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Since the Courier won’t be released, what’s the next best tablet?

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The only tablet I wanted was the Microsoft Courier

I didn’t get excited when news of the iPad was released, and I didn’t get sad when other tablet computer concepts were tossed, but with the announcement that Microsoft will not be releasing the Courier, I have to admit that I’m quite upset. Speculators believe Microsoft wants you to wonder what they’re doing in lieu of the Courier, but I’m not curious, I’m just moving on.

What I was most looking forward to with Microsoft Courier over the iPad is not all the razzy jazzy app stuff, rather that it was designed to act like a journal or an interactive note pad that is web enabled. I like to hand write notes, I would love to print something from the web, cut out the picture or section I’m interested and tape in in my creative journal and I’d like to prioritize which project I’m working on rather than see all projects and all apps.

Microsoft Courier was designed to be more enterprise which is criticized by the Mac cult, but for those who are less impressed with gloss and sex appeal and more impressed with functionality and productivity, Courier was what I had hoped would be the best tablet on the market upon release.

Take a look back at why Courier was so awesome:

What tablet will be the next best now?

I currently own an HP and I’m not a fangirl or anything, but it is a good product that I’ve been loyal to for years, and with the resent acquisition of Palm, which has a promising and innovative web OS, I think the HP Slate will be the biggest competitor to the Apple iPad. HP tends to be affordable and add Palm to the mix and I believe they have a real shot at taking a chunk of Apple’s marketshare.

Companies better beware

Tablet technology is rapidly evolving to be less like a PDA and more like a laptop sans hinges, and as Benn has said before, companies (especially real estate companies offering search) will need to spend more time focused on offering custom experiences based on which product a user is using (laptop vs. iPhone vs. tablet, etc), and less time focused on 2007-esque efforts like getting employees to tweet from their phones.

The pace has picked up, people, and the companies to make it to the finish line will be the ones that are innovative, not the ones that are playing office with their investors’ money.

CC Licensed image courtesy of ndevil via Flickr.com

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Dave Woodson

    May 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I am on the looking for Android tablets, going to be more open, with greater variety and I am sure you will be able to print from them. The pricing will be spectacular, will do everything an ipad can just more.

    Dave

    • Jason Berman

      May 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Awesome predictions Dave. Just to be clear…..you predict….

      1. Google will foster a greater variety of apps on their platform than the iTunes app store.
      2. Android based devices will offer more for less. In fact, people will describe the difference as spectacular.
      3. Open…ness. I presume by open you mean UI. Give me an example how an ‘open’ Android platform will help sell more real estate than a ‘closed’ platform? In fact, show me something the open Android system can do that a jailbroken iPhone OS can’t?

      My prediction, Apple will grow this device just like it did the iPod & the iPhone & it will dominate.

      Is it irritating to still be reliant on Windows?

  2. Andrew McKay

    May 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Guilty as charged more “impressed with gloss and sex appeal” and less “impressed with functionality and productivity”
    Having said that the iPad isn’t here in Canada yet. For a non tecchie like me that has a Mac desk top now after windows kept crashing, the ease of synching desk, phone and lap top/iPad is a big plus.

  3. Pat Hallesy

    May 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Keep an eye out on NotionInk’s Adam notionink.in/adamoverview.php

    I like the iPad concept and love my iPhone, but was hoping for the Courier to come out at a decent price. My next choice is the Adam. (I think it’s the one that’s supposed to be available in Windows/Linux/Chrome OS editions.)

  4. Erica Ramus

    May 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    So why did they scrap the Courier?

    • Lani Rosales

      May 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      They’re not saying, but it’s their M.O. to be mysterious to let speculators create buzz on their behalf. Which they’re doing. Some are whispering that they are working on a different kind of tablet project, others have speculated that they never had all of the pieces in place to go to market. Regardless, I’m sad.

  5. Erica Ramus

    May 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Me too!

  6. stephanie crawford

    May 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

    I’m on my second tablet – using the HP TouchSmart right now as my full-time pc. It’s okay – like the size, but wish it had a faster start-up and less heat. Previously I had a Fujitsu. It was similar to the HP; a little heavier and hot, hot, hot.

