I paid the 500 quid for the StarTac back in 1999. It was a brilliant, revolutionary handset. My favourite feature was the fact it carried a credit card sized sim card. Not that useful but I liked the concept. Of course the form factor was simply amazing.
I was the coolest kid at University College London as a result. Everyone else was walking about with brick handsets.
Then I upraded to the RAZR. Again… phenomenal.
But let’s be clear, the operating system — or, more to the point, the UI — was appalling.
No problem when all you want to do is sod about with text messages and phone people.
But when you want to run applications — meaningful applications? Dream on.
When you want to DO things with the device you found you were limited to the highly uninventive and seriously shite imagination of the Motorola UI/Operating System designers.
The innovation dried up. Motorola lost their way.
Android could be their salvation.
Motorola are shit hot at device design. Look at the SLVR and any other RZR style product. I’m not always a fan of their buttons but the devices — the build quality… usually pretty decent.
It’s the day to day use that sucks. It’s the fact you can’t easily get your pictures off the handset. It’s the fact you can’t easily run Google Maps, or any number of cool little toys, services, features. Motorola devices — even their top of the range — are a billion miles away from offering the functionality that the market is beginning to get used to from the likes of the iPhone.
Manufacturers shouldn’t ever get involved in the interface and front-end of their handsets. They’ve proved, time and time again, that they’re utterly shit at it. Of course, they’re designing for the lowest common denominator — for Joe Plumber. Joe Plumber doesn’t need a Starmap application. He doesn’t need a TV Guide. He doesn’t a restaurant rating system or a dedicated Facebook app on the handset. In fact he just needs to call and text.
The manufacturer does their best at fitting out the handset with a few features that they reckon most folk will want.
But that’s it.
When the manufacturer can take a step back and focus on device features rather than the UI layer, that’s when the fun begins.
Can you imagine a range of 15 Motorola devices — all with different form factors, flip, candybar, qwerty — and all running Android?
NOW you’re talking. Shortly you’ll be able to take your device profile across every handset automatically. Someone will build that functionality for Android. And all of a sudden my aim of being device independent could be realised.
If I’m wearing a suit, I want a RAZR style lightweight handset — that I can still do all the Android-stuff on (email, IM, calendar, applications and so on). Going out with friends, I might swap to a Moto Candybar with an 8megapixel camera so I can QIK the whole evening. The next morning I might swap to a QWERTY Q9 style handset because I’m taking a long train journey and I want to do a ton of email and a lot of IMing.
Go for it Moto. Take Android to heart and a hundred thousand mobile developers will immediately start setting about innovating and, in short order, convincing the planet to turn Moto.