It’s been a very strange week. First I got asked by a Brunch team member (you know who you are) to suggest a new phone to upgrade to. Nothing unusual – just that the conversation made me rethink the advice I usually give. How do you suggest a phone to a person who’s never used a smartphone and now wants to graduate to one that will ‘simplify’ her life? This is a person who has no camps that she belongs to, no loyalties, no specific feature sets she was looking for, no preferences on brands – pretty much a clean slate to start with. Hours later, one of India’s leading fashion designers fished out a five-year-old, zero-feature, ancient relic of a phone and proudly stated to me that this was all he needed and anybody wanting more than this from a phone was a fool. The next day I was witness to a bitter fight between a Blackberry user and an iPhone user with each calling the other names based on the phone that they use. They did part by saying that they would never talk to each other ever again – not even on their phones.
Thus, a mobile phone today is far more than a important work and communication tool. We choose our phones based on a lot of criteria: internal and external, some logical some bizarre, some intelligent and some completely foolish. But eventually, our phone says a lot about who we are and is now part of our identity. Could we then study our colleagues, lovers, family and friends based on this tiny device in their hand?iPhone user
What you think of yourself: You think of yourself as young (at heart if not age), trendy, with-it (also own the MacBook Air and two iPads), a true techie (can figure out iTunes), get what you want (got your auntyji in the UK to get you the unlocked iPhone 4), like the good things in life, very well informed (all those apps that keep you right on the button) given to some vanity, but not apologetic about it. You like things understated (one home button), yet like a little bling (the phone cover), you get bored of people and things quickly (you moved from iPhone 1 to 4 in three straight years!), are cool and stylish (a study says iPhone users get more sexual partners!), can afford the luxuries of life and are basically successful and upwardly mobile.
What others think of you: A bit of a prat, part of a demonic fan club, a complete tech dufus who wants things simple and idiot-proof, doesn’t understand that a phone should also make good voice calls, enslaved to a system and company, pretentious and snobbish, has got stuck in a silly endless rut of cycling through a new iPhone every year (otherwise, life will come to a grinding halt!), would buy even used toilet paper if Steve Jobs went on stage and announced that you should, obtuse and stubborn, not willing to listen to anybody else and brutally aggressive when criticised.
What you think of yourself: You don’t buy into hype, are anti-herd and not a part of any cult. You are logical (won’t stand in line for nine days to buy an overpriced device), rebel with a cause (Apple is evil), patient and calm (suffered through Android 1.6), honest and down-to-earth, like method in your madness (don’t mind swiping your finger through every damn screen), revolutionary and willing to live dangerously (will buy unbranded Chinese Android knockoffs), gets things free while others pay top dollar for it (Angry Birds), super techie (will overcome early user problems like a screen freeze every 15 minutes in first editions), like a phone to be feature-heavy, won’t use crippled technology (like a fuddy-duddy cable for syncing), don’t want to get stuck in a closed system with a walled-garden approach, willing to help others with their problems (even if all the problems are about Android) and basically, a true son of the soil.
What others think of you: A complete putz that secretly lusts after the iPhone, dull and geeky, nerdy and boring, suffering though a mediocre system as you don’t want to accept defeat, part of a cookie-cutter club where everybody has the same phone, secretly lusts after the iPhone, has an inferiority complex and covers up with trying to be rebellious, secretly lusts after the iPhone, has issues with Steve Jobs and is taking it out on himself and his family, part of the dumb army that Google is building for world domination, hoping and praying for an iPhone killer (and secretly lusts after the iPhone).
Next week we’ll get into the even more treacherous world of BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone and most importantly, what it says about you when you deliberately stick to a five-year-old non-smartphone and still have a have content grin on your face (hint: it’s not good). Meanwhile, do remember that this mobile phone personality study isn’t perfect yet. So don’t go about choosing a life partner based on the phone that he or she carries :)
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
- From HT Brunch, March 20
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