Observing gadgets while traveling

Last week I spend a few days in New York city and as always traveling is a good source of inspiration. A couple of observations on gadgets I made during this trip:
  1. The personal entertainment systems on intercontinental flights are up for something new. The systems have lousy screens, a terrible user experience and on this trip the system, both on the going as well on the return flight, wasn't working properly resulting infrequent system resets. At the same time more and more people have kindles, iPads, Nintendos, etc. and take them with them onto the plane and the need for the build in systems is reducing. The first reports of airlines that start to offer loan tablets for entertainment are there. I'm not yet sure if that is going to work, but there is a lot of room for innovation. For instance WiFi, power and a streaming media server on board would be a good start so people can hook on their personal devices.
  2. New York city has the worst mobile phone reception I've ever experienced. Disclaimer: I carry a european phone and depend on GSM connectivity. I saw more often 'No service' than connection bars, not even on top of the Empire State building, probably 20 meters from a GSM antenna, I was able to call home. In the subway I've no idea what all the people do on their phones, because it's impossible to get any kind of connection on your phone. I never ever, not even outside, managed to get a 3G data connection and I really wonder how New York can be the Twitter capital of the world. All the discussions on expensive data plans and music cloud services for streaming to any device for sure don't make sense for New York city. It also made me realize why there luckily enough is a good availability of Wifi almost everywhere, it was really saved my days and the only way that allowed me to stay connected.
  3. The people in NYC tend to put their smart phones into protective cases a lot more than here at home in the Netherlands. This now explains to me why the US centered smart phone business creates, except for the iPhone, so ugly phones: people put them in even uglier cases anyway, so why put any effort into the design, since it's a waste of time. Those that carried naked phones could most of the time be identified as tourists. I also don't understand the US centric discussions on the thinnest devices; yeah the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 0.1 mm thinner than the iPad, but I put it in a quarter on an inch thick case anyway. It sure needs to look like a phone book!
  4. Riding the subway I noticed a lot more iPhones than Andriod phones what was surprising after reading the articles on the explosive growth and increasing market share of Android phones. A few explanations could be:
    1. Android owners don't ride the subway because they still have money left to ride cabs versus the iPhone users that spend all their money on AT&T and the phone and have no choice but riding the subway.
    2. iPhone owners are more out going and tend to show off, while Android owners are embarrassed about their device and keep it in their pockets. May be this is also the reason behing the inch thick protective cases, just to avoid showing your phone.
    3. Since there is no phone reception so all you can do is listening music or play a game and Android owners have an iPod touch for that. That is why I also saw so many iPad touches in the subway.


What are your travel observations? Leave them in the comments below!

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