When I first joined AT&T, my boss challenged me to see how long it would take before I switched full time to the Apple iPhone. Once I got settled, I put aside my BlackBerry device and tried to make the switch. My plan was to see if I could use it for two weeks solid; I made it 10 days before I had to switch back to my BlackBerry.
It’s not that I’m a BlackBerry bigot, I love technology and playing with different devices. I promise you that if I could find devices that worked the way I needed to work, I’d be happy to switch around between different ones. The problem is that BlackBerry has been optimized for the things I do the most, regular everyday email. Every other platform I’ve used tries, but comes up short in so many ways.
Having worked for Research in Motion, I’m a heavy email guy. Because of the instantaneous nature of BlackBerry email, everyone at Research in Motion uses email heavily, even to the point where email was an easier way to reach a colleague than making a phone call. You knew that no matter what the person was doing, especially being on the phone, that they’d be checking their email regularly. Interestingly as these other device platforms (iPhone, Android, Palm and others) try to tackle the enterprise, it’s just not possible for them to accommodate the business email user.
What I’ve noticed with these different platforms is that they’re not designed to deal with a user who has a large inbox. On the BlackBerry for example, I can highlight a date, click the menu button and very quickly remove any messages from the device older than the selected date. It doesn’t remove them from your mailbox, just removes them from the device. On the iPhone and Android devices, when you want to clean up your inbox, you have to click each email individually to delete them – that’s ridiculous.
If you’re a heavy email user like I am, you probably have hundreds if not thousands of folders in your inbox. When I get an email, I deal with it, delete it if I think I won’t need it anymore and file it if I think I will need it again. On the BlackBerry, I merely press the ‘I’ key on the keyboard and the list of folders appears. If I’d filed a previous message on the same thread, the BlackBerry will automatically highlight the last folder used for messages on that thread. When I select a folder and press the Enter key it’s filed. The whole process takes very little time. Pretty cool.
With other device platforms, you have the ability to file messages, but when you activate that function, the complete list of folders displays. There’s no keyboard entry, you have to swipe through every single page of your folder list to get to the one you want. It’s ridiculous. I have hundreds of folders in my inbox, why make me swipe through page after page of folder names to get to the one I want to file my message in? It makes absolutely no sense to me. This is what I mean when I say that most platforms aren’t setup for enterprise email users.
Now, you might be saying to yourself “Well, the BlackBerry works that way because it has a keyboard – that’s an easier thing to do with a keyboard.” Unfortunately that’s not the case. Even on a touch screen device, Research in Motion provides you with the means to bring up a keyboard and start typing the name of the folder you want to file your message in. It’s an extra click, but it still allows me to file the message pretty quickly. On iOS and Android, the user is not provided with any means to use the keyboard for folder selection. Apple and Google have decided for you that you’re not allowed to use the on-screen keyboard when filing messages. Makes no sense to me.
Why not provide the option to use the keyboard? Default to using your finger to swipe through the folder list, but for people like me who have hundreds of folders, let me select the folder I want to use via the keyboard. These devices are supposed to be so cool and so hot, but something as simple as filing email messages is broken. Like I said at the beginning of this article, these mobile platforms are not designed for the enterprise mail user.
Anyway, on to the Big Mobile Experiment… Today I moved my SIM from my BlackBerry Torch 9800 into a Windows Phone 7 device.
I was playing last week with the HTC Surround and this week I’m poking around in the LG Quantum. The Surround was pretty cool – I didn’t need the extra weight and thickness provided by the surround speakers, but it was a functional device. I thought I’d like the Quantum because it had a keyboard, but I found that on Windows Phone devices a keyboard is actually a detriment to the end user. I’ve found repeatedly that the UI for many aspects of the phone doesn’t rotate to the keyboard orientation when you slide out the keyboard. If the UI doesn’t switch for keyboard input when you expose the keyboard, what’s the point of having the keyboard?
Anyway, I’m going to use the Quantum as my primary device this week and see how I like it. So far, Windows Phone 7 is better than I expected it to be. I think it has a real chance in the market.
Next week I’m going to switch to either the Motorola Bravo or the Motorola Flipside. Those are both Android 2.1 devices, so I’m going to give each a week as my primary device.
Following that I should be receiving the Motorola Atrix (which I’m really excited about using) and the HTC Inspire (which is AT&T’s First 4G [marketing 4G, not technology 4G, we’re already there with HSPA+] device). Stay tuned for how it all works out for me.
When to Check for Updates
Mon, Aug 11th 2014 7:12a John Wargo I’ve been trying to build a sample application using Ionic, an HTML5 framework specifically designed for hybrid applications. I read the instructions, downloaded the code and initiated the command to create a new project.
