Posts Tagged ‘mobile phone’

Initial Impressions–Samsung Galaxy S3.. or why I left Blackberry

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

I have recently bitten the bullet and decided to move on from my much loved Blackberry Bold 9900.  I have used Blackberries for quite some time and they were the best phones I’ve ever had.  I loved the way they were programmed and the way that their key functions such as diary, contacts and email integrated.  It also was the best telephone I’d had; it always pulled a strong, clear signal.  In addition, the camera met my needs and I had a few useful ‘extras’ such as GPS on the phone.  However, chinks have undoubtedly appeared in RIM’s previously untarnished armour and their system has fallen over twice and caused a huge wave of frustration amongst its loyal fan base.  There is no doubt that their hardware & software is behind the game, with Apple and Android setting the pace now.  One of my main problems was using the net with a screen less than half the size of even an old smartphone and nearer a quarter the size of the latest models.  RIM have invested heavily in a total rewrite of its operating system, and Blackberry10, which is currently being previewed by developers, seems to have a lot to offer.  Also their new hardware looks very promising.  However this is not due to be released till next spring, and it seems unlikely that it will be available before then, and the chances are that it may take longer for it to reach the UK.  RIM have gone from being the golden child, to the runt of the litter, with a market share of little more than 10% in record time.

I have read nothing but good things about the iPhone 5, and it did tempt me.  I have an iPad, using iOS 6, so I have some idea of how to use that and what it offers.  My daughters have recently also ‘jumped ship’ and bought iPhone 4s, and are pretty happy with them.  However, I do like my tools / gadgets to be organised to reflect how I want to use them, rather than expecting me to change what I do to conform with them.  Also Apple is always the most expensive option. So I decided that I would try Android, which offers a lot of flexibility in how you configure and use it, even if it required more work on the my part.  The Samsung Galaxy S3 seemed to be the new Top Gun.  I did consider the HTC one X, which is also very good , but felt that the sheer market share the S3 has would make it easier to find resources/support for it, and also there are issues with the HTC’s battery life.  You can swap batteries on both the Android phones, but you are stuffed if your iPhone runs out of juice when you are out and about.  I wondered about waiting for Windows 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920, but it isn’t out till the end of the month and as a totally new system it seemed likely to have teething issues that iOS and Android have largely sorted.

So I took the plunge and dived into a totally alien operating system.  The phone is big, but certainly not too big for me.  The biggest difference is the screen, which dominates the whole thing (though at the loss of my beloved BB keyboard!)  I had already migrated my diary and contacts to Gmail so there was no work in getting them onto my phone, I simply signed into that account and they were magically there.  I could simply move all my music and pictures over by inserting my micro SD card from my BB, giving me 32gb of memory for the princely sum of only £10, something else that you can’t do on the iPhone.

Android offers so many things you can configure straight from the box, it takes as while to understand them and work out what they do, let alone which I should choose.  Much is made, when a new phone is released, of the gimmicky things like voice control, gestures and things like NFC.  I don’t feel in the real world they are going to be of much use to me.  It is interesting to see how well I can dictate to my phone, but ,by and large, I want to type my input.  Some of the gestures are helpful, but I frankly can’t remember them all!  It is like the short codes in Windows; I regularly used 2 or 3 like Control B for bold, and couldn’t remember the rest.  NFC may be very useful one day, but I had it for a year on the BB and never used it.

I spent a fair time trawling through articles, forums and YouTube for hints and tips on how to set this up and which of the 500,000+ apps are useful.  I like the fact that if the Samsung calendar doesn’t do everything I want I can find one that does.  After a week, I have a pretty well sorted and organised phone.  In it’s native form it misses useful tricks that are standard on BB and Nokia such as profiles, but you can find apps for that too. 

I was concerned that the signal strength and call clarity might not be all that I am used to, and in truth, I’m not certain that they are as good as the BB.  They do seem good enough though.

I came to the conclusion that there is no perfect phone.  Whatever I chose is a compromise and every one will have strengths and weaknesses.  I just have to find the best package for me in this renewal cycle, and I did want to get much more hands on with the whole new smartphone & app thing.  It is certainly changing the way we work and what we can do.  The S3 isn’t an object of envy like the iPhone, but it is a very good phone, which allows you to do most anything you could want at a pretty reasonable cost.

