The metro ride to a meeting downtown San Francisco today took longer than expected. In addition, it was “standing room only”, which made me realize that this is a situation where a “one-hand” smartphone could be useful (a smartphone that can be fully operated with one hand). While this may not be a big deal for many users, for some, it may be something to consider. Similar situations may be when driving, or walking with a purse or a brief case.
Be careful with driving though! If you haven’t seen the article titled “Danger: Drivers who type” by Kimra McPherson, from the Mercury News, which was posted on October 11, 2006, you can check it out at: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/15729444.htm (The full article will be available on the Web for a limited time).
The Nokia E62 is NOT a one-hand smartphone for a couple of reasons: First its size and second its QWERTY keyboard. Actually, most of the devices that I used so far in the 81-day-experiment do not qualify as one-hand smartphones. The only true one-hand smartphone is the BlackBerry Pearl with its smaller size, small keypad, and SureType™ predictive typing technology (see day #28 to day #36 and the BlackBerry Pearl in 6 Minutes demo video at Google Video ).
Choosing a handheld device
Before I report my observations about the Nokia E62 today, here are a few handheld related notes from today’s activities. One of my clients has chosen to go with a simple electronic organizer (The Sharp OZ-590A Organizer) instead of joining the smartphones crowd. Even though she has an executive position at a large organization (and therefore a demanding schedule and dealing with a large volume of data), she wanted to a) keep her cell phone and organizer separate, b) have her contacts and calendar with her when she is on the go, c) easily synch with her desktop, and d) not have to worry about battery life. The Sharp OZ-590A seems to fit these needs well.
We still decided to go through the handheld devices that I used during the 81-day-experiment so far (the Treo 700p, Treo 700w, Motorola Q, BlackBerry Pearl, T-Mobile MDA, and BlackBerry 8700), and do a little “usability test” in which she experimented with each of the devices to see how they fit her style. This “usability test” (putting your hands on the devices and trying to perform the tasks that you expect to perform in real life) is something I recommend for everyone to do before making the final decision on which smartphone to get. The usability test helped my client confirm that the Sharp organizer is the best choice for her right now, and gave her some insights into the other devices in case she considers combining her cell phone and organizer in the future.
The are two points to be made here, one is that smartphones are not for everyone (it all depends on what your needs are), and the other is that it is necessary to experiment with the smartphones that you are considering, and perform your own “usability test” before deciding on a smartphone.
The Nokia E62 today
The Nokia E62 today kept me well connected. E-mail, Web browsing, phone, and taking notes, all came in handy and in this order. Typing on the QWERTY keyboard is relatively easy and as I mentioned yesterday, the main navigation, with the easily available shortcut keys, makes sense. However, there are a couple of areas that are worth commenting on.
The Nokia E62 seems to be slow
Moving between screens and applications seem to take an extra second or two, and sometimes more. When you are in the middle of a series of steps, and then suddenly you have to stop and wait for a bit, this interrupts your flow and makes the device seem slow. I have experienced this when moving between applications and screens, and sometimes during text entry.
More steps than what you would expect
I created a new document on the Nokia E62 today. After typing the content of my document, I wanted to save it. To save the document, I selected the Options key (in this case the left selection key, see picture on the left), then had to scroll down to the Saving Options menu item, which opened a sub-menu allowing me to “save as” or “save as a template”. I selected “save as” and the “save as” screen opened up.
The “save as” screen had the default document name as “Document” and the default location undefined. So I typed the document name, and then clicked on location (by pressing the joystick) to select the folder where I want to save the document.
When I clicked on location, I got a list of the folders, and then when I clicked on a folder, I got one more prompt asking me to confirm the move of the file to the folder I just selected. Now I am back to the “save as” screen, in which I had to select the Options key again, and then select Save from the popup menu.
It still remains to be seen if some of the above steps can be avoided by defining some defaults or enabling some settings, but for now, these are the steps I had to go through.