If you've read my pages for a while you know I like the new BlackBerry Z-10. A lot.
Last evening I had an experience that should be illustrative of exactly why I like this device as much as I do.
When I'm on the road I often book hotels at the last minute, depending on where I am. I frequently travel with a "point the car that way" sort of approach, and will stop somewhere interesting for an hour or two, or drive past something that's not interesting. This means that I tend to "optimize" where I stay on a given night at the moment.
Technology is so nice in this regard; you used to pull off the road and walk into a hotel "cold" and ask if there are rooms. You never knew if there was a place 10 miles up the road that was better for less, of course.
Mobile Internet has changed all that.
My usual MO is to pull off into a rest area, book a hotel that's 10 or 20 miles up the road, and that's that whenever I get tired. It works.
Except that "mobile Internet" is not always stable.
Like last night.
Last night the "mobile internet" was working when it felt like it. The connection was there but it was very slow -- and unstable. The upshot of this was that it was taking an inordinately long period to get a response back from a web page or do anything -- but it would eventually work.
After a few minutes of sitting in a rest area waiting for the network to get through and get my reservation set up I decided to get back on the road and see if I could get it done while rolling -- and without having to fall back to the "old way" -- the old "walk in" routine.
I had open an offline navigator ("Don't Panic") that is not reliant on an internet link to work (like google maps, apple's nav or BlackBerry's native one) along with the Hilton App (to book the hotel) and I had tethering up because my kid was having an important conversation with a friend at the same time over Facebook. I also had my Trader app open and was watching the futures overnight from time to time.
Android will not guarantee this sort of strategy will work; as soon as you background something the system has the authority to close it out from under you, and sometimes it will. When you need an app to remain open for 10 or 20 minutes, uninterrupted, to get what you need done accomplished your choices are thus to either sit in that app only or take the risk of being shut out and having to start over.
Most of the time this doesn't matter. Last night it did matter.
I could have parked for the 20 minutes it took for the reservation app to work, I could have done the "walk in" thing or I could have shut down the nav app and sat in the reservation program but the latter would have meant no guidance -- and I was traveling a somewhat "less-familiar" path last evening. I might have missed a turn and then the cursing would have begun in earnest.
But the Z10 handled all of this without hassle, without closing anything out from under me, without dropping the connection or session and forcing me to start over even though the underlying link was unstable and going up and down like a yoyo. It just patiently waited and did the job it was supposed to do while I made progress down the road. I was seamlessly able to pick up addresses from the reservations app and plug them as waypoints into Don't Panic to verify that they were not going to materially take me off my expected routing, all without leaving any of the apps in question. It was all seamless, hassle-free and more-importantly it just plain worked.
This sort of solid performance is why I love the Z-10. It's not just that it has a nice form-factor, or that it takes good pictures, or that the browser and music player are both top-notch. Those things are all expected these days.
It's that when you need to stress it -- get things done under bad RF conditions in a marginal coverage area (all carriers have them!), you need a half-dozen apps open and running at the same time and you would really like everything to "just work" so you can find a place to sleep and call it a night without having it force you to start over -- it comes through.
These are the differentiating factors between tools and toys.
The Z10 is a tool and a damn fine one -- a set of mobile Internet Snap-On wrenches for people who need their connectivity on the road and demand that it "just work."
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