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Smartphones & E-mail Addicts: My Personal Experience

I’ve carried a Blackberry 8100 (aka Pearl) for the past 18 months. I like it. Prior to this I carried a Motorola Razr V3, whose sole feature was its form factor. It was a great size & shape. Decent phone too, but not a “smart phone.”

For years I’ve watched as friends and associates jumped on the smart phone craze. Some had Treo’s, some Windows Mobile devices..heck, my wife’s employer issued her a Blackberry 7290 a year before I  broke down and bought my Pearl. I’m the early adopter in the family so that was a strange turn of the tables.

There was a reason that I sat on the smart phone sidelines so long. Treo’s were a bit on the large side and the early Blackberries just did not seem like good phones. Beyond these facts I was concerned the I might overtaken by my email, or rather my compulsive need to deal with my email.

I see this in my wife sometimes. She can be a slave to her Blackberry. It cannot be left to ring unanswered, and all emails are read immediately. She came home at lunch today and spent most of the half hour paying attention to her email. She had only left her office for 30 minutes. How urgent could these emails be?

No, this is not about urgency. It’s about compulsive behavior. Smart phones are massive enabling devices for compulsive email addicts.

My take is that email is not urgent. After all, these smart phones are actually phones. If something truly urgent was afoot the other party would call us, and get our full and immediate attention, even if only for a minute.

Back to the Pearl. It’s the ideal smart phone for me. Why, you ask?

Simple…the keyboard. Or rather, the lack of a full QWERTY mini-keyboard.

That’s really important.

With this little keyboard something has to be truly urgent to compel me to reply using the phone. If it had a full keyboard it would be too convenient to reply immediately, and suffer the consequences of my poorly considered reply.

I also like the jack for a wired headset. I’ve never met a bluetooth headset that I could live with.

What about the iPhone you ask? No thanks, not interested. It looks like cool device but it has been until now wed to an evil carrier. Maybe that’ll change when the 3G model is released, but I doubt it.

OTOH, the OpenMoko FreeRunner is slated to start shipping July 7th. That could run Google’s Android later this year. That could be interesting. Time will tell. It certainly won’t be locked to AT&T, which is major plus.

*Oh yeah, my wife will probably be really mad if she reads this!

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