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.
Leaving The View
Wed, Jun 19th 2013 8:19p John Wargo Back in 2010, The View (www.eview.com) magazine approached me and asked me if I was interested in becoming a technical advisor to the publication. Being a long-time IBM Lotus Domino developer (a really, really long time) and a speaker at several View Domino Developer conferences, I of course said yes. We spent some time discussing what they needed from me and we decided that a series of articles on mobile development for Domino would be a great fit for my area of expertise. I was onboard.
I spe [read] Keywords: domino
You can always tell...
Wed, Jun 19th 2013 4:17p John Wargo You can always tell when I'm busy with something by how long it's been since I've updated the blog. I've got this big list of articles to write, but just can't seem to get to them.
At work, I've joined the Product Management Team for the SAP Mobile Platform, so that's keeping me very busy. I can't talk about what I'm working on yet, but I'll do some writing about it soon.
I learned recently that my PhoneGap Essentials book is the leading book on the topic (as far as sales numbers ind [read] Keywords: mobile
Fri, May 24th 2013 12:17p John Wargo Just got a weird inquiry from my BlackBerry Development Fundamentals web site. I'm sure it's spammers, but I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish. Either I'm completely missing the point of this or whoever is trying to spam me knows nothing about the English language. Links removed for protection:
"engender links to a empire pinpoint Representing exemplar, you a on fidelity in return looking for to do as a pleasing unskilful verse advidoriecrb Note the spelling of purchased allotm [read] Keywords: blackberry
BlackBerry Facebook Application Broken
Tue, May 14th 2013 6:14a John Wargo Something’s up with the latest version of the Facebook app for BlackBerry. Parts of the UI simply don’t work and I don’t know how to let BlackBerry know about it. Apps like TeleNav Navigator have a feedback function which allows you to let them know when something doesn’t work or if you have suggestions for the application. All of the different mobile OS are adding APIs for Twitter, Facebook and so on, why not add a feedback API that allows an app to send customer comments/feedback to th [read] Keywords: application
What Were They Thinking #13 – VZ Navigator
Tue, Apr 30th 2013 10:22a John Wargo While I worked at AT&T, I became a big fan of the TeleNav Navigator application which later became AT&T Navigator. The interface was intuitive and it worked pretty well. When I joined SAP, they gave me a Verizon BlackBerry 9900 and I lost access to the navigation solution I was accustomed to using. On Verizon, they have their own navigation solution called VZ Navigator; here’s what it looks like:
I was using it recently to navigate somewhere and noticed something about th [read] Keywords: application
The Solution to My Domino Server Configuration Problem
Thu, Apr 18th 2013 7:21p John Wargo Thanks to all of you who helped out last week as I struggled to get my IBM Lotus Domino server to accept HTTP PUT and DELETE requests. I posted two articles about my issues, you can access them here:
Domino Server 405 Error
Update on My Domino Server Problems
Essentially, I was building a sample Sencha Touch application for an article series I’m writing for The View (www.eview.com) and the Sencha Touch proxy by default uses different HTTP request types for each of the CRUD operations. T [read] Keywords: domino
Mon, Apr 15th 2013 7:21p John Wargo My publisher told me about a cross-platform mobile framework today called Calatrava (http://calatrava.github.io/). I still need to do some reading about what it really is, but something in the announcement caught my eye:
"Mobile is the oncoming train of the future of computing. For more and more users their mobile device is becoming their first way to reach everything on the Internet. You need to be on-board with this. But there are three platforms to support: iOS, Android and Mobile Web."
I [read] Keywords: mobile
Update on My Domino Server Problems
Sun, Apr 14th 2013 11:18a John Wargo Thanks to all of you who helped out last week trying to help me fix my Domino configuration problem. Tom Verleysen and Michael Dudding suggested creating an Internet Sites document which I thought made sense based upon what I’d read on the Internet but wasn’t sure exactly how to implement it. I followed the instructions I was given (I think) and setup the following:
I updated the server document so it uses internet sites documents:
I now have an Internet Sites document with th [read] Keywords: agent
Domino Server 405 Error
Wed, Apr 10th 2013 7:13a John Wargo I’m trying to wrap up an article series for The View (www.eview.com) on developing Sencha Touch applications for IBM Lotus Domino and ran into a problem that I can’t seem to find a solution for – can you help me out? Please?
I’ve created a simple competitive information database in Notes and exposed it to mobile devices using several methods. I first built a Rhodes application (www.rhomobile.com) that synchronized data with the Domino server and wrote a series of articles about it. You [read] Keywords: domino
PhoneGap Essentials Korean Translation
Mon, Mar 25th 2013 5:14p John Wargo Last week I received a copy of my PhoneGap Essentials which had been translated into Korean (at least I think it’s the Korean translation, I can’t actually be sure – as I don’t read Korean). Here is the book, perhaps you can read it:
Anyway, apparently the book has been licensed for translation into Korean and Traditional Chinese. The Chinese version of the book was supposed to have been published months ago, but I don’t know what happened to it. I’ll receive a copy as s [read] Keywords: