There are countless articles about how the iPhone changed the mobile industry by way of brilliant innovation – but I want to address the other side of that equation – the abysmal products that were pushed by top manufacturers in the days leading up to the iPhone’s announcement that allowed it to stand out so strongly. It’s easy to forget a pre-iPhone world – who can blame you? Who wants to remember their KRZR K1 (!?) when you are now happy with your Android or iOS device? Well, I’d like to quickly remind you of the Mobile Dark Ages you were living from 2003 – 2007: poorly conceived devices that lacked any concern for the consumer’s true needs, and complete ignorance to a changing internet-centric society. These devices were your only choices before the iPhone, and in many ways, are just as responsible for its success by way of their mediocrity. Here are the 5 “best” devices that would have been available to you within 30 days of the first iPhone announcement:
*Blackberry intentionally excluded – the phone that was released at that time was the 8800, and was excluded here because it will be in my next blog post. But it was more of the same: 512MB memory, no WiFi, no real functionality, etc.
These phones didn’t have even the most basic features you love today, and they were considered the best that money could buy – 4GB+ storage, gyroscope, visual voicemail, proximity sensor, capacitive touchscreen, gesture-based navigation – these simply didn’t exist. Rather, no one else cared to create them, though clearly the technology was there. This post isn’t meant to promote Apple or say it’s better than any other phone out there (though it may have come across that way – sorry, I do use the iPhone). After a while of having things so good for so long with Android and iOS, we sometimes forget why we broke up with the Cellular Industry in the first place – this post is meant to just be a reminder. For every business, including ours here at Clear-Coat, it’s easier to give people the same product over and over, and ignore an ever-mounting desire by the consumer for innovation – it takes sheer will and fortitude on the part of every member of the company to make something that’s actually better. It’s easier for manufacturers like Motorola, Blackberry, and Nokia to show up to work, make an ad that uses the word “Innovation”, and then just push out the same old product with more features we don’t really want. I call 2003-2007 the Dark Ages of mobile technology, as the entire industry was asleep at the wheel – I’m glad someone stepped up and made a real product, something that calls to the needs of real people. If ever you need motivation to innovate in your work, and take your company out of your own Dark Ages, just look at these five craptacular cell phones you would’ve still been using today if a team at Apple hadn’t hit the bricks and made the iPhone.