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Fixing the RAZR – Create 3rd Party Applications

Yesterday I was trying to help a friend of mine perform a very simple operation on her new RAZR. She wanted to add a new phone number to an existing entry. The process is maddening, so I detailed it below:

1. Enter phone number on keypad and click “Store”
2. Click the center button on the 4-way nav on the “Name” line
3. Click the “Browse” right hotkey.
4. Choose a name.
5. Click “Ok”
6. Assign the type of number (work, mobile, etc)
7. Click done

How can it take 7 steps to add a new phone number to an existing entry? That seems ridiculous to me. Overall, I find the user interface experience on the RAZR to be pretty awful — trying to decode the Motorola UI design thought process is no simple task. Even the most routine tasks seem to take far too many keystrokes and involve too many obscure menus. I have seen published reports that suggest that Motorola has sold over 23 million RAZr phones since the model was introduced. That is a pretty large installed base, making it roughly half as successful as the iPod.

My question is why more people haven’t take a crack at delivering Java-based applications to overcome the shortcomings of the address book, calendar, and other native applications that ship with the RAZR. We are supposedly in the “golden age” of mobile application development and I think that there are real opportunities to make applications that enhance the user experience on the RAZR. And, with over 23 million phones out there, there is a large enough market to make 3rd party development interesting for a hobbyist or small entrepreneur.

I don’t know how much work it would take to create an application that would integrate with the RAZR and take over the address book function, but I do know that if such an app were created and were successful, it would be hugely popular and powerful.