So you bought an iPhone and finally got the signal. Could the device popularity be due to Apple's great marketing skills in building buzz in the marketplace and with employees? Or could it be because US mobile phone carriers' traditional veto power and design control over every feature of a the phone has been overruled?
"I also remember hearing friends on the Palm Treo team tell me what a nightmare it was to sell their early phones to the American carriers, who traditionally wield veto power and design control over every feature of the phone. The Treo team had all kinds of great ideas for improving the design and software of cellphones—but those carriers turned up their noses with a “we know what’s best” attitude."
Do you know what you're missing? I travel to Europe once a year, I am not surprised by the dearth of services available to mobile phone users in the rest of the world. If you travel often, my advice is to buy an unlocked phone in Europe or somewhere else and replace the SIM card in the device with the one you need for that country when you're there.
The story here is how Steve Jobs may have managed to change the phone maker/cell carrier relationship for the first time in years. According to Pogue:
"Stan Sigman, president and chief executive for wireless at AT&T, is on record as saying that he had no idea what Apple’s phone would be like when he agreed to this—a deal that would have been unthinkable in the pre-Jobs era.
If the iPhone becomes a hit, then, it could wind up loosening the carriers’ stranglehold on innovation. Maybe phone makers’ imaginations will at last be unleashed, and a thousand iPhone-like breakthroughs might bloom.
The cellular executives at the conference didn’t seem to oppose this development; indeed, several were thrilled by the shift, as though they’d been feeling just a little uneasy about the whole “we’re-the-gatekeeper” thing themselves. That’s really exciting stuff."
Exciting stuff, indeed. I was recently part of a conversation at Logic + Emotion with Nokia's emerging media pro Karl Long. Given the company's dedication to designing experiences by observing people in their desire to connect, I am not surprised that this is a brand that people love. As I said in my comment there, I waited to upgrade my mobile phone until I could get my hands on the first Nokia flip phone in the US.
Much work remains to be done. If you saw the models Nokia offers in Europe, you would be falling in love with their phone, too. Check out their models in Italy. Which brings me back to the point of this post. Maybe Steve Jobs with his tough requirements just did us a lot of good. Maybe you are not planning to buy an iPhone. And maybe your lengthy activation process didn't make a good impression.
The innovation that this product brought to bear may be much more extensive than just integrated features on one device. It may span a whole industry. And not a moment too soon!