Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Second Use Case

If you're gadget freak like me then you probably do a lot of window shopping both online and in the real world. I do most of my research online but when it comes to the actual purchase I like to physically go to the store and see and feel and touch the product before I buy it. I'm kind of an instant gratification guy so when I'm ready to make a purchase I usually don't do it online. That means I need to know if a store's got a certain item in stock and how many they have of that item. It also means I'm probably going to be driving around to a couple stores to find the exact item that I want. And while I love my hybrid I hate bay area traffic. Enter the Samsung Q1!

Case in point: last weekend my significant other and I were out shopping for new laptop. Best Buy had the one we wanted and it was a good price but it was the display unit. We had just come from CompUSA two blocks down the road and saw the exact same unit brand new and in a box but it was $200.00 more. Fry's electronics had to have the unit that we're looking for and probably had around the same price but here's the problem: Fry's is located up over the Oakland hills down Highway 24, past the city of Orinda, down Highway 680, through the city of Walnut Creek and on the far side of Concord. About 30 minutes drive, an hour roundtrip.

Fighting my instinct to not have to interact with people I call the Fry's store and asked them if they have the laptop in stock and if it is on sale. Fry's must have the most ass backwards inventory system because the sales associate could find no use for the product description, product name, laptop identifier or any other useful piece of information. The store associate could only look the product up by its arcane and completely useless unique Fry's identification number --which of course I did not have and did not know. " However, " the store associates told me " it's easy enough to find this number online on our web site. " of course the problem being that I'm not home, behind my computer.

Ah, but I am connected! Being the technophile that I am I busted out the trusty Motorola Q, opened pocket Internet Explorer and hit Fry's Electronics homepage. If you've never been to Fry's Electronics homepage, check it out now ( This is not a mobile friendly web site. Can you imagine all those tabs displayed on a 2in. LCD screen? Needless to say the experience proved fruitless. After fumbling with the Q's menu options to display the web page as a single column, mobile friendly and desktop layouts I punched the red "Call End" button and sat in defeat. I wasn't going to drive home just to use my PC to look up a stupid fries identification number but I wanted to know if it was worth the one hour drive to Fry's to save a couple hundred bucks.

Sitting in my glove box was the Q1. I carry it around with me because I like to jot my thoughts down in OneNote. You know, for things like this blog. Any ways, the point is I had my Q1 with me and not my laptop and the whole phone experience had just failed miserably. So I paired the Q with the Q1 using Bluetooth and hit In ten seconds flat I had their website up on the Q1. And guess what? I had all 21 of those tabs displayed in their full glory on the 7in. 800 by 480, 32 bit color display in a full Internet Explorer running under a real operating system: Windows XP tablet addition.

With three taps of my stylus on the screen I had that Fry's Electronics identification number and was on the phone to my sales associate friend... who promptly told me they didn't have the unit in stock. Praise god and hallelujah baby Jesus We had our answer! Get the brand new boxed laptop from CompUSA --which is exactly what we did.

So here's the big deal. I can't always be behind my computer. When I'm out and about there are lots of times that I wish I had my PC with. Before my Samsung Q1 I just accepted that I'd have to remember what I wanted to do online until I got home. But with the UMPC, I can get the information that I want when I want it. It's not a big deal in itself but I think it may represent where the computing experience is heading - and that shift could turn out to be a big deal.

(This blog post was created using voice dictation on the Samsung Q1 - It's faster than writing and easier than typing.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool, cool. Like that. Sounds like me when I've been using my PDA Acer N311 linked via bluetooth to my K800i cellphone to find street maps. But what really interests me is that you said you wrote this article with speech recognition! What setup did you use and how well does it work for you? Really interested in maximising speech recognition for umpc input but I haven't heard many real life experiences. Please do tell?