The day has arrived when I get to swap out my Blackberry 9930 for an iPhone 5. I had given up using the Blackberry as anything but a text/phone device because getting on the Internet was tricky at best. The 9930 is a device conceived by a committee of people who don’t understand how people use technology. I used my iPod Touch as a daily communicator and Internet surfer over the BB 9930. Fact is I had high hopes over its beautiful screen and okay keyboard but these could not overwhelm sheer misery in the browser, email (yes email) and paucity of apps to get things done. Goodbye.
This is an excuse given by anti-Apple types who like to say their device is “for business.” It means their way of doing things is for adults. It’s meant to justify complexity and difficulty and excuse monumental blandness.
It originates from the time the first Macintoshes came out with windows and mouse interface, and IBM was DOS only. The idea promulgated at that time was that the command line based computers with their arcane keyboard functions were for the adults, “for business,” while the easier to learn and master Macs were for non-adults, ie the kids. This basic lie has been perpetuated despite the fact that just about every user-interface and design innovation by Apple has been co-opted by the “business” computing industry, starting with Windows 3.1.
That is why I roll my eyes when RIM says their new Playbook tablet is “ready for business,” when many businesses are in the process of adopting iPhones and iPads. When I speak to the medical device sales people, all of them have been begging their IT departments, usually full of people whose lives are invested in this business vs kids divide. Most IT shops are still fixed on managing Windows XP -I suspect because of the costs of upgrading to Windows 7, but also job security involved with managing the bazillion issues surrounding these “business machines.”
I think there should be no such divide. Computers are so weaved into our lives that the devices should easily glide between work and play, like a mullet -business in the front, party in the back.
Addendum: Deutsche Bank shifted its corporate phone from Blackberry to iPhone (link)
Research in Motion’s announcement of a seven inch screen tablet called Playbook caused a minor ruckus yesterday but it was a non-announcement that assures iPad dominance through the Christmas season. The tablet is touted as a dual core tablet that runs a multitasking Unix variant called QNx that is used in embedded systems like satellites and medical equipment. It will run Flash. It has a Wifi radio which may be tethered to a Blackberry or not. An App store? Of course.
The problem starts here: it won’t be available until the first quarter of 2011, missing Christmas. Also, no one was allowed to touch one of these devices. This makes it vaporware like every other would be iPad killer.
What it won’t have is battery life. It is about 30% smaller than an iPad and slightly thinner leaving less space for a battery. Add dual core processing and you hit the battery harder than a single core. Add a gig of RAM and multiprocessing which will be left up to the user and you get fifty, maybe one hundred different processes burning up processing time and the user will never know it unless they police it themselves. Add Flash and fuhgeddaboudit. You are looking at three maybe four hours of battery life tops with normal use.
It will also run hot. My Droid 2 which happily multitasks willy nilly used to get second degree burn hot before I figured out how to shut down Motoblur. With two processors and no fan, this may get hot enough to ignite the Lithium in the battery – a dangerous situation if you have it packed in the luggage between sweaters and it turns itself on.
It’s not easy to make an iPad. Apple had nearly four years of beta testing tablets with iPhone and iPod Touch. Adding features is done to preserve user experience which in a portable device is defined by screen, user interface, speed, and battery life. Expect Playbook to be a fail if they get anything less than a netbook’s battery life which on my Dell hackintosh runs 5 hours with the extended battery.