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ATPM 13.11
November 2007


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by Mark Tennent,

Phone Junkie Says iPhone Clunky

To say my daughter isn’t addicted to her mobile phone is a bit like calling Jeremy Clarkson a shy introvert who never expresses an opinion. Seldom is there a time where her latest handset isn’t within arm’s length. The day phone marrow transplants come on the market, she’ll be at the front of the queue.

It came as a bit of a shock when she said her impression of Apple’s iPhone is that it’s a “bit clunky” and she doesn’t think the £35 a month contract is worth the money. This is the woman who worked her teenage years selling phones, then again through uni, and I recall her thesis was about mobile phones, too. No surprise she is delighted to work for Carphone Warehouse who gave her quality time with an iPhone. It is all the more strange as her brother in Chicago, never a great gadget freak unless it has six strings and humbuckers, couldn’t praise his iPhone more highly.

Oo-er Missus

Apple seem to have missed a trick in the UK. I too rejected the iPhone as soon as they stopped them being unlocked. As a devout pre-pay user who buys fifty quid’s worth of calls a year, an iPhone would be a complete extravagance. My phones have been Internet-capable for years—as they are hand-me-downs from my daughter they are usually pretty good kit. But I don’t need Internet access apart from getting the right ring tone or a freebee game to play during those long lonely hours waiting for my partner, outside Marks and Sparks changing rooms.

Google may have cracked the problem. The Web has been buzzing with rumors that they are building a rival to Apple’s iPhone. What this will do for Apple director Dr. Eric Schmidt remains to be seen. He also has a part-time job as CEO of Google. According to Lehman’s Rafat Ali, Google is planning a Linux software suite and not the Gphone. But as you can already access Google from a mobile phone, this seems pretty pointless.

What if the Gphone is a real device as suggested by Douglas Anmuth, also a Lehman analyst? He believes Google plans a phone for early next year, with an over-sized touch display and Wi-Fi capability. However, this phone will probably be priced at less than $100 and possibly even free, paid for by advertising content. Google has already bought up Zingku, a mobile social network, instant messenger, and Web browser; and Android, a software company specializing in mobile operating systems that highlights the location of the user.

Getting It Together

What is the point of not bringing it all together in one little handheld package rather than trying to sell the idea to the mobile phone magnates around the world?

A free mobile phone service in return for adverts—and cool, video and Flash-based ads at that. Like TV, the ads will probably be better than the phone calls.

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Reader Comments (1)

grover Watson · November 16, 2007 - 20:41 EST #1
I commented here a few months ago that the monthly expense of being tied to an account with AT&T was cost prohibitive and I see that point of view was not mine alone.

I opted for a new iPod touch instead and although it has some limitations, it was the far better choice for my pocket. People like to own things outright, not be tied to a 'vig' every month.

I can buy a cheap Motorola Razr phone unlocked on ebay, buy a prepaid SIM card and make cheap calls all over the World without a dreaded monthly bill waiting for me in Denver.

But this is Apple, Inc., and I'm dying with curiosity to see what the next generation of iPhone will look like. Apple can only go up from here.

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