The Oncoming Storm

You may have noticed that, considering this is primarily a phone blog, I haven’t really been writing much about phones recently. There’s a reason for that and I’m about to show it to you. At first you may laugh or be confused but I ask that you put yourself in my shoes for just a second when you look at this image.

There’s no passion anymore, no flair, no extravagance. All we get are carbon copies of the same limited design. Black, shiny, a few buttons at the bottom and boring. Imagine being me and seeing this trend come about. Imagine loving something so much and having it assimilated in front of you with nothing you say able to stop the oncoming storm of banality.

The most recent mobile development that I predicted (several years ago in fact) is that the new fourth generation networks are charging data contracts not on how much you want to download but on the speed of the download. This is a viable plan as mobiles are now able to match and even exceed some broadband tariffs around the world and this should bring more people over to LTE without them realising they’re swapping generations (and without having to rely on gimmicks such as video calling to be a selling point – hands up who has ever made more than ten video calls in their life). Vodafone in Germany is offering download speeds of 7.2MB per second at about twenty euros per month while fifty megabytes per second will set you back forty euros per month.
Just take a moment to think about that. Fifty megabytes download speed (upload is separate over another channel) over a mobile connection. Isn’t my world wonderful when it wants to be?

I saw it coming of course, as I have with every single mobile trend barring cameras (I really missed the ball on that one). I tried to warn people. I shouted from the rooftops. I pointed out how limited touchscreen technology is in any but the optimal conditions, but the manufacturers were playing a “me too” game urged on by the analysts. Have I mentioned that I hate analysts? I must have at some point in the past four years. As far as I’m concerned analysts serve no good purpose anymore. They used to but now they’re more concerned with influencing markets than they are predicting them. Have a look at America for example. An American company came out with a much loathed phone a while ago and the analysts there went crazy over it despite the fact it was already outdated in most countries around the world. The analysts limited their data so that phone would look like the most used in the world and the most desired; a good example being that they cut out all phone brands that weren’t in use in North America during surveys meant to predict how popular that American brand would be worldwide. Now I’m all for patriotism, but when you have to tell lies to believe in your country then there’s a problem.

A bigger problem is that the tech analysts in the USA are the ones who the others around the world are used to listening to because, despite the fact that the American phone networks are about five years behind Europe and about ten to fifteen years behind Japan, American tech in other industries is normally at the cutting edge. So now we have a world full of analysts relying on faulty data from companies who are trying to show pride in something outdated. It’s one of the reasons so many of the tech and news sites declared other operating systems that were selling more than this device as dead, despite the fact their business was continuously expanding and becoming more profitable. It’s also one of the reasons that companies that were known for their awesome hardware designs are now pulling these derivative designs out of their asses.

Bloody analysts.

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23 thoughts on “The Oncoming Storm

  1. Thank you! I couldn't agree more – mobiles have become way too alike, and boring too! Manufacturers have made the phones so alike that it doesn't matter which brand you buy – you'll get pretty much the same no matter what. It's a really bad thing for those of us who like things that are a bit different than the rest. I want a new phone. But I want one with buttons on it! :up:

  2. That Vertu looks like a remote control, and the smartphones look like miniature televisions. When I see people using smartphones around me I can't help smiling, because they actually look funny. Almost all smartphones are just too big and unhandy for people to really be comfortable with them. They'd have to change hands once in a while, because the design of the bloody thing is simply clumsy. The set will slip out of sweaty hands and land on the ground, because the surface is all even and streamlined. They look like a crossing between a small television and a warped hockey puck.I had one, tried it out and gave it away again, because, to put it simple, it was not at all smart.

  3. This is one reason I keep eyeing the Blackberry Torch, despite some misgivings. At least their phones still have keys. But it's been well over two years since a new top-end phone has really interested me :awww: I'm still happily using my SE C510, and liking it enough I don't really feel a need to replace it.

  4. I think that Blackberries might be on the way out soon, certainly from a corporate perspective. BES services are a pain in the ass.

  5. Hah! You're right – they all look pretty much the same.Still, I like my little urban brown soap bar. If I should change it, it would probably be for a htc Desire Z :up:

  6. Originally posted by gdare:

    I saw probably the most expensive cell phone in the world. It was Vertu, exactly this one

    Vertu are Noia's premium brand. Each one comes with an actual PA who can be reached for free from the phone as part of the service so you're not just buying the phone, you're buying a person πŸ˜‰ One little advertised aspect of Vertu phones is that they'll make a custom one for you with any specs if you have the money.Originally posted by Aqualion:

    That Vertu looks like a remote control, and the smartphones look like miniature televisions.

    Originally posted by gdare:

    It would be one really expensive remote control, then. Imagine how much a television would cost

    About as much as the 3D televisions that everyone talks about as the next big thing even though they're limited by the same fundamental problem that got rid of 3D in the first place – without glasses they're a mess and give you massive headaches.Originally posted by FlaRin:

    This is one reason I keep eyeing the Blackberry Torch, despite some misgivings.

