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Guest Post: The Smartphone Experiment

Smartphoneexperimentbookcover_2This virtual-book-tour guest post comes Pierre Khawand, who used his TypePad blog The 81-day-experiment as the launch point for his recently released book The Smartphone Experiment. In his post, Pierre talks about his motivation for writing the book and how his TypePad blog helped him gather feedback and build a community around the book as he wrote it.

We have two copies of The Smartphone Experiment to give away to Everything TypePad readers. Just leave a comment with your email address (it won’t be published) so we know how to get in touch.

Update: The giveaway copies have been claimed. The Smartphone Experiment is available for purchase at Lulu.com.

I have recently published The Smartphone Experiment book—how to select your smartphone in 5 easy steps, based on the 81-day-experiment blog (81dayexperiment.typepad.com) which I started on TypePad in August of 2006. In this blog, the focus was on using a variety of smartphones and reporting my daily observations about their features, plans, and usability, in order to help smartphone users make better decisions when it comes to purchasing a smartphone.

In this virtual book tour, and in the next few posts, my attempt is to answer many of the questions that I have been answering in my radio book tour, about smartphones and smartphone safety.

Question: “Why did you write this book?”

Because my focus is on productivity in the workplace (that is what my company, People-OnTheGo, trains in) and smartphones are becoming an important part of productivity. In addition, as more smartphone models are introduced and as technologies and wireless service plans become more complex, buyers are finding it more difficult to select the smartphone that meets their unique requirements. And with an average purchase price of $200-500, and several hours invested in setting up the device and learning it, a bad decision can be an expensive one.

I wanted to provide business professionals with a one-stop resource that provided them everything they needed to make the right decision.

Question: “How was the TypePad platform useful in this process?”

The 81-day-experiment blog, using TypePad, was the vehicle for creating The Smartphone Experiment book. It enabled me to easily have ongoing discussions with smartphone users and to form a community around this topic. I was able to start sharing my findings with the users starting from day 1, instead of waiting until I publish the findings at the end of the experiment. Most importantly, the ability to post the entries on a daily basis, and to get feedback frequently, gave me the motivation to keep going. It would have been a daunting project to write the book without the blog. The blog helped me break down this project into manageable and enjoyable smaller components.

Question: “What does the book include? Is it all about product reviews?”

The book tells 12 stories, each involving purchasing a smartphone, setting it up, and using it day after day, for 9 days. Most importantly the book presents 5 easy steps for selecting a smartphone.  So in addition to detailed product reviews for 12 of the most popular devices, the book provides worksheets that assist buyers in identifying their own requirements, evaluating all their options and making successful purchasing decisions. 

In addition, I included in The Smartphone Experiment book many smartphone safety tips, and the “don’t type and drive” guidelines. By the way, we are launching the “don’t type and drive” campaign to encourage smartphone users to minimize the use of their smartphones while driving, and to select driver-friendly smartphones that can be operated without taking the driver’s attention off the road.

Question: “Which devices did you review and why?”

I reviewed the Treo 700p, Treo 700w, Motorola Q, BlackBerry Pearl, T-Mobile MDA,
BlackBerry 8700, Nokia E62, AT&T 3125, T-Mobile Dash, BlackBerry 8800, Samsung BlackJack, and the Apple iPhone.
Question: “How is this different from device reviews?”

Many products reviews that compare multiple products are conducted in lab environments and in some cases manufacturers are involved in the process. My goal was to conduct non-biased experiments and to replicate the experience of the average smartphone customer. The book is more of a journal that documents the entire process - starting with my in-store experiences, setting up the devices once purchased, and then using each phone for more than a week to see how they performed against the needs of a business professional on a daily basis. But the book is more than a product guide – I also try to help buyers understand the various technologies and provide step-by-step advice and methodologies for selecting the right smartphone.

Question: “How can I buy the book?”

The book is now available at Lulu as a paperback and a download.

By the way, the “don’t type and drive” greeting card, which can be a gentle reminder to friends and family members who are smartphone users, is available on my website.

As we continue this virtual book tour, I will be posting and answering more questions at the 81-day-experiment blog. So please visit the blog in the upcoming days and weeks to find out more about my main findings and my favorite smartphone, among other things.

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