Cruising the bandwagon.
Don’t read this. It’s just me ranting to myself.
I’ve never been a phone person. It just never made sense to me to pay over RM1000 or RM2000 for a phone with (seemed at the time, owing to slow-moving technology) measly features. They were merely playthings for the insanely rich or those stupid enough to get sucked in by the ‘I’m-the-most-technologically-up-to-date-person-in-the-world-take-that-bwahahahaha!!’ hype. You’re paying RM2000 for 3.2mp camera (and this is PHONE quality camera, dubious as it is already) slow processing speed and a general feeling of frustration at how small, albeit portable the all-in-one device is. Oh yeah, you also get to call and receive calls as an added feature or something.
That’s what you get in a phone roughy equivalent to the price of a laptop with decent specs and don’t get me started on the messy placement of all the trinkets of program goodies they offer and how useless they actually are.
Men might whine and bitch about how superficial women are, how shallow and vain we can be (and I sort of agree…) though ironically, they’re the ones most inclined to buy expensive phones like how women would save up to buy that leather Gucci bag or Prada heels. Basically they’re paying for something that looks nice, but are overpriced and in my opinion, shittier than shit. Sounds familiar *cough*Apple products*cough*? I guess the Adam Apple didn’t fall too far from the Eve tree, huh?
…Okay that idiom made no sense whatsoever.
Anyhoo, Nokia N series, anyone?
That was roughly over a year ago.
Now, phone technology has grown exponentially at an alarming rate.
…Just kidding. It’s still much too slow for me but for a device that fits in your pocket I guess that’s justified. There have been notable improvements. Camera specs on phones are now like, what? 10mp? (Although is still only as good as a 3.2mp actual camera, not to mention slow shutter speed. This is looking at you, Sony) 16gigs internal memory? Touch-pad functionality with basic PC functions packaged in small, kick-ass designs?
I know what you’re thinking when I’m talking about high-end phones that look nice.
It’s the iPhone isn’t it?
We first saw the iPhone on June 29, 2007 and man what bullshit that was. As everyone raved about how Steve Jobs captured the essence of the future and our symbiotic relationship with technology (while polluting the malleable minds of children and turning them into rabid Apple fanboys, making Apple fanatism… or Apple-ism, if you may, into a religion akin to Scientology. Maybe we should call it Apple-ology… or Apology. Yeah that’s right, Apple-ologise for your bad taste, Steve Job ass-kissers!), the Apple market share rose to high quarters. They stole over a quarter of Nokia’s market share (and we’re talking about the biggest magnate in the phone market, it’s still an impressive feat now), despite being still in the early stages of penetration. No, not that sort of penetration you cyber geeks.
And this was just one phone. Apple’s first phone. Of course, the sales are highly attributed to the success of their top-selling range of media players. So much so that by 2008, they surpassed the sales of BlackBerry phones, is now the third largest mobile phone manufacturer after Nokia and Samsung and represents 39% of Apple’s total quarterly revenues within the fourth fiscal quarter of the previous year.
But, I will say this more than once, and with full conviction every time that I do: the iPhone is the shit. At the price they were selling, only idiots would buy it. If you were only considering to buy it, it’s excusable. It is a nice little piece of eye-candy. Though seeing at how steeply priced it is, I’m better off buying a kidney at the black-market for just-in-case emergencies. Just-in-case I had to sell a kidney to afford an iPhone. Plus, the functions hardly justify the outrageous price range, it scratches way too easily, is too big for the average-sized pockets and like it or not, iPod’s products have always been very fragile… Okay maybe not the newer models but Apple is still the suck.
But there was a positive outcome. Other phone brands have started bucking up ever since Apple swayed their strong foothold on their own backyard. For Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Erricson, phones are their main product range, their bread and butter, and Steve Blow-Job managed to steal their niche with an EXTENSION of his main product range. It’s probably just added jam for him.
Notice the booming proliferation of fully touch-screen phones in the market? Yeah me neither was too busy paying attention to the more important, less time-wasting things in life.
Like anime and video games.
Step-by-step, they emulated the iPhone and actually made their own statements. Not too long after, step-by-step they’re overshadowing the iPhone and by mid-year we’d see a complete obliteration of the old and in with the new; actual decent phones at decent prices.
The iPhone might look sleek and slim to some, since Apple creations are heavily Zen-based (sure the MacBook Air was ultra slim but needing an external optical drive? WTF? Any idiots out there who actually bought one?) but it’s still trippy to me. A fully touch-functioning screen is impractical since battery usage is multiplied and the iPhone’s battery life is nothing to shout over the roof tops about, an insufficient processing speed renders it a bit patience-consuming and sometimes, more accessibility in the form of attached buttons or hell, touch buttons if you so please around the peripheral edges of the phone would be quite welcomed.
