Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Thinking about Mobile Handsets

Over the last few weeks I have been looking at upgrading the handsets of my three daughters and so have reviewed what is on the market and what they wish to do with there phones.

This will be the fourth handset that my Twins have owned. At the moment they are happy users of a Blackberry Bold which are starting to show signs of age. They are not heavy users of either text or voice but they use BBM and Facebook with a little email. They are thus happy with the QWERTY form factor and when asked if they wanted a Blackberry Touch they declined as the find the lack of keyboard slows them down. They are looking for something that is robust enough to live with the knocks of life in a teenage girl’s pocket and bag that means it has to bounce before it breaks.

The youngest wants her second mobile phone to have a few more features that the basic candy bar she currently has. She does not want an iPhone as “the girls who have one at school are bullies and they all seem to be broken within a few weeks.” I have been looking at a number of Android handsets but she seems to like the Nokia Lumina 800 I have been playing with because it does not look girlie, has a good camera and the battery lasts.

When you look at the shelves in a phone retailer at the moment if you take the Blackberries away what you see is a Smartphone format that is almost uniform. It reminds me of the mid 1990s just as the industry was about to under go massive expansion and all you could have was a black brick, then Nokia launched the 5110i with snap on covers and Motorola and Samsung decided that we might like silver clamshells.

Perhaps we can pause for breath on the development of Operating systems and start to look at form factors? For a number of years I have thought that mobile users are unlikely to carry just one mobile phone when they are able to purchase devices and looking at fellow travellers on the train it does now seem that time has come. Not everyone wishes to carry a device with a 3½ to 4½ inch screen as a phone, so why not have some devices that don’t have a touch screen but rather a simple keyboard?

The interesting thing is that none of the three seem to be demanding a wide range of Apps with which to “personalize” their handset. The number of people they “chat” with on Facebook is a subset of their “Friends” with whom they are social both in the real and virtual world. They do want a device that gives access to YouTube. A VPN which would give access to catch up TV from both the UK and US would be very welcomed. But if that was not available no problem as they can do so via Laptop or Tablet.

When it comes to an upgrade of my handset, something that I can quickly synchronise with my car, laptop and headset would make life easy. As I tend to use my phone whilst driving something with very good voice command would be welcomed. I would love to get rid of the touch screen as too often I put my current phone in my pocket after use and the discover that because it was still active I have played audio books, surfed the web and changed the keyboard, theme etc. . Over the last 14 months my favorite handset has been my Vertu Ascent because it does what I want it to do and when I need something I just use the Concierge service.

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