This article was co-authored with Yomi Adegboye. His thoughts are inserted right after Dayo’s. – Admin
In the early days of my adopting the smartphone genre, I used to define a smartphone by how complex it was. For me, if a phone didn’t let you dig into several layers of menu to get to a feature, I simply didn’t consider it a smartphone at all. My thinking then was, “This phone is too simple to qualify to be called a smartphone“.
After using more than 15 smartphones and still counting, my thinking and definition of what a smartphone is has changed considerably. Now, it is not enough for a smartphone to have all the features in the world, it must be able to perform its functions in a very smart way.
Doing things smart begins with the user interface. The user interface must be fluid and it must have a flow to it. What I mean is that there must be consistency in the user interface. A lack of consistency is highly disorienting and takes away from the usability of the phone altogether. Also, the user interface must be well implemented in that it allows different applications to communicate seamlessly.
My Blackberry Experience:
The Blackberry phone may not tick all the boxes when it comes to features, but it is one of the smartest phones I have used. In fact smartness is the name of the game the Blackberry plays, especially those powered by OS 6.0.
Copy, cut and paste is implemented throughout the Blackberry OS and also well integrated into third party apps. Using Yahoo Messenger, for example, I was able to copy a phone number from the messenger app and paste into the phone menu and to make a phone call without having to write out the number first, punch it in, and then place the call. How’s that for usability?
I was sent an email with someone’s Twitter handle. All I had to do was place my cursor on the Twitter handle, click the menu button and there was an option to view the person’s profile. Selecting that option simply launched the Twitter application. I didn’t have to first leave the email window, launch my Twitter app and then type in the Twitter handle to locate the fellow.
Honestly, it has been a joy using a phone that makes it easy for me to get things done. That’s my new definition of what a smartphone is.
I agree that the definition of a smartphone should be defined more by how truly smart that device handles its tasks. It is just not enough that a device has legion of features. The entrance of the iPhone in the mobile market helped redefine the concept of smartphones.
In the last one week, I have had the opportunity of using a Windowsphone 7 device – and I was blown away by how smart this new OS works. While it currently lacks a lot of features that are regarded as standard fare in the smartphone world, the consistency in design, the fluidity of operations, and the tight integration of the different applications in the OS make for a truly compelling experience.
For example, the WP7 device had no PDF reader built in, but when I downloaded a PDF attachment, it simply notified me that a PDF reader is available for download from the Marketplace, with the option to click a download button. It was such a smart, seamless experience.
Being smart should certainly include ease of use and simplicity. Who wants to go through ten steps to execute a task when just three steps would do? Integration is key in today’s smartphone world.
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How smart is your smartphone? Do you find it easy to get around and get things done? Let us know.