"If you watch the phones people display in public, you really see only two in large numbers: iPhone and BlackBerry."I am sure that can be parsed to be technically true, but I hear a lot of comments along these lines. And with a popular developer mentality of making products for yourself, then your friends, and users who matter will come as they may, I am saddened by this. I have even heard non-technical (not mobile designers or developers, I mean) folks being given crap by their non-technical friends (same definition) for having an "old scool" phone, when it does perfectly good internet, email, etc. It's just not the latest favorite smartphone.
So, I was looking around one day exactly a month ago, and realized I am looking at all sorts of phones in people's hands. So, it's that simple. I started recording them. Every handset I even sorta could identify, I recorded. The methodology I used was:
- It has to be already visible. No asking everyone in the room to pull out their phones. This gives the observed weighting that everyone seems interested in. There's some "that's what they use" thing that implies everyone else's phones are unimportant. I have actually had conversations where people dismissed sales numbers.
- I discounted my family, and all work friends. And their immediate families.
- If it's clearly a phone, it gets recorded. This makes for some vague labels on some of them. I can recognize a half dozen handsets at 100 paces. Others are "flip phone" at all but contact range. So, you'll see some oddly vague data. But this is to avoid my own bias on recognizing phones I have or use or read about all the time.
- I started to record cameras, music players, etc. It got out of hand. Just let it be known that convergence is not as far as I would have thought. A LOT of people carry other devices, and almost everyone who wants to take photos brings dedicated cameras to events they know are gonna happen. Very, very little cameraphone use at school concerts. A few Kindles observed also, but no other readers, no iPads.
- No demographics. Partly, to make it easy. I was typing these into my phone while doing other things. Partly because I don't have the capability to bother everyone to fill out a survey. I would worry about my own bias therefore, so didn't gather any.
- Yes, it's local. Kansas City and nearby areas. If you think we're all rubes, blow me. Go ahead and design for your friends in the bay area, and stop reading now.
- This is only 72 total devices. Take that as you will.