31 December 2012

Google Smack

Normally when you are shopping for devices your goal is to try to pay less than the list price. Major cell carriers regularly sell their devices at a discount to hook you on a new two year service. Apple has deals at Christmas time and a wonderful refurbished store to get a deal on their products. Even Xbox and PS3 units can be found for a few bucks less than list on occasion. Yes, if you are truly desperate then you might be forced to pay the full amount, but none of us would ever - EVER - pay more than that. Unless it is a new Google product, that is.

Google has worked with manufacturers to create some wonderful new hardware with the Nexus 4 and Samsung Chromebook. Both of these devices are sold on the Google Play store for under $300 which is an unbelievable bargain. An unlocked top of the line phone for about the same price as a contract iPhone 5 where you can have cell and unlimited data service for $30 a month is impossible to ignore. The Chromebook is listed at such a low price that every corporate CIO should be begging to put it in the hands of every one of their road warriors. Unfortunately, they have both been sold out after the first 30 minutes they were released.

If you want a Chromebook, Amazon has them for sale as much as a $100 over the $250 price, or around 40% more. The Nexus 4 can be found on eBay for around a $150 premium or about half again as much. They are still a a good deal at these prices, but that dramatically changes the financial picture.

Sellers recognized early on that these products are so wonderful that they can gobble up every available device and sell them at a premium. Basically, Google hardware has become a tech drug - Nexus Cocaine or Chrome Meth. If you want it then I know a guy over on this site that can get it for you, but it'll cost you. What is even more interesting is that most of these sellers appear to be coming from the greater Mountain View area. Google headquarters. Yes, our drug dealers may have connections directly to the drug source.

If Google wants their Play Store and hardware to be taken seriously then they are going to need to clean house. When they release a device they need to make certain you have enough product to last longer than 30 minutes. They should verify that your own employees are not pulling in extra cash on the side through eBay and Amazon sales. Heck, getting their Play Store to actually work when it is taking order for devices would be good, too.

These are truly great pieces of hardware. If you have a Nexus 4 and/or Chromebook then you are probably quite happy no matter what price you paid. Still, it is ridiculous that no one can buy them at the price Google has listed.

03 December 2012

A bad Microsoft morning.

A quick bitch session to make me feel better:

I have been using an iPad as my notebook for a couple of months and recently replaced it with a Surface RT. In fact, the Surface, minus a few blemishes, is a more enjoyable device for that task, overall. Still, this morning I decided I needed to edit a Microsoft Word document on there and it was too slow. More critically, the sucker was out of battery life after sitting all weekend long at our home. Yes - the standby power on the Surface appears to be only a couple of days. So, now I have to research whether this is a bad unit or whether it really is that poor. By comparison, the iPad it replaced could (and sometimes did) sit untouched for weeks and still have juice left over. (The iPad would still "ding" every time an email came in, so it was, technically, still receiving Wi-Fi and running some mail tracking app while hibernating for weeks.)

Were that not enough on the annoyance scale - I have been using Microsoft SkyDrive for part of my personal document collection. I do not run the app at work because it has this annoying habit of copying all of my information to the local machine (!!) and dramatically impacting performance. So I visited their web site to upload a folder and quickly discovered that it appears to only support single file uploading. No problem - I will just drag the folder into the web page to copy it. That, of course, did not work. So, I opened up Google Drive in my browser and drag the folder over and viola! It worked! Dropbox was equally successful.

There. Done bitching. I would feel better, too, if I didn't have to consider moving my personal stuff to Google Drive or Dropbox or I was not tied to making this Windows RT tablet work in the office.