Here’s the thing- I sold cell phones for several years. I’ve been entrenched in the depths of cell phones waters for a long time. And its mucky. It’s actually pretty fascinating when you think about the industry. Every year we can expect the newest flagship models of phones from Apple, Samsung, LG and several other electronic manufacturers. These tiny super computers are about the same price as a full functioning laptop, and in many cases we have about as much brand loyalty to them as we do to our religions. People defend their hundred dollar phones more than their several thousand dollar cars. I mean there are definitely some car people out there, but is there anyone around you who would ever say to you “Your Ford is so lame, you should have gotten a Lexus idiot.” or “Whirlpools are the best. Maytag? More like Lame-tag.”?
The answer to that question is no one. No one would say that because it would be silly and pedantic. Yet we do it all the time with our cell phones.
I’ve come a long way in my journey through the cellular battlefields. I’ve dumped in sweat and tears to the cause of upholding the standard of what a real phone should be. And I’ve been on every side of the battle. Even in the beginning, I remember having a flip phone and saying that my friends were stupid because their smart phones would die quickly and had nowhere near the capabilities of what real computers could do. And let’s not forget expensive! What a waste. But not too much later, I had my first Blackberry, and I became an avid supporter of the QWERTY keyboard. It was clearly better because you had tactile feed back. I realized that it didn’t have the robust app store that the other phones had, but they focused on quality, not quantity – and you’re just too blind to see it. Of course then I got my first Android and it was the new King. Why have any other phone that was so restrictive? My phone was like a portable computer. I had no rules, and all my tech savvy made my phone all the better. But, of course, I then tried out a Windows phone and was swept away by its simplicity. Because, of course, design is king and less is more. It has the same functionality, but it’s not so messy.
This went on and on.
And what caused this journey? It had nothing to do with the phones themselves, but the hate for something greater. A blood wrenching hate for all things Apple. That’s right – I could not stand Steve Jobs and his trendy cellular empire. The pomp, the arrogance, the false sense of worth – I loathed the company. I even made parodies about how lame iPads were and talked just about everyone I could out of getting a Mac, which was the carnal sin. My hate for Apple pushed me to every other kind of phone that was possible to get. It was ridiculous.
Now time went on and slowly I began to grow up. I went from anti-Apple to indifferent to Apple. They were fine for simpletons, but I preferred something a bit more technical. Then, as fate would have it, I was involved in a company where I needed to have an iPhone for a long duration of time – and I grudgingly became the proud owner of an iPhone 5. It was like I had gone against everything I stood for. I was a poser, a flip-flopper. I caved and lost to the adversary.
But I didn’t….because there was no battle.
I lost a fabricated war that I created in my head. While the corporate rivalry was very real – I pretended that I was a foot soldier fighting in the great cause of cellular freedom. But in all reality, there isn’t a single individual at Apple who is aware of my existence. Or even Google for that matter. No no, these are two corporate giants who are out for souls of men. Looking to enlist us all in the ranks of brand loyalty and could care less about the casualties.
See in my stint selling phones, it always was so interesting to find out the reason someone bought a certain phone over another. I could show them two phones similar in price and specifications, and the deciding factor would be so minute. It seemed as though the things that became a big deal to people were the things they believed were big deals, or rather things they were told mattered. The promised speed of a network, the ability to utilize a feature on a phone, the color, or the faceplate were the selling points. These were the points that the manufacturers were pushing! No one knew the difference between 4g and LTE, they just knew that they had to get LTE because it was better, and their network had the most of it. It didn’t matter that it drained their battery faster and the data speeds were completely irrelevant to small app downloads. That’s what they were told they needed, and so they bought it. People bought the iPhone, and then a year later the ‘S’ version is released with some voice controls and people need it. They are willing to wait in lines for it. Spend hundreds of dollars more for it. It wasn’t because we developed a need for an electronic assistant. We bought what we were told to buy because we were told we needed it.
What have we become?
So I finally dropped my team. I stopped playing sides. You have an iPhone? Awesome. I really liked how simple mine was, and it was pretty smooth. Its tough to find that on other phones. Oh you have a Windows phone? I miss the UI. I think its better looking than most others. You have an Android too? I liked this one because it was reviewed really well and fit my personality – I hope yours fits yours as well.
We don’t need to fight about phones. We don’t need to look down on others for having or not having a piece of hardware. I originally hated iPhones because I believed that people who used them were stupid and pretentious. After owning one for awhile I started to see why other iPhone users wanted everyone else to have them too. But are all iPhone owners pricks? Of course not.
Let’s put away these absurd loyalties. Let’s buy phones that match our lifestyle, not the lifestyle we are told we should want. We don’t need to justify our purchases by over-hyping features that we don’t actually use and distorting facts to vindicate our purchases. Let them become like cars, and everyone can buy one that fits into their life and their life only.
Enjoy your phone for the two years you have it and then when the time comes find a new on, do it responsibly. I can promise although the grass seems greener, it isn’t. All phones are made from the same parts and are put together just a little bit differently to suit our very unique and individual lifestyles. Come out of the murky waters of cellphone warfare and bask in the sunlight of electronic freedom.