Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Motorola Q - tipping point for smart devices?

Motorola has recently released its Q device, which some have dubbed the RAZRBerry. That might be a catchy name and it tends to summarise what the device is seemingly all about, which is email, but its proper name - "Q" - more aptly catches the mood: minimalism, sleek, stylish. Unlike the stuffy Blackberry, which until the 8700g has been a great email device, but incredibly boring otherwise, the Q has style. It is, like the RAZR, a very slim device. It is nice to hold and looks like something you want to own and touch - and I mean touch, or carry, as opposed to many PDAs that you really want to bury away in some carry bag or leather pouch.

I have long argued that bigger-display devices with keyboards are the future, for two reasons. One is that it's simply just too damn difficult to engage with useful mobile services on a tiny device. The second reason is that the upcoming generation of portable games players are used to Nintendo DS, Sony PSP devices and iPods. What's been missing is iconic design. Perhaps the Q is going to be tipping point for mass uptake of smart devices, which could lead to greater demand for mobile services once users get a taste for what's possible on a smart device versus a tiny phone. Certainly the web browsing experience has improved significantly on these devices and is approaching a comfortable experience. For sure, a larger screen and a keyboard make a huge difference, one that users simply can't appreciate until it's in their hands. The missing element is the UI design and the feature set, which with Windows might be a familiar one, but possibly a bit too "enterprise" and lacking consumer appeal. Now, if Apple were to bring out a device (along with widgets from their dashboard UI), then that might be the avalanche point.

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