Wed Sep 28 2011

Geek to Chic

John Gruber just posted a link to an open letter by Cole Brodman, CMO at T-Mobile, on the iPhone. The letter itself is inconsequential, but something in there caught my eye. This sentence:>Android has evolved quickly from geek to chic. In many ways, Android is rivaling and even outpacing the iPhone, including consumer adoption, market share and capabilities like support for faster 4G networks.

Cole Brodman is a marketer and I, as definitely many others, have learned to take the words of a marketer with a pinch of salt. He is just doing his job. However I have to disagree with his point that Android has evolved from geek to chic. The way the phone market has evolved proves that Android is stealing share from dumb phones, which is far from being “chic” as Cole says.

Android is a great ecosystem of hardware and software, and they have been very successful at convincing people of making the leap to a smartphone. Also, that choosing Android is a great choice if all they need is a phone. This is also the thing that sets the iPhone apart. The iPhone isn’t selling you just the idea of a phone that does email and the web, or the idea of a particular handset, of open, or of a particular functionality. They’re selling you a system, a brand, and something that can’t quite be explained because it is a feeling, not a feature.

This is why the iPhone is getting the geeks who care about the experience of the future, and the actual “chic” market of people who want what’s most desirable. Android isn’t in the business of selling a feeling - and herein lies the big secret. I know I’m talking about feelings in an article on phones, but until Android nails their positioning, they’re not chic, but may be perceived as cheap instead.