Convergence

I’m not very good at keeping a lot of information in my head at the one time. I have found that I need to record appointments and tasks to make sure I remember them.

So I used to record information in a paper diary. I never had much to record, so I used an A5, week to a page view diary that included a contact section for people’s phone numbers and addresses. However, the problem was that repeating appointments and people’s contact information that carry on from year to year had to be rewritten into a new diary each year.

So I bought a Palm Vx. This worked quite well because it would sync with my computer and display all the information I needed.

Then along came smart phones. I thought this was fantastic because I wouldn’t need to carry a mobile phone as well. Plus I only need to keep phone numbers in one place. Perfect! Right? Rather than having a Phone, diary, music player and GPS unit, you only need one device.

I’ve now owned three devices (O2 Xda II Mini, i-mate JasJar and Dopod 383Pro). They’re all great devices except that they are no good as phones! With my current device, I’d say 50% of the time when I hit the “Answer call” button the call is not actually answered, it just goes off to messagebank. A friend who had a Palm Treo used to answer a call and have to wait for 2.5 seconds until the caller could hear him. The JasJar would take so long to draw the screen when you opened it that you’d invariably miss the call.

All of the devices I’ve had will play music, but the interfaces are frustrating and the sound just isn’t good enough.

It’s so frustrating. I’ve bought a stand along MP3 player (a creative Zen that I’m very happy with). I’m nearly at the point where I’m going to give up and just get a standard mobile phone. Can I diverge any more??

The idea of convergence is just fantastic. However, the reality is dragging a long way behind.

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6 thoughts on “Convergence

  1. josh

    I think the problem is that they’re designed as computers that can take phone calls, not phones that also do computer stuff.

    You’ve also got a problem with the form factor. It’s hard to make a good UI on a screen the size of a business card.

  2. Chris Till

    I always had the same problem so constantly reverted to carrying both a PDA and a regular mobile. Ever since I got a BlackBerry a few years ago, however, I’ve finally been in single device bliss!

  3. glen Post author

    I used a BlackBerry for a while too. Maybe I didn’t give it a good enough try, but it seemed to be even more limited than the Windows Mobile platform. I like to see at a glance all my appointments and upcoming tasks on the home screen, and the BlackBerry didn’t have anything like that. It was a great device for email (which I don’t use on my device due to data costs) and it was an acceptable phone, but that was all.

    Josh, the form factor’s not that big an issue. I can handle the size of my device and it gives me all the information I need. I guess the limitation of making it small reduces performance and that’s probably part of my issue.

    Daniel, I think you’re spot on… but is it really that hard? This bloody thing isn’t even a ‘Jack’ of answering phone calls!

  4. Dave

    I have often used the same words as Josh in regard to phone vs PDA. I have changed to a phone that tries to be a PDA (A Blackjack) and I come from a background of XDA II, imate JAM and an imate JASJAM. The XDA II was surprisingly good but the JAM and the JASJAM got progressively worse. The BlackJack has been frustrating given its limited functionality and though calls are dealt with promptly I find I still miss calls. In this case it is no longer slow software so much as ringtones that cannot be made loud enough.

  5. Melissa

    My Treo works great as a phone (except that one time I tried to use it while zipping down the highway with all the windows open). I’ve never had to wait until the caller could hear me. It’s not a bad music player either, but for that it’s not a patch on an iPod.

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