Due to our proximity to the Vatican, TechEye was given a chance to review the new St Peter v50 Pope which is code named Pope Francis (Mark One).
The good: The marketing of Pope Francis is slightly better than the earlier Pope Benedict model. The style looks less scary, and has a more user friendly "rabbit in the headlights" approach. The brand is untainted by a scandal involving the Nazis in its early design days. The fact he comes from Argentina will be good for Roman tourism which has suffered under a German pope. Germans only buy postcards and haggle over the price.
The bad: The software is based on Jesuit OS 2013 which was been taken off the market before for corrupting the Church's operating system with its hidden binaries and other trickery. It was rebooted but has never shaken off its image of being a shadowy behind the scenes outfit. Pope Francis may also have been a little close to the Argentinian Junta and was implicated in the kidnap and arrest of two priests who made the grave mistake of helping the poor, which was not in the Vatican design spec.
There are some concerns that the keyboard and the operating system on Pope Francis is not flexible to meet the new market requirements.
The bottom line: Pope Francis is a fairly typical variant of the St Peter franchise with no great surprises.
Comparing the roughly half-dozen St Peter variants is relatively easy. The last two, the Pope John Paul reboot, and the rickety Pope Benedict were built around essentially identical hardware platforms. Inside was a CPU which was too conservative to actually run it.
Indeed, if the Pope John Paul had not assisted in the collapse of the old Stalinist central mainframe model, it would be remembered as an underpowered ultra-conservative which, while popular, failed to make a difference in the developing markets. Its attempts to launch new Saint apps may have flooded the market and resulted in the St Terresa of Calcutta app being pushed through before anyone realised that she was not that nice. The Benedict (St Peter v50), which was a stop gap brand, became swiftly bogged down with child abuse malware and there were rumours of corruption of financial files within the Vatican's hard disk.
With its new Glasses trademark, the Pope Francis is seen as being more visually attractive, but lacks the design finesse of some of the more recent religions, such as Neo-paganism, Mormonism, or Apple fanboyism. Clearly St Peter v50 would benefit from some sort of makeover deal, such as Apple's game changing rounded rectangle. However, it seems that Pope Francis will stick to the traditional cup and flatbread approach which has kept its existing clientele happy for centuries.
Fortunately Pope Francis has become equipped with enough memory to do something useful. Something that its predecessor appeared to be lacking, probably due to the age of the spec.
On paper, at least, these two products are remarkably similar. Both stick to the guidelines and are unlikely to do anything radical.
There are differences, and they don't always favour the allegedly more consumer-friendly market. The Pope Francis still lacks the super-fast and friendly connections we have come to expect in the top of the range models. While its battery life might be slightly longer than the Benedict, the design is still too long in the tooth to expect much from, particularly when the pressure is increased under some hard operating conditions.
This model feels more ultraportable when plugged into its clam-up base, but it doesn't stack up to the John Paul II in terms of hands-on utility and usability. Annoyingly, the Vatican's website doesn't seem to have a dock for sale as of this writing, but it has been spotted at Amazon, Staples, and others.
As a standalone, the Francis feels less substantial, certainly than the John Paul II model. The back seems a little plastic, although that might be useful as the model tries to appear to make reforms to the Vatican's business plan, while not making any at all. Of course, it will continue to run Stainedglass Windows, but not the touch variant.
As a standalone the Francis is thick and heavy but that is the way its users like it. The main problem is the cost and its inability to use any practical apps other than the various flavours of guilt.
We give it three stars for now.