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iPhone and The Others

The only operator in Portugal that’s not selling the iPhone is trying to make up for it by touting stuff like the Samsung Omnia as much much better. That’s kind of like starting with a lame donkey, slaping a red saddle on it and trying to pass it on as a racing horse.

This may seem a bit harsh but if you look closely it’s pretty much what Samsung did, they started with a pen pointer based UI, slapped a fancy front screen with large icons on it and passed it on as an “iphone killer”. This is just as true of Samsung as it is of all the other makers (still) trying to do the same 1 year after the original iPhone. The first screen looks fine and dandy and the hardware seems to actually have been designed this century (2Mpx camera, ohhh pulese) but underneath there’s the same old crusty windows mobile UI with 5x5 pixel ‘ok’ buttons and apps pretending to be a desktop. And a sad sad sad excuse for a web browser. Sad sad.

So people, this isn’t hard. Make a consistent effort at designing a confortable, consistent, quick UI. It’s not about the “touch” part, really. All my phones have been tactile so far. They have this things called buttons which I press with my fingers and they’re even haptic (which is a word I swear didn’t even exist last year). I press them to dial numbers and they go down and make a satisfying “click”. So people obviously aren’t all hyped about touching stuff.
The only ones apparently doing a reasonable effort at this are the good folks at Nokia. Instead of slaping a touch screen on their phones (why oh why SonyEricsson ??) and calling it an “iphone killer” they’re back to the drawing board working on a touch interface for Symbian S60, although I see quite a lot of penning on the early videos. Pen bbbaaadddd ok Nokia ?

So I’ll repeat, this isn’t too hard. It’s not about dialer apps with large buttons. I had that on my Treo180 in 2000. Yes, I could dial with my thumb on a touch screen on a smartphone in 2000. I could also take or reject calls too. It actually worked back then. I can remove my phone from my pocket, dial a number with my thumb and disconnect with my thumb, single handedly on any phone on the market today. It’s not about that m’kay.
Let me illustrate with something out of the laptop world. I used to only use the laptop built in pointing device only in the most dire circumstances. That was before I started using the MBP. The MBP touchpad is about twice the area of the touchpad on the pece I was using before so I can actually get a decent accuracy and on it. It’s also conductive instead of pressure based so it has a decent touch. And I can do a number of things like right click and zooming on it. So I have no reason to use an external mouse and in fact I spare myself the hassle of carrying one around. (after using the multitouch pads on recent MBPs I felt like sending mine on a long walk off a short pier. oh well, I digress)
This is the kind of detail that usually gets left out making human interfaces and it’s the kind of detail that makes all the diference.

/mobile | edited on 2008/08/17 -- permalink, click to comment
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