I read a study today that ticked me off. I’ve seen studies like this one before and they annoy me but this one was wrong day, wrong time. The reality of smart phones and their users. A recent study released in the U.K. talks about the difference between iPhone and Android users. The bias of the study was pretty evident and the missing pieces in the study were wide enough to drive a truck through. Smart phone users should be classified first, then from there evaluate the impact of the device on the person.
The first type of smart phone user is the evolutionary smart phone user. They started with the Pocket PC phones of the 2000’s and either moved to Windows Phones, or left the devices and went to either Android or iPhone (or both). This user may have two distinct characteristics that changes how they operate and include a smart phone in their lives. They may be the cutting-edge person, the technologist who loves technology for technologies sake. Or they may be an innovator who sees value in the new platform. Either way their evaluation and use of smart phones is very different.
Next you have the person who didn’t use a smart phone until 2008. They jumped on the iPhone or Android platform with its release. They are interested in applications and didn’t experience the high cost of software on the Pocket PC platform, they are used to 99 cent applications. They use their smart phone as a personal extension taking lots of pictures and sharing on social media. They are neither young or old (I know people in both categories that are well in this category of user).
Finally, you have the platform lovers. Their bias is for the platform. You know them (I’ve been one since switching off the windows phone platform to the android platform first (and then realizing what a pain it was moving to the iPhone). I know the windows phone platform is dying. I am not a huge android fan but I do have an android tablet. I use it frequently because it has a couple of applications that I find really cool. But for the most part I am an iPhone user.
There is no easy classification for smart phone users. Mostly because the way people consider and use phones is vastly different. My favorite line was my mother at dinner with my family while visiting us asked a question. Everyone at the table grabbed their phones to get her the answer. That is the modern smart phone world. The relevance of platforms today is that there are two. As a cutting-edge technologist, I can honestly say that I can do the same things with Android devices that I can with iOS devices. I cannot do as many of the things with the Windows Phone platform devices, but that is because that is a dying platform.
The difference between the devices? Frankly it comes down to what you need from a phone. Android devices (I had one for nearly a year as my only phone) are excellent quality and deliver great service. The recent battery issues could happen to any smart phone. The more battery (and everyone wants longer battery life in their smart phone) you have the greater the risk can be. There are design things that can be done that will alleviate some of the risk but for the most part batteries get warm. Some of the devices have really high end cameras (although they are not the optimal camera form so using them as your only camera is well, not the best idea). Some of them have amazing audio that is awesome. The end game is they are smart phones.
I interact with the world via my smart device. But I view the world through the lens I’ve created over the years. My smart phone is an extension of who and what I do. It is not me. My choice of smart phone is more focused on what I need the device for. For nearly 10 years I was on the cutting edge of phone technology pushing the edges of capabilities. Seeking more than was there often and pushing the hardware to its limits. Now, I want to be able to sit back and rely on my phone. It is a tool I use frequently but I no longer push the edge. I add devices that push the edge, but I can upon their failure remove them from my device and be back to fully operating.
The post that offended me talked about and labeled phone users in a way that I found demeaning and at best erroneous. The bias of the observer modifying not only the observation but also the decision and actions that were produced. It bothered me, this study that was released. I don’t really care either way in the end. It just makes me frustrated that people spend time building a case based on bias. Without a proper classification system, the phone user is not representative of more than one person. So, building and extrapolating beyond that is simply wrong.
I guess it bugged me more than I realized.
Reformed Windows Phone user…