The Taxi Uncle’s Samsung Galaxy S3

Disclaimer: The view in this article is no way representative of what all consumers think (obviously), but it does show us one perspective of consumer’s views on Android and iOS. Throughout this conversation, I made sure to not offer any of my opinion on the subject, or reveal what I do.

I personally love to find out about how consumers make gadget purchasing decisions to learn how to provide more accurate advice, so when I noticed my taxi driver’s Samsung Galaxy S3 as he was driving me home, I couldn’t help but ask.

Me: “You’re using Android?”

Him: “Yea. Don’t get Android, it’s not good.”

Me: “How come?”

He went on to explain to me that he used to own an iPhone 4, and when his contract expired, he decided to get the S3. Unfortunately, most of the features he are used to on his iPhone 4, made possible by apps, aren’t available. He cited a few examples:

  1. On his iPhone, he can easily print an A4 document with a wireless printer, but on Android, it somehow kept making him print two pages in landscape. When he found an app to do it properly, it didn’t work. 
  2. He downloaded an office client, and it didn’t work.
  3. He tried to get kids apps for his grand children, and those didn’t work neither.

Another thing he mentioned about his life before and after S3 was very interesting:

“My iPhone 4 was jailbroken, so most of my apps were free. But on Android, even when I paid money to buy the apps I needed, they refused to work properly.”

So I naturally I asked:

“So why did you get an Android phone?”

“You see, people are like that. Other people say ‘good’, then you believe them and buy it. But although it looks good on paper, when you really start to use it, it becomes very different. My friend recommended it to me, said the S3 is very good. I went back to scold him after that! A lot of my friends got Android for the same reason, and now they’re also not happy with it. I just don’t think Android is for me.”

He then went to offer his perspective on iOS and the S3:

“The good thing about the S3 is that it’s very pretty, lets you use SD cards, and lets you swap the battery yourself. The iPhone doesn’t let you do all that. You can’t change the battery, and after about 2 years, you’ll definetly run out of space, which is about the right time you need to change it. The iPhone is a selfish phone, but even then, it is still worth buying because it does what you need it to do.”

(Most amusing quote:) “At the end of the day, imitation will never be as good as the original. Samsung needs more time.”

“The other day my friend, whose contract is ending soon, said he wanted to get the S3. I told him to get the iPhone 5, then I’ll give him S$100 to swap the iPhone for my relatively new S3! He was shocked and I asked if I had too much money!”

To test my theory about what makes Android popular among the other people, I further asked:

“Do you watch videos on it?”

“Ah, videos, Android is very good. But the thing is I don’t watch videos, so that doesn’t benefit me. Android just isn’t for me. If you like to play games and watch videos, then you can get Android. If not, iPhone is better.”

At the end of the day, it further proves that we need to stop telling people that one device is better than the other. That’s because the truth is, everyone is different, and so are the devices. We tend to leave out 2 very importand words at the end of our sentence: “The iPhone is better for me“. These two words make a huge difference when we advice others.

I liked that the taxi uncle, while pouring out his Android grieviences, made sure he said “Android just isn’t for me“.

Apple vs Samsung Trial: Discerning Fact from Opinion

I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of talk from all sorts of people about the recent court case between Apple and Samsung, where Samsung lost to Apple for copying the iPhone, even from people whom have never shown interest in technology stories. There is a great lesson about how people make judgements very quickly these days that I believe can be learnt from all this. Before that, however, here’s my thought on the case: I believe Samsung deserved to lose this case, and they lost fairly. That said, I don’t deny that the case was silly to begin with, and the patent system is currently messed up.

Disclaimer: I’m no lawyer. I’m just sharing what I learnt. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

TheVerge.com’s Coverage

While most people only got to hear that the trial was going on, and that Samsung lost, I was curious enough to follow this trial. Partly also because The Verge provided enough facts that made it interesting to follow and much to learn from. While they shared a bit of their opinions in their podcasts, they also shared a lot of facts throughout, giving you an insight to what was going on, and letting you decide.

The thing that The Verge did that others didn’t do was have 3 lawyers cover the story. While they might not all have been patent lawyers, they at least knew enough to be asking the right questions. They also explained a lot of what happens in a trial, like how Apple and Samsung got their evidences, and how this case wasn’t simply a patent claim, but also a trade dress claim.

If you want to check out their coverage, which I highly recommend, follow this link. You should also listen to the VergeCast, where Nilay explains a lot of how the trial works to the ones who didn’t know.

Trade Dress

One thing I learnt while following the story with The Verge was that this wasn’t just about the patents, but it was also about Trade Dress. In this extremely insightful guide to the whole trial, The Verge describes trade dress as “the elements of a product design that indicate it came from a certain brand or company.”

Samsung had it coming for them

If you had followed the court case day by day, you would have realised that Samsung’s chances of winning the case was getting slimmer by the day for 2 reasons:

1. The evidence was against them

Before the debates began in the courtroom, both Apple and Samsung had the opportunity to dig up evidences from each other. That’s how Samsung managed to dig up all the iPhone and iPad prototypes, and internal emails. Apple, on the other hand, dug up evidences that were quite damning for Samsung.

The biggest evidence was this 132-page document where Samsung was comparing the Galaxy S with the iPhone feature for feature. This wasn’t a specifications comparison. This was a super detailed design by design element comparison such as the sound the iPhone makes when you set the clock’s time, followed by how the Galaxy S lacked it, then the conclusion was how Samsung needed to add that. One page looks kinda bad on Samsung. But a 132 pages?

2. Samsung’s lawyers were shown to be manipulative

You’d think Samsung would be wiser than to piss the judge or the jury off in court by manipulating the court, but for some reason they kept thinking the risk was worth it. Unfortunately for them, they keep getting caught:

I don’t know about you, but it looked like Samsung had it for them. In fact, if you listen to The VergeCast, you’ll hear them talk about how the general theme in the courtroom was that Samsung’s laywers didn’t have a consistent strategy at all.

 

So Samsung did copy. Law aside, is that a bad thing?

Nothing is created. Everything is an inspiration of something else. Yes, Samsung did indeed copy Apple’s iPhone. When we received the first Galaxy S to test at Tech65, it was so obvious we didn’t need a court case to tell us that. But is that really a bad thing? It’d be quite unfair if someone discovered a way to make a proper design, and everyone else had to stick with old broken designs. 

That said, patents give people reason to innovate. Without which, there’s no motivation to if anything people invented becomes dilluted quickly. The solution that I like the most so far isn’t to abolish software and design patents altogether, but to shorten the validity significantly such that it expires within a few years. Reward the innovator, then let everyone else improve together. (I believe Nilay Patel from the verge came up with this idea too)

“You didn’t sit the Jury, you didn’t sit in the courtroom”

Even with all of these info, my opinion might be wrong. After all, I wasn’t there when it happened, and I didn’t study law. What more if you hadn’t been reading the facts of what was going on in that court room?

I’m starting to see a trend where people are making quick judgements about situations, and the media isn’t helping. We really need to start thinking things through a lot more before we say stuff about others, and making sure what we’re reading is fact or opinion. If we’re not prepared to do all that thinking and learning, then I think we shouldn’t speak about it, lest we end up spreading biased opinions everywhere.

A side plug

That’s why I created Gear65 the way it is. We can share our opinion, but by showing you the gadget up close in HD video, and us clicking through the user interface and features, you, the viewer, gets to decide what’s fact, what’s opinion, and decide based on your own needs if the gadget is for you. That’s why we never score gadgets. 

I’m open to hear your opinion and your views, provided you’re objective is to discuss with an open mind, and be prepared to admit that you might be wrong, because I’m prepared to do the same.