Sunday, April 16, 2006

A burst of Technology

I had just gone to get my old cellphone from my closet to retrieve an untransferred number. However, it was as if that phone was completely unfamiliar to me. It had only been five months since I last used it before getting my new phone, and I was already forgetting to how to perform the simplest functions. I had become so used to my new cell phone (the Motorola V551) that I found it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks such as accessing the address book and the SMS screen. I had become so used to the Motorola's menu-based navigation that I instantly scoured my old phone's main menu in search of the SMS Centre, and only after failing in my search did I remember that my old phone had a softkey-based primary navigation.

Firstly, when I first flipped open the phone my eyes glazed over trying to read faded black text on a blue backlight. I preferred the crisp, clear colour display that I had come to know and love about the v551.

When I first bought my old phone (the Audiovox CDM-8500), I wanted to get the smallest, most compact device available. I did, however, now I realize that, as Fitts' Law states, bigger is better, and not just for web. Larger buttons means having more space to maneuver your thumbs, and a smaller chance of accidentally pressing the wrong key. This makes using the product a much better experience for the user. :)

Also, here's a neat little tip for those of you sporting the Motorola V551 (I believe other Motorola models, such as the RAZR, have this feature as well): If you're serially text-messaging back and forth with a friend and are getting annoyed by constant new message alerts, when you're viewing a received text message, press the [Menu] button and select "Chat." This will enable Chat Mode, which will allow you to view any future incoming and outgoing messages to and from that contact in an IM-style display. And the best part, no more annoying pop-up alerts!

I discovered this neat little hack when I accidentally pressed the [Menu] key instead of the "Reply" key I didn't even know such a feature existed! I guess I should have read the manual first. You know, 95% of North Americans don't bother to read the manuals for their electronic devices. It's true. That's why Japan is so reluctant to offer new gadgets to the West. Because we try to use something before we even know what it does. If we stopped being so careless and actually spent 20 minutes to read it proper usage instructions, maybe they'd consider sharing fun, new toys with us like this or this...

It's amazing how much technology has evolved over the past few years, and I expect to see far greater developments in the future. I mean, they've already got smartphones out like the Palm Treo and the Blackberry, and those haven't even begun to scratch the surface yet. Imagine what they'd be replaced with five years from now..

Update: I just finished reading the manual (yes, I actually did), and there's no mention of the SMS Chat anywhere. I guess I found an Easter Egg, and on Easter Day too! What luck!

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1 comment:

lydia said...

sms chat on a V551 works well, but i can't figure out how to accessor resume a chat till the other party chats back. for example, when i close my phone or get a call, i can't resume the chat!?

any ideas?