My search for the one device…..and the horrible failure that followed……

It’s nice to ease into things after a long sabbatical break. It’s amazing the soul searching you can enjoy stepping out of the tech industry for a brief, fleeting spell. But I’ve brought back with me a few words of wisdom to this week’s blog from the fruits of my travels.


I hate my phone.

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It used to be a sort of non-confrontational thing. I knew my phone was stupid, and I would forgive it, ‘cause it was only a dumb phone. But if we just made phone calls together, everything was lovely. Let’s say my expectations were low in the early stages of our relationship. And then there were smarter and smarter phones; keyboards, push mail, and touch screens (oh my!). Then I thought that my phone could be everything that I wanted her to be. The one device for everything I need while away from my laptop.

My 1st manager at Intel consistently wore 2 phones, a pager, blackberry (back when it was only a smart pager), mp3 player, and a belt around his waist. He always commented on how it made him feel like Batman to have a utility belt. I vowed that would never happen to me, ever. And the dream of the one device was born.

Ever feel like throwing your phone in the microwave? I do. Connect to Google in there, loser!

My newest phone does it all. GPS, WiFi, full QWERTY, Bluetooth, toothpaste dispenser, video, music; and it sucks at all of them. It does web, but not the pages I want to go to. It’s got GPS navigation, but sometimes it tells me I’m in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It can play videos and music, but if I do the battery gets sapped so bad I’m all out of juice so I can’t……um….oh, yeah. Make phone calls. And now I daydream about my phone from 5 years ago and think, “Wow. We used to be great together.”

I just had to glance over to my phone to make sure I wasn’t getting a call. She’s extremely temperamental lately, giving me fewer and fewer rings to answer incoming calls. Sometimes I think she’s laughing at me.

I’m done. I’ve tried them all. I demo gadgets, it’s my job. And I can’t find the one device that does it all for me. iPhone is soooooo close, but so far away. The promise of cool and sexy MIDs raises my eyebrows of what the possibilities might be coming, but as a confessed gadget freak, I treat the phone like a jilted lover. I’ve heard this story many times before, and it has the same ending. Something involving me crying.

So here’s what I want. It shouldn’t be too unreasonable. One device, and I want it all.

Ultimate Mobile Device Top 5

- Mobile web dies in 2008. Give me the real stuff.

Full functioning browser. Phone browsers are the worst, let me open YouTube, and the other pages will follow. Safari on the iPhone is the closest, but give me PC java or don’t come at all.

- Blazing fast connection…..to everything

3G is almost there, but performs like an Olympic sprinter who turns an ankle every 300ft. Fast…slow….fast….slow. Also, I want the same experience I have wired in; gaming, video streaming, remote access. Now that the Clearwire/Sprint deal is cooked, maybe we can finally see some WiMAX networks in ’08. Most of all, I think it’s long overdue to have a usable video conference for our mobile devices (it’s not like I’m asking for flying cars here).

- Gaming

…and I mean a game that was not made before 1985, or a spin off of Tetris. What makes the industry think just ‘cause I’m mobile I must love Pong. If you don’t know what I mean by handheld gaming, take a look at the PSP.

- Outside-in/Inside Out

I’ve got a Core2Quad at home connected to the most advanced home network in 3 counties. 2TB of pics, docs, TV, and movies. When I’m on the go, I want them all. And when my device is full, I want to upload my content back home or to the web. It all started with Slingbox, now there’s no excuse to not have it all.

- Battery life, buddy!

The deal breaker for the single device. I feel slighted working at Intel with all of our hard work making higher performing, lower power processors, and introducing battery saving technologies in Integrated GFX and NAND flash disk drives. What have the battery guys done for us lately? We’ve been through 4 generations of power reducing mobile platforms, and I’m still using the same Li-Ion battery? Get to work!!! Toshiba was working on a new laptop battery powered by manure. No thanks, but at least someone is trying.

Oh, and did I mention it had to make phone calls, too? So that’s it. My last “smartphone” has just hit the bin, and I’m going back to a slim candy bar, circa 2002. It’s like a load has been taken off my shoulders, no longer forced to max 90min talk time and 15fps video. I’m looking forward to using a mobile device without contempt. I say let your phone be itself…….that is, until I find something better……

6 Responses to My search for the one device…..and the horrible failure that followed……

  1. Mark Bernay says:

    I have a Windows Mobile phone with touchscreen and slide-out keyboard, the Sprint PPC-6700, and I use it for everything but music/video because I also have an iPod (pre touch), but if I didn’t already have the iPod I might use the phone for that also.
    As you say, I have a severe problem with battery life; if I am away from a charger all day and feeding my Internet addiction by surfing a lot, then there is no way the battery will last all day.
    BIG DEAL: I bought a second frigging battery and I keep the tiny thing in my pocket!!!!!!! Some days I have to switch over to it, which takes a few seconds. It’s not an issue, once you get used to carrying a spare. My phone came with a charging base that can charge the phone and a spare battery at the same time, so it’s easy to keep the second battery charged all the time.
    This will work for every phone I know of except the iPhone. I have no idea why people tolerate Apple making these without replaceable batteries. The argument I hear is that it’s not that expensive and not that hard to send the iPhone in to Apple every year or so to replace the battery, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT!!!!! I tried an iPhone (with wifi turned off) and the battery simply didn’t last all day. I don’t care about a new battery a year from now, I WANT TO CHANGE THE BATTERY TODAY IF IT RUNS OUT.

  2. Craig says:

    Ah yes, the 6700. Had one of those myself. I’ve been a huge fan of all the HTC models, but if you can’t use it all day, what’s the use. That just means I have to carry around a backpack full of gear to make sure I have enough juice to keep the phone, laptop, MID, MP3/MP4 player, camera, and bluetooth gadgets all up and running. Time to move on from something better than Li-Ion, or the one device just isn’t possible. Cold fusion might be a good option.

  3. Jason says:

    Preach on! It’s all about expectations.
    I am carrying a cheap phone while on assignment away from my normal infrastructure. It makes/receives calls and sends/receives text msgs. I am a satisfied customer. It totally meets my expectations.
    My expectations for atom based MIDs – it’s all in the name. Mobile Internet Device.
    Mobile: Small enough to slip in my bag or coat pocket. Last for the day (hopefully longer.) Doesn’t shatter the first time I drop it.
    Device: Designed with the I/O and UI to allow it to live in my gadget eco-system. Charge, upload/download/offload as needed (but infrequently).
    Internet: The real internets, you know like The Google, my favorite boards & blogs, as well as all my time wasters. I moved away from AOL a long time ago and I’m not going back to a one-off version of the net – no matter how sexy everyone thinks the iPhone is…
    I don’t feel like these are high expectations and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of atom based systems.
    ntl thn ill keep tming.

  4. Todd says:

    I love you man! I hope the new iPhone is what I’m waiting for. Glad you’re back as this can be a great blog for Intel.

  5. Craig says:

    I love you too, man! I appreciate the vote of confidence, and I’m very excited about the popularity of the blog. So much in fact, I might just write another. Keep a look out.
    But yes, I and the other 20 million gadget freaks here in the US will be anxiously awaiting the new iPhone with high hopes it will solve all of our problems. Come on flash browsing!! Big money, no whammies!!!!