For all the attention paid to mobile computing these days and all the progress that has been made, sometimes I feel like we’re going backwards in some areas.
- Customizable launch/home screens, input mechanisms, etc. The Palm Pilot had this capability back in the late 90s, the iPhone, Palm Pre etc. only have it via jailbreak or patches. I understand Android is better here, but haven’t tested it.
- My Palm V + Omnisky with SnapperMail had direct IMAP access back in 2001. The BlackBerry devices I used for the last 3 years had to go through a proxy (which was down more than my mail servers were).
- Battery life has gone from 2-4 days back in the Treo 300/600 days down to less than 24 hours for the iPhone, Palm Pre, Droid and NexusOne.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled at the things these devices can do, but I also look forward to the day they can do so without as many tradeoffs.
I’m in agreement here. Another iPhone-specific one I’d like to add: the blinking light indicating new messages. I switched from having an Android device to having an iPhone a few months ago, and I have missed this the most. It carried over from Blackberry to the T-mobile G1, but not from the Blackberry to the iPhone.
The blinking light is a happy medium for me between being interrupted by messages all of the time (by vibration or noise) and not being reachable while I’m out. When I had my G1, I had filters set up so most messages skipped the inbox, and I had a pretty good percentage of emails that I would want to receive quickly showing up. It was really nice.
It should be seen as an important feature, but the iPhone chose to compromise usefulness for a tiny bit of extra simplicity by omitting the new message light.