The iPhone, 48 hours later

So, I’ve had an iPhone for a bit over 48 hours now. My impression?

First the good:
* The Web experience on this thing is absolutely phenomenal. Despite having a smaller screen, it’s even better than the N800. The zoom functionality and real browser are a breath of fresh air. I really can’t say enough good things about this aspect of the device.
* The built-in apps are all decent. The Contacts apps is especially good for a stock offering.
* The battery life is better than I expected, considering the size of the screen.
* The device just looks really good. Coming from a Treo, the form factor is also very refreshing. For the next week or so, pulling one of these out will draw a small crowd. As always, that will pass.
* Wifi

The bad (and unlike a lot of the glowing reviews I’ve seen, I think there are quite a few of them):
* The activation process is silly. Why would I possibly need iTunes to activate a cell phone. The process (after you get iTunes) is very straight forward, but so simplified that I have no idea what plan I have right now. The Cin AT&T site still gives me an error when trying to log in to my account. As I noted in my previous post, the AT&T part of the experience has been sub-par in general so far.
* While the preloaded apps are all decent, the lack of real third party apps is a real killer. There are rumors this will change in the future, but if it doesn’t I think the success and utility of the iPhone will be extremely limited. One great thing about the Treo was that you could find an app for almost anything. No SSH, for instance, will likely be a deal breaker for me and the iPhone. I only use it occasionally, but when I need it it’s absolutely critical. I will concede that on the Treo some apps do make the thing very unstable. There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I need a time tracker, a nice TODO app and a whole bunch of things Apple may never provide.
* The iPod functionality on the iPhone isn’t exactly like a regular iPod. It may just be a matter of time, but GTKpod doesn’t work with it yet and in general you can’t just drop items into the iPhone like you can with a nano.
* No DUN tethering. The Bluetooth in general is fairly limited. Another place the Treo is far superior.
NOTE: You may see a pattern starting to form here. Many of the problems are the result of the device being an extremely closed platform at this point. How much this will change remains to be seen.
* While I have gotten more used to the keyboard after a bit of use, it’s only a “non-issue” when typing URL’s, search strings and short SMS messages. I can’t see ever being able to do long emails or even take notes at a conference with the proficiency that a real keyboard like a Treo or Blackberry allows.
* They designed this thing so that 99% of all existing headphones won’t fit into the jack because of….????

As you can see, the cons are many. There are also a lot of smaller items that I left off the list as you have to assume that Apple will address them (no MMS, no games, no video, no custom ringtones, etc). The question becomes, will I keep the iPhone or return it in the 14 day window that I have. That I’m not sure of yet. News that the Linux-based Treo has been delayed yet again makes it tempting, but if some of the major concerns I have aren’t addressed soon I may very well ditch it. One nice thing is that the bar has been raised. I expect a number of really interesting devices to hit the market in 6-9 months. Competition is good.

–jeremy

ACCESS to Release Open Source Application Framework

ACCESS has announced it plans to release an Application Framework to the open source community under Mozilla Public License (MPL) v1.1. Security features that extend the Linux kernel are planned for release under the General Public License (GPL) v2. The Framework will be released before the end of the year and will be the industry’s first open source mobile Linux application framework for commercial use. From the article:
Developed as part of the ACCESS Linux Platform, the Application Framework has been designed specifically to meet the requirements of mobile phones and devices. In addition to providing a set of services to install and manage applications, the Application Framework from ACCESS can integrate communication between applications, enabling a seamless user experience for music, messaging and other advanced features. The Application Framework is also designed to enhance application security to prevent unauthorized use of phone services or tampering with critical system data.
As part of its efforts to help grow the mobile Linux market and foster a global ecosystem, ACCESS has decided to contribute its Application Framework to the open source community. By open sourcing the Application Framework, ACCESS’ goal is to help speed the development and adoption of mobile Linux phones and devices while taking the first step to help prevent fragmentation. The next step in preventing fragmentation will be to work with industry standards organizations, such as the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and Open Source Developers Labs (OSDL) to determine how they may adopt the Application Framework.

I got a chance to play with ALP at a recent Linux world, and while it wasn't quite ready for prime time then, that was about 9 months ago. I'd be interested to see how far they've come since then. Motorola is already starting to release some main stream Linux-based phones and other companies are following. While I've not heard any definitive plans yet, it's very possible we may end up with a Linux-based Treo at some point. I'm really pulling for that one. I already like the Treo and having Linux and GTK+ on it would be fantastic. I'd expect a large amount of growth for Linux in the mobile space over the next 2-3 years and this move by ACCESS should help to foster an active developer community, much like the one the Palm OS has now.
–jeremy
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TreoQuestions.org Officially Launched

I am happy to announce that TreoQuestions.org is now out of beta and officially launched. I'm looking forward to the challenge of growing a site from scratch, while also continuing to build and grow LQ (which is just about to hit 250,000 registered members). While this blog will remain mostly Linux and Open Source related, I'll likely now throw a Treo tidbit out there from time to time, especially as Linux and the Treo converge.
–jeremy
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Introducing TreoQuestions.org

I'm proud to announce that we've added a new site to the LQ family. TreoQuestions.org is in many ways modeled after LQ, but is a 100% separate and distinct entity that will have a flavor all its own. The site has a Treo forum, a download section and a Treo Wiki already. Once we have worked out the bugs and the site is out of beta, we'll be adding more – including developer tools and whatever else the community wants. Going from LQ which consistently has 2,000 people online at any given time to a new site is going to be interesting, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Many people have asked where the idea came from. Well, first I have a Treo and really like it. If anyone is looking for a smartphone, I highly recommend you check the Treo out. The passion is there, and for me that's a critical component. The thing that set me over the top though, was really LinuxWorld Boston, where LQ was in the .org Pavilion. The Platinum Sponsor of the show was none other than PalmSource (promoting their Linux Access Platform). With rumors that Palm may also be working on a Linux platform, it seems clear that Linux is the future platform (or at least one of the platforms) for the Treo. That was the deciding factor there. They're going where I already am (and have been for a long time) – Linux. As we've done with LQ, I hope to work closely with the Treo and Palm communities. We've already started on that and the response has been outstanding. We already have people like Sammy from Palm Addicts recommending us (I'd like to extend him a huge thanks BTW) and the feedback from others I've contacted has been similar. So, check out the site and let us know what you think.
–jeremy
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