Confessions of the Neither Cool Nor Corporate: Treo to Tour

Inwardly, my heart sank when I read the recent SFGate discourse on the polarization between iPhone and BlackBerry users and what it says about you (in a nutshell, I read it as Cool vs. Corporate ), because I knew my old Treo had broken for the last time and I was about to become an accidental and perchance reluctant early adopter of my first “cutting-edge” hardware device since the Sony Walkman — namely, the BlackBerry Tour. Thusly I heaved a big sigh and released my exclusive grip on the “neither/nor” don’t-label-me Treo world, and Became Corporate.

I had been happy with my old trusty Treo, not finding itself anywhere on the Cool to Corporate spectrum, but I had dropped it one too many times (making it a bit untrusty after all), and though I of course tried to keep using it, the shattered glass of the touchscreen posed the danger of lacerating my face whenever I answered the phone.  Plus, it stopped working, there’s that.

My Last Treo

My Last Treo

After a brief odyssey through a number of refurbished Treos, each mysteriously breaking in some other essential way, my enormously patient gadget-queen wife arranged to upgrade me to a BlackBerry Tour.  It arrived to me *the day of its release* — and she even heroically fought through apparently known BlackBerry/Mac issues and synched it for me while I was bathing and reading to our daughter that night.  And I promptly began my odyssey.

For all my online complaining about the difficulty in shifting smartphone paradigms — going from something so familiar and ubiquitously used to the “who moved my cheese” experience of misplaced keys is akin to the electric cool-aid acid test on unwitting lab rats — I actually did pretty well just playing around without (of course) even cracking the handy Getting Started guide (which I did AFTER I switched my BlackBerry off — at least I think I switched it off — that is, I’m not sure why I have to switch it off coming from the land of the nearly-always-on, insta-response Treo).

My New BlackBerry

My New BlackBerry

After trying to use the device like a Treo — which meant using a sub-standard mobile Web browser to launch minimal mobile Web applications in the place of all those Cool and/or Corporate device-native cutting-edge applictions such as bubble pop or whatever (does anybody even write applications for the Treo – anymore?) with a nevertheless comprehensible keyboard and near instant response in the applications (I had lived in m.facebook.com and m.twitter.com) — I finally was assimilated and downloaded the respective device-proper applications such as Facebook for the BlackBerry, ÜberTwitter, and Gmail for the BlackBerry.  I even pined unsuccessfully for blip.fm for the BlackBerry and learned I was not alone.  I learned to swim in the floaty interface as best I could, and I tweeted with my geo-location.  I even stopped — momentarily — trying to touch the touchscreen to get it to do things and let go of “Liking” on Facebook. And lapsed briefly into brickbuster (or whatever it is).

So I should hardly rant, and I hate to rant, but I’m going to rant.  After two weeks now, these things still drive me to absolutely NUTS:

  • Where ARE my text messages anyway? On the Treo, It was simplicity itself — it merited a special key, and it was simply SMS — simply threaded, simply reply-able, simply alerting and lighting up the device with the incoming messages themselves.  Not so on the BlackBerry, apparently.  If I can even tell apart the multiple BlackBerry messaging options.
  • And please by the way don’t make me register YET ANOTHER email address!
  • Somehow, at least by default, the nature of “alerting” on the BlackBerry levels text and email messages in the same playing field — and this is not what I want! (Think of all my BlackBerry friends I pestered the first few days, freaked out that my phone was ALWAYS vibrating! “WHY, why does it do that?”)
  • I can’t use trackball as insertion cursor effectively.  Can anyone? The trackball motion also skips and messes me up in brickbuster!
  • Who Moved My Keys!? Especially the questionmark and period!
  • Most disturbingly, why do my wrists hurt?
223K and still ticking

223K and still ticking

I’ll probably become second-nature with this strange new device soon and maybe I’ll even start to feel like it makes me seem Obamalike instead of corporate and conservative.  Maybe I’ll even feel like it’s highly featured and grow to wonder how I ever got along without it.  Not yet.

The first morning after, I awoke from dreams about trying to use the dang device.  I was trying to learn to use the trackball *just right* (ahem) to roll the umlauts over the “U” in UberTwitter).  Plus, my hand hurt.

