i gaze upon the cellphone options before me, and weeptech

(14 comments)
April 25, 2006

My cellphone kind of died the other day, it refused to take a charge, and there was a whiff of smoke around it.

Before settling on bringing it in for repair, or rather replacement, I took a look at the handset offerings from Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Man, cellphone design in this country ain't a vast wasteland, but it's no Garden of Eden either.

No one makes "nice and compact" a priority these days. Even the phones out to make themselves super-thin end up being tall and wide. And then everyphone has to stuff itself so full of gizmos that it ends up fat and bulky...especially with the clamshell design, which is the only type I'll go for. (I'm tempted to go back to my 2001 Samsung but I guess it doesn't do text messaging. But now I appreciate its design; compact screen, and a flip design with a thin cover that merely protects the keypad rather than having the keys embedded in it.)

T-Mobile had the Motorola PEBL... as you can see by the "artsy" timedisplay it seems like they're giving a lot more thought to the aesthetics of it... the appeal for me was the nice rubberized texture of the outer shell. But even with that I'd worry about the strength of the cute little special hinge it has.

But Sprint/Nextel swapped my phone for free, and I couldn't really justify the expense of a new phone...it's not a bad model despite my gripes with it. (Pity that Samsung/Palm hybrid was such crap software-wise.) I had to manually move numbers over, and I lost the video of the Euclid municipal Fireworks that was my "video wallpaper". Oh well.

Oh, and I have one more new grip about the current phone: I can assign custom ringers to individuals in my phonebook, and there's a feature for a distinct ringer "with caller id" vs "no caller id", but no distinct setting for "in phonebook" vs "not in phonebook", which would actually be useful to me, instead I'd have to set the ringer for each phonebook entry seperately.

Am I that much of a UI prima donna, and/or assuming too much that people work the way I do, or are the people who make these things just not all that bright?

Sports Quote of the Moment
"Baseball is the only major sport that appears backwards in a mirror."
--George Carlin

Scariness of the Moment
"Dunkin' Donuts is spreading its wings. The chain is expanding nationwide and plans to triple in size within the next 10 years."
--From this Slate piece about their new Ad campaign. Ugh, maybe Candi is right, this is like a mold. I like the vibe relative to Starbucks, but still... they're frickin' everywhere, popping up in stripmalls and inside regular malls and other places that still seem weird to me.

Gotta give them props for They Might Be Giants tunage though.