Posts Tagged With: iPad

Data Access in America

You may remember that last year I blogged about the costs associated with Data Access in Europe. Coming to America I knew that using my mobile wouldn’t be cheap; or at least that was my assumption before I travelled. I have, however, come up with some innovative solutions that have surprised me as to how cost effective communicating transatlantic can be.

1. O2 TuGo

My mobile phone contract in the UK is with O2, thanks to the new TuGo app I can make and receive calls and send text messages from anywhere in the world via wifi. They charge me as if I were using my handset in the UK so any call time or texts comes out of my contract minutes. If you haven’t found the app yet or want more information take a look at this website.

2. An American Sim Card

Fortunately I had remembered to ensure that both my iPad and Mobile phone were unlocked so I have been able to purchase American Sim Cards for the devices. This obviously makes data access significantly cheaper; unlimited data on my mobile phone costs around $3 per day.

What surprised me more though was that for an extra $10 I am able to make unlimited calls to UK landlines.

Both of the above solutions has made me realise how far behind we are in the UK in terms of data and calling plans on our mobile devices. I called O2 before travel and was told that using my phone abroad would cost more that £1 per minute to make calls and around £0.90 per minute to receive calls. It seems to me that there is something amiss here – why is it cost effective for American carriers to offer reasonable calling plans but not for UK carriers.

What is your experience of calling and using data from abroad?

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Categories: Customer Service, Mobile Phones, Technology, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Design More Important than Functionality?

I have worked for several years with developers and designers; arguments often rage between the two groups about what’s more important design or functionality.

It’s also interesting to put clients into this mix. When demonstrating a new system it always fascinates me how end users react. Typically if the system “looks” visually stunning functional deficiencies will be overlooked by the end user – but presenting a system that is functionally perfect without a stunning design often leads to disappointment.

Steve Jobs was notorious for placing huge value on the aesthetics of a product, this is evident in products like the iPhone and the iPad – but does this mean that design is more important than function?

It seems apparent that users like to use systems that feel superior – the human race is notorious for being a little shallow at times and traditionally place a lot of emphasis on the first impression – I guess this is also true of products and product design. In this sense design isn’t necessarily “more” important than functionality but it is incredibly important to always give a good first impression.

To realise that this is true you only need to look at the shock reaction when Susan Boyle demonstrated she had an outstanding voice – or the day that Paul Potts aced his audition. An assumption had been made in both cases that because they didn’t look like traditional pop stars they were not going to be able to sing.

I wonder how many websites have suffered this fate – functionally brilliant but simply didn’t live up to design expectation. What’s you view? Can superior functionality ever live up to expectation without quality design?

Categories: Design, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Devices

Over the past few days i’ve been giving a lot of consideration to what makes a device a “great device”.

Take the concept of a mobile phone; I got my first mobile in 1998, to be blunt, it was a BT cellnet brick. At the time I thought it was the best thing in the world and that I would never need another phone ….. less than a year later I was back in the phone shop looking for a better device.

This trend continued until 2007 when I got my first iPhone. Now don’t get me wrong i’ve upgraded my device every 12 to 18 months since then, but this time something has changed. I’m no-longer looking for a “new” mobile phone, instead i’m looking for a new “iPhone”.

It would therefore be reasonable to assume that I consider the iPhone a “great device”. Over the last 15 years not many devices have had that same effect on me – the iPad being the other notable exception.

So what is it about these devices that make them great? Why is it that I no-longer feel I need to be constantly searching for a better mobile phone or a better tablet device?

If i’m honest i’m not sure I have the answer ….. at least not the full and complete answer. Just as I was pondering this earlier in the week a friend of mine visited me with her two year old daughter. I’d left my iPad on the sofa and as we were talking I noticed the inquisitive child pick up the device and after a couple of minutes work out how to switch it on. The child didn’t know what she was doing, but she did manage to “swipe to unlock” and a few minutes later had managed to launch the app angry birds.

Now I don’t believe that Leila is an unusual 2 year old, she may well grow up to be a genius but right now she is just an ordinary child. Something about the “i” range of are intuitive and easy to use. It occurs to me that with these devices Apple haven’t developed some technology that they want to bring to the masses, instead they have started with what people want from a device and then made the device insanely intuitive. So intuitive that a 2 year old can work out how to use the technology.

This is the clever bit ….. they haven’t “dumbed it down” – the devices can do extremely complex things, they just do those complex things in such a way that anyone feels comfortable “giving it a go”.

To my mind it is therefore the fact the the “i” devices do everything that a user wants in a “friendly” and “intuitive” way that encourages users to want to use them and as a result makes these devices great!

Other views on “i” device greatness can be found at these links:
http://www.phonebuff.com/2011/10/what-makes-iphone-great/
http://www.ipadfb.com/ipad-why-people-love-it/

Categories: Apple, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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