    I played with an iPad the other day. I was impressed. I can see using it for presentations a little. But I mostly see using it to peruse blogs in bed (is that worth $500? i wish i had that kind of disposable income right now!). I think I’ll definitely have to have the second generation though. For that matter, I may drop my tablet and go MacBook Pro for my next laptop. All the cool kids are doing it. And after recently visiting a college campus where I saw all of two laptop pcs, i think mac will have world domination soon anyway.

  7. roydevoll

    May 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I love Apple because they take my user experience to a new level. I agree that they will grow the iPad and slowly release new features in a annoyingly slow trickle, but they are usually so refined by the time I get them, they seem so natural. iPhone OS4 is coming in the next month or so and to the iPad around end of summer. This will introduce multitasking, folders to organize apps, and improved business oriented features as well. They already sold over a million and have a app system in place (even if there are issues with it). I can’t think of a reason anyone designing a real estate app would have any problems being approved in the app store? I have several that work very well.

    Courier sounded ok, but an app could be made just as easy for iPad as well that could accomplish the same goals. Microsoft will probably follow suit and go with something more like a tablet I think. The last cool thing I saw from Microsoft was Windows XP! (and don’t say zune, cause their market share is laughable. Hp slate is dead as well now! Probably just a redesign now that they have acquired Palm though. Android may be the biggest threat, but I don’t see them getting ahead anytime soon. I am unimpressed with their phones, probably will be with their tablets? Bottom line is that everyone else is behind on the entire tablet front. And with iPhone now passing up everyone as the smart phone leader in the US, I only expect the iPad to gain ground that much faster.

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Nate app: $38M Series A fintech startup you should keep an eye on

(TECHNOLOGY) The nate app combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform, streamlining the check-out process for hassle-free purchases.

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African American woman holding iPhone scrolling through the Nate App homepage.

No one likes to hop around from store to store searching aimlessly in aisles for all of their necessary items. That’s why the big guys win, like Walmart, Amazon, and Target – they have all you need in one swoop! Users choosing to shop online feel the same way. Having to reenter payment, billing, and shipping information over and over again becomes a pain – or worse, a deterrent to purchase, resulting in cart abandonment- that’s where the nate app comes in.

Nate combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform.

The well-funded, series A startup utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to complete purchases seamlessly without all of the fluff a user discovers when checking out at various online retailers. Once a user inputs shipping and payment information into the app during sign-up, nate keeps the data on file for subsequent purchases, virtually eliminating the time-consuming check out process. If a user sees a product they like from an online merchant, they simply have to “share” the item to the nate app, and it will take care of the rest.

Unicorner’s startup analysis states, “In essence, nate is bringing the benefits of shopping on a centralized platform like Amazon to a decentralized shopping ecosystem.”

Brown leather wallet with tip of credit card sticking out next to a iPhone showing a shoe purchase on the Nate App.

With a nod to Pinterest and LikeToKnowIt, the platform allows for users to create visual product lists on a personal account that can be shared with followers. If a follower likes an item they see, they can purchase the item in-app in just a click or two.

In contrast to the big wigs of the social media world, the nate app hopes that users will purchase based on true inspiration and not a targeted algorithm suggesting what they should buy. Instead, the app runs its business model on a $1 fee for each transaction which covers the ability to issue virtual cards, protect online privacy, and apply available discounts.

The nate app simplifies gift giving as well. Users are able to select a gift item and enter the recipients phone number – if the recipient is a nate app user, it can be shipped directly – otherwise, they will receive a text asking them where to send their new gift! This makes it a perfect choice for the upcoming holidays (yes, 2021 is almost over…whew).

To stay up to date on everything nate, download it now on the App Store.

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Facebook deletes developer over ironic browser extension invention

(TECHNOLOGY) Think a muted week for a nipple shadow is bad? Facebook just permabanned this inventor for…helping others to use the platform less.

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African American hand holding iphone on Facebook's login page.

It must be true that corporations are people because Facebook is pulling some seriously petulant moves.

In a stunt that goes beyond 24hr bans for harmless hyperbole, and chopping away at organic reach (still bitter from my stint in social media management), Facebook straight up permanently banned one of their users for the high crime of…aiming to get people to use the platform a little less.

Developer Louis Barclay came up with Unfollow Everything, an extension that basically instantly deleted your feed without having you unfriend anyone or unlike anything. Rather than have users manually go through and opt out of seeing posts, they’d now opt IN to keeping who they wanted front and center.

