Friday, October 17, 2008

Cool Technology of the Week

A number of new mobile devices are entering the market - the Amazon Kindle 2, the Google G1, and the Blackberry Storm. Each has its own ideal uses and unique technologies. I'll test all of them by the end of the year and report the results.

I am a minimalist and carry few gadgets. My only current personal devices are a Macbook Air and a Blackberry Curve.

I've tried the iPhone 3G and although it's a remarkable device, the lack of a tactile keyboard makes it less than ideal for my daily high volume of email.

Although I have not yet tested the Blackberry Storm (the Verizon/Vodaphone model should arrive in my office for testing in a few weeks), I am impressed by the design which includes a tactile touch screen.

What's a tactile touch screen?

The user distinctly feels the screen being pressed and released with a gentle "click," similar to the feeling of a key on a physical keyboard or a button on a mouse. The "clickable" touch-screen, which Blackberry calls ClickThrough, gives the user positive confirmation that they have made a selection and the result is an enhanced touch interface and a more intuitive typing experience. ClickThrough lets you depress any portion of the screen to make a selection so it feels like there�s actually a button below your finger, thanks to mechanical switch suspension below the surface of the display that lets each press feel like a separate button, even though the entire screen moves as though it is one large button.

The Storm contains an accelerometer and when the device is tilted horizontally, a full keyboard appears rather than then tiny compressed keyboard of the iPhone or the "cell phone-like" SureType keyboard of the BlackBerry Pearl. The fact that Blackberry Storm enables a full sized keyboard in horizontal mode with tactile feedback could make the touch screen usable for high volume email users.

I'll report back as soon as I test it, but the idea of a touch screen Blackberry with a full size tactile keyboard is cool!
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