Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.


BlackBerry Storm Not So Touchy With TalkLock™

January 2, 2009

One design flaw that's bothered me with the BlackBerry Storm is that the touch screen remains active during a phone call.  CellAvant has offered a solution to my frustrations with TalkLock™.

While on a call, the BlackBerry Storm touch screen stays active and displays your number, your connected time, and as much information as is available with who you are contacted to.  On the bottom half of the screen you also have 4 large buttons, one for speaker, one for mute, one for flash and one to add participant.  Then at the very bottom there are 5 menu buttons. One to show keyboard, one to launch the notes application, one to navigate you to the home screen, one to show your calendar, and one to show your contacts.

All of these options are great and very useful in keeping everything at my fingertips that I might need during a call.  The only problem is I've got big cheeks...  Yeah I know it's an odd thing to say, but while talking or smiling, my cheeks constantly hit the mute button and I get mad at my phone because I'm talking and the person on the other end of the line can't hear me.  I've resorted to holding the phone out and hovering during the calls.

Now... I imagine the phone was designed this way because RIM and Verizon assume that a good percentage of their clients are Bluetoothing.  Everyone who lives off an earpiece would have no idea what I'm talking about and I can see how this current design works perfectly for them.  I however hate walking around with an earpiece as I've said before, and I know I'm not the only one.

Well, for the rest of us Stormies that are frustrated with accidental screen presses during a phone call, CellAvant is offering the free utility TalkLock™ (BETA), a touch screen lock for the BlackBerry Storm.

Once downloaded, the utility automatically engages a few seconds after a call is connected.  It locks your screen similar to the image shown in this entry.  While you see this screen, all normal touch screen functions during the call are intercepted, preventing screen presses from launching functions or programs.  If you need to access all those options you would normally have on a call, just slide the lock bar across, and you return to the normal Storm call screen.  When the call ends, TalkLock™ automatically releases your phone and hides until the next call.  The background image that you see during the call is also customizable (save a 360x480 PNG format image over TalkLock-Background.png in the home/user folder of Device Memory and do a full reboot).

To install TalkLock™, register here, providing an email address that delivers mail to your BlackBerry Storm. According to my device the download was 69.0KB for Version 1.01.

Get Poetic for a Lubix Bluetooth

December 15, 2008

Yanko Design is running a Christmas campaign this week sponsored by Lubix.  Leave a creative Christmas Haiku comment here and you could win one of seven Lubix Bluetooth Headsets.

The Lubix NC1 Stereo Bluetooth Headset has a unique pendant style design so that your Bluetooth is constantly close at hand but not always in your ear.  The two earpieces snap together magnetically so that the pendant can be worn around the neck.  I think it's one of the more clever designs out there for Bluetooth headsets.

I tend to feel like Lobot from Cloud City when I walk around all day with a Bluetooth in my ear.

Oh and for those of you that forgot... a Haiku goes 5 syllables - 7 syllables - 5 syllables.

Stylish VoIP?

August 26, 2008

It's called the Tatung VoIP and is designed by Nova Design. Sad to say, it's only on exhibition at this time.

The phone features Bluetooth, Wireless and touch pad design, and is fairly easy to connect to your VoIP Service.  Other than that, it's pretty straight forward as a VoIP phone and is devoid of unnecessary features, making VoIP calls easy to accomplish.

It features a geometric shape that keeps the look and feel simple and soft.  To imply that "You're connecting to something", they threw in a retro throwback with a faux antenna that actually adds a little extra something to the phone visually.  The upper casing is interchangeable and customizable for more individual style, with various colors and patterns to choose from.