As the new generation smartphones running Android, iOS and Windows Phone take over, veteran mobilista, Mister Mo, talks about the uneasy transition.
In the world of smartphones, I have been around for a long, long time. I was using smartphones before the average person ever heard the word. You know, I actually used ancestors to the smartphone – devices like the Ericsson R380s and the Motorola A008 Accompli. I know a few other individuals who have been around for long too. And, just like me, they seem to be finding it difficult to transition from the old order to the new.
By old order, I refer to older platforms like Windows Mobile and Symbian. Of course, phones running platforms like iOS, Android and Windows phone constitute the new generation smartphones.
The Transition To New Generation Smartphones
Why is this transition so difficult for this class of people? In all probability, the reasons vary, but I can present a few – Battery life, hardware QWERTY keyboards, and OS versatility/integration for mission-critical tasks.
I remember the days that my budding web hosting company was run entirely on a Nokia 9500 Communicator (Symbian Series 80 – anyone remember that platform?). Taking orders, processing them, setting up accounts and supporting clients were activities that the bricky 9500 handled without stress. More impressive is the fact that the battery went on and on despite the work abuse that the device was subjected to.
Years later, none of these new kids on the block provide the same functionality without needing a recharge every 3 hours. I get frustrated at the pitiful battery life on these new generation smartphones even when used sparingly. When used intensively, its just a bloody shame.
Let’s not even get started about the touchscreen craze. For serious work, a good, hardware QWERTY keyboard always does a better job. Regardless of how good on-screen keyboards are, with a hardware QWERTY, you type faster, special characters are easier to type, you make less errors and also you do not have to sacrifice half the display when typing (this is important when executing mission-critical tasks). The best-case scenario is a software-assisted hardware keyboard, which we are already seeing as implemented on the Nokia E7.
By mission-critical tasks, I mean those tasks that the average phone reviewer almost never mentions (whether deliberately or simply by omission). We are talking about smartphones and tablets as mini computers, and yet the average smartphone review ignores the nitty-gritty of tasks required by people who want to use their devices for serious work.
Take our recent sour experience with text copy-and-paste on two Android devices as an example. Try attaching a file to an outgoing email on Windowsphone 7, and you are given the option to select only media files from the gallery. Hello!? Where’s USB mass storage mode on iOS and WP7? And where’s USB-on-the-go apart from Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo?
Can someone give us a new OS that is compelling enough to let us simply get our work done? Its almost looking like the whole world only wants to play – swipe, watch video, chat on Facebook, tweet, and play music. Sigh.
Mobility Nigeria contributor, Brym!, is another individual from the old guard. He still tots a Sony Ericsson P1i running Symbian UIQ (why on earth was that platform killed off?) and a Samsung B7610 Omnia Pro (running Windows Mobile6.5). More shocking is the fact that he still finds those devices capable and can’t point out any viable upgrades in the market.
Personally, everytime I drop my Nokia N8 for a device on another platform, it does not take more than a few days before I begin to pine (to yearn deeply; suffer with longing; long painfully) for the N8 again. Dayo knows how many times I say something like, “To blazes with the fancy UI“, pull my SIM out of the offending phone and slot it back into the N8.
The question is, What does the future hold for dinosaurs like Brym, Dayo and I? Will we go extinct with this ice age, or will someone somewhere come up with a mobile platform and devices that are compelling enough for us to switch to without withdrawal symptoms?
Now, I know that I have stirred the hornet’s nest with this piece, but hey, go ahead, have your say. The comment area is all yours.
PS: Does anyone know what Nokia actually meant by Symbian becoming a “franchise OS”? I wouldn’t mind licensing Symbian and creating a new mobile line-up of smartphones tailored to meet the specific needs of mobile dinosaurs after Nokia has completed transition to WP7. Brym, what shall we call the brand?