In his own words on Slate: “I still remember the feeling of unfollowing everything for the first time. It was near-miraculous. I had lost nothing, since I could still see my favorite friends and groups by going to them directly. But I had gained a staggering amount of control. I was no longer tempted to scroll down an infinite feed of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable.”

Since more time spent on Facebook means more ads that you’re exposed to, means more you spend, the add-on started slowly making headway. I myself pretend to be a ranch owner to keep ads as irrelevant to me as possible (though my new addiction to hoof trimming videos is all too real), and Unfollow Everything probably would have been a great find for me if it hadn’t been killed by a cease and desist.

Law firm Perkins Coie, representing the internet giant, let Barclay know in their notice that Unfollow Everything violated the site’s rules on automated collection of user content, and was muscling in on Facebook trademarked IP.

They also added, in what I can only assume was a grade-school narc voice, that the add-on was “encouraging others to break Facebook’s rules.”

Barclay, not having the resources to fight a company with the finances of a small country, promptly ceased and desisted. Practical.

Officially speaking, Facebook might have actually have some ground to stand on vis-à-vis its Terms Of Service. The letter and legal team may have been warranted, not that we’ll ever truly know, since who’s taking Facebook to court? But then they followed up with a ‘neener neener’ deletion of Barclay’s 15 year old account – which was still very much in use.

Look, Facebook is the only way I connect with some of my friends. I don’t take enough pictures to make full use of Instagram, I fully hate Twitter, my Tumblr is inundated with R-rated fanfiction, and any other social media platform I’m happy to admit I’m too haggish and calcified to learn to use. So a complete WIPE of everything there with no notice would be pretty devastating to me. I can only imagine how Barclay felt.

And in light of the fact that the browser extension wasn’t hurting anyone, taking money, or spewing hateful rhetoric, there’s really only one thing to say about Facebook’s actions…they’re petty.

Sure, they may have the legal right to do what they did. It’s just that when you notice every fifth post is an unvetted advertisement, their high ground starts to sink a little. I mean nothing says ‘We’re being totally responsible with user information’ like the number of add ons and user tactics popping up to avoid seeing the unnecessary. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook put up a fight against losing ad traffic.

We all know all those stores with amazing deals aren’t actually going out of business, or even using their own photos right? Right?

Barclay added in his article, “Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.”

Agreed, Mr. Barclay.

Now I’m off to refresh my feed. Again.

 

Graffiti wall with image of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with the saying "You've been Zucked."

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Glowbom: Create a website, using just your voice

(TECH NEWS) Talk about futuristic! This app allows you to create quizzes, surveys, an online store, and even a website in minutes–without typing.

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Colleagues looking at Glowbom website homepage

In the past, we’ve discussed things like simplified coding and no-code app creation. Now, a San Francisco startup has taken the process a step further with no-type app creation.

Glowbom is a voice app that allows you to dictate steps to an AI – from adding information all the way to exporting code–in order to create a simple app, survey, or game. While the built-in options for now are limited to four simple categories, the power of the app itself is impressive: By asking the Glowbom AI to complete tasks, one is able to dictate an entire (if small) program.

It’s an impressive idea, and an even more impressive product. Glowbom founder and CEO Jacob Ilin showcases the power of Glowbom in a short demonstration video, and while he only uses it to create a simple survey, the entire process–up to and including the exportation of the API–is accomplished via voice commands.

Furthermore, Glowbom appears to process natural inputs–such as phrases like “Let’s get started”–in the context of an actual command rather than the colloquial disconnect one tends to expect in AI. This means that users won’t need to read a 700-page manual on phrases and buzzwords to use before jumping on board–something the Glowbom user base was probably hoping to avoid anyway.

As of now, the options one can use Glowbom to create include a quiz, a survey, an online store, and a website. It seems reasonable to expect that, as support for the app grows, those categories will expand to comprise a larger library.

Glowbom certainly opens a few doors for people looking to take their businesses or ideas from an offline medium into the digital marketplace. As coding becomes less centralized in computer language and more contingent on processes such as this, we can expect to see more products from folks who may have missed the coding boat.

Perhaps more importantly, Glowbom and products like it make coding more accessible to a wider base of disabled users, thus taking a notable step toward evening the playing field for a marginalized demographic. It’s not true equality, but it’s a start.

This story was first published here in October 2020.

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