I love gadgets, particularly new tech toys. Yet, I’m not the earliest adopter. Like many tech folks, I like to buy when the bugs get worked out.
However…it just so happens that several months back, my sister needed a new phone and I told her I’d been hearing great things about the Droid. (As we’re on Verizon, iPhones aren’t an option for us – yet.) They were running a two-for-one special; she got a Motorola and an HTC Eris. She experimented with both and ended up with the Motorola because it had a better touch-screen for typing.
So, I got to play with the Eris. Here’s my short-list summary:
I nearly bailed on the Droid when I couldn’t make a hands-free call when driving. I compromised, only making a call when parked, but that’s not always viable. Loved the other features, though.
What got me the most was the short battery life. It was so bad, I called to ask for a replacement battery. It was sent; no better. I’d leave the house with the phone fully charged (green light) and within a couple of hours, it was dead. I tried turning off the data connection, but then I couldn’t get email messages – which for me is the primary reason for having a Smartphone.
I was in the field this week doing shop-alongs. I realized that if my phone was dead, no one could get ahold of me. So it was bye-bye Droid and welcome back BlackBerry, at least for now.
Manufacturers need to know that Smartphones aren’t toys for many of us – they’re essential office equipment. If it can do more, I’m delighted; but if the phone/email doesn’t have enough power to be on for at least 20 hours a day, I’m taking a step back to my tried-and-true BlackBerry until newer phones solve this primary problem.
For me, cool doesn’t trump utility. Does that exclude me from their target audience? I know I’m not alone (I heard Leo LaPorte talking about this yesterday). Maybe this is just an evolutionary step.
What type of field usability studies did Google/Droid do? Extend the battery life, offer genuine hands-free (Bluetooth) voice dialing, and the ability to turn web-browsing off when not in use, and I’m back…because not-so secretly, I’d really prefer to be using a cool toy – I mean phone.