Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – New phones for Normobs

This week’s post from Mobile Industry Review.
This week I’m returning to the travails of the family Normobs (normal mobile users). A few weeks back I wrote about my son George’s search for a new mobile (to be fair he’s more than a Normob). Well this week we closed the deal for the next 18 months. George’s contract is in my name as he’s under 18, so I phoned 3 to discuss the options. George had decided he wanted a Samsung Tocco but had seen a better deal on Orange. When I told the 3 advisor this he ‘disappeared off’ to talk to his manager and came back with the offer of a discontinued Direct Text tariff with an £8 monthly discount plus a free handset! Not a bad deal. Handset arrived next day – one happy son! I’m impressed with 3 that despite George having only spent £15 a month with 3 they still offer some recognition for sticking with them. The result is he stays with 3 and will now be spending about £20 a month.
My wife Jo decided after much deliberation that she would defect from Nokia S60 and join the ranks of iPhone addicts! However her experience with 3 was a little different. After saying she was leaving 3 because she wanted an iPhone, the 3 advisor tried every possible objection to her stated wish for a PAC code. Despite getting the PAC code they continued to phone asking her to reconsider and didn’t give up even after she said she’d bought the iPhone! She began to feel she was being stalked by 3!
Now Jo’s got an iPhone she’s thrilled with it and hasn’t stopped plundering the App Store! So what aspects of the iPhone really impressed her? To quote ‘It’s so easy to use and it’s a really fun phone’. For me what’s really telling is the fact that Jo has only looked at the user guide once (which is good because she hates user guides!). Despite the complexity of what the handset can do, the user interface is so simple that Normobs can use it ‘out of the box’. The ease of use of social networking apps is another attraction. She’s a big fan of Facebook and Twitter and the iPhone is a great device for this type of interaction. The user experience on the iPhone is so much better than having to fire up the S60 browser and then go to your bookmarks to select Facebook or Twitter. In fact her ongoing commentary about how great it is is becoming increasingly irritating!
When it originally launched I said that the iPhone was the smartphone for Normobs. I’m a big fan of Nokia S60 devices but they don’t make the smartphone experience easy for Normobs – no App Store (yet, but it is coming at last!), no seamless WiFi/3G experience and a limited application set ‘out of the box’. The iPhone WiFi integration is a neat touch as it takes the decision making on 3G versus WiFi away from the user. This is especially useful where 3G data coverage is flaky, e.g. in-building, and the bundled access to commercial hotspots gives a reasonable level of public hotspot access.
Next up for Jo on the iPhone is Truphone so she gets all her IM accounts in one place plus free calls between us!
Jonathan’s also at Sevendotzero.

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