Special ThoughtPiece: Zen and the Art of the Pearl

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Another special Pearl-related article today, this time from our man with a plan: Thought. This time he talks about Pearl design and Steve Jobs during the 80′s (no, really) after he got some hands-on time with the device while talking to a T-Mobile rep.

The Pearl is more than a utilitarian device; it is one meant to compete in the world of emotions and imagination. Therefore, it must not only be analyzed, but reacted to; what follows are my first reactions to experiencing the Pearl.

When an individual sees and holds the Pearl for the first time that person will be immediately impressed; the connection will be made. Products often live or die based on this very moment.

Tom Peters once famously remarked that “Design is the principal difference between love and hate.” If that’s true, the Pearl is sure to inspire much love.

The design is absolutely fantastic. The lines are clean; the look is smart, classy and uncomplicated. The size of the unit is a breakthrough; the Pearl is a smartphone that masquerades in the size of a small conventional cell phone.

The Pearl is everything that the Q was hyped to be: a smartphone with cutting-edge design that is far easier and more fun to carry around than any other on the market.

The trackball seems to combine simplicity with utility; the comparison I’ve heard most non-technical types use is that it’s like a computer mouse. That’s a good sign. Operation of the phone is intuitive and zippy.

In conclusion, the Pearl strikes me as the iPod of smartphones. Like the iPod, the Pearl epitomizes the virtues of great design, ease of use, responsive operation, and a decided feeling of quality. I will borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs and his landmark 1984 presentation introducing the Macintosh and say, that at least at first impression, that the Pearl is “insanely great.”

  • L. M. Lloyd

    You know, I really can’t understand the fascination people have with the iPod as some high water mark of design. The article says that the Pearl is the iPod of smartphones. Let us hope that RIM is aiming a little higher than that. I mean, the iPod seems quite well liked by those who own them, but it is hardly the most advanced, or even successful device ever made.

    I would really hope that the person who wrote this article would realize how small the iPod’s market is compared to the mobile phone market. By the same token one would hope that RIM is aiming more for the RAZR of smartphones, than the iPod of smartphones.

    Just something to think about, from Q4 of 2004 to Q1 of 2006, Motorola sold 50 million RAZRs. That is 50 million in 18 months. If you count all on Motorola’s other phones, they are selling about 50 million phones a quarter. Nokia is selling something like 75 million phones a quarter. On the other hand from its launch in Q4 of 2001 to today, all lines of the iPod combined have sold fewer than 60 million units! Hardly a run-away success in terms of the mobile phone market.

    Aside from the praise fawned on it by the relatively small number of users who have iPods, I really don’t see any indication that it is some holy grail of technology that everything electronic should be measured by. If anything, it would seem that Phone manufacturers have a thing or two to teach Apple about what constitutes a design that people really want.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    You know, I really can’t understand the fascination people have with the iPod as some high water mark of design. The article says that the Pearl is the iPod of smartphones. Let us hope that RIM is aiming a little higher than that. I mean, the iPod seems quite well liked by those who own them, but it is hardly the most advanced, or even successful device ever made.

    I would really hope that the person who wrote this article would realize how small the iPod’s market is compared to the mobile phone market. By the same token one would hope that RIM is aiming more for the RAZR of smartphones, than the iPod of smartphones.

    Just something to think about, from Q4 of 2004 to Q1 of 2006, Motorola sold 50 million RAZRs. That is 50 million in 18 months. If you count all on Motorola’s other phones, they are selling about 50 million phones a quarter. Nokia is selling something like 75 million phones a quarter. On the other hand from its launch in Q4 of 2001 to today, all lines of the iPod combined have sold fewer than 60 million units! Hardly a run-away success in terms of the mobile phone market.

    Aside from the praise fawned on it by the relatively small number of users who have iPods, I really don’t see any indication that it is some holy grail of technology that everything electronic should be measured by. If anything, it would seem that Phone manufacturers have a thing or two to teach Apple about what constitutes a design that people really want.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    You know, I really can’t understand the fascination people have with the iPod as some high water mark of design. The article says that the Pearl is the iPod of smartphones. Let us hope that RIM is aiming a little higher than that. I mean, the iPod seems quite well liked by those who own them, but it is hardly the most advanced, or even successful device ever made.

    I would really hope that the person who wrote this article would realize how small the iPod’s market is compared to the mobile phone market. By the same token one would hope that RIM is aiming more for the RAZR of smartphones, than the iPod of smartphones.

    Just something to think about, from Q4 of 2004 to Q1 of 2006, Motorola sold 50 million RAZRs. That is 50 million in 18 months. If you count all on Motorola’s other phones, they are selling about 50 million phones a quarter. Nokia is selling something like 75 million phones a quarter. On the other hand from its launch in Q4 of 2001 to today, all lines of the iPod combined have sold fewer than 60 million units! Hardly a run-away success in terms of the mobile phone market.

    Aside from the praise fawned on it by the relatively small number of users who have iPods, I really don’t see any indication that it is some holy grail of technology that everything electronic should be measured by. If anything, it would seem that Phone manufacturers have a thing or two to teach Apple about what constitutes a design that people really want.