Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Handsets: Usability at a glance

This article mentions that most people would prefer to use a smartphone rather than 3 separate devices. I would tend to say that it depends on the functionality.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a desktop computer (Windows..sadly) is, the hung screen, which regretfully, will slowly creep into smartphones as the memory gets bigger... the processor faster...and the applications more power hungry. Would most people want to sacrifice the present mobile phone stability for more bells and whistles. For the vast majority, I think No! For the “Flaunt it”s,Yes!…Till they shift to the next phone.

I don’t believe most individuals are willing to compromise on the experience. It would just be that, if stranded in a place with no other option, that you would ,no doubt, turn to your smartphone.

Cameras
Look at the options: A standard digital camera today starts at 3.2Megapixel compared to the greatly touted 1.2Megapixel cameraphones. But the difference is not at the resolution, it never was. A digital camera provides more than a "I was there" or "I saw this"experience. It has different modes for you to share the experience, in a way only a digital camera can, with changing shutter speeds, flash, scene. Socially, I would much rather prefer pointing a digital camera at a person, rather than a camera phone.

Internet browsing
It feels great to say... I've got internet on my phone, But what have you? A small screen with slow speeds, lets face it... most people would never advance further than checking scores and movie timings on their phones. When u have Wi-Fi around most corners, a PDA is far more suitable. People talk of PDAs going out of fashion, but that’s only because the idea of a touchscreen only device is still far too cumbersome for most folks. Give me a touchscreen the size of my palm, with a QWERTY keyboard and Wi-Fi.... and its bye-bye EDGE for me.
If you ask me... most smartphones won't advance beyond the email stage. Video-conferencing sounds great, but feasible more for business purposes, as long as the price is
right. I don't see people using video conferencing for personal calls unless they are well dressed ;-)

Email/MMS
Woah... this is where smartphones come in... but they gotta have:

A QWERTY keyboard: to reduce finger cramps.

A Large screen: Big enough to read emails

Good form factor: Small enough to fit in the pocket.

Games
I would not use a game too much if I thought that meant I would lose a few calls! That for me is the difference between a desktop and a mobile device... the desktop PC doesn't require battery conservation, a mobile device does!
About using games over GPRS, I guess not. It would not make sense to me to use the same line which I would expect calls from. I would prefer Wi-fi or bluetooth, because long distance gaming for me, would only work with an internet game. Wi-fi or bluetooth gaming, would also mean that I get a chance to gloat my winnings directly in front of the loser ; ).

Music
Again, I wouldn't mind listening to music, as long as I am sure it won't affect my battery life. Give me an MP3 player anyday.
The basic problem which I see with a common device combining the features of 3 devices (say a phone, computer, game and media player) is the form factor. The form factor needed for a media player or PDA, would be very different from that required for a phone.
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