Today I am even more convinced that the Motorola Q is an “easy” device. It does take less time (and less clicks) to become more comfortable with the navigation. This is kind of expected because with fewer choices (no stylus, and no touch screen) we usually have less complexity.
Talking about the touch screen, the technical support rep yesterday had an interesting story to tell. It seems that when the Motorola Q was first released, and during the first few weeks, many users returned the device because the touch screen was not working! It seems that there was some assumption there that such a device should have a touch screen!
More on the Thumb Wheel versus the 5-Way Navigation Key
I pointed out yesterday that unlike any other device I have seen so far, the Motorola Q has both the Thumb Wheel and the Undo/Back key (similar to the BlackBerry approach, see picture on the left), as well as the 5-way navigation button (similar to the Treo approach, see the picture on the right).
What I noticed so far, is that I have been using mostly the 5-Way Navigation Keys, and the little Back Key right next to it, and I haven’t used the Thumb Wheel and the Undo/Back Key much (which are on the side of the device, similar to the BlackBerry device) even though I happen to be a fan of the Trackwheel/Escape-Key combination on the BlackBerry. Once in a while, I would remember that the Thumb Wheel and the Undo/Back Key exist, and I would try to use them.
As I mentioned yesterday, I think that these two approaches are somehow overlapping (the 5-Way Navigation Key on one hand, and the Thumb Wheel and Undo/Back key on the other hand), and I am not sure they are both needed (maybe I will stumble onto some new insights in the next few days and see more clearly the purpose of each approach and how they complement each other, but for now I am still questioning it). Having them both on the Motorola Q seems to be a little bit of a departure (just a little bit though) from the design philosophy I described above--as being “easy” with less choices and less complexity.
Another related observation is that the Thumb Wheel and the Undo/Back key don’t seem to provide all the navigational capabilities that you would expect. There are some things that you cannot do without resorting to the 5-Way Navigation Key or other keys on the front of the device.
The 5-Way Navigation Key however is self-sufficient, and allows you to pretty much fully navigate through the various menus and options, and together with the Back Key right next to it, they seem to be self-sufficient. So if something has to go, in this case it would be the Thumb Wheel and Undo/Back Key. But for now, let us keep exploring, and see what insights the next few days will bring.
Another thing to watch for is the battery life
When I purchased the device on day #19, the sales rep in the Verizon store asked me if I would like to buy the extended battery which has a longer life. When I asked how long will the standard battery last, he indicated that it would last about a day, but the extended one could last a couple of days.
What I am finding out is that I am getting the “low battery” alert about an hour or two after fully charging the device. This may mean, I need to make another trip to the Verizon store, and get the extended battery. I will be reporting on this later in the week.
Finally a “civilized” USB cable
Having been entrenched into the Treo world for the previous 18 days (using the Treo 700p, day #1 to day #9, and the Treo 700w, day #10 to day #18), I couldn’t help it but notice the unusual USB cable that is used to connect the Treo devices to the computer. Unfortunately, it is not elegant, it is not easy to plug in and out, and it does not charge the device (plugging it in and out felt like “pulling teeth”).
Well with the Motorola Q, elegance continues to manifest itself with a more “civilized” USB cable (I got one of these retractable cables as you see in the picture which takes even less space). In addition, when the USB cable is plugged into the computer, it helps maintain the battery life.
Tomorrow’s mission starts with getting the battery problem sorted out. Once that is resolved, I will continue with using the device and exploring more of its functionality.