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Not the Droids You’re Looking For: 03/21/2012

Not the Droids You’re Looking For

By contributor Matthew Ferrara

4 out of 5 by 4 User(s)

Matthew Ferrara Go to Profile Matthew Ferrara
Published: 03/21/2012
Posted by: RET Staff

In a world obsessed with touch-screen smartphones, is there still room for those of us who think correcting touch-typos and sitting on airport floors to recharge batteries isn’t really all that cool? Here’s my take.

My decision to get a new Blackberry 9900 isn’t for everyone; but for me, it’s like a return to sanity after two years of constant phone trauma. Let me take you back in time: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… oh, sorry, where was I? Ah, yes, it started with the release of the Samsung Vibrant, a phone so promisingly marketed that I switched from years of Blackberry ownership to the Android world. Yet within a few weeks, it was evident that the Vibrant was so poorly designed that its most touted feature – the ultra bright AMOLED screen – was its worst feature: Too bright to use at night (even on the lowest setting) and guaranteed to drain your battery by your tenth tweet (I barely exaggerate), it was a disaster of untested-in-the-real-world technology.

Eventually, I switched to a HTC Sensation. Alas, I was destined for a journey past Scylla and Charybdis. On one hand, battery life improved to a whopping four hour average; on the other, the antenna design was so poor that signal strength required an alignment of the planets. But  what really doomed that product, and so many other screen-touch typing handsets, was the impossibly inaccurate keynoard. Even after hacking the ROM and trying alternate keyboard layouts, my life became six-letters-forward-four-backspaced-back. Since voice dictation only works if you have a signal, it offered no solution. Still, I’ll take the blame and say that I simply couldn’t cross the distance from the analog keyboard to the VWLS NT NEEDD world of touch typing that casual smartphone users might find acceptable.


Comments on: Not the Droids You’re Looking For
by Marilyn Wilson 2012-03-22 08:05:51
It sounds like you like your iPad as much, if not more than your BlackBerry. Maybe we could go back to "dumb phones" and then just use the iPad for everything else. The Samsung Note that was just launched and it looks like it is trying to be an iPad and a smartphone at the same time. It will be interesting to see how well that works. I wish all phones would allow you to turn off "auto correct" feature too. I agree with that that it can be really annoying.

by Matthew Ferrara 2012-03-22 08:50:25
Marilyn: Yes, I do like the iPad, especially for consuming deep content like news, research, websites, etc. So it makes having a "souped up" phone really irrelevant for me. If they'd just improve auto-correct as well, or put some serious effort into the on-screen typing accuracy, maybe it would help the screen-touch phones. In the meantime, it's a nice keyboard for me. Thanks for your comments!

by Victor Lund 2012-03-22 09:50:04
I like your perspective. We worked with RIM on their real estate strategy. If you recall 2007ish to 2009ish, the Palm Treo was the smartphone du jour for real estate. Key feature was that it opened the Supra Lockbox via infrared port.

We helped RIM develop a piece of hardware with help from GE Supra that would use Bluetooth to connect a Blackberry to a dongle that would open the Lockbox. It was not elegant - but short of convincing GE to migrate to Bluetooth and half of the American real estate industry to purchase new lockboxes - it was a great fix. It was accomplished years ahead of the iPhone bluetooth sync.

Blackberry is convincingly better for business, but the iPhone is narrowing the gap. I have owned an iPhone from day 1, hour 1, after years of Blackberry versions. I have an iPad too.

For me, the iPad is a light laptop. I carry it at conferences because my MacBook Pro gets heavy. As you note - the iPhone requires too much dexterity to be productive - the web browser gets you by in a pinch and the apps are good enough for twitter and facebook comments.

Today, even dumb phones have great cameras, facebook, mail, and twitter - the core applications. They even have a light web browser. They are also very small and the battery lasts forever.

If I had to design my mobile world today all over again - it would be a dumb phone with support for mail, twitter, and facebook. A 4G MiFi. An iPad that connects via the MiFi or WiFi, and a MacBook Pro 15." To get there, I need to downgrade my phone and my iPad.

by April Worley 2012-03-23 14:58:28
you know what i love the most about my iPhone? the 8 mega pixel camera! i tend to be on the artsy side, so i shoot pics wherever i go, and the iPad is way too big for even my mom purse! for me, to have an amazing camera, phone, alarm clock, and (ahem, angry birds) games on the go is essential. no dumb phones for me! besides, all of those text mistypes can be entertaining at times...i am thinking about compiling them into a coffee table book...maybe illustrated with great iPhone pics!

by ANNA WILLIAMSOSN 2012-03-24 15:46:36
Thank you for sharing! It's like your article came straight from my mouth. My children kid me about my BB: but who cares.

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