Have Phone, Will Travel

I just returned from a 3 day road trip that involved a BMW Convertible and 4 adults, so we were very close the whole time. Even though we were technically on a mini-vacation and theoretically completely unplugged from work (ie No Laptops in the trunk) I got a kick out of watching cell phone use.  A word of background on the 4 road trippers …. #1 Investment Advisor #2 Realtor #3 Attorney #4 Marketer in search of the Next Big Thing.

#1 Investment Advisor (aka my husband Nick)  claims  “all my positions are stable, so I can unplug”. He’s driving so he can’t use his phone except when we stop. He has the Blackberry Pearl. It beeps incessantly because he’s getting texts from my daughter (home alone and sworn to hourly updates). When we stop he asks for quotes from the iPhone …. because it’s a pain  to text the symbols into the Pearl.  He keeps the phone because it’s “small and fits in my pocket”.

#2 Realtor just got a Droid, after years of Blackberry. She got the phone because they were offering a buy one, get one. After 2 months with the Droid, she still can’t use it properly. She asked me to show her how to change airplane mode and change the volume – because it wasn’t intuitive to her.  I got to check it out a bit – and thought that it seemed just like Windows and was super familiar. There’s a sound for just about every function on the Droid and the thing makes a lot of noise. The phone with soft case is bigger and heavier than the iPhone.  It’s an interesting combination of keyboard text and touch screen.  As a realtor, she needs to look at a lot of docs and send them to people. The Droid has a nice bright screen and combined with the keyboard is really a super small computer.  The biggest problem is that she needed to keep it plugged into the charger all day – because the battery seems to drain even faster than the iphone. Interesting to note – she attended a class to learn how to use the phone. (obviously didn’t work). I asked her what feature would she like to see for the Droid. She answered “a mirror app” …. so I can apply lipstick without a mirror.

#3 – The Attorney has a Blackberry Bold. I call it the “classic blackberry playpattern” …. he’s texting and emailing all the time. He mastered the simultaneous reading the map and texting with his thumbs behavior. He’s also mastered the checking the blackberry every 10 minutes behavior. He hasn’t changed to an iPhone because of battery life and because he “needs to be able to text as fast as possible” …. “people expect me to respond immediately” . I asked him about Apps and he said the Blackberry had everything he needed just the way it came out of the box. 

#4  – The Marketer in search of the Next  Big Thing has an iPhone. The phone does it all, just like the commercial says. I used the GPS to find our way when the guys couldn’t read the maps. I supplied the road music from my playlist. I easily found the reviews and location of the “best jazz brunch” in California.  I got the stock quotes when asked. I checked Facebook. I took pictures of some amazing stuff and texted it to my kids.  And yes, I checked email, did a conference call, and played a couple rounds of Scrabble.

One thing is clear,  there is no such thing as unplugging once you’ve got a smart phone.    I realized that whether you want your phone to do everything or whether you want your phone to do just one thing really well there’s something out there for you. As a marketer, the phone business is interesting – huge market, complex customer segmentation, and numerous business models.