Death of a Lamppost: Why People Only Know About the iPhone
During NFL football this Sunday, dozens of commercials aired. In one of them in particular, lampposts, parking meters, and signs were being sliced by something flying through the air. At the end of it, that thing flew into the camera, the screen went black, "Droid Razr. 11.11.11" was displayed, and it was over.
Since the DROID brand has been pushed so heavily over the past couple of years, I'm sure many viewers knew it was a phone (even if they missed the tiny Verizon or Motorola logos). But, I'm also sure some had absolutely no idea what was being advertised.
During that those same games this Sunday, there were also a variety of ads for the iPhone 4S. One showed off Siri, Apple's new voice-controlled virtual assistant. Another demonstrated iCloud and how it worked. And one more bragged - rightfully so - about the iPhone's amazing camera. All three of these commercials were done in typical, Apple fashion. They simply highlighted a feature of the phone, and showed people using it in real-world situations. That's it.
There were no robots being dismantled by a sword-wielding woman. There weren't any octopus-human hybrids. And there weren't any semi-popular, international pitchmen.
How Can It Make My Life Easier?
That's the question the majority of customers want answered when choosing a new smartphone. Considering that phones have finally reached $299 price points, on-contract, it's a perfectly valid question. Yes, Siri, iCloud, and quick photo editing capabilities on the iPhone make it a highly convenient tool to carry in your pocket. But there are plenty of phones on the market with features that the general public would love.
Imagine an Apple-like commercial that demonstrates how Swype text entry works on a Droid Bionic- talking about how much faster it is than a standard keyboard. Imagine a commercial showing off Google Talk video chat, or better yet, Google+ Hangouts with nine other people on a Nexus S. Or how about an ad showing the usability of Live Tiles on any Windows Phone? And although it isn't out yet, people would love to see the zero shutter-lag, Android Beam, and Face Unlock features of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Networks and phone manufacturers are hell bent on making their commercials stand out. I mean, how else could one explain a woman with four arms, attached to a giant curtain? But what Verizon, AT&T, Motorola, and others fail to realize is that is the exact opposite of what people want. They want a phone that fits in to their daily lives - like the iPhone. Not one that could help them decapitate a robot.
Look, the iPhone does great things. There's no denying that. But there are other smartphones that do them just as well, and in some cases, other things much better.
People just have no idea. And judging by what I saw on Sunday, that trend doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.