I just came back from the inaugral MMS ( Mobile Monday on a Saturday) get together sponsored by Adobe and Value First. Kudos to the organizers. I know very little about this space so I just went to listen and learn.
I have a “smart” phone and an old mobile phone and strangely ( or maybe not so since I am 40+) I prefer using my old mobile phone. It is much simpler.
At the same time I like some of the things I can do with a smart phone. Now if there was a way where I could put my old phone in a docking station, connect to a PC and put a few apps on it that I want to use. To enhance storage maybe there was an add on peripheral that I could carry when I want to.
In short what I am talking about is limited functionality enhancement which can be done without needing to take the phone to someone who can play around with the firmware and use unutilised space on the SIM card ( possible for CDMA?).
If someone can crack this at an acceptable cost for the add ons I think there would be a big market and I would buy one.
Not being a techie I can ask these maybe stupid and dumb questions.
One of the people who presented was Webaroo and while I have Vaio laptop where I could carry my web pack from Webaroo it would be cool if I could carry Webaroo webpacks for display on my old mobile which is not smart. Webaroo is available on smart phones but it would expand their market a lot if it could be available on any mobile phone with a low cost add on
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Just wanted to tell you that there’s a new version of Webaroo now available. You may want to try it out – http://www.webaroo.com.”
For a quick download here is the link http://www.webaroo.com/download
Also check the website for latest developments.
It’s interesting how you almost sound apologetic for being a common user. 🙂 In truth, you’re the kind of user that mobile device companies should actually focus device development on.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that we use a little less than 5% of our cellphones’ capabilities at any given time. An average “functionality rich” mobile phone will cost us about INR 15K off the grey market. Most common features are megapixel cameras, MP3 playback, FM Radio, onboard and expandable memory, preinstalled games and applications and internet capabilities. Yet, once we have procured a device as such, we land up utilizing only INR 700 worth of the phone. The same logic used to measure ROIs in the ERP space.
Three reasons why the usage of available functionality is sad:
1) Inadequate / Complicated / Tedious documentation (like Motorola’s Razr and Slvr Series, you just can’t figure out how to install a new game or application)
2) Services that depend on connectivity or providers to work (like Nokia’s Lifeblog, Kodak’s Printing Services etc.)
3) Bad usability engineering for the functionality provided.
Three ways in which this problem is solved currently
1) Online communities providing textual guides and support for device usage
2) Friends and Colleagues who’ve “done it”
3) Dingy mobile sweatshops that will “do it” for you for a nominal charge
Three ways in which this problem can be turned into money
1) An online community that works with device manufacturers to provide support for working with devices, at various skill levels.
2) Product design and usability consulting for devices, yielding better, smarter devices.
3) Piggybacking free offline mobile “tutoring” services with content and application sales. Far fetched, but could be very real.
A good idea that may have us going is the use of LCD touch screens that act as a variable keypad to present different interfaces for different functionality. Much like the two screened Nintendo DS, if a device has two screens, one used for information and navigation display and the other with touchscreen capabilities could give a lot of help to users that simply want to use their phones:
– To call, the touchscreen would morph into a dial-pad
– Messaging could bring up simple “Read / Reply / Forward” buttons, or a keyboard
– MP3 applications would have iPod-like interfaces
– Surfing the web could bring up favorites and navigation buttons.
Someone ought to put usability into perspective for devices …
I spoke to some people after I posted this. It seems in the early days the internet was also a mess till the “evil empire” came along and won the browser war. If they or someone else win the mobile OS war then life will be so much simpler. So it seems likely that the mobile will follow the way of the web and you will get easy to use smart phones at low cost so that upgrading will be easier than doing “Jugar” on your old phone. Several years in USA have been unable to remove “Jugar”. A search for Jugar on Google or Wikipedia yields nothing so ….
For those who do not know “Jugar” this joke will explain it. It seems that a high powered delegation from the US came to India to aid india with supercomputing technology. They stayed in a hotel and had several problems which the maintenance person fixed by saying. Do not worry I will use “jugar” and the problem will go away and so it did.
Next day at the meeting the US delegation told the Prime Minister that wanted to do a technology exchange. For supercomputing they wanted “jugar” technnology from India. The Prime Minister was taken aback and said that was not possible. He said if I give you “jugar” my government will collapse because it runs on “jugar”.
I this context I realize “jugar” is not the answer. Newer , cheaper, easier phones are. So I guess at some point I will buy a new smart phone and not a “jugar” peripheral.
Hi Sanjay, there have been many times I also wished I could add a bit more functionality on my old Nikia 6630 while preserving its robustness and simplicity. But some things I realized was that before the advent of smartphones (and the BREW platform from Qualcomm) all the mobile OEMs had their software closed and not letting anyone mess around with it and as a result their interface was light weight and mostly bug-free/crash-proof. But they were sacrificing functionality there and I’m assuming that there was barely an OS present with no memory protection etc. Now with Windows Mobile etc there is an underlying full-fledged OS which makes sure one program can’t mess up the other so that the app developer can concentrate on more productive things. Well, as result we have too many apps in a smartphone confusing the user. I’ll put my bets on a new user interface paradigm (kinda like the yahoo interface vs google) which will make it very intutive for a novice user to use a smartphone