December 18, 2008

A Reformed Early Adopter Addresses the 3G iPhone Undecideds

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

I used to be an early adopter, especially with all things mobile. I had to have everything first. From the Treo family (300, 600, 650), Hitachi's monster PocketPC, Samsung's compact Palm, MotoQ, I was addicted to all multi-tasking (mainly CDMA) phones and wasted invested a lot. I blame my Japanese genes, since in Japan, we go through electronics like new parents go through diapers. (That analogy was for you, LG)

Then, I grew-up. I was the cautious consumer for a few years, waiting for feedback before actually purchasing. I controlled urges. The only "new" technology I jumped on was MMS (multi media messaging) and stuck with the same handset for three years. A complete geek faux-paux. Finally, I was no longer an early adopter.

Until 2007.

If you remember, last year was a mobile junkie's dream and worst nightmare. The industry stepped up their phone games launching products and services targeted beyond business users. And it worked. 2007 changed the American mobile industry.

It was almost as though handset makers, carriers, software corporations and various sites and services sat around a round table to strategize a universal goal: convincing the American public, invest in a smart phone. NOW.

And that I did.

On Black Friday, in 2007, I reverted from a reformed early adopter, to the irresponsible consumer sheep enthusiast. I purchased and activated my Triage (at the time): Verizon's Voyager, AT&T's 1st gen iPhone, and T-mobile's BlackBerry Curve 8320. Yes, you read that correctly. I activated three phones, on three networks, and ended up with three bills. Verdict: all three were smarter, but not yet smart. T-Mobile's BlackBerry Curve and the iPhone were my winners and I had two handsets for a while. (Details here). After a few pointless months of wasting money, I came to my senses, de-activated my iPhone and stuck with the Curve. It was the better choice for me but I beat myself up for wasting money and re-reformed.

Please do not judge me. At least I recognize my addiction and can admit: I have a problem. That said, I wasn't interested in the new(er) BlackBerries, the G1 lacked something (something = hardware related, not platform), and sure as heck wasn't going to go back to the iPhone, since the first time around, I didn't have the best experience. With so much product announcements, I was planning to wait a little more before jumping on to the next wave of mobile goodness.

Then, I lost my phone.

I was forced to make a decision - and quick. Holding out was no longer an option. Since I am interested in mobile, I am familiar with the technologies, carrier pricing and differences, to handset features, functions, pro/cons. I have participated in many discussions (offline and online) about user experiences with tech and non tech people.

But one voice in particular was my main deciding factor. This individual and I have debated on the "iPhone vs rest" topic a few times -- with me on team "rest" and him on team "iPhone". He has looked me straight in my eyes and adamantly stated: "The iPhone is the only way to go." but as a "rest" advocate, I would find something, anything, to counter his statements. Though I would never tell him this (he already has millions of fans - literally, as in 2-3 million unique readers, and doesn't need more ego stroking) I especially hold his opinion in high regard. So his statement stuck. Combined with his and Louis' "There Are Two Phones In this World: iPhone and Not iPhone", I did it. I caved. I now own an iPhone.

And I am utterly blown away.

The improvement from the 1st and 2nd generations floored me. All the raves are true. And though it is not perfect, I can admit to myself and to him: "I was wrong. The iPhone is the only way to go." I am so completely enamored by the ease of use, applications, performance... the entire user experience, even when he rubbed it in my face on my Facebook with:

I've got nothing to say in return.
So if you are still undecided, it is ok. I completely understand. You are not alone. But do it. Make the switch. It will completely change your life.

Now say it with me: "iPhone or no phone."

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits