Old Man Dvorak says 'the Google phone is doomed'

johncdvorak Every industry needs an old, crotchety curmudgeon. We have the always-entertaining John C. Dvorak who’s lately seemed to be slowly slipping into senility. That’s okay, though. That’s okay. He’s our grandpa and we love him and you don’t just cut people out of your life because they’ve started going crazy.

His latest outburst is against the Google-led Open Handset Alliance. He thinks it won’t work. That’s a fine opinion but it needs to be backed up with a convincing argument. The reasons he gives are far from convincing, however.

Dvorak takes his first potshot at Andy Rubin…

"In reality, I would guess that Rubin isn’t really going to get anywhere with this since he is, apparently, a strikeout artist. He’s the guy behind the unique-but-clunky Danger PDA–cum-phone. The Danger was cool and fun to use, but it was less a phone and more a gizmo. Let me point out something to all the geniuses out there: People buy phones because they are phones and not because they are half-baked Game Boys, GPS navigators, or Web browsers. That was the problem with the Danger and its successor, the Hiptop handset. They were clunky."

Couple things here. First, the device was never called "The Danger." Danger was and is the software company behind the device (The Hiptop), which was rebranded as the Sidekick by T-Mobile. Secondly, he’s talking about these devices as if they don’t exist any more. The Sidekick line of mobile devices has been around for a while,  two new models were just released, and the devices themselves are very popular. Hardly a strikeout.

"So what is Google trying to do with a phone? First of all, it wants to put Google search on a phone. It wants to do this because it is obvious to the folks at Google that people need to do Web searches from their phone, so they can, uh, get directions to the restaurant? Of course, they can simply use the phone itself to call the restaurant and ask!"

You don’t need me to tell you how ridiculous this sounds. You’d actually need the restaurant’s phone number in order to place the call and to get that phone number, you’d need to either do a "Web search" or call 411, which costs something absurd like $1.75 a call and that’s assuming that they connect you correctly the first time. Then you need to hope that someone at the restaurant answers and you can hear them well enough to get directions, assuming the person on the other end knows where you’re located at the moment. I, personally, find Google Maps on my mobile phone a lot easier to use than the rigmarole that Dvorak suggests.

"When all is said and done, Google is actually not a charismatic company that can make this new platform happen in a big way. Google hopes that people will code new applications for the phone. People have had eons to program for the Windows smartphones and nothing has come of it. What’s so different now?"

Really? The company that changed the way people search for information, develops award-winning free applications one after another, and is hell-bent on purchasing an entire wireless spectrum for this new platform isn’t going to be able to make this happen in a big way? And the comparison to Windows smartphones is silly. The new system is Linux-based, open, and free. People haven’t been programming stuff for Windows smartphones because they’ve likely been putting their time and effort towards initiatives that are similar to what groups like the Open Handset Alliance and Linux enthusiasts are trying to accomplish, not something out of Microsoft.

The Google Phone Is Doomed [PC Magazine]