Sunday, February 22

What I want for my phone and computer...

You know, I read articles like this: Social Networks are the Telco's New Best Friend I keep getting frustrated with the state of phones in the United States when I read:
  • Sony Ericsson releasing a 12M-pixel camera phone
  • Nokia's selection of smart phones you rarely see here in the US
  • LG Electronics new touch phones
What blows my mind is that the phones I see at Sprint (my carrier) are abysmal (I still carry my two-year old treo 755p after I lost my Centro), I still can not migrate to Blackberry (the phones at Sprint are all the older versions of the Blackberry) and I will not shift over to AT&T to get a iPhone (can not be held hostage to such terrible calling plans).

My Dream SmartPhone

What do I want? I want a phone that:
  • Solid - capable of daily use and potential drops that happens with any hand-held device and feel like something solid, not flimsy (iPhone kind of feels like that). And please - I am tired of these pink, electric blue and crazy-colored phones. Can I please have a solid, professional looking one?
  • Consistant - tired of having my smart phone hang when a text comes into my treo while I am reading email or looking at another app
  • Simple - I must admit - I do love some of the innovations of the iPhone - specifically the interface of the apps. Still not a fan of the Windows Mobile OS, and will admit I like the newest OS from Blackberry and Android - and so want to see the Palm Pre out there soon
  • Clear - a clear, easy-to-use screen that is not cluttered with cutesy icons and crap that I see on every phone out there
  • Keyboard - versions with and without physical keyboard
And - I am not that big a fan of the iPhone - which I would rather call a mini-netbook rather than a telephone since I need a connection to the iPhone to make it work as well as my Skype connection on my laptop.

Keyboard Flex and the lenovo Laptop Line

Which brings me to my frustration with laptops. I have been a regular laptop user since the Apple IIc and have gone through versions all over:
  • using Compaq when I worked for Accenture/Andersen
  • playing with Toshiba whien it was hot in 1999
  • migrating to Dell in 2000 when I wanted a solid machine in London, and
  • then migrating to Compaq when I became an executive in telecoms
When I finally had to purchase my own laptop with my money alone, I went to IBM because of the years I had been impressed with it's performance, it's solid keyboard feel, it's clear and beautiful screen (15", not this 15.4" widescreen crap) and reputation for being a workhorse. I purchased a T42 (which I later learned was a little underpowered), but have been relatively happy with it since I purchased it in 2004.

So, what do we have now? Lots of flimsy laptops that feel more like throwaway systems (every laptop I touch feels like I could crack the top bezel with a hard press) made more of cheap plastic and aluminum foil than a solid machine. My old standby - IBM - has gone the way of lenovo which has made cheap and flimsy a new way of life. I tap the keyboard of the new T400 or T500 and find my fingers going through the keyboard (a condition called keyboard flex), rather than the snappiness I have become accustomed to. As I press upon the palm rest of the machine, I hear the reduced use of materials ensuring support.

Is the MacBook Pro the solution?

So - what is a person to do? Join the Mac Revolution? Sure - why not. I was an Apple person when the Apple II+ was king (even upgraded the machine myself and learned the BBS world with my AppleCat modem) and only migrated to IBM/Windows when I was working for IBM in the 90s. Due to one of my other clients, I got a Powerbook G4 from London and have found it useful at times. So, I decided to try the new MacBook Pro (late 2008) and see what it would be like.

Now, I find myself with a beautiful hunk of aluminum which still does not work with my local wifi network. Evidently, Apple's implementation of the Wireless-N protocol does not play nice with other implementations (read: Netgear, Linksys, etc). So, I spend my time with my IBM doing the business of development, while my MBP glows its LED quietly.

I have sent it back a couple of times, and now it sits quietly in its sleeve - since the 15.4" screen does not fit in any laptop backpack that does not look embarrassing.

My Dream Laptop

What do I want? I have already asked for this from various providers, but I only wish it could come true:
  • Simple/Elegant - go back to the simplicity of the basic designs. We do not need all of the buttons that are now festooned across the computers - keep it simple and elegant
  • Solid - I love the fact that IBM seemed for focus on a solid system - keyboard was solid and healthy (I am a heavy typer), the casing of the system is solid (more than simple structurally, but a feeling of solidity), the system is healthy (my G4 was a solid system and I avoided the MBPs until the newest one since I knew about the jet engine sound and the incredible heat of the machine)
  • Safe - the biggest fear of any owner of a machine is the ability to handle physical injury (e.g. dropped cup on a machine) and not break. My T42 has handled being dropped (thank you for the strong structural frame on the screen) and spills (the keyboard was saved years ago when you pull it out and clean it). Can you say something like that about your computer?
  • Clear - I miss the 15" screens - these 15.4" screens are great for watching DVDs - but that is why I have a TV, not a computer.
Anyone going to solve these issues? And, yes - I am looking forward to see if lenovo solved the problem with their next line and wondering when Palm with get the Pre phones out (now it is May?). Sheesh - maybe I will just go to AT&T and use my Nokia phone.

No comments: