Monday Mar 17, 2008

Goodbye to an old friend - hello to a new 'smart phone'

Andrea Kendall has been a Graphics and User Interface programmer and designer for over 20 years. She is passionate about designing for the user and is currently working on implementing a Web 2.0 GUI using Woodstock.


Well after 10 long years of faithful service my Sharp Wizard died.

 10 Sharp Wizard


Question: Why did I keep this so long?

Just look at that keyboard.   It is so easy to type on.

Anyway, I dropped it last week and the plastic hinge broke.    

While I was really tempted to get an iPhone, I decided to go with the Sprint HTC phone. The first thing I like about the phone is the nice keyboard.  The other thing I like is that it is based on an OS I am familiar with -  Windows XP.

Sharp HTC 'smart phone'

Things I don't like about the phone are:
  • It can be hard to tell if you have closed a program (and it can only run so many)
    • You have to go into another program to check for running programs and stop them (I do this every time I go to turn off the phone)
  • It can be hard to tell if the actual phone is on or it is in  flight mode
  • It seems a little too easy to make a phone call when viewing contacts
  • It does not come with enough memory to actually use the built in camera and run anything else
  • The sales person told me it had everything it needed to back up the phone but it turned out I needed Outlook  if running on Windows XP

Now to be fair the sales person did warn me that this was a more 'geeky' phone.

Yes, I could return the phone and exchange it for the Palm OS one but I figure I will get past the learning curve.  However, it will never be the same as my Sharp Wizard..

So goodbye to an old friend.  

Note: I can still turn on the old Sharp Wizard which I am doing because I have to get all the important data off it.  The Sharp was so old it used a COM port and had proprietary software (long lost)  to back up the data.


Thursday Dec 13, 2007

What do you really want from your mobile device?

Jen McGinn is an interaction designer in xDesign who is working to improve the user experience with software installation and registration. She has an MS in Human Factors in Information Design and works out of Sun's campus in Massachusetts.

Again, I have a question for you. I have tons of unused Sun swag to exchange for my favorite answers -- a Java gym bag, a Sun CD case, a Sun coffee mug, a desk clock, a laptop bag ... too much to list. Send me a great response to my question, and I'll let you pick.

Here's the thing ... we all have mobile devices: cell phones, laptops, PDAs, nav systems, pen tops, tablets, hand-held game consoles ... and they all provide some value to us. That value may be access to a resource, the ability to perform a new task, the ability to perform an old task in a new way or at a new location, entertainment, productivity, connection to our friends, immersion, or escape.

So in my mind ... I have a vision ... if I took all the functionality of all those disparate devices and combined it with all the benefit that I get from my non-portable devices (for example, my SunRay, my iMac, my cable box, and a Wii) I know what it would look like and what it would do for me. I imagine it every time I look at the iPhone. I want it not only to supplement the cadre of devices that I already have, I want my next mobile device to replace them. All of them.

But I realize that, along many axes, I am not in the majority. As desperately as I want an iPhone, I just refuse to buy one until it meets some of my other demands.

So my question to you is ... when you dream of the mobile device that you wish you had, how is it different from what is available now? Write me your answer in email: jenm at sun dot com.


xDesign is a software user experience design group at Sun.
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