Image: Hugh Threlfall.
June 11 2011
There’s a popular notion that the US Constitution was nearly written in German because the Second Continental Congress wanted to show its defiance of Britain and also, most printers in the colony were German, so would be better equipped with their Ös and ßs to run off copies.
Like a lot of popular notions, this one happens to be untrue, but I’d like to run with it briefly anyway. So here we are in 2011, and Windows is called Fenster, though the BlackBerry is still the BlackBerry, but might have been la Mûre had the French won Canada, where maker RIM is based. The iPhone, in my German-speaking US, is called – oh, it doesn’t matter, let me get to my point… Which is that if iPhones, BlackBerries and Android phones hadn’t been invented, then this Dell smartphone, the excellent Windows 7-based Venue Pro, might be the most popular business phone in the world. It has many claims to be so, although I absolutely guarantee that it will remain niche until it is a rare collector’s piece, like an original German version of the Constitution, were there such a thing.
Sizeable in a good way, with its superb 4.1in AMOLED screen (with super-tough Gorilla glass) and slender, elliptical solidity, the Dell Venue Pro is a really good piece of business equipment, especially if you are a Windows fan. Apart from the keyboard (of which more in a moment), I far prefer it, as an example of fine but sadly unpopular work phones, to the Nokia E7, the Finns’ latest reiteration of their ancient Communicator models.
I’m not being deliberately controversial when I say I like Windows Phone 7 or whatever the latest Windows mobile operating system is called; Mr Muddle, aka Microsoft, was using three versions of the name when I looked at the first W7 phone, the HTC Mozart, for Technopolis TV back in December. The operating system is smooth and precise, looks terrific with its chunky tiles and cool typography, and – crucially for business use – plays nicely with your PC and its Seattle software brothers, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint et al.
The Venue Pro’s keyboard I’m not so sure about. It’s a portrait Qwerty, which isn’t ideal, but apparently people are as quick when they get used to it as they are with BlackBerry keys, which I find tricky. It’s also a business communication hub first and an entertainment device second, so we’re talking Zune for music, and not much of it anyway, as the phone has only 16Gb internal memory at most and no user-accessible expansion slot.