Sitting at work and just got a phone call from someone asking about a television.  We don’t normally deal with televisions here but what the customer said was relevant to me becoming pissed off and writing an article about bad consumerism.  Let me explain.  Customer calls in and has one requirement about the television.  He wants it to be a Samsung because he “heard it was the best.”  Now, I don’t want to pull out any Home Theater trolls that happen to be on our site but for the money he was spending he could have done a lot better than the Samsung he ended up with.  It’s about more than just the product too.  It’s about balls.  Giant, enormous, gravitational force producing balls that a company has to have when they charge you more money, knowing damn well their product doesn’t match up with the competition.  Let me help you through why companies like this don’t deserve your money.

They think you’re stupid.  It is really that simple.  The company sits down and starts designing this product and their internal monologue goes something like this; “So a whole bunch of people know who we are and perceive or product as high quality.  Why don’t we just charge more for that perception?”  Said company increases their product margin all based on things that have no measurable difference in product quality.  What they bank on is lazy consumerism.  A large portion of consumers don’t know how to begin comparing prices and features for electronics.  It’s not any one’s job but yours to make sure you get the most for you money.  In fact 9 times out of 10 it’s every one’s job to do the exact opposite.  From marketing campaigns disguised as “Research” to sales people the market is trickier and more complex than ever.  Hopefully we do a good job of weeding out the Cellular phone crap that exists here at Mobility Digest, despite our incendiary flare for literary ostentation.  However the fact that these companies think so little of us consumers incites a crazy sort of anger in me that is projected at both sleazy corporations and lazy consumers.  Without one the other could exist but the compounded efforts of stupid people with money and smart douche bags trying to take their money has equivocated into higher prices and stupid products with no major innovation.

Second is the issue I take with companies that dictate how their device will be used.  This is true of Apple and Microsoft is hopping on with the same approach.  I’m cool with having a dedicated app store that is the default way to get apps and content to the phone.  What I’m frustrated by is the lack of ability to expand and run whatever code I want.  I don’t make apps because I’m lazy and I hate programming with a burning passion.  It’s just too laborious.  Which is why I pay other people to do it for me, but sometimes it doesn’t work just right or could be drastically improved by some minor editing.  Should I have a Windows Phone or IOS phone these companies do not give me a factory option to do so.  I don’t see why these restrictions are present.  Let me set up a little thought experiment with you all to demonstrate how stupid this is.  You are your loved ones are stuck in a building with a bomb that’s connected to a laptop and the only other electronics you have is a consumer model Windows Phone 7 device.  Some one, let’s just say MacGyver or someone equally bad ass (although none truly exist)  was there and said “I need a mobile phone with a text editor and a usb cable to export it to this laptop.”  You would be screwed along with all your loved ones because you trusted Microsoft or Apple or whoever you want to insert that has superfluous draconian control standards for mobile electronics.  I’m not saying these companies can’t lay out some default standards for applications just like Windows handles things.  If it’s unrecognized or unsigned it asks you TWO times before they allow you to install it.  Why can’t their just be an option, like in Android, to sideload apps.  This is all I want and I want the company to have enough faith in people that kept the shoddy and highly technical operating system that was Windows Mobile afloat for so many years to give us that small grievance.  I probably won’t have much of a choice with AT&T taking a shit on every Android phone that comes through by disabeling this capability.  Am I asking too much?  Should people with the skills and knowledge to write code and create things for themselves have to pay a 100.00$ fee just to use a device they’ve already paid for once?  I don’t think so.  And all you jerks out there who can’t write apps or program that want to say “oh well how many people want to do that?”, screw you!  What kind of opressive and minority hating bigots do you have to be to deny rights to people based on nothing but the fact that they are the minority?!?

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  1. “And all you jerks out there who can’t write apps or program that want to say “oh well how many people want to do that?”, screw you! What kind of opressive and minority hating bigots do you have to be to deny rights to people based on nothing but the fact that they are the minority?!?”

    Because nothing warms the hearts of oppressive and minority-hating bigots more than a raging, crazy-mouthed member of the minority. Not that I disagree with your position, but even as I agree with you, I’m so put off by your self-righteous tirade that I’ve lost most of my sympathy for you. I imagine major mobile companies are even more nonplussed by your attitude. Geez.

  2. Well I scored sympathy, which I wasn’t really going for but I’ll take it. If my little post on this niche blog pisses off any “major mobile companies” then that’s an huge win for me. I wasn’t trying to change the industry. I was trying to help people make informed decisions about purchasing products and it’s something I’m very passionate about. So yes, tirade. Self righteous? Not even close. Just plain righteous. If a minority group being opressed and taken advantage of doesn’t piss you off something fierce then I fear for what sympathy I may have garnered in my post to begin with. Whether its me in the minority or the majority the freedom to use a product as you see fit is a right I would defend for anyone, even you.

  3. @Matt Anderson:

    Well, there *are* Hundreds of thousands of apps. I mean, Google has some restrictions on what you can and can’t do with it’s Marketplace.

    I mean, shit. You have to root your phone to install a different Android ROM on it. Same way I have to HardSPL my phone to install a different WinMo ROM on it.

    The more free something is, the less stable it is.

  4. its not like theryre tricking you saying “hey buy this and you can do whatever you want” apples (and soon to be microsofts) route of “telling you how to use your phone” isnt being covered up and then discovered after youve bought the device. its not like apples saying hey come buy an iphone and view flash on it… they might not advertise that it wont do it… but they dont advertise that it does either.

  5. @Sm0k3ydaband1t – So you’re saying that aggressively stating that if you want to do something there is “an app for that” is not marketing the phone as being capable of anything, say like Flash?

  6. well… all they technically stated was that there was an app for whatever crap they were demo-ing in the commercial, im not saying its right, really im agreeing with the fact that consumers should be better informed (they piss me off too, as bad as the cellphone market is, the car stereo market is just filled with uber dumb consumers (mostly young adults)) ill-informed consumers are easily had by large corporations, but freedom of speech is a bitch and it covers large companies as well. thats what you get here in america, dont like it, you can g-yitt out :)

  7. @ Sm0k3y – “There’s an app for that. Hundreds of thousands, actually.” Straight from dude. Blatant and total disregard for the truth. It’s the arrogance that pisses me off most. To assume I’m so stupid that I wouldn’t know that there is not, really an app for “that” whatever “that” happens to be. It’s just shitty to take advantage of people and I don’t enjoy supporting manufacturer’s with that outlook.

  8. Apple started this by offering a phone restricted in such a way that it could only do what they were absolutely, positively, extra sure that it was capable of doing well. All the dumbed down consumer had to do was figure out how to turn the thing on, and actually the in-store AT&T rep could even do that for you. That brought the fruity folks rave reviews. Phone can’t do that much, but what it can do it does great.

    Meanwhile Microsoft’s platform allowed their customers to push the phone to and beyond its limits, and then go on to complain about it when it didn’t work. Not a good way to promote and expand your platform. The new approach will restrict the platform, and I assume MS will follow Apple’s lead, only deploying features that they are certain will work perfectly (well, they better). Maybe not great positive feedback, but limited negative feedback = success. Welcome to Idiocracy.

    I also believe that the mobile providers are playing a big part in this as they have taken on the responsibility for support with their subsidized pricing plans. I wonder how many calls AT&T gets every day from WM, or other platform (except Apple) users who have loaded some rouge app on their device and now three other things don’t work right. Restrictions make the manufacturer’s, platform and mobile providers life easier, but it does not make Jimmy a happy camper. Why don’t they just give me a disclaimer to sign so I can get on and play with the merchandise that I PAID FOR. Works for me.

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