Why I Miss The Blinking Red Light
John D. Sutter, writing for CNN.com, offers three reasons:
- The keyboard.
- The blinking red light on top.
- 3. Their employer mandates it.
1 and 3 make sense. 2 is just nutty, though.
No it isn’t. I still miss that blinking red light. I remarked as such to a colleague earlier today, when it took me a half-hour to realize I’d missed his call because I’d stepped out of my office for a few minutes. This would never have happened with my BlackBerry, because the minute I’d have sat back down at my desk, the light would blink and I’d know to check it.
That light is not an affectation. It serves as an ambient device, and it conveys important information (far more useful than the ambient orb). It was easy to control sensitivity for missed calls, voicemail, email, and text messages.
Furthermore, I could set my BlackBerry to beep every minute or or so (I can’t remember the exact details) if I missed a call, so if I left the room and came back, I’d immediately know.
But it goes further. On my Blackberry, once I touched a button to fire up the locked home screen, I could tell with a glance precisely why the light was blinking. The notification symbols for calls, voicemails, emails, and text messages were in the taskbar at the top of the screen.
On the iPhone, the taskbar does not include any such information. Instead, I need to unlock it to see what’s come in, unless I pay for an extra app to prod me with pop up notification windows that still require effort to parse. (Well, at least now I can double-click on the home button for the multitasking bar, with bubble notifications.) And of course once I’m in, I’m confronted by dozens of fun little apps to distract me from my work.
So, it’s not just the light, but the entire approach to notifications that is different. The Blackberry “pushes” notifications via a visual marker, repeated audio alerts, and a more informative home screen. The user can remain relatively passive.
By comparison, the iPhone approach to notifications requires me to actively “pull” information from it. I have to take repeated action throughout the day. For a communication device, this is a totally backwards way of doing things. In my view, it’s the primary weak spot of the entire iPhone experience and one of the last remaining decent reasons for opting for a Blackberry, Android, or WebOS phone.
It’s not nutty at all.
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- madthoughts said: The Palm Pre’s middle button glows. It’s very helpful since 98% my phone is on vibrate.
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