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Comment: Gphones need to be more open

Posted: 20 Nov 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile software  browser  Gphone  mobile systems 

G1's easy-to-use features
Finally I noted that the G1 gives an excellent YouTube experience. When you click on a video, a simple help screen asks if you would like to play it in a browser or full screen. The full screen experience looks great and comes with translucent video controls on the touchscreen that fade away when not being used.

But video from most of the other sites on the Web, from the New York Times and CNN down to my own EE Times, don't work at all. That's because the device does not support Adobe Flash or light-weight versions of the software for mobile systems.

"It's hard to do Flash on a constrained mobile device because it needs more than 30 MB of memory," said Miner in an interview in late October. "We're talking to Adobe about that," he added.

Indeed, Adobe and ARM Ltd. Has announced efforts to optimise Flash 10 on ARM CPUs for handsets and other embedded systems. Handsets using their work should emerge next year, they said. The Apple iPhone suffers the same shortfall in video, something Adobe has said it is working on with Apple.

The best yet to come
I applaud Apple and Google for products like iPhone and Android that are reaching the next level of growth in handsets. But I don't want to see a class of phones that bury MapQuest, Yahoo, Exchange, my favourite video sites and a host of other services in favour of Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google accounts, You Tube and Ad Sense.

I know Google didn't develop Android as a charity project, but I don't want the mobile Internet to start looking like the Googlesphere. "Google is still working out how it will make money on mobile," Miner said.

"There's a lot of opportunity in local searches that will benefit people if they are, say, looking for pizza," he added. "But we are moving cautiously because these are constrained platforms and there's a challenge for the user interface," he noted.

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