I recieved my Optimus Mini this afternoon, and after 9 months on the pre-order list, I’ve gotta say that I have mixed feelings.
First, the good: It looks sweet! The images on the keys are bright and crisp. It took me probably less than 60 seconds to plug it in, and install the drivers. The configurator is easy to understand and I was customizing my keys in no time!
Now the not so good: Umm.. What do I use this for? It comes with plugins for Internet Explorer (which I loaded up for Firefox with no problem), Outlook Express Email (which again worked fine with Standard Outlook), Word, and a few others, plus the infamous Optimus system monitor (why do I really need a key showing my Memory and CPU usage?).
So now what? The Optimus Mini page shows some really cool applications, like the Slide Show and Powerpoint remote controls, or real-time market quotes. These are missing from the application, as are many of the other things that might make this useful! These are the “killer apps” that would make me say that I couldn’t live without this.
There is an “Informer” plugin with a description that says: “Displays web feeds”… in the options, you can specify the url of an IMAGE (yes, a .gif, .jpg or .png) that it will refresh and display. How is this a web feed?
There is a “Time and Weather” plugin, but you have to choose your location from their pulldown list. Apparantly, I have to assume that the temperature in Toronto is the same as New York in order to have it display my timezone. Oh yeah, and by weather, they mean temperature. If you are grabbing the temperature from an online feed, how difficult could it be to change the icon to reflect sunny, rainy or whatever?
When I first saw the Optimus Mini, I saw it as an extension of my desktop, to be able to put extra information that didn’t fit nicely on the screen. Having it as a hot button that could trigger something was an added bonus. Now, you can get a programmers api and create plugins of your own, and no doubt, give it some time, and there will be plenty of these plugins. But for now, it is just a fancy “Back” button for my browser.
Having said that, fast forward a few months (or a year?) when there are a bunch of plugins available, I could easily see this as something I couldn’t live without.