From: "Christian Molstrom" <cmolstrom_at_lightsurf.com>
> Who said Curt was being sarcastic?
Hm, good point. Maybe I am a Great Consultant after all. I better go
update my business cards, which say just "Consultant" right now.
> > Apparently, a lot of people don't want to carry two handheld gadgets.
> > one would you get rid of first? (Yes, it's either-or at the moment,
> > mobile-phone/palmtop hybrids might change this, I admit.)
> Michael, do you have any evidence for this, or is this simply vapor
Hey. Even if it was a vapor thought, it wouldn't be *simply* a vapor
thought. Consider the source, please. There's lots of smoke, dust and
stale odors in this one, too.
For a bit of earlier discussion on this list:
None other than Stewart Alsop chucked his palmtop when he got a phone nearly
as full-featured. (Though it seems he's gone back, if only to stay in touch
as a reviewer.) He's not keen on combining the two technologies.
Alsop is the guy who rudely wakens us from our dreams of digital avarice,
typically by bringing a down-to-earth Joe User perspective to his product
reviews. Sneer at this if you like, but it will be a hacker's sneer -- if
people like us mattered, Linux would have 12% of the desktop, rather than
it's sub-1% profile.
More recently, Alsop tried a phone/PDA hybrid with a blackberry-style
keyboard, not a pen, and he seems to think this is the way forward:
www.fortune.com/alsop (see under "Say Goodbye to Your PDA")
A user survey of preferences, here:
is interesting, in that it suggests that a majority (54%) of users say they
would prefer to carry more than one device, with mobile phone a near-must
(80%+), and some division over whether they would also carry a palmtop (32%)
or a portable e-mail terminal (37%), with e-mail notably preferred.
However, if Alsop is right -- and he guesses pretty well -- having something
like a blackberry keyboard will make a phone acceptably useable for e-mail,
to Americans, without making it unacceptably bulky as a phone.
The people who commissioned the poll (letstalk.com) have it spun the right
way for their business, of course: "53% of Americans want more than one of
the kinds of devices we sell over the Web! 25% would go for 3 or more!".
I'm sure you could slant it the other way, by asking people what they would
want in a single unit, if they could only have one. What people say they
will do, and what they do, are notoriously different things in most market
One might argue that the Japanese plunged ahead with keitai e-mail because a
keyboard wouldn't have helped them much anyway -- they still have to hassle
with kanji henkan.
"I suppose if you have conquered the thumb-dexerity learning curve, then
tossing your pen is no big deal, provided the phone's apps really offer the
same flexibility as do PDAs. Or people are willing to trade the convenience
of information input and retrieval for the convenience and cost-saving of
carrying only one device."
Let's subject this to the look-around-you test.
Pen input got off to a good start in Japan and stayed pretty strong during
the pre-Palm dark days when pen input was a weekly Doonesbury gag in the
U.S. But it was never nearly as big as keitai has since become. Walk
through a train and count the users. Repeat until you're convinced.
If there was a country where consumers would be early-adopting either the
mobile-phone/palmtop two-gadget mode of operation, or pushing for
mobile-phone/palmtop hybrids, you'd think it would be Japan.
But that's not what you see. You see thumbtyping on mobile phones,
overwhelmingly, then you see those cute little cosmetics-case-size e-mail
terminals (mostly young women), and then palmtops like Zaurus and such
(mostly men over 30 from what I can tell). Recently, I don't see the e-mail
terminals so much. Perhaps they've been mismarketed, I don't know. Nor do
I see those pen input devices as much, but that could be subjective. Gadget
fads arrive here fast, and they don't wear out their welcome when they
leave -- they're gone, in a flash.
If palmtop+keitai (separate or melded) were the ticket, the wave would
already have swept over Gadget Country, don't you think? This would have
been the place to do it, after all.
Received on Wed Jan 9 15:23:15 2002