Mobile: I confess, I like the BlackBerry PlayBook’s user interface.

by mcampbell on May 14, 2012

The problem that I have with Apple products (iPod, iPhone, iPad) is that the interface is so simplified that it lacks power. Sure, it’s accessible … an orangutan may be able to use it … unfortunately, I am not an orangutan. I want to use multiple applications simultaneously and I cannot effectively do this in the Apple environment. I am reduced to a single task environment with a lot of home key mashing and looking repeatedly for my apps from the icons listing. Infuriating! Scrolling is another problem … I have big fingers and as a consequence I am constantly triggering icons that I don’t want, highlighting text, and experiencing multiple levels of frustration as my fingers stumble around the interface. This is even worse on a hot day when my hands perspire. Android is better, but not much better.

The PlayBook is the closest I have come to a real multi-tasking interface, and the bezel (the active border around the viewing area) is very helpful. I can easily work multiple applications at once in a manner more reminiscent of my laptop than of the competing mobile user interfaces. The difference is so pronounced that I find it easier to work the small 7” screen of the PlayBook than the 10” screen of the iPad.

For the future, can I offer a short wish list?

  1. I would love to see a 10” PlayBook (no loss there, RIM … both sizes fit into my briefcase or knapsack, and neither fit in my pocket). A 10” size is just easier to see and to manipulate.
  2. Can we add functionality to the bezel? I would love to have horizontal and vertical scrolling added to the bezel so I have the option not to put my fingers on the screen every time. This would reduce the number of interface missteps and times that I need to wipe down the viewing area. I would also like configuration ability for the bezel, so I can decide what ‘sweet spots’ I want to activate. Adding graphics to the bezel could show the active configurations.


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