Open Letter

An Open Letter to RIM, Apple and Others

     Today’s technology is a giant open door for possibility. The capability of all these new gadgets is astounding, and yet I’m remarkably disappointed.
     Call me a cynic, call me picky, but I am drastically unimpressed by the iPhone and Blackberry Storm. I want to like them. Hell, I want to be obsessed with them. The fact of the matter is, I haven’t even bought one, because they don’t understand what is important.
     I keep my important gadgets with me at all times. This includes my digital camera, iPod, and phone. I wish I could still use my old PDA, but it’d be just too much to carry around. This starts to hit on the important point: it should not be necessary to have four gadgets to do the job of one or two.
     Granted, to make a camera as nice as my Canon, you’d need a rather large, heavy gadget. It’d need a zoom lens and a few easy-to-use buttons that just don’t make sense on a phone. This is why I don’t care if my gadget has a camera; it can’t possibly hope to replace a good point-and-shoot with where technology is today.
     On the other hand, it’s just a matter of software to add easy personal organization apps, like contacts, calendar, to do and such. Blackberries and iPhones seem to handle this aspect fairly well, since email is one of the key features that draws people to those gadgets. As for my iPod, the calendar feature is laughable with no to do list. It’s massively limited by the miniscule number of buttons, and this makes it utterly useless when it comes to being a personal organizer. Since this is the one gadget I carry that has the most “disk” space, it makes the most sense to double as an organizer, but its self-induced physical limitations are too great.
     Getting right down to it, this is what I (and quite possibly, many others) am really looking for when it comes to what is being coined as a “smart phone”: some gadget that can effectively do the job of two or more other gadgets. As I mentioned, the technology isn’t there to replace the camera, but there should be no problem combining a 30GB iPod, an old-school PDA and a phone. Since the largest iPhone is a disappointing 16GB, it can’t possibly replace my nearly-full 30GB iPod. Plus, I am doubtful that the onscreen keyboard entry system is sufficent for personal organization needs.
     What do I want? I’ll tell you. I want it to sync calendar, email, contacts and to do lists with my home computer. I want it to be easy to input text, either via querty keyboard or voice recognition (speech-to-type) software. I want it to be at least 30GB, but probably more like 120, to completely replace my iPod. I want GPS to tie in to a mapping software. I don’t even care if it’s a phone, although that doesn’t seem like a big addition anymore.
     So, like I said, call me picky, but unless you’re able to replace at least two of my current gadgets, you’re not getting any purse real estate for being “smart.”