I must say it’s been quite the interesting week already, and it’s only Tuesday! I’ve experienced what has been aptly described by my good friend Elvis as “Mac O Fascism”. That’s what happens when Apple lovers of a fundamentalist stripe attack you without just cause because you’ve said something critical about the great Jobs-Aqbar. I’ve done this regarding the iPhone in certain forums and it was if iJihad had been declared on me. It’s quite interesting, but not in the most positive sense.
It didn’t matter that I let it be known I’m a PC to Mac switcher who’s absolutely nuts about his MacBook Pro, iPod Video, Mighty Mouse, Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard, with plans on buying the next iMac, and who salivates at the expectation of Leopard. Nah-uh. That meant nothing to the zealots. They didn’t want anything to do with my truth. It got to the point where I could almost sympathize with the folks who were accused of being witches long ago.
Nevertheless, my experiences have set me thinking. I’m getting a strange feeling that a lot of my fellow countrymen never really paid much attention to just how advanced the mobile phone industry was until Apple got involved. Add to that a somewhat blind loyalty to all things Apple, and some of their posts start making sense.
Besides the really hardcore crowd of mobile tech watchers in the U.S., and they are few and far in between, I don’t personally know a single fellow-American who really paid much attention to the evolution of mobile technology. I say this based (thinly, if you like) on my experiences of traveling annually to the Motherland for training or other work-related matters and noticing just how out of the loop folks are regarding mobile phones. Every single time I’ve gone back, folks have been blown away by the mobile phone I’ve had. I’ve experienced this with my Nokia(s) 6810, 6820, 9300, E70, and no doubt my current N95. Whenever I went back, without fail, my phone was the most advanced phone around.
Why is this the case? My suspicion is that Nokia’s been conducting business as they have because they’re having problems breaking into the North American market. Motorola is definitely the biggest player in the U.S., but this is to be expected. I know from living in Sweden that folks try their best to support Sony Ericsson, but fewer and fewer deny that Nokia is the leader in the world of mobile phones. They try to remain patriotic, but free market Western ways have a way of influencing what gets purchased. Long story short, Nokia’s a player here. Odds are the geography has a bit to do with it, but their products are top shelf. Respectfully, the competition has forced Sony Ericsson to bring their game up a notch. They’ve been responding well under pressure. Their W880 Walkman phone is pretty impressive; however, in my opinion, they’ve got work to do in the user interface area. (Either way, the consumer benefits. ;))
It also seems to be the case that Nokia releases specific models later for sale in North America. Take for example the Nokia 6300 (though not the renaming part, in this case). I recently took a look at the Nokia site in the U.S. and saw that the 6300 is soon to be released in the U.S. Well, it’s been here for several months now. It’s a pretty hot phone. Take a look at the Technical specifications. Don’t rush. Take a GOOD look. Now I need to let you know that this phone is available for 1 Swedish Crown (about 15 cents U.S.) if you sign up with one of the Swedish carriers for 18months. I am NOT kidding. If you dare, take a look at the tech specs for the iPhone. Go on and compare if you like. Of course, don’t forget to compare the price as well.
The point I’m trying to make, in a FAR too long and round-about way, is that I suspect my fellow-Americans aren’t aware of the technology that’s out here. It’s a bit heart-breaking to see folks “WOW!” the iPhone with the little it offers. If you want a “pretty” phone that doesn’t offer much, it’s definitely your phone. But for $600 dollars, I would expect folks to want more.
Maybe folks simply don’t know enough. Let’s hope that changes. If the iPhone hype is going to do anything it’s definitely going to put more focus on the world of mobile technology. I hope this will be the beginning of an awakening for my fellow-Americans regarding mobile tech. They’ve definitely been getting the short end of the stick for some time now. I hope they dare to take a good look and see what’s available around the world. Once they do, they may understand why folks in Europe (and surely Asia!) are chuckling and shaking their heads at them.