The Long and Winding Road: It is what it is…

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It is what it is…

Those of you old enough to remember the heady days back in the late 1970’s when the video cassette came to our living rooms will , no doubt, give a wry smile at the current Apple v Android debate. Have we not seen this all before? Betamax versus VHS?

Countless hours of home made video blogs have agonised over the respective merits of each system and much pseudo academic muscle flexing has been evident. Whatever the pros and cons demonstrated at any one time, we know for certain that these qualities and problems will be short lived. Such is the pace of change in technology that it is becoming barely possible to keep up with the subtle changes in the devices and systems we use in our everyday lives. One week we might believe Apple is the frontrunner, the next Android; the more this situation perpetuates the less relevant the debate becomes.

Many years ago, when I was deciding which cell-phone to buy, a friend said something which has turned out to be very useful in the years since. They said “ Make the best decision you can TODAY and get on with it…tomorrow the deal may be better or the equipment more but as long as you made a good decision at the time you can rest easy!”  So true.

Last week I upgraded to my third Apple iphone , the 5s, not because I agonised over the minutia of the specs but because for what I need to do the iPhone has never let me down. I realise there are bigger screens and better cameras etc. but the phone is not an extension of who I am, it is a tool to allow me to be who I am.

The things I need from my devices today are different from the things I ‘needed’ in previous years. I no longer casually place my phone on the bar for all to see, nor do I indulge in high profile use of my phone… maybe the novelty has worn off. What I really want is connection and speed coupled with an intuitive interface which does not slow me down. I think it is fair to say that whichever system your phone uses, you will both get and want the same. As long as this functionality exists then the name on the device means less than it used to.

A recent study of technological uptake in the UK showed that the purchasing of gadgets related to mobile technology is booming. Around £55 billion is the value of devices owned by Brits at present or to put that number into some sort of perspective, the equivalent of the GDP of Ecuador! Certainly no loyalty to a manufacturer is possible with spending like that. Pragmatism seems to be the order of the day, ‘what does it do? What does it cost? Is it worth it to me?’ If all three questions are answered satisfactorily then the sale is made…whatever the manufacturer.

Sure the manufacturers can make the ultimate device for us but they choose not to. We are locked into the two year cycle of upgrading devices and in order to keep that going we must be fed new functions and devices slowly, after all who wants to bite the hand that feeds it?

The next fashion will be the wearable devices and Google glass applications which will take us to places we had not even thought of, unlike the lady this week who was given a ticket by police for driving while wearing a pair of Google glasses. Watch out fighter pilots, they are coming after you next!

Steve Wozniak thinks that Apple should work with Google and the Android market to combine knowledge and skills. We are at the point where fierce competition within the industry, the predilection companies have to sue competitors in order to slow them down, is hampering the development of technologies which you and I would happily use. Businesses which end up feeding lawyers more than their customers invariably fail….spectacularly

Here is a video which shows just how mentally convoluted we have become regarding smartphones…. I mean , phones are for talking, right? Who cares what makes them work, just make them work!

 

If only I could get so engrossed in the debate which means nothing…

see you on the long and winding road……. Patrick

 

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