Smartphone Owners – Right…or Wrong?
O.K., honey, I bought you. Even paid $300 because I wanted you to have more memory. You glow, move quickly and smoothly, side-by-side with me 24/7. Yeah…I got rid of the other one in my life. You’re mine baby.
No, this isn’t a quote from an erotic novel for reading on long flights or before bed (time). I’m describing our infatuation with smartphones. New mobile owners will fight to the death feeling right after shelling out $200-$400 to the carriers, then sometimes wrong. It’s super-duper buyer’s remorse after the honeymoon.
Then the honeymoon ends, like it did for many Android and other smartphone users this week when the iPhone 4S hit the market. Almost happened to me in a Sprint store, as I held my Samsung Nexus S next to the store’s demo, secured with metal and crazy glue. I started to feel wrong about buying the Nexus.
James Kendrick wrote an article this week in ZDNet called: “After the iPhone 4S, Android Just Feels Wrong,” If you read Kendrick regularly or hear his podcasts on “MobileTechRoundup,” he’s the right-brained guy who tries being left-brained.
In the article Kendrick writes about the Nexus S 4G (“…a phone I absolutely love…”). Then, comparing the iPhone 4S to his beloved Nexus S Android phone, he says “…The user experience [the Nexus] was jangling my nerves.” His sudden change of lovers came after only three days with the iPhone chained to him: ”It didn’t take me long to realize that after using the smooth, polished iPhone 4S that Android just feels wrong.”
Most likely, the RIM BlackBerry execs, after losing market share to Apple and others, must have said something similar: “Well, guys, I love my BlackBerry, but I tried the iPhone and my BlackBerry just feels wrong.”
Feeling Right about Smartphones
Remember those TV commercials and billboards for Verizon Wireless? “Can You Hear Me Now?” Those were the days when people judged cell phones on the basics. Phone users acclaimed their mobiles based on hard reality. If you could hear someone who called you, that made your day. If your text message arrived before the next ice age, you were a happy camper. Got 4 bars on your flip phone in the mountains? That required giving thanks to the cell god before bed (time). And you had a nice dream about being right by choosing Verizon.
Fast forward…Smartphones arrive…enticing…glistening…big screens… A lot of folks at first ignored smartphones except mobile geeks. Now everyone, including the family dog, needs a phone making them feel cool and contemporary. For James Kendrick, comparing his Nexus S to the iPhone 4S must have raised his blood pressure: “The inconsistencies in the user interface between apps and the occasional lag doing simple things like scrolling in windows just screamed at me.” (I think he was talking about his phone, not his wife.)
Feeling Wrong about Smartphones
Starting in 2012, you’ll have to Google “right smartphones,” then “wrong smartphones.” And out of the 200 million Google hits, guess what you’ll discover? Right. The same phones are both right and wrong–for you. Kendrick and other reviewers will add “right and wrong” to their list of features and benefits. Take phone weight . “Well, Brian, that Motorola Droid 15 must weigh at least an ounce more than the Samsung SZ.” That’s wrong.
Take the “browsing experience. Most smartphone buyers look for the best browser, which becomes extremely important as 4G wireless comes to your town. Kendrick says: “…seems like a jarring interruption to what I now know can be a fluid experience. And don’t get me started on pinching to zoom in or out on web pages and how terrible that is on Android compared to iOS.” O.K., James, we won’t talk about pinching. That’s wrong.
Choosing a Smartphone Without Feeling Wrong
Henry Ford’s closing sales pitch for the Model-T (“You can have any car you want as long as it’s black”) was easy. Today’s smartphone buyer, however, after reading 50 reviews, checking Twitter and Facebook and asking friends, walks into a carrier store with a long list of questions. “Let’s see, was the last phone you showed me the new smartphone with extended GPS or did it have quad sound and speakers?” Gotta be right, not wrong.
Or if you narrow down your choice to iOS vs. Android, follow Kendrick’s advice:
“I want the best user experience I can get. The good one delivered by the iPhone 4S makes it clear to me how wanting the Android experience actually is. It just feels wrong.”
Kathryn Schulz, speaking at Ted Talks, spoke about feeling being wrong and right, a natural human quality.