I guess now a new car to replace my 223K-mile car can’t be too far.  Please just don’t let it be a corporate car.  Unless it’s also a fuel-efficient yet powerful RACECAR!

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6 thoughts on “Confessions of the Neither Cool Nor Corporate: Treo to Tour

  1. It makes me wonder what kind of user testing the smartphone companies have done. (The 0 and the space on my Samsung Blackjack I are in the same place… no spacing when num lock is on. How stupid is that?!?!!?)

    I’m looking forward to my new iPhone that is supposed to be delivered later this week (cool, not corporate?), but I’m not looking forward to “typing” on the screen with my big fingers.

    We’ll see how the transition goes. Best to you and your Blackberry :)

  2. Hi Moya,

    You could have stayed out of bounce and got a Palm Pre.
    I really would have loved to know what you thought about that device.

    If not even you faithful Treo user is not switching to it, it is a bad sign for Pre’s and Palm’s success.

    Bummer, I was hoping that Palm would come back with the Pre, but it looks like it is a great phone, just a year to late.

    One of the other reasons for Pre being not as successful is, that Palm is not able to control the experience of buying a Pre. Apple has a big advantage with their stores.

    I am using both and Blackberry and iPhone (not the latest version). I was able to videotape Nina on her first bike-ride on the Blackberry, not on the iPhone. Blackberry for the win ;-)

  3. I had the Palm Pilot back then, I had the HP iPaq, I had shortly the Blackberry Pearl, but since I got the first iPhone (with pathetic 4GB) I won’t change to any other vendor in the near future. It is by far the best personal device that I ever used. The usability, the slickness, the speed. I treated myself one month ago to the new iPhone 3Gs with 32GB (imagine: a third of the space of my Lenovo T61 laptop) and now @finnern you can videotape (that basically killed our Flip video camera). And many smaller and new features which make it completer.

    And yes: I hate the closedness of Apple and the shutting out of apps that they dont like (like the C64 emulator), and the pretty expensive service, but what shall I do: the iPhone is sooooo goood….

    The only thing that I am waiting for now is a tablet PC from Apple with touch screen, so that you can sit in a café and sketch the other patrons.

  4. thx for the thoughtful comments all!

    @mark not so fast!

    the ONLY provider that “gadget-queen” and I have found to serve our HOUSE in san franicsco is VERIZON. would the Pre have been shipping on Verizon already, we would have pounced. rumor has it the Verizon service might be available later this year on the Pre. how i feel right now — i’d drop the blackberry for the Pre the second it comes into “service range.” at&t and sprint SUCK and we’re in the MIDDLE of SF. of course… my opinion could change if i get drawn into the crackberry. right now it’s irritating, but i agree about video — plus camera quality and app integration.

    @jeff cool jeff with the iphone! leanne would probably know about device-level testing for smartphones. i know she does a lot of app testing, but you would think a lot of effort goes into verifying the keyboards. on the other hand, i get the feeling it’s often more “you’ll get used to it” — person adapts to machine! ouch my hand hurts…

    @mario ooh palm pilot! they had a lot of potential in personal productivity software/scheduling — it shows in how easy their treos are. i never used the treo with other than Palm OS. i love lots about the palm OS and don’t at all want it to go away so fast.
    i’m happy the iphone works for you — and i would have picked it up in a heartbeat, but again AT&T doesn’t serve MY HOUSE. don’t feel like jailbreaking and this lock that providers have on devices / the whole marketing arrangement makes me batty. it’s a SERVICE. hmmmmm.
    otherwise at home we are all about the Apple. if you get that touch-screen, let me know! i’ll sit across from you in the cafe and observe! :)

  5. and now we know that “I can’t use trackball as insertion cursor effectively. Can anyone? The trackball motion also skips and messes me up in brickbuster!” is because the trackball is broken and verizon’s shipping a replacement blackberry tour today.

  6. the replacement Tour leanne got for me above worked fine — for a week or so. now it’s having the very same horizontal-tracking problem with the trackball. the trackball gets stuck when going side-to-side — and since up and down is fine, sometimes it skips up when you want it to go to the side. scrolling to a particular point in text is terrible; scrolling across the menu is rough; scrolling side-to-side sucks.

    a quick internet search shows others have the same problem.

    sigh. replacement cavalcade again? or do i wait for the Palm Pre/Verizon? i’m tending to the second.

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