The ‘G’ spot
As much as I love my iPhone—and it is true love—I have a strong gut feeling that Google’s open-source Android cell phone software has the capacity to surpass the groundbreaking experience of Apple’s first cell-phone offering.
While Apple and Microsoft try to keep their software code secret (while charging exorbitant prices for their intellectual property), Google’s Android software will allow anyone to create applications for widespread use. Apple has supposedly released its iPhone code to developers, with rumor of third-party apps due out in March. But is it too late?
No mobile’s functionality at present comes close to that of the iPhone, and when I hear buzz among tech geeks that someone like Microsoft has come out with a possible “iPod-killer” I laugh. But not when they talk about Google. I’ve advocated for some time that tech companies need to drop the cost of their over-priced technology and open their codes, finding other ways to generate income in this age of rampant digital piracy, and Google may prove my point.
Nearly a dozen phone companies are clamoring to get Android phones on the market by the end of ’08. While users impatiently wait for the ability of view Flash, cut-and-paste text and the choice to use the G3 system on their iPhones, an alliance of more than 30 companies is developing the free, open-source Android platform.
Dinosaurs in the future
Someone else who seems to get it is R.E.M. If you don’t know their music, ask someone over 35. The band has released 11 new videos for a song from its new album Accelerate (due in April), and is encouraging fans to re-edit them and share their video remixes online.
The Shins did something similar with their song “Phantom Limb,” where they asked fans to upload their concert footage from an Austin, Texas, show enabling anyone in the Web community to assemble their own music videos of the song. Web 2.0, baby—the pros building an infrastructure for the creative masses to showcase and share their talents. We may yet crawl out of the trees of this digital Stone Age.
No rod or reel required
A country that has clearly lifted its digital Cro-Magnon knuckles from the technological Paleolithic age is Japan. One of the more recent offerings available only in the Land of the Rising Sun is a fishing video game called Ippon Zuri (“pole-and-line fishing”), which is played on one’s cell phone and can hook the player a real fish. Cell-phone owners from the western-Japan town of Fukuoka pay 1,000¥ (almost $10, U.S.) for three games. If they catch sea-living creatures ranging from crab to assorted types of fish, a slot machine appears on their cell phone screen. If three matching numbers appear, a seafood supplier is contacted and delivers the catch to the gamer.
Wacky Web site of the Week
Bored at work and have access to your color printer and some card stock? Make some new shoes, arcade games for your action figures or dolls and more (via www.chaoskitty.com/webzen/index.php)