Archive | January 2011

First steps

So L has had the HTC HD7 for a few days now, I thought it was high time to post her initial impressions beyond the industry standard new thing = awesome.

Overall impression? Not bad, but not great.

Her issues are not necessarily legion but there are a couple of sore points, namely battery life, stability and speed.

Low power:

L has a long commute into London each day meaning that any of her phones spend a long time surfing the net on 3G, playing music and either reading a book (more on that later) or playing a game. On top of this you add the oh so lovely live tiles that constantly poll various sources (FB/Gmail/Photostreams etc) for new content and display on the home screen. All of this consumes a lot of power and being that the battery is a meager 1280 MA/H doesn’t bode well. First day out in the real world and the battery lasted about eight hours, which is frankly appalling (it died 20 mins into her journey home), now there are a couple of things she can do to reduce the load on battery (turn off 3G, Live Tiles etc), she can invest in a 1500 MA/H battery or she can get a cable for work.

All of which she can do, but she shouldn’t have to, HD7 needs to be able to provide a full day of power considering the relatively light usage its being put through.

Spit and Polish:

Windows Phone 7 is lovely to look, use, apart from the crashing. L has experienced multiple app crashes and system lock ups requiring full restarts of the phone. It’s a real shame as the UI is leagues ahead of what other providers are putting out. Which leads me on to the next issue

Speed:

There’s no way to sugar coat it, WP7 feels slow at times, especially opening third party apps, now I’m holding fire on fully damning it as their is an upcoming update that is supposed to increase speed across the board.

So all negative then?

Far from it, the screen is large (4.3 inches) which makes reading books a lot easier even if the DPI isn’t up to my iPhone 4, the larger screen makes reading far more comfortable. The Marketplace offers enough distractions and the hardware instills confidence.

Probably the most over looked feature is Windows Connect.

This tiny application (40mb) e makes the migration process all the more palatable as it give you the ability to access your iTunes library, meaning that any podcasts/mp3/4 etc available to on iTunes (DRM’d aside) is accessible to your WP7 mobile.

It’s small light and fast and gives you the access to iTunes you need without any of the bloat, heaven.

We’re both holding judgment until the fabled update rolls out but the Windows Phone 7 platform definitely shows promise and at this early stage that’s enough.

A brave new world

Meet L, she needs a new phone

This is L, our Window Phone 7 test pilot

She (in her own words) is an “average user” in that she doesn’t care about:

  • What goes into the operating system,
  • How its powered
  • Running apps in the background
  • why x is better than y

She does care about:

  • Speed
  • Games like angry birds, god hand, fruit ninja
  • Solid hardware that conveys a sense of durability
  • and a quality user experience

 

What I mean by the last one can be summed up when we went phone shopping last month:

Me: “So what are you looking for?”

Her: “You know, a new phone”

Me: “So you staying with iOS or do you want to try Android, Symbian even?

Her:”……”

Me:”okaaay, so moving on there are couple of phones but hardware wise check out this (I hand her a N8), it has a 12 megapixel camera!”

She plays with the phone for a minute

Her:”Nope, this wont work, its not intuitive” Then pausing for a moment “I dont know what to do with it

And its true we all know that Symbian on the N8 isn’t great, but it begins to dawn on me how quickly my list of candidates are being removed.

It essentially comes down to Android (Experia x10, staying with her 3GS until the iPhon5 comes out or the HTC HD7 running windows phone 7.

It’s a nice bit of kit.

My viewpoint on the competing phone OS’s is this:

Apple: Currently Top Dog because it offers a seamless enviroment in which to use your phone, the interface is well realised and its easy to use.

Android: Nice try but it still feels half finished, perhaps with 3.0 it can finally compete with Apple on the UI front, so until its released, why bother?

Window Phone 7: I like WP7 because its trying something different, I love the transitions between layers, it feels like its pushing the mobile space forward and more importantly it has mobile versions of excel (critical in her line of work).

And more importantly, she likes the HD7, so we buy one outright (£280 on ebay, she’ll be able to sell her 3GS for £250) so if she grows to hate it she can just sell it and get something else further down the line.

The phone should arrive today, so I will try and capture her experience in the next couple of blog posts.

Bett2011

On the tube, towards bett11 listening to the tron legacy
soundtrack. Dramatic music for austere times, this is the first
exhibition of the year and the first to take place as the cuts are
begin to bite. It’s a new era in education, one where the
gluttonous excess of the past decade are a testament to the work we
have to do. But it is one filled with potential, with less money to
spend, public bodies are far more reticent with their funding. A
Contracted marketplace means one thing, competition and it’s that
force that can help educators to drive the education industry to
provide a better product. I will be watching with interest at
bett11 to see how many companies have recognised this. As it those
who will not only survive , but prosper.

JISC Report on learner voice at South Essex College

With a sense of pride, I recently read through JISC’s case study on the learner voice as South Essex College (http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=sec), it focuses on the use of Innovative technologies to engage the learner voice and their viewpoint of the section that I personally developed,  C_Live:

“One of the key new sections of C_Space is C_Live, which has been designed specifically with the students’ social experience in mind. Within the contemporary design of the page, which was actually designed by a games development student, there is a personal blog, a Seek feed, a notes editor, and a library for hyperlinks. With the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, Student Council members have started to publish content onto this new site.”

The article goes on to state: “Students have benefited greatly from this engagement, as through polls, forums, surveys, blogs and Twitter-type tools their voice is being heard by other students, staff and senior management.”

Although I’ve moved on to pastures new, my development C_Live is one of the highlights of my e-learning career.