Every day I see posts and comments from smartphone users threatening to switch to another device. A major reason cited is the lack of apps or services which are available to other brands. This won’t remain a valid reason, though, if we vow to make our voices heard.
I’ve learned a great deal from my parents, and one key lesson is that I don’t let companies tell me how I’m going to work with their devices; I tell them.
Where did we (society) go wrong? Of that I cannot be certain, but I can say when it comes to smartphones, it was when the first iPhone rolled out of the factory and into consumers’ hands. Before that, the big battle was between RIM (Blackberry) and Palm (i.e. Treos). Forget the number of users – I’m talking about our demands for development, which is something greatly lacking today. In fact, there were more cutting-edge apps and hardware add-ons for Palm devices than there is now; same goes for the Blackberry.
Today, it seems as if everything is developed for the iPhone, then ported to Android. You’d think other smartphones would be next, but a great many companies are stopping there.
For example, Square turns an iPhone or Android device into a card-swiping, payment-collecting machine. The interface and functionality is very slick. When I asked the company about their plans to develop for webOS I was told there currently weren’t any.
Square is but one example of a company (and there are many) that is ignoring webOS and other competing devices, and the most common reason is the number of users who would partake in the service on a particular smartphone. I argue that companies who don’t look at the broadest audience are going to lose future business to those who do. I also argue that the majority of users who complain about the lack of apps then jump ship are just as much at fault.
Could it be that it’s far easier to throw one’s hands in the air and settle for another device, even if we know it’s not ideal for us, than it is to petition companies to offer us the goods? I see door-walking tweets every day, despite the person wishing they “could” stay with their current device.
Let’s be honest. Unless your specific employer or legal requirements force you to use a different device, you can’t say you’re forced to move. If you want to use a particular smartphone, then send these companies a clear message (and I don’t mean by shouting, kicking and screaming). Simply tell them:
I’m not changing devices to use your product. If you don’t plan to create a version for my device, I’ll have no choice but to seek out a competitor.
Will they listen? That depends on their true goals. But I’ll say this… Square is crazy not to develop for the rest of the market, because it’s only a matter of time before someone else steps up to the plate. That someone else may even do it better, and convert current iPhone and Android users, too.
Including Square, there’s more than a dozen services I want to use on my Palm Pre Plus – I mean, I want to give these businesses my money – but I’m not altering my entire work environment to get them. To be honest, I don’t even “need” most of these services; they really just make things easier.
And that, my friends, is the message we need to send these guys. If not, then we’re just proving them right – that we’re willing to give up things we truly want in order to use something they offer on a different platform. Me? I’m talking with not only my voice, but also my wallet.