And I'm finally starting to see some green on the trees, too. I happened to be down in DC in the middle of the week, and spring had already sprung that far south; up here in New York, it's right on the cusp of breaking. It's funny to see such a broad difference within a three-hour train ride.
Dell's VP of Consumer Design "pitches" the Adamo and other new Dell laptops. Via JMH.
I don't know if I'm unusual in this, but—well, I'm trying to picture using one of these things, and I'm sorry, but the attention to detail and build quality aren't that much of a selling point for me, for one simple reason: the damn thing still runs Windows.
When you're using a computer of any kind, 90% of the experience is in the operating system, at least when you're sitting down and getting work done. The physical features, connectivity, keyboard layout, and other attributes are only relevant if you're comfortable enough with the experience presented by the software that you can fine-tune your interaction with it beyond simple typing and clicking.
I've had the displeasure of using a whole variety of Dell laptops at work recently, and they've all blended into a miasma of "blah", no matter how top-end or allegedly well-built and well-designed they are. The whole experience is overwhelmed by a haze of Windows that settles over the vicinity—never mind the blue-glowing power connector or the two (!) sets of mouse buttons, I'm primarily concerned here with the tedium of force-quitting crappy apps that don't die when you tell them to and having to click six tiny things to "Safely Remove Hardware" and the fact that when you duplicate a file it names the new one "Copy of..." rather than "... (copy)" so it goes to some totally different place in the alphabetized list and why the friggin' thing refuses to run a pcap through tcpreplay at any more than 1/3 the original capture speed.
I could be happy using Mac OS X on a plastic Acer that's been run over by a car. Putting effort into dressing up the Adamo so it has decorative exhaust vent holes and smooth aluminum keys isn't going to convince me to buy one, because no matter how shiny the brass is, the Titanic is still going down.
Many people are chortling over this interview with the RIM CEO, where he desperately tries to make the case that their product is still the best thing out there, even if the reasoning is based on "Well, the underlying technology is more robust" rather than "Users actually prefer using our stuff". (We all remember that mentality from the days of the head-to-head G4 comparisons at Macworld, don't we.)
My favorite part, though, is the end:
What do you think about Acer, Dell, and other PC giants making a serious smart phone push this year or next? And do you see that trend as a threat because these companies will be a one-stop shop for PCs and smart phones?
Well, I can tell you if you’re getting into this for the first time, it’s a fairly expensive undertaking, and it’s a very, very ambitious undertaking. They’re going to have a lot of challenges getting into the market. We’ve got well over a decade of experience in this space. You have to sit down and ask yourself what strengths a new player is bringing to the table. There’s lots of Windows mobile devices in the market already.
You mean "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in"?