Friday, February 25, 2011

SmartPhone Bliss: A Little Slice of Social Technology Heaven!

Over the past couple of TV Seasons I have become infatuated with an ABC series called “V.” While I sincerely doubt this program will ever win any awards, (who cares) it has, for some reason caught my unwavering interest.  Probably because the plot is a little twisted. (as I am)

One of the central characters in the show is the charismatic, yet manipulative alien leader “Anna” portrayed by the lovely Morena Baccarin.  Anna’s ability to maintain loyalty and control over her subjects is enabled by use of a telepathic pacification process known as the “Bliss”.

For the past year, or so, I have been pretty cranky, as it relates to my ongoing experience as a smartphone user.  For context my cell phone service provider is Sprint.  ( I have no beef with them)  When I renewed my Sprint agreement, nearly two years ago, my device of choice was a Blackberry Curve 8330.  While it seemed like a wise choice, at the time, it was clearly a mistake.  The simple truth is this phone is pretty dysfunctional, and unreliable, for any task other than email, calendar management, or of course phone calls.

Any social media application I have added to my ‘Crackberry’ has eventually had major problems.  I have sat at conferences, in total frustration, as my colleagues and business associates have all run circles around me with their Iphones and Android devices.

A Little Slice of Social Technology Heaven!

Obviously, at some point I could have opted out, and replaced that “dumb” phone with one that has some real functionality.  (at a hefty price tag)  Stubbornly, I refused, thinking I could survive till my contract ran its course, (July 2011) and save a few pennies along the way.    Finally, this week I said to myself, “enough is enough.”

Yesterday (2/24/2011) I truly entered the smartphone age.  I am now the proud owner of an HTC EVO 4G Android Phone.  Appropriately, I have nicknamed my cellphone “Anna,” as I have now found my smartphone “bliss.”

Wow… talk about a shocking transition!    My user experience with my new Android mobile device is like night and day, compared to that crusty ole Blackberry.

For clarity, I am not a Blackberry hater.  Early on, Blackberry (RIM) was the undisputed leader in the mobile device business.  Unfortunately their mobile phone technology has not kept up with the times, and companies like Apple and Google have, at least for now, passed them by.

Here are some interesting 2010 Market Share Statistics I found, courtesy of Jacqui Cheng, who, ironically, is Senior Editor for Apple.

My decision to purchase an Android phone was not driven by a preference of that technology, over Apple’s IPhone.  I debated the issue of which product to select for some time.  My choice was more driven by my need to maintain, an account with Sprint, which unfortunately is not presently able to offer an Apple option.  In my mind either product (Apple or Android) is a winner.  The clear loser is Blackberry.

Early Opinions of the EVO 4G Smartphone

While it is way too early, since I just purchased my Android Phone yesterday, for me to truly provide a fully experienced opinion, I will offer this early feedback, to any Blackberry user contemplating a change in devices:

  • Social Media Convenience — My Android smartphone allows me to conveniently utilize social technology applications, such as Twitter, Facebook, or FourSquare on a mobile device, with a relatively challenge-free user experience.  Installation of applications is painless and intuitive.  And… the apps actually work (yay!)
  • Screen & Keyboard — The significantly larger screen, with the added diversity of a portrait or landscape view, makes both the viewing and data entry process easier, especially for us guys with big fingers.
  • Computer-like Experience — The Android operating system has the feel of a miniature computer, which makes me happy.  I love the PDF viewer, as I can upload business documents onto the EVO, and view them right there, which is both a convenient and compact feature.
  • Email — Viewing and managing email is a dream come true.  Whereas with the Blackberry, I was not able to load my personal email accounts easily, due to the use of the enterprise system, that whole process, on the android device, was easy to setup and operates seamlessly.
  • Lightning Fast Speed — I tested out the 4G speed and it is unbelievably fast.  Time will tell how broad and strong the coverage is, but I am encouraged by what I experienced thus far.
  • Multimedia — With the 4G speed I can’t wait to play with all these wonderful features!

As with any technology, I am sure I will find pain points, along the way, with the Android phone.  It’s kind of like a relationship … you take the good and the bad when you sign up for the program.  I do think I made a good choice with the EVO 4G.  I believe “Anna” and I are going to be really good friends.  Right now it is truly a honeymoon!

