Being a Verizon customer for as long as I have, it has been a long, begrudging hike up the "cool device" trail, hoping for a trailhead covered in sleek, eye-catching devices. Constantly dealing with Verizon's utilitarian looking devices, for the sake of getting great network service, has felt like carrying a forty pound pack, while fellow technology hikers laugh at me through the webcams of their uber-slick pocket-Ferraris.
You know it's bad when grungy construction workers have Nextel talkie phones that look cooler than you Verizon device... Oh, the pain of walking away, head held down, and cellphone between my legs; the equivalent of a wireless techno-chihuahua.
So when you're a self-proclaimed techie, the suffering is only amplified. Now you are the guy who knows tons about tech devices, who himself carries what can only be described as a "plastic brick with an LCD screen on it" that passes as a Verizon phone.
But I trudged onward; waiting... hoping... in fact praying... that Verizon would find itself a phone worthy of its technologically advanced network service.
And then on the web horizon, galloping through the dust left to me by cell users from other carriers, came Nexus One.
(Cue theme from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly")
Like Clint Eastwood rolling into a town besieged by marauding, under-performing wireless carriers, the Nexus One rode in, and then climbed off of its virtual white horse known as Google; its hi-res screen shining like a pair of precision six-shooters... The Good
Meanwhile, the town was held prisoner by carriers with crappy networks, which disguised themselves with rollover minutes and fancy devices... The Bad
And then there was AT&T. After losing its courtroom "map brawl" with Verizon, it went to its plan B - to deluge the townspeople with tv ads featuring Luke Wilson and an umbrella (I would have preferred Rihanna myself). They fed off of fears - not fears from technology, but fears of looking "really really un-cool". The thought that I can't surf the web while simultaneously talking on the phone... The Ugly
So the big story; Google finally finds a space with HTC to plant their Android mobile OS. The bigger story - As news hits the web airwaves, millions upon millions of Verizon faithfuls are enthusiatically, albeit cautiously, cheering from their window sills. Could this be the time for us to paint the town red? Is this the showdown we've been waiting for? Or will this be a wireless massacre? Damn, where's my horse and my bluetooth headset?
The reality is that its not solely about carriers anymore, its about devices too. Afterall, when it comes down to it, we are drawn to our devices, not our networks. Its the phone we interact with every day, not the customer support gal or the website or the cell tower. We want something that we like carrying around and enjoy showing to others. Its about the device as much as it is the technology; even if its fast and feature-packed, it still has to look and feel good. This is the direction I see for consumer electronics -- less tech-centric, and more tech-social.
I will wait and see how Nexus One fairs, before deciding to move away from my trusty Moto Q9... She's an old horse, but she's got plenty of gallop in her. With so much on the line, including the light scar left behind on the "non-iPhone-killer" Droid, it seems Verizon is poised to make it or break it with their Nexus One "mercenary".
Its about time that Verizon stepped up to the plate with some cool offerings for the wireless faithful. God knows our town has been waiting long enough.
(Finally, I can do away with this faux-carbon-fiber sleeve...)