What happened? Failure.
I posted my issue on their forum only to be told that my Cordova development environment must be old. I explained that it was all up to date and working perfectly for every other Cordova development I’ve ever done and what I got for my trouble was [read] Keywords: application
CEF & Monty Python
Mon, Aug 4th 2014 8:16a John Wargo Note: The original title for this post was supposed to be ‘How is the Chromium Embedded Framework Documentation like a Sketch from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life?’ but the title was just too long.
I was getting some exercise yesterday and came up with an idea for an app I wanted to write. The app needed to work for Windows as well as Macintosh, so I started thinking about how I’d do it. I’m a big Delphi developer, and the recent Delphi tools support Windows & Macintosh, but I imag [read] Keywords: application
Free Introduction to Apache Cordova
Thu, Jul 31st 2014 5:15p John Wargo Whenever I publish a book with my publisher, they always pick one chapter and post it online for anyone to read. Picking the right chapter has always been a challenge for me because I want them to publish a chapter that’s interesting enough to make you want to buy the book while at the same time not being so good that you get everything you need and don’t buy the book.
Get it? Please buy my books. I write them because I like to write and think I have a special skill when it comes to describ [read] Keywords: development
Apache Cordova API Cookbook Print Copies
Sun, Jul 13th 2014 7:12a John Wargo Print copies of Apache Cordova API Cookbook arrived on Friday; my expectation is that they will be available for shipment from Amazon.com and other retailers by the end of next week.
This book, along with my Apache Cordova 3 Programming, provide 600 pages of coverage for Apache Cordova. These two books give mobile developers everything they need to be able to write cross-platform mobile applications using Apache Cordova or Adobe PhoneGap. [read] Keywords: applications
Apache Cordova API Cookbook Kindle Edition
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 3:11p John Wargo I was poking around on Amazon yesterday and noticed that the Kindle edition of Apache Cordova API Cookbook was published back in June. You can get your copy immediately using the following link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LB6X2SO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00LB6X2SO&linkCode=as2&tag=mcnsof-20&linkId=AXKNHCPITM4FNLNK. [read] Keywords:
PhoneGap Essentials Sales
Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 7:11a John Wargo I keep hearing from readers who have just started reading my PhoneGap Essentials book. That book was published more than two years ago and PhoneGap has changed dramatically since then. The code in the book should still work - not much has changed on the API side of things. The content covered in the first half of the book however is no longer valid. I rewrote the first half of PhoneGap Essentials last year and released it as Apache Cordova 3 Programming in December. That book takes the first [read] Keywords: development
Mon, Jun 30th 2014 6:10a John Wargo I mentioned this on twitter a while back, but I’m consistently amazed by how much effort is made by hackers to hack into my personal web sites. I’d be really interested in seeing what percentage of internet traffic is taken up by these efforts. I plan on doing some analysis of this, but simply haven’t gotten to it.
Anyway, I had some issues with the CAPTCHA on this site, and my comments plugin provider isn’t responding to any forum posts on the topic so I had to just leave the comments [read] Keywords: bug
First Arduino Project
Sat, Mar 15th 2014 8:11p John Wargo My dad was a tool geek, I’m a gadget geek. All my life I’ve been drawn toward technology. When I was a kid, I was constantly biking to Radio Shack to pick up one of their assemble-it-yourself electronics kits. I build radios, sound generators and anything I could get my hands on. I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer, but my grades weren’t good enough, so I went into Physics and Computers – go figure.
Anyway, my son’s a gadget geek as well. He’s 10, so all he knows is smartphones an [read] Keywords: application
Password Pain Redux
Tue, Feb 11th 2014 7:11a John Wargo In my previous post, I wrote about one of my biggest software pet peeves – registration forms that have specific password requirements that are not communicated to the user until AFTER a password has been entered. This morning I found one that was even worse than the Google Coder one I showed earlier.
I was playing around with the Intel XDK development tools for web applications. After I got it installed, it prompted me to create an account. I filled in all of the fields and went looking for [read] Keywords: applications
Tue, Feb 4th 2014 7:12a John Wargo I recently learned about a cool web development server for the Raspberry Pi. I want to teach my son about computer programming and this seemed like an interesting way to do it. The server is called Google Coder and it’s delivered as a Raspbian image for the Pi. Pretty cool; I’m hoping to learn more about it and write a bit about my findings here.
As I set it up and started playing with it, I was hit by one of my pet peeves. First you fire up the server then connect to it via your desktop br [read] Keywords: desktop