Invisible Technology … and Choosing a Mobile Phone

I haven’t done an iPad post for a while, but was just prompted to by a great CNET article: http://cnet.co/qmBiSC

It prompted me to write on my IBM internal activity stream:

I don’t "use the iPad" in the way I "use my laptop". Instead I read the Guardian, check what’s happening with my friends (Facebook) or in IT (Twitter), or find out what’s going on in the world of IBM Collaboration (via blogs through the feed reader). Like all great technology it doesn’t get in the way or require me to think about it. It is invisible, I just see the content

That’s what Apple does exceptionally well. It doesn’t think about building a better mobile operating system, or creating a Tablet to compete with someone else, it thinks about what users want to do, and how to facilitate letting them do it without getting in the way. It does feel (most of the time) as if all the irritations around the closed platform and managed ecosystem are there to allow others to contribute to that goal, without letting them undermine the user experience (yes, sure it’s about making money too, but ultimately you are going to make more money if you create a solution that flies off the shelves, rather than by controlling it).

I’m still struggling with whether to get an iPhone or an Android to replace my BlackBerry. In some way, there doesn’t seem to be much of a gap that needs filling around the MacBook Air and iPad – all I really need is something that will let me make calls, show my electronic boarding pass and take pictures, check Twitter/Facebook and find my way home if I get lost, when I am out in the evening with only the things in my pocket. And I can do all those things, even on a BlackBerry (in face, much as it frustrates me, I would not be very motivated to do anything if the trackball wasn’t giving up).

But… I am sure that isn’t really true. I know there will be different apps that really work well on the mobile and enrich my experience. But the thing is, iPhone users I know tell me about the great Apps they use, while Android users tell me how great the operating system is. Apple markets the way it will change my life, while Android markets the fact that it does Flash.

So will an Android mobile phone be invisible the way I want it to be?

Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab?

Passing through Heathrow today I got my first chance to play with a Galaxy Tab in the duty free. Pretty impressive. There was no Internet connection, but even without I couple pay with it enough to be convinced it is a cool piece of kit … and that Android is a good platform for Tablets.

Fast, easy to use, a nice form factor (it felt a bit cramped after the iPad, but for a "one window at a time" type device I think the screen is big enough) and highly functional with all the capabilities you would expect (and if the iPad was a phone, perhaps I would not be so resistant to buying a second SIM for it).

As I left the shop, I passed the Apple section and a different adjective popped into my head. The Galaxy is functional, easy to use, effective, useful. The iPad is beautiful.

Practically, I do not think there is much difference which platform you commit to. It is emotionally that the iPad gets you. So are you ruled by your head or your heart?