Happy happy joy joy a mobile phone that works

I have been watching the iPhone clutching hordes of my acquaintance with their pretty new phones and wondering if that was the answer for me. But something stopped me from queueing up to collect my iPhone overnight in the winter cold with my buddies. It was the thought that my needs were more utilitarian than theirs. I just need a phone that works, that makes phone calls reliably and which enables me to leave my notebook PC or MacBook at home.

Discussing these business needs with friends it was suggested that I try an HTC phone. A friend over at Microsoft arranged for a loan phone for me to try – the HTC Dual Touch.

I’ve been putting this phone through it’s paces for a fortnight now and it is my favourite phone ever! A deliberate strategy was to ignore the user manual as I wanted to see how intuitive this phone is. And it is pretty intuitive to use without referring to the manual.

The practical reasons I’m loving this phone are:

  • I can leave my notebook computers (MacBook and eee PC) at home & still surf the net, Twitter and email on the go
  • It has a touch screen as well as a number pad – so I can switch between the two as I choose
  • It works like a real PC and the Windows Mobile is stable and easy to use
  • The internet is fast with the 3G

My wish list? I wish the HTC Dual Touch reoriented the screen from portrait to landscape when the phone is rotated. I also wish that the keylock would not kick in while I’m browsing the net. These are minor issues and usually by this stage of phone usage I’m starting to experience regret. But right now, I’m thinking that this is a good phone that delivers what it promises.

Mobile Phone Saga I

I have learned to hate many mobile phones over the past few years. They have promised much but delivered little of that promise. They often even failed to deliver on the basic promise of making telephone calls reliably.

Sony Ericsson invented a really complex and multi-layered menu system that I gave up on quite quickly. Although, for a phone it did play music quite well.

Nokia provided reliable phones that generally worked but which failed to deliver on any promises over and above making phone calls. Using the Internet or GPS navigation on them was a pain. Also these features killed the battery in mere minutes. It is worth noting that I never did get around to acquiring an N95 (on many accounts an impressive device).

But the phone that I have hated the most is a Samsung. The quality issues with the Samsung were so bad that it went back to them for repairs three or four times in the first 3 months. It barely worked as a mobile phone and totally failed to deliver any other functionality. As a result I now refuse to purchase anything manufactured by Samsung as they are synonymous with rubbish quality in my mind now.

Now I ponder, how hard is it really to design a mobile phone that reliably works as a phone, enables connection to the Internet, plays media files and allows email access? Based on my experience to date this must be harder than putting human kind into space.

The picture above shows a selection of my phones dating from about 2003.

Bargain Deal at #WDS

You can attend Web 2.0 Executive Bootcamp at Web Directions South at a bargain price (according to my buddy @trib).

Register here and quote the discount code – W2BAL – with this deal you’re getting a hefty discount to the normal price.

BTW, Web Directions South is shaping up to be an interesting event with some challenging topics up for discussion and some amazing speakers.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Geek Tribes are Melding

We are seeing a fluidity in the way techies interact with different technologies today. This topic came up in a conversation with @ceibner at Microsoft Tech Ed earlier today.

In the past people focused on a very narrow (often proprietary) technology stack, such as Java or .NET. However, now with web 2.0 most people in the technology world interact with a broad range of different technologies. We might use open source tools like Blogger, WordPress, Media Wiki, or Wikispaces to quickly put together a blog or a wiki, while still using the corporate platforms like .NET or Java at work. At home we might use PHP, Joomla or Drupal to put together a website for our friends or community. Out of curiosity we download and experiment with Photosynth or AIR.

This diversity and richness in the technology available to us now really drives creativity. It is only possible because of the philosophical breath of fresh air from web 2.0 that has begun to break down the barriers between languages and platforms. This ability to understand, use and mashup many diverse technologies has really liberated us from the old locked-in mentality of the past.

It was quite refreshing to talk to people at a Microsoft event today and to realise that these practitioners are using a wide range of tools to meet business and personal needs. The barriers in our own minds about these technologies is dropping away and enabling some real creativity.