Scathing is a great word,  It sounds as harsh as its definition.  The only thing it’s missing is a verb to go with it – and I’m just going to pretend there is one, for now, so that I can say that the Blackberry Storm, and most of the biggest players in the smartphone arena, […]
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The Blackberry Storm and Major Smartphone Players Get ‘Fryed’

scathing - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Scathing is a great word,  It sounds as harsh as its definition.  The only thing it’s missing is a verb to go with it – and I’m just going to pretend there is one, for now, so that I can say that the Blackberry Storm, and most of the biggest players in the smartphone arena, have just been well and truly scathed’ by Mr. Stephen Fry.  Or maybe it’s better to say they got ‘Fryed’.  In any case, a beatdown has occurred.

For those who haven’t come across him, Stephen Fry (Wikipedia entry HERE)is a comedy actor (in classic UK sitcoms like Blackadder), writer of many successful UK comedy programs (including one where he co-starred with Hugh Laurie from ‘House), author of several novels, TV presenter, and all-around stunningly brilliant guy.

He is also a major, major gadget freak, with an enormous knowledge of smartphones, PDAs, PCs in general etc.  He writes an occasional tech column for The Guardian,  and also produces some awesome tech reviews at his own site.

This one – is his latest thoughts on the Blackberry Bold and Storm models, the G1, plus some superb stuff on innovation, the smartphone marketplace, Apple’s approach to product design and the iPhone’s standing in the smartphone wars.  Oh, and how jailbreaking should be not just tolerated, but encouraged šŸ™‚

It’s long.  Very long, but well worth the effort.  I can’t think of anyone whose writing can embody the word ‘scathing’ more than Fry’s.

Some quick examples follow …

A strange obsession, mine. But better to be addicted to smartphones and gismos than cocaine or sex, I suppose. Well, I don ‘t know, the result is the same after all, very little sleep, great expense and horrific mess everywhere.

This is no triumph of style over substance. iPhone is all about function, all about ease and pleasure of real, hard-working use, all about the fundamental understanding that is Steve Jobs and Jony Ive ‘s (Apple ‘s Chief Designer) great contribution to digital (and therefore cultural) life in our time “ that human beings, willy-nilly, forge relationships even with inanimate objects and that those relationships, being human, take on all the colours of emotion: it is in our DNA for this to be the case. With objects that we spend most hours of most days with such a relationship is far from a secondary consideration. There is no ‘pathetic fallacy ‘ here, this is not an additional luxury for media types only, a pretentious over-reading for the leisured and chattering classes, this is a deep and important human psychological truth that allows machines to function better: much, much better.

Looking back, then, at the first phase in the history of smart communication devices, the real mystery is not how Jobs and Ive and their team made their breakthrough with such conspicuous speed and success, it is how the might of Symbian, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Microsoft could have bestridden the market for so many years without so much as making an attempt to satisfy, please, solace and ease the smartphone experience: even a quarter of Apple ‘s imagination, creativity, innovation and delight in technology would have been something … How could the major players have left a gap in the market so wide that a complete novice in mobile telephony could so instantly shame them?

Ever try to connect to a wireless network on a Sony Ericsson P series or WinMob smartphone? The contempt implicit in these foul, fiddly behemoths was breathtaking. The profound ugliness of Nokia ‘s e range, the horrible underpowered nightmare of Sony ‘s UIQ devices, the quite staggeringly insulting ghastliness of Windows Mobile

Don ‘t you sometimes long to be CEO of a company like Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia or Microsoft? So that you can say to your coders, your designers, your development teams and your software architects: ‘Not Fucking Good Enough. I haven ‘t said ‘Wow ‘ yet. I haven ‘t gasped with pleasure, amusement or admiration once. Start again. Not Fucking Good Enough. ‘

Excellent stuff!  Tons more insight on the smartphone market in general, as well as his thoughts on the Blackberry Bold and the G1 ‘Google Phone’.  It’s definitely worth checking out the full post HERE

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