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Buying a phone

December 29, 2010

I have agonized (teeth gnashing and fretting) about getting a new phone.  I am probably one of the last people on the planet still using a “dumbphone”.  It has taken me months to finally decide and buy.  Here’s how it went down…

In general

There is a lot of  freaking ads on tv, radio, newspaper inserts about mobile phones.  Everytime I turn around someone is pitching a phone’s features.  At first I was really excited by what they could do.  I thought the features were amazing.  But, after awhile I found myself wondering “do I really want to watch movies/play games, etc on my phone?” While all this stuff sounds fun, I’m not a teenager and don’t need to do facebook updates umpteen times a day.  I work from home, mostly with my laptop.  When I travel, I need to have email access and conferences would be better with a phone for tweeting.  Web browser for finding a coffee shop close to my client’s office would be handy.  I don’t travel extensively, so I wouldn’t classify myself as hardcore.  My needs are actually fairly meagre…but everyone else has a smartphone and expects me to as well.   I also thought that I should be able to walk the talk when it came to mobile learning.   So, it was time.

On the iPhone

They are the sexy ones, but every time I think about owning one, I feel a little twinge of resentment, like I’d caved and bought the phone everyone else said was soooooo cool.  Yeah, I know it can do everything in the world.  Including print money.  But, I don’t think it’s the one for me.  I also got a little sick of the “fanboys” who were constantly talking about how great their iPhone (and iThis and i That) was.  Kind of like religious people who want to convert you and come on a little too strong.  The fervor is off-putting.  I didn’t buy one.

On the Droid

I was going the droid route (picking the alternative to iPhone), but when I thought about it, I realized that these phones, like the iPhones, are more like entertainment devices with work applications and that didn’t suit my actual needs.  I also saw a little disclaimer while purchasing at the webstore about internet apps which download automatically and jack up your data costs.  That scared me a little.  Seduced into the app store only to discover how expensive it is to own and use a phone like this.

Windows7

While I like the commercials that point out how silly people are when they are so stuck on their (i)Phone, it didn’t grab me.  I don’t really know why.  I didn’t really see that their phones were that much different than the others.  Or, maybe it was that Microsoft is seen as a laggart in the mobile industry.  I don’t know.  When I thought about buying a windows phone, I thought “meh”.

On the Blackberry

My husband has one.  I originally dismissed them because they seemed too corporate for me and an emblem of workaholics and I don’t have a boss who is sending me emails constantly.  But then, along came the Torch.  At the heart of it when thinking about my needs – primarily to have email access away from home – it seemed the best fit.  And with the touch screen and most popular apps available on it, it seemed like a better balance.  More workhorse than entertainment device.  I don’t know if the data plan will cripple me, hopefully not.  I’m still waiting for it to arrive.

Observations:

  • It is easy to be sold a piece of technology, whether you are a consumer or a corporate buyer.  You need to really stick to what your needs are.  The features will *always* woo you.  That’s what they are there for!  It’s really easy to say “well, I don’t need that now, but in the future, I just might”…go on then, I’ll have it.
  • Technology continues to evolve and once you buy yours, a new version will be in the works as soon as the first one begins selling (iPad2?).  Waiting is a mug’s game.
  • Branding is a factor.  Much of my aversion to the iPhone is related to the Apple brand.  It turns me off.  I don’t want to be associated with it.  I can’t really tell you why, it’s kind of an emotional reaction.  I didn’t buy the Windows phone because Microsoft’s brand is kind of stagnant.  I bough a Blackberry because the brand is professional and work.  Maybe because they are Canadian, too?  A little.
  • In the end, for me, a phone is a phone (+email) and the web interface will be nice, but I stuck to my guns when it came to needs vs. wants.  I fully expect the iPhone crowd to tell me that I’m wrong and typing on the screen is easy and the apps are awesome and angry birds is so fun, etc.  But, it’s not salvation for my soul, it’s just a phone.
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