Fan Boys

Tech Altar recently put out a great video titled, “How to Cure a Fan Boy” as a part of his fantastic “The Story Behind” series. In this video, he challenged the viewer to share three things they liked about the big three players in the tech industry: Apple, Google and Microsoft (at least big 3 in terms of operating systems). Given that I have not posted in about a year and given that I thought it sounded like a fun exercise, I thought I would share mine.

Microsoft

They tend to support their products for a long time (XP lasted 14 years, after all). Of the three companies, they are truly the most innovative right now. However, much of that innovation could be credited to their current underdog position in terms of mobility and mind share. Cortana is an awesome assistant. I would like to see Microsoft further improve the AI, and I would like to see Cortana come to more devices. The way that Cortana integrates with Bluetooth, especially with regards to responding to text messages, etc. is second to none.

However, I do not like what they have done with Windows phone (and Windows 10 Mobile) in terms their “retrenchment”. I believe that they did not anticipate (or maybe they did) that other OEMs would not fill in the gap left behind when Microsoft all but pulled the Lumia line from the market. Hopefully full Windows 10 on ARM for future mobile devices will make Microsoft a dominant force in the mobile space again.

In late March 2016, in order to try out Windows 10 Mobile on a proper device that was actually designed for that OS, and because that I had grown a bit bored with Android at the time, I purchased an Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL. I really like this phone, and I like Windows 10 Mobile (W10M). However, as of the time of this writing, I have gone back to my 2013 Moto G, which now runs Lineage OS (Android 7.1). While for the most part the “app gap” does not bother me, there are a few key apps, namely My Fitness Pal, which no longer works on W10M, that I really need. I sincerely hope that full Windows 10 on ARM solves these “app gap” issues. If Microsoft ever comes out with a truly innovative first party phone that runs full Windows 10, I may jump at the chance to buy one, provided the price is right. Until then, it’s Android for me.

Apple

I like the fit and finish of their products. My wife’s iPhone 7 is second to none in terms of build quality and camera. Apple products do, in most cases, “just work”, provided that you don’t like to tinker too much. I also appreciate how long they support their iPhones, as well as the thought and engineering that has gone into their full device encryption. I have an iPhone 6 for work, and it’s not a bad device.

However, I don’t appreciate Apple’s support model (or rather lack thereof) for older versions of their desktop operating system, nor do I appreciate their high prices. I feel that there is tech on the market that performs just as well, that can be had for much cheaper. The OnePlus 3 is the perfect example of that. Anecdotally speaking, I have a perfectly good iMac from 2008, and the machine still runs flawlessly, aside from the fact that El Capitan is bloated and makes my once screamingly fast iMac incredibly slow. I wish I could go back to Snow Leopard, but alas, Apple stopped issuing security updates on that long ago. Once El Capitan is two versions old, Apple will probably stop supporting it too. This greatly disappoints me because El Capitan is the last operating system version that will be able to run on my aged iMac. The great news is that Linux runs great on that iMac, and as such its life is far from over.

Google

I appreciate their web based productivity tools and innovations in cloud services, which are hands down better than anything Apple and Microsoft offer. Yes, full MS Office does a lot, but for 90% of folks, Docs and Sheets work just fine. I have also been a big fan of the Chromebook initiative. Chromebooks are fantastic, secure, mostly low cost machines that again work just fine for probably 90% folks. They are great in the education space and great for folks who just need a laptop to surf the web and Facebook.

In that vein, I also like that Google, through the open source model, allows Android to run on devices of all shapes, sizes and price ranges. I like the fact that while Google does collect a lot of user data, they have generally been transparent about that data and how they use and secure it.

However, I do not care for the Pixel phones, as I feel that they are over priced. I would really like to see Google bring things like their Assistant to other devices (officially), and I would like to see them finally merge the best of Android and Chrome OS into one universal operating system, similar to what Microsoft is doing with Windows. The mess that is Android updates continues to frustrate me, as I would love to see Google take more ownership of the situation with carriers and OEMs than they have.

Lastly, Google’s lack of support for Microsoft devices frustrates me. Currently, Google contacts will not sync with my Windows devices (on PC and phone). I am not sure if the issue is on Google’s side or Microsoft’s, but regardless of who is to blame, it also one of the reasons I have moved back to Android.

So there you have it. Just a few of my thoughts on each of the big three. I would like to know your thoughts.*

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*On another personal note, I am currently writing this on my HP notebook that runs Ubuntu 16.10.