I recently took the plunge and purchased a “smart phone”. My particular model is an HTC Droid Eris. For the record, it’s cooler than cool. At a cost of $500 without a contract, the phone is still well worth the expense. I’ve been enlightened.
One of the things which I’ve found incredibly cool about my phone is the Pandora Internet radio application. The cost is minimal, and it streams radio directly to your phone. It’s great. Part of the reason it’s so cool, though, is that you can purchase Bluetooth headphones. Unlike the cliché wireless headsets, the headphones look good and they service both ears. They connect wirelessly to my phone, and allow me to listen to music with no cords attached. After a few minutes with the headphones, I was compelled to recant my dislike of Bluetooth technology.
My problem with Bluetooth has been largely in the failure of general Bluetooth adoption. Bluetooth devices are (headsets aside) still rare in terms of consumer adoption. After my revealing phone experience, I had to have Bluetooth on my laptop as well.
An E-Bay Bluetooth dongle cost me a whopping $5 plus shipping. It’s USB and sticks out of my computer only a very small amount. When it arrived, I eagerly plugged it in and powered up my headphones. The ensuing antics reminded me of why Microsoft completely failed with Windows Vista.
Vista on my home laptop works well. I don’t have any major complaints, however I was infuriated to find that Microsoft removed the level of Bluetooth support from Vista that’s available on my phone. Vista cannot recognize an a high quality audio device, and it cannot even use a simple HID device (as in…mouse). But my phone can. Go Google!
It quickly became clear that in order to use my Bluetooth device with my laptop, I would need to purchase a third party Bluetooth stack. At this rate, I thought “Well, they probably did Windows 7 right…maybe I’ll upgrade”.
Windows 7, Microsoft’s new flagship OS cannot use an elegant, mature technology like Bluetooth any better than my phone. Buying a third party stack (Bluesoleil’s stack) cost me an additional $30. If Microsoft had decided to properly equip Windows 7 to meet the demands of it’s consumers, I would have purchased that instead. Unfortunately, despite the catastrophic losses Microsoft took on Windows Vista, it has made an active decision to make the exact same mistake again. Nice work Microsoft! The good news is that at least this time, they have more practice when they execute the marketing blitz to convince people that they want an operating system which has been specifically built not to meet their needs.
The silver lining is that it sounds as though Google is building a PC operating system. If it’s anything like my phone, I’m confident that it will become the operating system that Microsoft failed to deliver not once, but twice.