Corporate Change & Strategy and the Blackberry Bold 9780

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

This is one of an occasional series of blogs that look at my latest techie toys.  More than 2 years ago I bought the original Blackberry Bold 9000 and it is was widely regarded as the best ever Blackberry, and was certainly the best phone I ever owned.  It was a big step forward and like many trend-setting devices, RIM found this difficult to follow up and as a result I have not upgraded despite the seductive charms of the iPhone and android offerings.  All the subsequent new phones from RIM were minor changes and, in my mind (and that of many aficionados) none represented a significant improvement.

What I wanted was, first and foremost, a very good phone (so iPhones antenna problems were a serious issue for me) a first class communications device and then a means of accessing the web on the move.  I waited a long time for the new Blackberry slider (called the Torch) as it seemed to offer a wonderful package, a much bigger sliding, touch screen and a real keyboard.  When I looked at it I was put off by the shape of the keyboard which wasn’t as user friendly as the the traditional blackberries and the sliding arrangement felt a little unbalanced to me and the new operating system (version 6) seemed very odd.  I freely admit that I might have got used to it if I had plumped for that. 

Yesterday I opted to try the 9780, the 3rd Bold.  They have made it smaller and, at present, I feel that I wish they hadn’t!  It is very handy but I never found the old one too big and the smaller size is affecting my typing speed  but I suspect I’ll adjust.  However, many original Bold fans think they should have kept the form factor the same.  The screen is very bright and clear.  This version is an upgrade of the 9700 and doubles the memory, upgrades the camera to 5 mg (mine was 2mg and the 9700 3.2).  They have upgraded the video to 640×480.  One of the most important changes is this operates on version 6 firmware and they have streamlined the user interface and much improved the web performance.  2 years ago I was thrilled just to be able to access the web on the move.  Now expectations have moved on and Apple & Android deliver almost home speed mobile net access and that is what we need/want. 

The call quality is good and the reception excellent as ever.  When you live in the depths of Surrey you need every half bar of reception you can get and this phone will pull a signal where others can’t.  Another thing that RIM do supremely well is the neatness of their programing; I was able to swap all my data, software and settings from my old phone directly to the new one.  It took half an hour and worked flawlessly.  If only swapping computers was this easy!

It is interesting to observe that at a time when everyone who is anyone has an iPhone, the Blackberry seems to be considered strangely cool and the phone youngsters are all switching to (everyone in my family has one, and so have many of their friends).  They are also cheaper to buy and and run than the iPhone. 

RIM are doing some very interesting things now, and we will see their playbook (their tablet rival to the iPad) coming out in the next month or so; it will use an entirely new operating system QNX, which will ultimately be the basis of their next generation of phones.  They can’t compete with Apple and Android in the high specs or apps arenas but are still doing well financially.  They have been quite clever in in not blindly following the higher and higher spec route as this is one reason why the battery life of their rivals phones are so poor.  They aren’t focusing on just being able to move huge amounts of data but on processing it efficiently in order to reduce the packet size.  It is an interesting to watch 3 such successful companies competing with such radically different strategies.  Apple focusing on design and user experience, but high price and closed systems, Google on open access and a more geeky platform, and RIM who traditionally have focused on the corporate market and security and efficiency, now realising the importance of the consumer.  It is an interesting exercise in Change and corporate strategy.

O2 & Vodafone to co-operate

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

In an, at first unlikely, deal Britain’s two largest mobile phone companies have agreed to co-operate under a network pooling deal.  This will allow them to merge their infrastructure and co-build new sites, thus reducing costs to their customers.

Whilst the two brands and networks will be independently managed this will enable them to improve services and potentially reduce costs.  It is exactly this kind of reframing that we need in today’s market place.  They are able to compete on tariffs, service levels, customer service and branding.  As customers we don’t care about the underlying hardware as long as it works well!

Changing the terms on which we compete is one of the recipes for succeeding going forward.

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.”    Bertrand Russell


Nokia E71

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I tried one of the latest and best of Nokia’s new crop of phones today.  I haven’t had a Nokia for about 5 years now and whilst I have always had a high regard for them, they just haven’t been the right phone for me.

The E71 is a very tempting package, slim, light weight, metal case, very pretty and packed with all sorts of goodies.  It has a built in GPS, a proper QWERTY keyboard, long battery life, push email and should be a great phone for many business folks.  There are loads of very detailed and very good reviews out there, so I won’t go through it all feature by feature.

I really wanted to to love it for so many reasons, but it’s one little flaw was a total deal breaker.  It doesn’t hold the RF signal well enough, which means that here on the edge of the reception zone, it is all but unusable, except as an executive paper weight.  I think that it is odd that the one key function of a phone, the ability to make and receive calls, seems to be ranked so low down the list of ‘features’.

Nice phone , but no cigar.