'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be cheap | Bleader

Friday, May 18, 2007

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be cheap

Posted By on 05.18.07 at 10:14 AM

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Peter Margasak's rant about cell phone photos from concerts hit home with me, not because I particularly mind them but because I'm sore tired of multifunction cell phones that do many things badly. A couple years ago I plunked down on a Nokia 6800 with a flip-out keypad for e-mailing (used as a dork signifier in The Devil Wears Prada), and it hasn't yet improved my quality of life, plus I'm out a couple hundred bucks over that period for the service.

So I think his irritation is well-placed, but the struggling Schaumburg cell phone-maker Motorola is betting otherwise. Among its new offerings is the Z8 "movie phone."

"The phone is a 'kick slider': When closed, the Z8 is suitable for watching full-length films on a high-resolution 2.2-inch screen."

Emphasis mine, because I'm trying to make our movie critics mad at cell phones, too.

"Jeremy Dale, corporate vice president for marketing for mobile devices, said the Z8 'is a kick slider that kicks butt.'

[snip]

"He said the new MotoROKR Z6 is 'the purest, wildest music experience on the planet.'"

Thanks to Motorola's marketing VP, I've delayed any desire I had to go corporate for at least another few months. 

I do think Motorola has a hot-shit phone, however. It's called the Motofone, and it's designed to appeal to markets in developing countries. It goes for about $50, has a standby time of over two weeks, and uses e-ink instead of a screen to cut way down on battery usage.

Most important, it doesn't do anything dumb like take blurry pictures or grainy video. It makes calls and sends text messages. It's got an alarm clock, too, and soon you should be able to charge it using your bike. It got a little buzz from Internet geeks awhile back, and no one's paid much attention since, I suppose because its innovation is what it doesn't do and doesn't cost.

Such a phone, one wise commenter at Engadget pointed out, also cuts down on the bill creep that comes from picture/video messaging, ringtone and game downloads, push-to-talk fees, and the like.

It could be the iPhone killer, in the unlikely event people chill out about gadgetry in the next couple months. I don't have one, so I can recommend it only in theory, but it's at the top of the list when my dork phone dies.

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