    Originally posted by FlaRin:

    I think that Blackberries might be on the way out soon, certainly from a corporate perspective. BES services are a pain in the ass.

    Which is why RIM is rebuilding their brand with the new Playbook OS. A bit more user friendly and less aimed at corporate users, it should get them back in the game now that people value shiny over features while still allowing them to keep most of the feature set they've built up.Originally posted by FlaRin:

    The HTC Desire Z looks like a good one . Ditto the Samsung Galaxy 551

    You've gotta be careful with Samsung. While their hardware is top notch these days they rarely update the firmware, meaning any bugs stay for a while.Originally posted by Pineas2:

    I have a little bit of hope for a comeback of Nokia.

    Same here, but it'll be a few years before things really heat up. Interestingly, despite their recent changes and announcement that Symbian is over and despite the premature announcement a month ago that Android had overtaken Symbian, they're still the number one operating system in the world.

  7. I want HP Pre3. It's got 3.6 screen yet looks different than most of the other phones, has the best phone OS, and a vertical slide out keyboard. I hope HP launches it in India. Nokia is the only phone company wise enough to see India as a market. It has much deeper presence here than any other phone brand.

  8. Originally posted by KYren:

    It's got 3.6 screen yet looks different than most other phones

    Black, shiny, touchscreen, soft buttons at the bottm. Looks exactly the same. πŸ™„ The only thing that stands out is the slide out keyboard and two of the pictured models above have those too.Originally posted by KYren:

    has the best phone OS

    Not only a matter of opinion, but you're in the minority there too. WebOS is not only immature at the moment, it's also reliant upon a web connection, something that no OS should be until the networks have updated themselves to cope with more than occasional calls and texts.Originally posted by KYren:

    I hope HP launches it in India. Nokia is the only phone company wise enough to see India as a market.

    RIM sees India as a viable market, as does anyone with business sense. Anyone ignoring the country is only doing so because they're more interested in selling premium rate phones in America, where people see MMS as a future technology. Thing is, if you want stuff like that you're better off paying the extra to get it SIM free from the manufacturer than waiting for it on a network. That way you get the benefit of not being held back from firmware updates by networks (like some have recently blocked the Windows Phone updates that are required to allow Windows Phone handsets to update their firmware with no problems, causing a multitude of bricked phones as the firmware update gets so far then stops).

  9. Half the guys in work have iPhones, a bunch have Glaxys, and the rest are luddites.Blackberry and the Nokia C and E series arem't like those. Although Nokia has signed their death warrant. But I doubt that Blackberry are going anywhere.I love my Nokia C3. It does all the stuff I want, has lots of buttons, and isn't a toy.

  10. Another note to Pussy Cat (and anyone else interested in qwerty android phones)…this Motorola milestone 2 looks like it might be OK too…Hey Mik – any thoughts on Motorola gear?? Reviews I've found of this one make it sound quite popular in Asia (#4 in reader's reviews on CNetAsia where HTC Desire is #1).

  11. i still can't get a handle πŸ™„ on touchscreen phones.Sure they're nice and shiny but a bitch to use sometimes.. :confused:A dude showed me some unknown brand touchscreen but the keyboard is removable and it has it's own battery as the phone battery goes low pretty quickly as he watches tv on it.Looks smart. Handles crap. Is crap. πŸ™„

  12. Moto is fine!In the early nineties I was a Moto man. Being a young professional in the newpaper business I had to have what was referred to then as a personal digital communicator. Started out with a brick phone. This was actually a very powerful and durable device. I had one which was driven over by a van without losing any power or ability, the same device also fell down from a window on the third floor unto the street below without dying. Around '98, I got the StarTAC wich was really fancy back then with the telescope antenna and the flip-function. My latest and last Motorola unit was a TimePort with the first GPRS technology. I used that for almost 6 years. Then I discovered SE and have been running on those since.

  13. Mik, if you look the comments on Engadget, you'd see that most of the readers there want their phones to have with 4' screen, 1ghz snapdragon or tegra processor, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 5mp camera etc. It's said that if Palm had released WebOS with iphone type hardware, it would have been well sold. WebOS is better than iOS. Even windows phone 7 copied the way WebOS handles the multitasking.

  14. Originally posted by KYren:

    Mik, if you look the comments on Engadget…

    Kiran, if you listen to the comments on Engadget then you're listening to the most ignorant people in the world talking about rumours that will never be confirmed on a site that would have a single page if they didn't post those rumours. These are the people who give credance to what American analysts say and have caused this shift in my world, destroying all that is good about design. They also believe that Wi-Max is a fourth generation technology.Originally posted by FlaRin:

    Hey Mik – any thoughts on Motorola gear??

    Hardware is good but not the best, can't be beaten for call quality, the software sucks. That last one shouldn't be an issue with Android running under the hood but it depends on how heavily they've skinned it for themselves.

  15. I must say I'm quite excited about the Motorola Atrix – I'd *love* to replace my PC with a phone. That's what I want, but I have to have all the functionality that I'm used to now for music recording, storage & CDDVD writing.If this phone had a qwerty kb, I'd probably be saving up right now πŸ™‚

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