The power of the media coupled with the power of participatory communications can be a wicked thing.
I’ve been waiting eagerly to see the first reviews on the new Windows Treo and if there is one review to wait for, it is Walt Mossberg’s. His brutal, but polite, honesty is to be admired. The cascade effect of his review can be witnessed over at BuzzMachine. Today, rather than the echo of a negative review being solely restricted to word of mouth – or a “did you see that” – it is a case of “did you read, see, hear that” as well. The echo isn’t just louder, it has more depth.
I wonder what effect this will have over time on the theory of “Chasm Crossing” (a theory I passionately beleive in). In the past the power of PC Magazine and Walt were absolute. They made and killed product in a couple of pages. Now I can triangulate news quicker – not just listening to the reviewer but also the early adopter. This has definitely changed the mechanics of “Chasm Crossing” – it might have even altered the concept.
One thing that many of these reviews fail to focus on is the ecosystem that surrounds a device of this kind. I recently bought one of the new Blackberry’s. The device itself is nice, although the lack of camera and WiFi is annoying. What isn’t nice is the absolutely archaic email service that a consumer has to use to collect and forward emails. The automated deletion of emails on the server once they are deleted on the device rarely works and so you pretty quickly are unable to recieve emails until getting to a PC and browser.
To make things work, Blackberry’s world is a Windows world. The mail interface works inconsistently across platforms, only working well on Internet Explorer.
And, Cingular is still stumped as to why the International roaming capability works OK in some places and not at all in others (I know this will result in a conversation about replacing my SIM card – meaning the problem is unique to my device).
Finally, the lack of applications for the Blackberry is really apparent. I got used to all kinds of useful apps on my Treo and Sony phone. There are very few for the Blackberry and those that are there aren’t priced to move.
I was ready to give the new Treo a shot but I’m going to wait. Triangulating the news has convinced me again not to be an early adopter.