Just because it's black, doesn't mean it's really the same as iPhone

Sunday, February 10, 2008

According to a survey released recently by ChangeWave Research, cell phone users are moving more and more toward Blackberry and iPhone smartphones.

One of the charts from the ChangeWave survey shows that Apple has come closer to hitting customers wants with their first cell phone than all the other phone manufacturers who have been making phones for years.

Since the introduction of the iPhone last year, every phone maker has come out with a copycat phone that looks like the iPhone. But just because a phone looks like an iPhone doesn't mean that it is an IPhone or that it works like the iPhone.

It is just like LG, Motorola, Nokia and the rest of the old-guard of the cell phone business to superficially copy the look of an iPhone and think they have copied the important aspects of it. They are so clueless. They have no idea why people even like the iPhone. It's not because it's black and has nifty icons on a touchscreen (which is all they have copied in their lame copycat phones). It's because the buttons actually work and provide features and functions people actually want in a way that ordinary non-technical people can figure out and use.

The hardcore phone geeks argue why their phone is better by providing a long list of technical specifications and jargon like H264, megapixels, and CPU speeds, but these are't the things that satisfy users. What satisfies users is the overall experience - not what the phone says it does on paper, but what can I do with it, in real life.

And in that regard, Nokia, Motorola, and the rest are light years behind Apple and the iPhone. High-end phones like the $750 Nokia N95 may win on technical specifications but tech. specs. only matter if users can apply them to real world problems and what the research shows is that Apple has done a much better job with that with their first phone than all the existing cell phone makers did with twenty years of experience behind them.

And superficially copying the iPhone is not going to cut it. They are going to have to copy the ease of use, the easy access to all those powerful features to solve real problems, and the highly effective integration that iPhone offers (meaning usable by real mainstream users, not just tech geeks).

Among tech geeks, the attitude is that only people too dumb to figure out a phone like the N95 get an iPhone - so I risk being called a "noob" for praising the iPhone - but the irony is that is groupthink at its worst, supposedly the opposite of what "smart people" do.

It's time for Nokia, Motorola, and also the carriers, Verizon, T-Mobile and the rest to wake up and realize that Apple is on to something - and painting your phone black and giving it a touchscreen is not an effective response.