Thursday, September 02, 2010

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

There are too many choices for consumers and yet not enough…the specific options each of us wants may not be available. Cereal aisles, for example, offer dozens of varieties. Even so, often the particular iteration I want isn’t there. (Jewel doesn’t have Frosted Mini-Wheats Cinnamon Streusel, but I happened to find it in a Treasure Island.)

We don’t have the time to shop every store to seek exactly what we're looking for. And sometimes, it doesn’t even exist. So we compromise.

I wanted a new smart phone. With all the fees and contract fine points, changing providers can be a pain and costly. And I’ve been happy with U.S. Cellular’s service…often more reliable than friends’ AT&T iPhones (one of their compromises). I’d hoped for a slide out keyboard, but the phones with that lacked other important features. I chose the brand new HTC Desire Android because of its large (3.7”) touch screen, lightning fast Internet, Flash (!), and number of and ease of downloading apps.

Scrolling through long Yahoo! Digest e-mails, checking in with Facebook and browsing websites is a breeze, both because of the touch screen and the pinch feature to resize text. There are 7 home screens, which offer a lot of customizing, and an easy way to access all apps. I have small fingers, so the touchscreen keyboard, when horizontal, is ok for typing.

However, I gave up what were, IMO, essential BlackBerry benefits: different notification sounds for each e-mail address, the ability to view all emails from all addresses at once, and instant delivery of messages. Apparently the vast majority of phones only offer one notification sound for texts and e-mails. Only calls can have different ring tones.

I’m surprised more people don't want to know, for example, if they just got a text or a voicemail message. I can’t be the only person who has different e-mail addresses serving different purposes, so some are more important to check frequently than others, like my work vs. my shopping address. Maybe most people are so phone obsessed they check no matter what’s incoming.

The Desire can check for new messages every 5 minutes, which I guess will be fast enough even for those “respond ASAP” auditions I often get. Also, the Desire is a little heavier, 4.76 ounces vs. 3.70, the battery drains much faster, and some tasks I perform frequently take an extra tap or two. The user manual, like many these days, isn’t all that helpful, so there may be features I’d like but can’t find or figure out. For example, the Desire screen is so sensitive, I sometimes tap things I didn’t want. If there’s a way to adjust that, like you can a mouse, I can’t find it.

In other areas of life, from jobs to relationships, we usually compromise. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get exactly what you want.

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