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July 25, 2008

Blurring the line between business and pleasure

About 10 years ago I had one of those accessories for my phone that enabled me to have two sim cards in the same device. Switching between the two (my work and my personal mobile accounts) was a pain, requiring me to restart the device whenever I wanted to change sim. Pretty quickly, I convinced my then bosses that we’d all be better off if I had just one phone. And that should be my work phone. And they should pay the bill. Well, I was on call most weekends.

Ever since I’ve kept to a single phone. Where my employers haven’t seen fit to give me a work phone, I’ve used my personal one. I still have the same number too, 10 years later. It’s all worked out rather well. For me, the work and business device merged way back then. Sure, it’s become much more sophisticated since and over the last couple of years the lines have blurred even more between what we perceive to be “work tools” and “personal devices”, both becoming much more adept at serving each other’s purpose.

Since its launch last year I’ve been an avid user of the N95. Aside from the plethora of “personal” goods on board, its messaging functionality whilst admittedly not brilliant, was sufficient for my needs. Tempting me to a thoroughbred business device after that was always going to be a challenge. Since the official press launch last month I’ve been using an E71 as my everyday device. I never thought I would – for me Eseries seemed to be a byword for cubicle farms, commuting and joyless jobs (the E, I’m told, stands for Enterprise). Its only a personal perception, but its how I feel. Why then, would I even give the E71 the time of day, specially when I really wanted an N95 8GB?

First up was the look. It is a stunning looking device. And so slim. Definitely the slimmest fully-functioning device I’ve ever had in my pocket. Then there’s the speed. I don’t know exactly what the engineers have done inside the E71 but compared to my N95 its blindingly fast. In short, its been a pleasure to use. The QWERTY keyboard is a handy addition to my messaging repertoire, (even though I’m quite adept at T9) and the camera at 3-megapixels is plenty for my needs. I’ve even been inclined to use the share services built in, something i hadn’t really tended to do on my N95.

With space in my pockets limited I’m always looking for the best solution for my needs. Really those needs are no different now than they were one, two or five years ago (save perhaps for the difference personal navigation has made to my life). What is most surprising for me is that a business device has come along now that serves me just as well as my last personal one did. In some ways it’s even done it better (despite those needs remaining static).

There might be multiple roads to go down when choosing a device  –be it multimedia, business (sorry, Enterprise), music or gaming – but fundamentally, and increasingly so, the core needs are being met by all. What it boils down to then is choice. The ability to choose a device without needing to be swayed by whether it’ll serve the other half of your life that it isn’t really meant to. Not needing to have multiple devices, mobile accounts or, heaven forbid, sim cards. That, I believe, is progress.

What do you think?

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