Somehow, I believe someone listened to telekinetic waves of my brain (fully utilised for whining about stuff, specifically the stupidity of the gullible targets pulled in by elitist marketing hype. This is looking at you, Apple fanboys) and produced this;
The Sony Xperia X1.
When I first held it, I was transfixed. It felt so slight in my hands, almost unnoticeable. It slid out smoothly and underneath were four rows of QWERTY keyboards, all decently spaced unlike most of the keyboard-added phones around. It felt expensive and wasn’t too heavy, despite being made of metal and not the cheap-feeling plastic casements Nokia’s known for. The screen opens to a slight arc, for ease in viewing (I always wondered why most phones with QWERTY keyboards were made flat. Do we type on laptops with the screen on the same level as the keyboards?).
It also boasts an 800 by 480 resolution with such impressive screen clarity that it’s all the reviews talk about.
It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
It was also released few months back and now costs around £450 or so – that’s exactly half a kidney. I was looking up for deals online, covering the phone service providers of O2, Orange, Vodafone, 3, Dolphine and others. The best thus far was O2, with a £30 per month offer (£15 for the first 9 months, saving me up to £135), bound to a two-year contract and with a service offer of 600 minutes call and unlimited texts to any network. It was a sweet deal and I was rearing and gearing to get it once I opened a bank account… until I chanced upon another phone:
The Nokia 5800 Xpress Music.
I was intrigued first by the matching bluetooth headphones (£59) and trying it on, I was floored. The sound quality was better than any Phillips headphones I’ve ever owned and after notching up the phone’s bass enhancements, I was in a different world. Not only was it cordless (Bluetooth, duh), it had practical media control and volume buttons over the right ear piece. After that, I did the obligatory foray into the unknown and I found the phone very satisfactory indeed. Fully touch-screen, it has a QWERTY touchpad (a very non-annoying one, much unlike iPhone’s) in addition to the usual phone button pads and very practical and easy-to-use handwriting recognition technology. The response time was also much, much, MUCH better than the iPhone. Unfortunately, it has no slide-out QWERTY keyboard unlike the Xperia and not as slim as I would’ve liked it (owing to the absence of a slide-out keyboard) but I figured, with such amazing headphones it’s not much of a hindrance. In fact, I was already thinking of just utilising the handwriting magic software the phone has, which showed a drastic improvement from their previous P9 PDA ranges.
It was around £200 (phone only) and under an 18-months contract with Orange, it could be mine for a monthly £20 with offers of 400 minute calls to other network, unlimited calls to Orange networks and unlimited texts to any network… and best of all, free unlimited internet. The owner of the phone told me that this particular model was sold out on the first day of its release date. On the AFTERNOON of the first day of its release date all over UK. The iPhone didn’t fare that well. People queued up for it eye-bags and all, sure, but it wasn’t sold out.
Take that, Steve Jobs! …Man do I have a personal vendetta against him or what.
Right. Maybe I’m less certain now about my decision to get an Xperia. To qualm my anxiety (This would be the first time I’d buy my own phone with enhanced functions) I’ll just look up for more comparisons on the net (though since Xperia is more of a PDA phone and the Nokia 5800 is media-based, I’m comparing Apples and Oranges here… Or O2 and Oranges… hahaha… LAUGH, DAMNIT) and just make a decision then. Unfortunately, not soon after a new player came to town. The phone owner told me this was just his play phone, his secondary one as he waited for the release of another;
The N97 (due the first half of 2009).
It’s much like the 5800 though slightly wider (Duh, slide-out QWERTY), boasting the mark of being the phone with the biggest touch-screen space to date, and… okay I’ll let google do the talking:
- Touch display (3.5″ of it) which slides and tilts to reveal a full QWERTY kepboard plus d-pad for easy navigation.
- 5 Megapixel Camera
- Carl Zeiss integrated optics coupled with a dual LED flash
- A massive 32GB of internal memory with MicrSD support for further memory expansion
- Integrated Assisted GPS
- WiFi and HSDPA
- DVD quality video capture and 16:9 display
Curious now? Here’s a teaser:
I was told (and it was later verified by my well-informed friend the internet) that if the previous 5800 Xpress Music is a close contender to the iPhone (damnit, stupid iPhone. Why must we call it THE iPhone. Why?!), dubbed the iPhone rival, the N97 is called the iPhone killer.
Checking online, the tentative price tag was £700 and that’s 1/3rd of a kidney. But it’s such a sweet phone and I won’t rest easy if I get a phone lesser than this one. However, if I were to be more fussy about it, I’d probably point out that the keyboards do not have the Xperia’s practical and ingenious key placements that almost replicates the real thing.
Now I have three options. £30/month for the Sony Xperia X1, £20/month for the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music or wait it out for a good (though exorbitantly priced) contract offer for the Nokia 97.
…I have thus made my decision. I am taking this one:
DAMN YOU TECHNOLOGY!@#$%^&*()