Monday, August 18, 2008

30 Days of Frustrations with a Blackberry - Day 3


"Rudimentary Today Themes"

As anyone who has had the pleasure of using a WM device knows, the Today screen is one of the most useful features of a smartphone. To summarize: Using the today screen, you can see all the information you need 'at-a-glance' without having to click anything on your phone. In the WM world, there are many wonderful applications to take advantage of the extreme ability to customize your today screen and view whatever you want, even adding the ability to see information about other applications you have installed.

For instance, here's some screenshots from one of the most popular Today-enhancement applications, known as SPB Diary.

As you can see, there's a plethora of information available, especially given the ability to use multiple tabs on the left. You can even answer emails and SMS or mark tasks completed all without leaving the Today screen!

Now let's look at the Blackberry. You have a choice of three types of themes.

Icon Themes

Zen Themes

Today Themes

The Icon themes are just ridiculous to me, since you can just click the 'option' button a a Blackberry to display the same thing from any other theme page.

The Zen themes are anything but 'zen' to me, since it just looks like an icon theme that only has 5 items on it. It tells you what each item is when you are on it, but how useless is that?!

So that leaves us with Today themes. What you see is what you get. Seriously. I've even downloaded the developer's kit and made some of my own themes trying to incorporate more items onto one page. No go. You can put different things there, like SMS messages and whatnot, but trying to put 4+ items on the screen results in the bottom ones disappearing. And as for that ridiculous 'applications' icon on the bottom-- It is permanently there.

(Note: This is accurate information about the 4.2 and earlier today screens, the 4.5 actually adds some more ability, but not nearly as much as a stock WM device)

So yeah, the Today screen is seriously crippled on the Blackberry. You can try to enhance it, but your attempts will only be semi-successful, and your end-result will be less than satisfactory if you're used to a WM device.

Current disposition: Since I love to use Today screens, I
still HATE Blackberries.

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