September 30, 2014

"I Know I Missed the iPhone, but Now I'm Taking my 'Droid and Going Home!"

"Yeah I know I missed the iPhone, but LOOK, I got the 'Droids you're looking for!"

"Yeah I know I missed the iPhone, but LOOK, I got the 'Droids you're looking for!"

Yesterday I was watching football when I started to see a really good commercial, talking about everything the iPhone ISN’T.  I was sitting there saying, hey, all that stuff sounds like Android!  Then at the end of the commercial, I see droiddoes.com.  I then think about the whole advertisement, and after seeing it is from Verizon wireless, realize the commercial has a desperate feel to it.

It is a well known fact that CEO Ivan of Verizon turned down the now famous iPhone device, for reasons that no one seems to be able to pin down. But certainly this decision points to the fact that Verizon’s business model is based on nickel and dime’ing their customers from everything surrounding email to GPS navigation.  Apple wasn’t willing to allow Verizon to have that kind of control.

So here we have Verizon launching a campaign that smacks all over of Apple, and frankly I find myself pretty ticked off, and feeling like Verizon is VERY late to the Android party–but acting like they are the best carrier to happen to the platform since it launched.  I see this as a desperate play to patch over their HUGE mistake by passing on the iPhone. More specifically, I feel like CEO Ivan is covering his tail because HE was the one to torpedo the deal.

Upfront, I have a real problem with Verizon as a company. As I mentioned above, they literally kill their customers with fees for functionality on their handsets.  I had Verizon as a wireless carrier for a long time, until I finally got wise to what they were doing to limit the things that were built into my Motorola Q device.  The Q was a great business phone for me, but I found myself lost one day when I was going to visit a member of my group.  I knew my phone had GPS so I tried to get turn by turn directions.  When I went to turn the service on, it dialed my phone into Verizon, where a rep said I had to pay an extra $5.99 a month to use navigation and the GPS functionality that was BUILT INTO MY PHONE.  Upon further investigation when I got back to my office, I found that Verizon had disabled the GPS in my phone, and it could only be turned on by paying for their extra service.  This was part of their smartphone tier of pricing, you can get one of their smartphones, and you can get a data plan with it, but if you want the extra features, they make you pay for each.  This turned me off immediately, why are there hidden fees for functions that my phone came with, and why were they not disclosed to me at the time of purchase?

Because of the above experience, I am anxious to see what they are going to do with the Android platform that I love. Here they have an open platform with which they can develop for how they want, and I see this as a playground for a company that operates the way Verizon does.  The last thing that I want to see are Verizon users handcuffed where the rest of us can enjoy the platform as it was meant to be: free for all to use and develop and mold into something that the user base can really get excited about.

Verizon is looking to make Android their iPhone, but they were only willing to take this risk after they saw that Android is a real player in the market.  I understand that this is good business, but I think it is poor idealism, and a lack of creativity and dedication to making the end-user experience something amazing.  I see it as a market grab to allow them to get back into the smartphone market that has passed them by without looking back.

Android is going to thrive with or without Verizon, I know, but what is next for CEO Ivan?  Keynote addresses in a black mock turtleneck talking about how Verizon is an innovator on the Android Platform?  I hope not.

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