Blackberry Storm: The Big Little Thing

The Blackberry Storm provides an interesting case study. On paper, the Storm offers everything a user could possibly want. Its feature set is as good, or better, than the iPhone. (Click here for the full specs.)

We could spend a lot of time speculating about why the Storm failed. Maybe it entered the market too late, maybe it wasn't innovative enough. Maybe people just don't think Blackberry is "cool" enough for the consumer market. And of course, there's the lack of Wi-Fi. But really, lack of Wi-Fi isn't a dealbreaker, especially with Verizon's powerful network.

So here it is, the reason nobody likes the Blackberry Storm: it doesn't provide an intuitive experience. The Storm's clickable screen is annoying and buggy—texting and sending email messages are chores. Suddenly everyone's favorite gadget—the smartphone—isn't so fun, or even so smart, anymore.

Let's look back to the original iPhone. In terms of specs and capabilities, there was nothing overtly revolutionary about the phone. It had bugs and crashes, and no, it didn't become popular because Apple made it. Apple has created enough flat products to prove its name doesn't carry that kind of weight.

But what the iPhone did and does have is an intuitive experience. That's the goal of a mobile device: to provide a sleek mobile computing experience. You don't expect it to have the performance of a laptop, but ease of use is absolutely critical.

There's a trend to be seen here. The Nintendo Wii clobbered the competition in the gaming market, despite its weak specifications. What the Wii does have is a good price point and a good experience. Similarly, Blu-Ray adoption remains fairly low—one might say it's due to the economy, but ultimately it comes down to user experience. Blu-Ray's viewing experience isn't compelling enough to surpass the painful experience of converting your hardware and tossing out your movie collection.

The technology market is filled with fierce competition, and everyone's looking for the next big thing. Me personally? I'm looking for the next little thing—the simple enhancements in user experience that will help me shave a few lonely minutes of effort from each day.

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