Dead-Finger Tech: Manuel takes his Blackberry Pearl everywhere, but would leave Microsoft if he could

OK, so it has been a little while since I've done one of my favorite types of interviews -- what I call a Dead-Finger Technology (or DFT) interview. In case you haven't seen the other DFT interviews, this where I get someone (sometimes it's someone I know, other times, just a random person on the street) to tell me what their Dead-Finger Technology is and why.

OK, so it has been a little while since I've done one of my favorite types of interviews -- what I call a Dead-Finger Technology (or DFT) interview. In case you haven't seen the other DFT interviews, this where I get someone (sometimes it's someone I know, other times, just a random person on the street) to tell me what their Dead-Finger Technology is and why. What does Dead-Finger Technology mean? A person's DFT is the one piece of technology that you can take away from them only after you pry it from their dead fingers. OK, a little morbid. I know. But it certainly gets the point across. Today's target is Manuel Saez. I don't know Manuel personally, but I intercepted him as he exited the Cambridge Marriott in Kendall Square (Cambridge, MA).

Manuel is a product designer from New York an when, with tape rolling, I asked him what his DFT was, he didn't hesitate. Out came a BlackBerry Pearl. Of course, the fact that this is the third time that the Pearl (pictured right)  has come up in my Dead Finger Technology coverage is RIM's way of getting back at me for how I've routinely trashed the keypad found on the Pearl and other Blackberries like it. I just don't like the shared keys.

Instead of a full QWERTY thumbboard like the ones found on other smartphones (including RIM's earlier Blackberries), to get the Pearl into the svelte candy-bar form factor that it's in, the keys on the keypad are shared keys -- each is essentially for one of two letters at any given time and the software inside the Pearl is supposedly very good at guessing which of the two letters you want based on the other letters you've typed when composing a word.

Apparently, this shared-key design doesn't bother other people as much as it bothers me and so, I'm being proven wrong. In the video below, you'll hear Manuel speaking glowingly of how the Pearl is so much of a DFT that he practically takes it to bed with him. 

Then, for a new twist to these DFT interviews, and in response to an open suggestion from Dave Winer to the blogosphere to "go to Times Square and interview 20 or 30 people, asking a very simple query. Tell me about a product, service or company you hate, and why," I asked Manuel what company or product has most let him down. While we didn't get to 20 or 30 other people with the same question (it was actually quite frigid in Kendall Square yesterday when we taped this), Manuel's answer as to who (Microsoft) and why was candid and honest enough to include in the video. Here's what Maneul said:

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