Why Would Consumers Shoot Themselves In The Foot?

I am a big advocate of Windows Phone 7. Love it, hate it, deal with it. Many people have their favorite platform for various reasons. This is not about how much better WP7 is than IOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS, or any of that. Just a little rant about the overall ignorance of the masses and a bit about my platform history.

Consumers Are, At The Moment, Working Towards Killing Off The Options Of Consumer Smart Phones

Personally for me WP7 is the best fit right now. Who knows if iPhone nails it with their much needed new OS maybe they can take a WP7 customer, but for now its Windows. Currently, IOS and Android are controlling roughly 80% of the smartphone industry. This crave for the new IOS and Android device is obviously swaying developers towards those devices. When developers focus on only IOS and Android users only want IOS and Android. And thus we are stuck in a huge circle that can only end with the consumer losing.

If this spiral leads to the demise of all other smartphone platforms then what happens next? You go to upgrade and you are stuck with only 2 choices. Last I checked people liked to have options.

Consumers Need To Make Educated Choices

Obviously this is much easier said than done. Particularly with the smartphone market. With the thought of being stuck with a device for the 2 year contract we want to make sure that we like the device. Iphone and Android are tried and true and so consumers feel that they are the “safe” options. WebOS is a fantastic bit of software. In my opinion there are still a handful of things that WebOS had right that the other platforms still do not. Card view for example was hands down the best app switcher, especially with the edition of the stacks of cards. The gesture area was ahead of it’s time and I think in the next couple of years we will start to see that come back.

Sadly we live in a world where products do not succeed based on quality of the product but instead how well it is marketed. All things considered I personally think that WebOS and WP7 are the best all around mobile operating systems. But does that matter? No, not at all because the masses have either never heard of them or has been told IOS and Android are your two options. WebOS was picked up by a lot of techies and I think that is also the current standing for WP7 even though it’s facebook integration, mobile office, threads, groups, twitter integration, xbox live, live tiles, metro ui, hubs, and responsive interface is suitable for all sorts of people.

IOS, Android, WP7, Blackberry, PalmOS(WebOS)

I left Symbian out of the list because I have never owned a SYmbian device and do not know much about it. At any rate I have owned, or do own all of the listed devices (aside from WebOS but I have used it a decent amount).

Palm

I owned a Treo 680 with PalmOS on it as my first smartphone. This device had a nicely laid out responsive UI and some apps. At that point in the race apps wasn’t a buzz word. Anyone that felt like it just developed apps and you could download them where ever they posted them. There was no app store. This was quite fun for a techie because I could customize the phone quite a bit. Overall I really enjoyed this device and was sad to see it go. I am just going to lump WebOS in here even though I haven’t owned one. WebOS felt similar to PalmOS but with multitasking, notification center, app store, gesture area, performance updates, and more. What Palm did wrong is try to be like iPhone by having one device, but unlike iPhone that being a crappy device. If WebOS had spread to bigger better devices early I think it would still be a bit of a contender.

Blackberry

After my Palm broke indefinitely I picked up a Blackberry on eBay. I almost instantly hated this phone. The OS felt ancient and there was no good way (that I found) to get apps on the device. Blackberry did actually launch an app store after seeing how successful iPhone was becoming because of it, but the marketplace was not accessible for devices with a scroll wheel. Since then I have used newer blackberry devices and see that they just really don’t get it. Their UI still sucks as well as most of the device form factors.

iPhone 3gs

I liked the iPhone alright right off the bat. I was annoyed by the lack of multitasking (even my ancient PalmOS handled this to some degree). For me the iPhone got boring within about 3 months though. It just has such a mundane interface and makes for an even more mundane experience by not having a back button and having a really terrible app switcher. It is more or less a smartphone for dummies.

WP7 Samsung Focus, HTC Titan

So at this point my girlfriend was using my iPhone to play a few games because she still had a “dumb” phone on her dad’s plan. Me, being insanely bored with the iPhone saw this as an easy way to get out from under my iPhone without waiting or breaking contract. So after a lot of research I was really stumped wondering if I wanted WP7 or Android. My decision went exactly like this.

“Well, I can get this refurb Samsung Focus for free right now and in 4 months when my contract is up I can get an Android because Microsoft can’t have possibly made a good phone.”

Lo and behold, I fell madly in love with my Focus within an hour. It has such a refreshing UI and the social media integration is just awesome. One of the problems with getting people to get excited about WP7 is the features that make it awesome are not big gimmicky things like Siri (not saying Siri isn’t awesome and useful at times just that it is a HUGE marketing gimmick as well). Rather the qualities of WP7 that really make it stand out are things that we are using constantly throughout the day.

After a few months of my girlfriend using the iPhone it started to bug out a bit. The power button only works maybe once a month or so. With that I decided it was time to get her an upgrade, even though I really wanted to save my upgrade for AT&T’s WP7 devices with LTE coming. At any rate she wanted me to take the upgrade because I was much more excited about it. So with AT&T’s $.01 deals on black Friday I picked up the HTC Titan and upgraded my girlfriend from an iPhone to the Samsung Focus. Talk about an amazing device. I fell in love with WP7 all over again. The processor, screen size, and camera upgrade have been much appreciated from the Samsung Focus.

All of the worthless rant aside, moral of the story is just for the masses to expand their horizons and realize there are more options than IOS and Android.