Question:  If you are, or have been a Blackberry user, and switched over to another device, such as an Android, or Iphone, how would you characterize the experience?  What advice would you offer?  Please share with us!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam Smith February 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

Hi Mike – Have fun with your new phone! I have an iphone and am disappointed with the “phone” portion. It drops a lot of calls.

Your chart is very interesting. I am surprised to see how much traction google has in the market already. I knew it was a lot – but hadn’t seen any numbers. I think that should be a clear sign to mobile application developers.

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP February 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hi Sam,

So your Iphone is struggling with phone calls. Is that the service provider or is it a phone issue? Just curious.

I was pretty amazed at the traction Google has gained with the Android platform as well. I think the gap will narrow between Google and Apple, with the rollout of Verizon being a partner with Apple.

It will be fun to see who actually wins the war??

Alas, I wonder if RIM will ever wake up and realize their products are obsolete.

Thanks for contributing Sam,

Mike

Reply

Brandt Krueger February 25, 2011 at 8:57 am

Way to go! I have not regretted leaving BlackBerry one day since I moved to The Droid X. “Unfortunately their mobile phone technology has not kept up with the times, and companies like Apple and Google have, at least for now, passed them by.” That was my experience exactly. I was first in line to buy the touchscreen Storm, and initially loved it. Slowly though, apps began to break, and were not being updated by the developers. The only apps that seemed to be updated were the GOOGLE apps. I’m jealous of your 4G speed!

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP February 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hi Brandt,

You and I are on the same page brutha! The 4G speed is amazing.

I am spending quite a bit of quality time with “Anna.” She has some amazing features :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Mike

Reply

Traci Browne February 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

Very interesting chart Mike, I’ll be trading in my iPhone for a Droid when my contract is up as well…and possibly switching away from AT&T. I find myself very jealous of my Droid friends.

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP February 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi Traci,

So I’m curious … why would you dump the Iphone? What negative experiences are you having with it. Or, is it the service with AT&T? I would love to hear your insight.

I will keep everyone posted of my adventures with “Anna” and thanks for contributing to the conversation.

Mike

Reply

Dave Lutz February 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

Glad to see you make the leap Mike! My EVO Shift is a huge upgrade from the Samsung Moment I got from Sprint last year.

I need to think of a name for my phone. Maybe next time we see each other Anna and ???? can do the bump!

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP February 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

Hey Dave, Happy Friday!

Look forward to hearing about the name you have selected for your phone.

It will make for some interesting conversations. I am trying to think of some interesting wallpaper that “Anna” would like :)

Thanks for adding to the chat dude and see ya soon I hope.

Mike

Reply

Kaye Swain March 30, 2011 at 10:57 am

Very interesting article! I had the Blackberry for about 8 months. While it had a lot going for it, it had one drawback that drove me NUTS! I kept it in my pants pocket and several times wound up calling 911 accidentally! Research proved that I was NOT the exception. I learned I had to remember to press two different buttons to prevent that and as busy as I stay, that didn’t always happen.

A good friend kept pushing the iPhone at me but, as much as I love Macs, I didn’t think I could handle the keyboard. After about the sixth 911 call and profuse apology to the operator, I finally broke down and borrowed my friend’s iPhone for a couple of months til my contract would be up for renewal. I NEVER looked back.

It is the best cell phone I’ve ever had! Perfect for a busy member of the Sandwich Generation, juggling the issues of caring for elderly parents, babysitting grandchildren, and keeping up with busy writing schedules! It has, quite literally, become my brain as well as my mini computer. From what I’ve heard, the Android fills that bill as well. The iPhone is probably not one of the best phones for our elderly parents as it does so much and they prefer a simpler and easier option. But for me, I will never look back!

And I have NEVER called 911 by accident with it!

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP March 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm

hi Kaye,

Thanks so much for sharing your BlackBerry story with us. Mull so glad to hear that you have had such a terrific experience with your iPhone. It sounds like you and I have both benefited in similar ways with our transition to the iPhone/android world.

Thanks for adding to the conversation and hope to see out there in cyberspace.

Mike

Reply

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