blogitto ergo sum

June 3, 2012

#208 – smartool or smartoy?

i miss my BlackBerry; more so on weekdays.  after weeks of Android and months of iToy, i know what i want and can’t have.

i want a phone that is smart enough to be my best loyal assistant, always available, ready, with my meetings, contacts & friends, emails, reminders and the rest of my life.  i want to prioritize, sort and group my contacts and emails in a click or a touch.  i want to be able to assign a unique ring, vibe and volume to certain people and events, and totally ignore others.  i want all of the above to transparently sync with all my devices; all EIGHT of them, including laptops and desktops,  iToy and my designated international SIMs phone. i want a GPS that connects in nanoseconds, not minutes, and always knows and tells me where i am and where i need to go, BEFORE I missed the turn.  i want a browser that shows me everything that i am looking for, not a skinny version that forces me to look for an invisible “go to full site” button. i want to stream music without having to wait between verses or songs.  i am OK with using an app for each need, but i don’t want to have to look for it among 100s of apps.  i want text-to-speech and speech-to-text.  i want a real QWERTY and a great touch screen.  And before I forget, I want to make and receive phone calls with GOOD voice quality, not from the depth of the deep sea, with low sensitivity to the wind and background noise and lab-type sensitivity to conversation.  Lastly and critically, i want a battery that lasts as long as i do, and is happy with as many [few] recharge hours as i do.

WHERE IS THAT PHONE?  Take me there.

Snow Covered Tree Trunks, Waterloo, Ontario.
Copyright: All rights reserved by jgljgljgl

i didn’t forget the games.  However, for a phone that will do all of the above, i will happily go without any game.  i wasn’t kidding when i said i miss my blackberry.  for a long time, it delivered on over a half of the list above.  sadly, it neglected to progress with the market, and stopped to deliver on the missing items, nor improved on the performance of the already existing part.  The Waterloo-based innovation that started RIM, froze in the Canadian winter, and the innovation that bloomed in the valley and changed the mobile world was not listened to, not considered a game changer or a threat.

I am a happy first-to-admit that no tablet, no device i tried, is better than the iToy when it comes to content consumption.  any content i can think of.  weather, news, travel, entertainment, edutainment…  it’s a truly sweet fruit to eat, but far from being enough for a perfect diet.

i am happy to admit that the number of apps available for both my iToy and Android phone is mindboggling compared to the pathetic offering from BlackBerry.  i love that i now have not one, but FOUR portable SONOS controllers, one original, 2 Android phones and one iToy.  the original controller cost $399 [now $349].  all the others require is a free app.

i am happy to admit that finally i have a couple of games that i do play and even enjoy, the last one being 100 Floors from Tobi Apps Limited [don’t bother to click.  Last I’ve checked it was an empty page.  Am happy to wait as they add more floors]

but… i am extremely FRUSTRATED with the pain called managing my calendar and address book across my devices.

Bye Bye BlackBerry?

Google calendar outlook sync works on two computers, but not on the others.  contacts sync is a one way street and it’s not a true sync, and i can’t find one that will sync all devices.  outlook/blackberry sync required a cable and a PC in the middle, but at least it WORKED.  and i had support when needed – thank you RIM.

so, after a couple of months of BlackBerry no more, here i am, wishing for a phone that i’d be really passionate about, that I’d be excited about using and telling you about it.  and there’s none.

tool or toy

i think of my mobile smart first of all as a tool, a productivity attachment if you will.  this is the part that RIM got right.  and a good tool should easily fit on your tool belt.  it’s not a coincidence that BlackBerry was the only smartphone that shipped with a carrying case by default.  and it wasn’t a fashion statement.  it was black, functional and mostly ugly.  AND useful. i can’t find solid data re the size of the Android and iPhone cases and protectors market.  must be millions, with items going for anything from $8 and up, up, up. in 2009, TechCrunch estimated the mobile accessories market worth at $63 billion, and the average mobile phone owner spends roughly $60 on accessories over the life of their phone.  it takes no genius to assume that iPhone first and Android lagging behind are the pampered devices and that the market grows as fast as the devices market or faster.  after all, it’s not a far fetched idea  buy shoes, bag and a matching phone.  a fashion statement case or designer speakers cannot compare to the utilitarian accessories BlackBerry had.

fact: iPhone is becoming the dominant device among the working geeks, nerds and everyone else.

fact: i enjoy 100 floors, where’s my water and probably the next game one of you will recommend

and sad fact: the more sharing among you admit how less friendly and much harder it is to do your emails on these toys, compared to BB.



  1. I think what you need is an intern. They do everything you asked for and there’s no monthly plan. It’s the Kramer method 🙂

    Comment by Eran — June 4, 2012 @ 09:16 | Reply

    • LoL 🙂 true. dear Kramer. somehow i doubt i could fit an intern in my pocket or bag. also, “charging” and downtime would be a huge overheard. all i ask for is a smartool.

      Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — June 4, 2012 @ 14:16 | Reply

  2. You don’t ask for much, do you 😎 ?
    Even putting aside the requests that are physically impossible …

    (GPS in nano-seconds? your GPS chip has to “hear” transmissions from Several Satellites, and the speed of light time from them is already more than “A few nanoseconds”),
    … and technologically dubious even when no law of Physics is harmed in the making …
    ‘i want a browser that shows me everything that i am looking for, not a skinny version that forces me to look for an invisible “go to full site” button’ – I am guessing you want this on a screen
    small enough to fit in your pocket? and the unit has to accommodate a full Keyboard? and with a battery that lasts ” as long as i do” but presumably you still want the unit to be very light?

    You are asking companies that compete with each other to give you a seamless experience with equipment/software they (1) did not write (2) Have no control over and (3) wish you stopped using …
    Let me guess – your “EIGHT” devices are from different makers and different generations? yes?

    Don’t get me wrong – by no means do I think our phones/gadgets are perfect, or even close – they are compromises, and many/most times ugly compromises.
    To make matters most annoying, the forces that shaped the compromises were not technology imperatives, but marketing/sales considerations (frequently misguided,
    and almost always mis-represented), but they are still extremely useful. Arthur C Clarke once said “sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic” – with one of today’s Smart Phones in my hands, warts and all, I can do things that would have been pure magic to my parents. It is excellent to have high requirements – but let’s also appreciate what we did get.

    Comment by Michael Orr — June 4, 2012 @ 16:56 | Reply

    • knowing what your customer really wants is a good thing; this is what all product managers WANT to know. so i lay it out. for the customer to recognize that the only option is an unattractive compromise – reality.
      and maybe if enough people will ask for it, even the iKnow better than you will listen. nah, ain’t happening.

      peanuts: 8 devices mean HW from 7 manufacturers, SW/Platform provided by 4. sadly, even devices of same vendor don’t agree with each other. Android is badly fragmented [2 devices], and MSFT+HW does not turn out to be a single image across HW.
      thing is, if the mobile was doing all that i want it to, the need to sync would have been a lower priority.

      Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — June 4, 2012 @ 19:21 | Reply

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