My friend Mike pointed this out to me last night:
New BlackBerry is an absolute Pearl - Wireless World - MSNBC.com
I've talked about the importance of interface a couple times before in my blog (http://bigideas.typepad.com/index/2006/03/welldesigned_us.html and http://bigideas.typepad.com/index/2006/03/its_the_interfa.html). I'm going to keep bringing this up though: the interface matters. More than most of us give it credit for. Make the interface terrifically intuitive and powerful and you'll broaden your initial appeal and probably be able to convert a portion of a larger audience to your product/service.
Which is exactly why when I read this review I basically leapt out of my chair when I got to this point:
"Aside from its size, Pearl’s best new feature is its revolutionary
pointing device — a tiny, full-function trackball. Of course, it’s made
to look like a little pearl. It’s easy to use and makes this device a
snap to navigate. Better than up, down, left and right buttons. All
other manufacturers take note — a trackball seems to be the way to go
on a small smartphone."
Oh man, I wish I'd thought of that. It's genius! Seriously, a trackball??? I always hated them as a replacement for the mouse; they were clumsy and not nearly as accurate, in my opinion. With laptops they were perhaps a little better, but I felt that the position of my hands on the keyboard in relation to the trackball always hindered my competence with them. But a small device that I hold in one hand and lends itself to using my thumb in a pretty intuitive manner? That makes sense to me. I imagine that there should be some interesting developments in how the trackball is refined but I'm betting that it catches on. If they can get the tactile feel right, make sure that the trackball rolls smoothly but not too freely and they can also incorporate the ability to select items by pushing on the trackball well... I think we might just have the makings of an iPod interface killer here :)
What do you think? Does a trackball sound like a great idea to you? Do you want one? This review alone made me want to go buy one and damn the carriers for signing stupid exclusive deals.
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