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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Would You Like an Apple or a Berry?

By Chris Kauza
Technology Editor

How do you stay in touch with your network? This month I wanted to investigate some of the more popular devices used in networking – especially since we are currently considering upgrading ours.

We are a boutique consultancy, and are finding that we need to be able to text message and instant message more than we have in the past. That means we are not only spending a lot of time talking on the phone, and we are also doing more texting and IMing (instant messaging) while “on the go”.

As for me, I currently have a five year old Motorola Razr. I had a Blackberry Pearl when they first came out, and really enjoyed its features. However, I went back to the razor, because I didn't need the enterprise functionality of the Pearl, and only used it for calls, quick email checks and playing music.

We don't need many of the enterprise-class functions found in Blackberry's offerings. We have been very intrigued by Apple's iPhone and Blackberry's Bold. We've narrowed our considerations down to Apple's newest iPhone and either Blackberry's Bold, Curve, or Pearl.

The iPhone is cool, but we have heard and experienced horror stories where people have not always been able to send e-mails on time, accidentally hanging up phone calls with inadvertent touches on the touch screen, and a menu navigation difficulty while multitasking (i.e. - driving).

Price is relevant but longevity and functionality are more important, as are:

  • Ease of use.
  • Support.
  • Upgradability and Memory capacity.
  • Durability.
  • Global portability.

Web browsing is interesting at this point, but most uses will be for phone calls (cell and Skype), e-mail, texting, playing games and listening to music.

So what do you do when you find yourself in a quandary? You through the question out to your network.

I started a poll on both Plaxo and Linked and received the following responses:

Issues of sample bias and the like aside, we received a good response rate of statistically significant results, and a number of interesting responses. I thought it was interesting that we received roughly the same number responses from both LinkedIn and Plaxo. Secondly, despite all of the marketing and hype surrounding Apple, I don't see a significant difference between the iPhone and Blackberry. In fact, most (42%) would prefer a Blackberry. Of these, the responses were pretty evenly split between the Pearl, the curve, and the forthcoming bowl.

I also found it was interesting that roughly the same number of total respondents answered either iPhone or undecided. Of the “?Others” 4 people recommended the Treo (remember those?) and 2 recommended Google's Android. We are an Open Source company (as much as possible), and Android is very appealing – but it's still too new for us to adopt across the business.

One of the biggest reasons we are hesitant to get an iPhone is that we would be locked into a service relationship with AT&T – something we really want to avoid. Personally, I have consistently had a horrible experience with AT&T, both with their network reliability and quality, and also with their customer service. It was a painful experience, and one I do not wish to repeat

We currently use T-Mobile and have been very satisfied with what the service. T-Mobile also has a “hot spot” offering, which allows us to make low-cost calls from any T-Mobile hot spot - our offices, Starbucks, United Airline's Red Carpet Club - anywhere there is a T-Mobile hot spot. As the price of data services rise, costs is a consideration when thinking about the number e-mails, text messages, videos etc. that we are likely to be accessing in the coming years.

Why is this process important to networking?

A core aspect to networking is reliable connectivity. It's about the quality of connection. It's about the frequency and reliability of that connection. And this is true whether you're talking about a specific piece of technology, or an individual or company with whom you are trying to do business. If you cannot interact with them, if you cannot stay in touch with them and reach them when you need to, then the value of that contact decreases.

Choosing technology is not just about cool factor or a fashion accessory - much like the iPod has become today. It's about making sure you can connect and interact with those you want or need to, in ways that will help you be successful.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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