LLG Tech: The Smartphones That Run My Business

by Sasha Wilkins on October 14, 2012 · 14 comments


Of the tech questions I get asked about the blog and my business, the most frequent concerns which smartphones I use. Over the years I’ve played around with a lot of devices, lost several, and changed my mind a few times. But, finally, I’ve worked out what works for me on a daily basis. (I’m lucky in that I get passed phones fairly frequently to test out by manufacturers.)

And yes, there are three smartphones in that photo above, that I took in Paris a week ago on my seat at Elie Saab’s SS13 show. That’s because, however good a phone’s battery, if you are a heavy Instagram & Twitter user, no phone can last all day. And, given that I am usually running my business on the hoof, or am Tweeting from events, I can’t be offline. (And I like to cover all the major networks, because none is infallible so have SIMs across Vodafone, Orange/T Mobile/EE, & O2.)

FYI Orange coverage is absymal in London & is truly s*it abroad, plus charging the earth. Which is one of the reasons why I am ending my contract tomorrow after sixteen years with them.

ANYWAY.  In the photo above: The Samsung SII, the Blackberry Bold 9900, and the HTC One S, and, underneath them all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

So. Firstly: Android vs. Apple. As a very long term BlackBerry lover – I think I got my first one in around 2005, I pretty much considered that the phone world fell between the BlackBerry & the iPhone. It just never occurred to me to test out an Android device, figuring (having drunk the PR Kool-Aid) that the iPhone was the pre-emptive market leader in touch screen smartphones.

Meanwhile, I stayed true to BlackBerry. I had a Pearl in Manhattan. Then I had a Curve as the authorised phone of choice at The Wall Street Journal and when I left that job I simply switched back to my old BlackBerry handset.

As LLG grew, I decided to use Google Apps to run the business, as I had been a Gmail user since 2006. I loved the ease of use, and we started to use Google Calendar & Docs too (as opposed to Outlook or the rest of Office) as it meant that my assistants, agent, family could all access what they needed from me remotely. But I still didn’t think about Android as a viable OS – operating system – option. And Twitter & Facebook were on the BlackBerry, and my Google calendar cld sync, so job done there.

Then I borrowed an iPad & iPhone at London Fashion Week a few seasons back and, whilst I got to grips with it pretty quickly, and became a tablet convert overnight (which I really hadn’t expected), the clunky text editing tools drove me rapidly around the bend. Same for the iPhone. In the words of the song, that don’t impress me much. I need a keyboard to type. So I gave back the iStuff from whence it came and carried on with my beloved BlackBerry.

I finally got my own iPhone (a 3) in May 2011, when it was clear I needed a second phone for work. Because Instagram was only available on the App Store, I signed up. And barely used the thing for anything other than cheap non-Orange data abroad, iTunes or Instagram because I cldn’t bear to type on it. With hindsight, a costly mistake.

Then my Damascene moment: in Autumn 2011 I did a big project that was backed by Samsung. As part of the deal they lent my whole team at LFW Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tabs & Samsung S2 Android smartphones. It was a revelation to me: we ran spreadsheets through Google Docs with all the fashion show timing & venues, colour coded by LLG team member so, instead of wrestling with endless bits of paper, we had our LFW schedule at our fingertips. And, best of all, the Samsung devices had much more precise text editing tools than the iStuff.

I was a convert. And I found the Galaxy tablet as a whole easier to grasp than the iPad. I also much preferred the S2 to the iPhone. It had a great camera, was intuitive and meshed seamlessly with LLG Media’s Google Apps office system.

Meanwhile BlackBerry had given me the Torch to try out, and I was thrilled. It gave me lots more functionality and I loved the whole touchscreen thing, which was a new BlackBerry innovation. Unfortunately, because I am an idiot, I left it on the plane to Marrakech last New Year. Devastated was not the word. So I carried on using the S2 as my everyday phone and it never missed a beat.

I was also using an old HTC smartphone as back up and when that disppeared, HTC gave me the shiny new One in April to test out.

Now that’s a GREAT phone. Slither thin, running Ice Cream Sandwich (that’s an Android OS for non geek people), a sensational matt casing, a phenomenally good camera, and a doddle to use. It’s easily my favourite smartphone so far.

But I have to fess up: whilst Tweeting is fine in 140 characters, I’ve barely sent an email on the hoof since January when I lost my BlackBerry. I just can’t type accurately enough on a touchscreen.

I was given the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 last month to replace my Torch (RIP), and already I reckon I have sent more emails in four weeks than I had in nine months. I love that device. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I sleep with it under my pillow.

So here’s how it works: the BlackBerry is my email workhorse and I would need to have it ripped from my cold, dead hands.  The HTC is for all the jazzy Android apps, mapping, Instagram, Twitter, listening to music and, above all, taking excellent photos. It’s an absolute joy to use.

The Samsung S2 is my backup smartphone,a nd is a great all rounder. (No complaints there.) The iPhone 3 I barely touch to the point where I only use it on WiFi for Dragon Dictation, and testing apps for my consultancy work, And the Galaxy Tablet Note has replaced both my Kindle, and pen & paper, as well as being perfect for presentations, seminars, spreadsheets, and all the business of running my business when I am on the road. I also watch movies on it,  take Skype conference calls on it, and use it as a smartphone backup.

(I love how tablets are far less intrusive than flipping open a laptop, however thin and light. I use a tablet on the bus or tube with impunity. I wld only use my Air in an emergency on public transport. Yup, although I’m an Android/BlackBerry girl through & through, I love my Mac Air, which I bought in Nov 201o, and the office computer is an iMac.)

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