Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Do phones do too much?

When I mentioned I'd been to a smartphone show, it sparked that old conversation about how "phones do too much".

Well, I said. I was synchronising my calendar this morning and speaking on the phone at the same time. Then later in the day, on the same phone, I was listening to the radio and taking pictures at the same time.

The point is that this is not on a "smartphone", but a standard-ordinary phone that I got free with a low-rate contract (a Sony Ericsson K700i if you want numbers). It's not a toy I've borrowed or splashed out to get. It's an ordinary day-to-day phone.

While I was at the show, I tried email on it. I wouldn't recommend this as an email device - it doesn't show very many messages on screen, and jumbles the subject fields so you can't see which message came from whom. But it does email (and unlike my friend Kieren I found it quite easy to set up).

The camera is adequate, and so is the FM radio. It also synchs by Bluetooth without too much tweaking, and displays calendar appointments and contacts very nicely.

I don't think phones do too much. If anything, they still do too little. The features they have are often still fiddly. What is happening now is that they are starting to make it easy to do the things they do. Email and the web are the next things to be made easy (see O2's i-mode and T-Mobile's Web'n'walk for instance)

Like I say, I'm looking at what can be done on a more-or-less bog-standard phone. Smartphones and higher featured phones may do it better and easier - in a bigger heavier package - but the baseline level of phone can pack quite a lot of fun.

Next, I'm going to use voice dialling...

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