The tech world has been abuzz with the recent announcements of the iPhone 6 and 6+. There is no doubt that these are exciting new devices for Apple although the curmudgeonly might argue that these are catch up devices to bring Apple more in line with their Android competitors. Regardless, there is an element of the announcement that I find disappointing and to be fair, it is a complaint that I have with most of the latest mobile technology – battery life.
Battery life is a key metric for device usability. What good is an iPhone or Galaxy S if its battery life is short? Sure, it has mobile payments, GPS and health tracking, but all of this is irrelevant if the phone is dead. Yet the newest announcements highlight features like higher speed wireless radios, new phone sensors, thinner form factors or bigger screens and virtually all of these impact battery life in a negative way. It seems that buyers are so enamored with these additions that they ignore the fact that battery life sucks. Yet if I look back just a few years ago, we had phones where battery life was measured in days and weeks versus the sub 12-hour life which is common today. Continue reading Mobile devices: it is all about the battery
With the recent public display of Blackberry 10, RIM is back in the news. I believe that RIM has made many missteps and has been too slow to respond to changing market dynamics. Thus, my view is that RIM’s future looks dim and that they will struggle. Last week, my travels took me to Toronto and I met with a knowledgeable person (Let’s call him Bob for simplicity although that was not his real name.) who had a different opinion. To be clear, Bob was not a RIM employee but was knowledgeable about the company and the industry. I thought that it would be interesting to share his perspectives here because they are so different from mine. It is up to the reader to decide whether they agree or disagree. Continue reading RIM: A contrarian opinion
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am an avid smartphone user. For years, my primary platform was RIM’s Blackberry and I appreciated the phone’s highly functional physical keyboard. When I changed jobs, my new company did not support Blackberry and so I was issued a Palm Pre Plus which I blogged about here. However, I also maintained a personal phone and back in March decided to upgrade to a Motorola Atrix 4G which is an Android based device. (I did not get the laptop dock.) Having lived with the phone for about 3 months, I wanted to share my thoughts.
I will not go through the Atrix specs in detail, but one point of note is that the phone includes the new dual-core Tegra processor. Having never owned a single core Android phone, I cannot compare it directly, but can say that it is very fast. It virtually never slows down and runs everything application flawlessly. One of the areas where this is most visible is in Google Navigation. The route re-calculation functionality is instantaneous and I barely know when it happens. This is in sharp contrast to my Tom Tom navigator which takes a good 5 – 10 seconds to recalculate during which time you are driving blind. This phone is in sharp contrast to my Palm Pre Plus and previous Blackbery Bold 9000 both of which slowed down frequently.
Continue reading Living with a Motorola Atrix – The Good and Bad
I have blogged on numerous occasions about cellphones and historically, I have been an unabashed Blackberry user. So it was with a sense of shock when I realized that my new employer would not support Blackberry phones. I had two options:
- Windows Mobile – Not not the new and cool WMP7, the old crappy one that did not work well.
- Palm OS
The choice was obvious and I went with a Palm OS-based device and chose the Palm Pre Plus on AT&T. There are many articles discussing the basics of the Palm OS and Palm Pre and in this piece, I just wanted to share my thoughts on my likes and dislikes of the phone. I have been using the device for about three months now and so have had ample hands-on time. Note that these observations apply only to the Pre Plus; I have not used the Pre 2, Pixi or Pre 3.
What I like about it:
Touch screen – Palm has taken design cues from Apple and has done a good job in creating an OS that relies on touch gestures. It is very easy to use the OS to open programs and switch between different open ones. This was a particularly refreshing change from the Blackberry which relied on a trackball. (Newer Blackberries like the Torch have a touchscreen, but I do not believe that the implementation is as efficient as found on the Pre Plus.) Gestures such as double tapping and pinching for zooming work well. The RIM OS really shows it age in contrast.
Multi-tasking – Palm OS does a particularly good job with multi-tasking and uses its card interface to allow for rapid and efficient switching between running applications. It is very easy to quickly access your calendar or email while on a call. This is highly valuable particularly in scenarios where you have a conference call and must switch between the calendar and phone for access code information. RIM had multi-tasking too, but the process of accessing and closing applications was painful requiring a long press of the Blackberry button and substantial trackball scrolling. Simply put, Palm’s approach is far more efficient and user friendly.
Web Browser – Let me start by saying that my last Blackberry was the Bold 9000 and so I never tried RIM’s newest browser. The one I used was terrible. It was highly inefficient and was made worse by corporate policies which often refused to load sites claiming that they were too large. It was extremely frustrating and the web experience was questionable at best. The Pre’s browser could not be more different. It is a fully functioning mobile browser that mimics the experience of a desktop, and I have yet to find a site that the Pre has a major problem with. A massive improvement over the crud that RIM used to pass as a browser.
Continue reading 3 Things I Like and Dislike About the Palm Pre Plus
I have lamented in the past about RIM’s Blackberry OS and how serious changes are needed to compete effectively with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The latest iteration, Blackberry 6.0 is improved, but I questioned whether it is enough to compete. Recently, rumors have surfaced of a new iPad-like device from RIM called the BlackPad which brings the OS question back to the forefront.
The first assumption by most experts is that the BlackPad would be powered by RIM’s Blackberry 6.0 similar to how Apple leveraged iOS for the iPad. This made sense from a time to market and ease of implementation perspective, and is the only choice if RIM is committed to Blackberry OS over the long-term. However, the latest rumor is that the BlackPad will be based on an OS created by QNX Software. (RIM acquired QNX back in April.) If true, this is a major shift for RIM and potentially represents the long awaited OS rewrite. If RIM does release the BlackPad with QNX technology then I believe that the smartphones must follow.
Continue reading Has RIM secretly re-written their OS?