I was standing in the queue at the bank a few days ago when the Blackberry Tour beeped to signify that I had mail. I whipped it out and with one hand (the left), I whizzed through different menus, checking mails, and surfing webpages while on that line. All with one hand. It felt good to be able to do that again after a long time.
It was such a pleasant and convenient thing, as I recalled that had it been the N900 I had on at that time, I would have had to put my chequebook under my arm so I could free my two hands for navigating the menu of the device.
Ease of Use
Simply put: the simplicity and one-handed use that the BlackBerry provides scores a very strong point in its favour. It is so refreshing.
I had written about this imonths back in an article, Usability and Non-touchscreen Phones, and it was a contributing factor to why the QWERTY candybar Samsung B7320 beat “more capable” devices to clinch for itself the spot of my Smartphone of the Year 2009.
A trackball, trackpad or D-pad beats touch for one-handed ease of use anyday.
The marathon battery life is also amazing. Of course, both the one-handed simplicity mentioned above and this astounding battery life are attributable (perhaps in part, but significantly) to the smaller size and non-touch nature of the display.
A touchscreen display would require more processing power and consequently less battery life. A larger display would require same.
Of course, I would prefer a slightly larger display to what obtains on the Tour, though I am not sure how that will be implemented on a QWERTY candybar. With a landscape display of 2.8 inches, the Motorola CHARM looks like the kind of device that’s right up my alley. It doesn’t have a trackball, trackpad or D-pad, which is essential for one-handed use. Still, hopefully, more of such devices will be available by April next year when I go smartphone shopping again.
Having used the Tour for a week, I am left wishing for the ease of one-handed usage and the kind of battery life that it has. Actually, if I get half the Tour’s battery performance on my N900, I would be in heaven. But the one-handed usage would still not be in sight.
I have been waiting for Android-powered QWERTY candybar devices, and a few seem to be on the horizon. Perhaps then, I would have my wishes come true. Or at least in part.