Posted tagged ‘Blackberry’

Taking the tablets

September 29, 2010

I’ve now had my iPad for over three months, and I continue to use it more and more. Most recently I have taken to propping it up at meetings and taking notes on it, since I discovered that I can actually write faster on it than on a traditional keyboard (I don’t touch type, however). Most of my reading is now done on the iPad, and quite a bit of my web browsing.I have found that as a gadget it kind of adapts to my needs and preferences in a very intuitive way. The thing works for me.

Now I see that the iPad is to get a competitor, in the form of a slightly smaller device to be known as the Blackberry Playbook. Like many people, I started my mobile computing on a Blackberry, and indeed had three of these in sequence. Then along came the iPhone, and to me at least the Blackberry suddenly looked dated and sort of boring; and I’ve been with Apple ever since. But the Blackberry has stayed in business, and remains very powerful. And now it has decided to follow Apple’s lead into the tablet market. Its sales pitch is that this is going to be the device for business – as distinct from the perceived idea that the iPad is for media and leisure. If that is the target, I do wonder about the ‘Playbook’ name, which just doesn’t conjure up seriousness. But it does look neat, and some may prefer its smaller size. It also has some features that the original iPad doesn’t have, such as a USB port.

I’ll stick with the iPad (a new model is now rumoured), but competition is always good, so I hope that Blackberry does manage to get a foothold with this device.

What kind of smartphone are you?

April 27, 2010

Technology rules not just what we do these days, but who we are. The gadget you take out of your pocket or briefcase when making a phone call, or when taking notes at a meeting, or when checking the score in the latest football game, will tell everyone exactly what kind of person you are.

An interesting perspective on this was considered yesterday in BBC2’s Newsnight programme. Their economics editor Paul Mason looked at the impact of social networking on the British general election; but as part of that he pointed out that social networking was now largely conducted on mobile devices, and for many that meant Apple’s iPhone. Politicians on the other hand were still largely Blackberry users, and this meant that the nature of their mobile device use was fundamentally different from that of the politically engaged general public, who were more likely to be iPhone junkies. Blackberrys, he suggested, were modelled on the idea of distribution of command and instruction, whereas iPhones were based on interactive opinion building and information sharing.

And so what does all this mean? It seems that who we are is now increasingly connected with the technology we use. The gadgets become extensions of ourselves and we become extensions of them; they are part of our intuition rather than just instruments of utility. Companies that ‘get’ that, as Apple undoubtedly does, will dominate in the future. And people who ‘get’ that will be the dominant political forces. And right now in the UK, there is at least a chance that the mood of this election will have been fashioned by Twitter, Facebook and the iPhone. Interesting.

3G iPhone

August 20, 2008

I have been an iPhone owner and user from the moment the device became available in Ireland; or maybe I should say, from the moment it became available to me, as there were horrendous supply problems. This was the original model, and I took delivery back in March of this year. Before that I had been a Blackberry user. To be honest, I always loved the Blackberry and what it could do, but didn’t like its appearance so much, and more particularly, I didn’t like the style of the screen display. And I could never get to like it for internet browsing, where the functionality was somehow a bit weird. But I still was an enthusiastic user of the Blackberry, and had got used to very fast two-thumb typing.

When I got the iPhone I immediately loved the design and appearance, and was impressed with what it could do. The screen display, and the imaginative way it could be manipulated, was great. There were some niggles, however. The iPhone manual suggests that you should aim to do two-thumb typing also on the touch screen. I have to say that, for me at least, that’s not workable, and I wasted a lot of time trying to perfect this method. Now I use the index finger of one hand only, and it works well and is speedy. In the original model, I was hugely disappointed that I couldn’t load any non-Apple applications, in particular because I needed to be able to sync my calendar online with my Oracle calendar at work, and couldn’t. It was a nuisance that I couldn’t write a document for later transfer to my desktop computer. And the absence of real push email was a disappointment, though not a fatal issue for me. In short, the iPhone didn’t seem to care too much for someone who needed to use it as an office or work tool.

Some of this was remedied with the revised operating system later launched by Apple. And then, only a few months into my ownership of the iPhone, Apple released the new 3G version. I am a gadget freak, and I always have to have the latest thing. And again, getting the new device was slow, as demand significantly out-stripped supply, and you couldn’t even go on a waiting list. In the end I got one, and actually it was pure luck because the store I tried happened to have one left from a delivery only minutes earlier.

And so, what do I think of it? Yes, it’s much faster than the original once you are somewhere where you can get 3G coverage. The GPS feature is neat, though I cannot easily say whether it is something I’ll really use much. The growing list of available applications, including third party ones, is filling most of the gaps in functionality. I can for example now sync my calendar from anywhere. There are still some (now different) niggles, however. I am not absolutely sure about battery life. Much of the time it’s good, as good as with the previous model. And then suddenly, for some reason or reasons I have been unable to work out, the battery runs out of power quite quickly and unexpectedly. And when I make a phone call and want to hang up, sometimes I can’t, because the screen goes blank and nothing I do for a minute or so will bring anything up – I can’t even switch the device off. And then finally, I subscribed to MobileMe, and for the life of me I cannot make it work as a system for push email. I have no idea what I am doing wrong, but I am close to giving up on that feature.

But I imagine all that will be fixed – and overall I do love the iPhone. It is also simply such a beautiful device, and with me that counts for something. I suspect it will continue the extraordinary recent success story of Apple. And I suspect that the business community will start using it more and more.