipset is insane.
Read through https://www.anandtech.com/show/14716/the-black-shark-2-revie...
For some benchmarks, the top phones are 50% faster! Storage benchmarks (not shown in that particular review) can be even more dramatic. Battery life differences can be huge (multiple hours) at the same capacity.
Each manufacturer customizes the heck out of the kernel, and also attached firmware. LTE speeds can vary dramatically with "the same antennas". Same for WiFi speeds.
The current Android phone I am using works great. It is surprisingly fluid and rather nice to use, though I'd argue Windows Phone 7 was still nicer (or at least more fun) to use, that ship has long since sailed.
I use the Termux app to SSH on my Android phone all the time.
Microsoft would've done better by making a x86 Surface Go running full-sized Windows that happened to make phone calls. There were a few models of Android tablets that could make phone calls, so it's not as if it were a outrageous idea.
IMO it was a mistake to give up on the Windows 10 mobile OS but it's also true that MS has made too many mistakes for it to ever take off at the point where Android and iOS have been developed for at least 7 years already.
Apple designed the iPhone to be a pocketable one-handed companion device to a real computer.
People started using them as their only computer. The changed the design parameters enough that it made sense to offer a less pocketable device with a much larger screen.
The thesis is: maybe that market can be segmented even further, by adding an even less pocketable segment with even more screen space.
Unless I'm misunderstanding, it seems like you wouldn't ever need more than 270 degrees.
(Disclaimer: work at Google, totally unrelated product, not the opinion of my employer, etc.)
I wouldn't really expect any difference. It's not like Apple's lower end products are buggier than their higher end ones.
but...how will I mount it in the car for GPS?
Just fold it?
I would get a bigger mount for the opened device though, maps are always nicer on bigger screens since you can see more.
It’s not like they’re trying their own OS again.
It's not like there is a lack of competitors in the Android manufacturer game.
Maybe its not necessarily "dead on arrival", but at least from what has been announced so far, it doesn't yet sound competitive in what is already a terribly (and ugly) competitive hardware market. At least if Microsoft were trying their own OS again, they'd have a better statement of why they were building the hardware. Meanwhile, doesn't the market already have enough Android phones?
Nice looking Surface lineup and hardware nevertheless, but after Microsoft removing that offline setting, I think that was a big turn off and a no deal from me for now, unless they reverse that atrocious decision to using online accounts only.