Monday, September 22, 2008

AOL Revisited

Once upon a time AOL had this huge following of non-technical people who used their cartoony software to send messages to each other and read the news. It was a walled garden for old people and kids who didn't understand the Internet. It was really cute, had pretty colors and nice icons and animations. Eventually AOL let their users onto a little bit of the Internet with some weird ass browser that didn't work with any site other than AOL. Eventually people got wise and realized that they really didn't want to pay triple what other people were paying for a playschool version of the Internet and AOL took a hit and had to dismantle their walled garden and let people free using Netscape and Internet Explorer. Today AOL is some third rate destination site and nobody really cares about them.

Apple is the new AOL, they give you pretty colors and shield you from the machine but at the same time don't let you do too much because they're afraid that you'll hurt yourself. They won't let developers write killer apps, they don't have the most killer hardware and they actually don't even have the most usable software.

RIM, Google and HTC show a glimmer of hope on how that can one day change. RIM's got a killer with the Bold with more to come around the corner, the HTC Touch HD is sick and finally tomorrow Google's launching the HTC with Android.

Oh yeah, did I mention that PCs/Laptops are becoming rapidly irrelevant? And Microsoft, well they're still around there in the background providing infrastructure and platforms but they are to some degree just enablers of the stuff to come while HTC/Google are the real drivers.

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