I recently decided that I should join the 21st century and get a Smartphone and Data Plan. Really, I noticed that I was paying more per month for a regular plan than a basic data plan, so I took the bait. I’m familiar with and LOVE Smartphones — I’m no a troglodyte — but I’m kind of against the idea of me owning a Smartphone. Let me put it this way: I don’t want to be constantly plugged into the matrix, just to visit every now and again.
But I decided that the benefits outweigh the evils so I walked into the closest Rogers store to play with some Smartphones. The problem is that all of their phones are dummies – plastic non-functioning replicas of the actual device. This might have been okay in the early 90s when a Zack Morris-style cellphone had just an antenna and a numpad, and all you really needed to do to differentiate your phone from a competitor’s was give it a slick 90s boxy exterior.. but in 2010 where your cellphone now has an address book, email client, web browser, GPS, photo and video capture, geo-tagging, Facebook, Farmville, and something called a Twitter.. looking at the slick exterior of a phone just doesn’t cut it.
I mean, if I wanted to come in and play with a toy phone, I’d go to Toys R’ Us. Rogers, and many other phone retailers, are in the stone age when it comes to this. So many people buy Smartphones, end up hating them, and then are stuck with them for their 3 year contract (look at the Blackberry Storm for example with it’s frustrating push screen). The lucky ones bitch and scream like toddlers until they can return them, but then just end up with another shitty phone they’ve never tried out.
But Rogers isn’t the only one to blame for people ending up with shitty phones. Smartphone manufacturers are pumping out phones so fast that they take no time to ensure that it’s usable, and have no intention of supporting the phone afterwards (hardware, software, firmware upgrades)! That’s where I have to give credit to Apple for their iPhone. It is aesthetically pleasing, user friendly, and 100% supported by Apple. People who end up with iPhones without trying them first will probably love them, and if more companies took responsibility like Apple has, we would have much better products on the market.
HOWEVER, (back to blaming Rogers) if the retail store allowed their customers to TRY before they BUY, then a lot of customers wouldn’t end up with shitty phones, and this would FORCE Smartphone manufacturers to be responsible and churn out good products instead of reinforcing the idea that you’ll sell a truckload of phones if they look like the handheld version of Megan Fox. If this were the way of the world, Smartphone manufacturers would be held accountable to their designs by their user base.
Sadly, it’s not the way things work. Until then, be vigilant as a consumer and do as much product research as you can before you buy, as I have had to do. Before I leave off, here is a listing of Smartphone rankings by CNET editors and their readers: http://www.cnet.com.au/mobilephones/smartphones/best-smart-phones.htm. CNET’s reviews are really good, and same with Endgadget, but there should be no shortage of info out there on the inter-webs; so now that you’ve been told you have no excuse for ending up with a shitty Smartphone.