Sometimes Complicated is Easier

Mama Kang seems to be inspiring a lot of my blog entries lately. As a was writing my previous blog entry, I came to a really personal realization and there’s no other way to describe it as an Apple moment three years too late. First off, let me describe Mama Kang a little bit more. The Kang family in general are a bunch of technophiles. We’ve long been exposed to computers even in our early childhood which is rare from a generation perspective and from the fact that we were born in a third-world country. We’re comfortable with trying anything new. Let’s just say that even at my age, I get tech hand-me-downs from my dad and not the other way around. In fact, Papa Kang is totally comfortable with the idea of having a PS3 as a mumtimedia centre because it’s cheaper than to build one. The exception to that rule is my mum. For the most part, mum is more than happy to hand off anything remotely technical to my dad.

Off late, I’ve been getting Mama Kang to use Twitter more. Not because she wants to but because it makes life easier for the rest of the family. The first thing after setting up her Twitter account, I installed Tweetdeck because there is no way that mum would know how to get to the Twitter page. Yes, that’s how mum works. I quickly realized at that point that mum isn’t in front of her computer much and isn’t apt to check Twitter. However, she’s more than happy to use her phone.

I was quite happy for mum when they reinstated SMS for Twitter in Canada and I quickly set up her phone. Funny thing is mum has never sent text messages before this and she didn’t even know how to get to the message function on her Sony Ericsson W810. After showing her how to use the messaging function and T9, she was ironically blocked by the fact that there was no easy way for her to get to the @ sign. Previous posts from mum typically resulted in random broadcast messages that you’d have to know her to understand who she was referring to.

My solution – purchase @elusivejackal’s T-Mobile G1. I have to admit that the initial introduction didn’t go as well as planned. Largely because it was two brand new paradigms for her – touchscreen and slideout full keyboard. Once she got that, it was really smooth sailing. It was, however, really amusing to watch her press the touchscreen really hard. Hopefully the phone lasts through that abuse.

A couple of things blew my mind. I have to admit that I half expected the experiment to fail. My use of a smartphone is really complex as I use my phone for most things such as communicating (IM, phone, email, twitter), blogging, life management (contact, tasks, calendar), finance tracking, reading, looking up info and lots of things I’m sure I don’t realize that I use it for. In all of the complexity of my use, the one thing that they have really done well with Windows Mobile, Android and the iPhone is that all of them have done a great job in making the phone extremely user friendly. For mum, she found the Android to be significantly easier to use than the Sony Ericsson W810. Once everything was setup, mum found the touch screen intuitive to use. With the slideout keyboard, it was a lot easier to send text messages than a regular T9 keyboard. She loves the new phone and I’ve been receiving lots of Twitter messages since she got her new phone.

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