Why are we waiting?

Why are we waiting?Mobile World Congress. It seems like so long ago, and yet it's just gone four weeks since the doors opened at Fira de Barcelona and we filed in with our fellow tech journos for four days of mobile goodness.

And we saw lots of great gear too. The problem is, we saw it then and haven't seen it since. What we have done, though, is report endlessly on delays, price rises, rumours, more delays and still more delays. And it's really starting to get me down.

You see, while it's part of the job to report on the latest developments, rumours and leaks, the fact is at heart I'm also just an ordinary punter who sees a nice bit of kit and goes “ooh, I'd love one of these. When can I have one?”

So when the nice person showing me the nice bit of kit responds – as was the case endlessly at MWC – “sometime in Q2”, my general reaction is to start working out how far that is away, and then to question why they can't be any more precise than that.

By which time my reckless enthusiasm to lay down large wodges of cash for a new piece of electronics I don't particularly need has been replaced by a vague feeling of “ah, sod it”.

To add insult to injury, the collective mobile tech industry then seems determined to kill whatever enthusiasm I have left by regularly missing those already vague targets.

What is it about us that we can't seem to meet collective deadlines? Is it that we're too optimistic in the first place, or are we simply rubbish at scaling out when we can get jobs done?

Either way, it's getting on my nerves. And not so much because of the tech purchases I'm being denied – invariably having longer to think about whether I really need some or other new gadget leads my to not spending money I generally don't have, and that's a good thing.

No, it annoys me because it shows companies are failing to recognise that very principle in the first place. High-powered smartphones are luxuries. Tablets even more so. The longer you give someone to mull over whether they really need one, the more likely it is that their answer will be no.

I hate to bring Apple into this, mainly because Steve Jobs and co are doing just fine without any extra praise, but the iPad 2 launch has shown just how easy it is to make bucketloads of cash from stoking public expectation, raising desires then giving people what they want. Quickly.

Initial stocks of the iPad 2 have sold out over in the US in record time, but because that fire of anticipation is still burning strong from the slate's big reveal less than three weeks ago, it's only adding to the desire, and that means people are even more keen to get their hands on one than they were before. Nobody really cares if they need it or not – they want it and are willing to pay for it there and then.

It's a simple lesson, but it's one Apple's rivals are seemingly incapable of learning. One day they will, and one day we'll see a brand new big ticket smartphone or tablet being announced one day, and going on sale the next.

I can guarantee that it'll sell millions, and I'll be one of the first in the queue.

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2 comments

Stelph  Mar. 15, 2011 at 13:22

Totally, the Android Tablet manufacturers have been caught on the back foot with the iPad and now seem to be desperatly trying to catch us up while despearlty teasing us with how great their tablet is but not actually letting us get hold of one.

Like you say, Apple are definatly getting it right by setting a regular, annual update cycle and keeping quiet about whats coming all the way up to its release (and sale). Obvioulsy thats a difficult thing to develop when youre not Apple (with their street cred and followers) but it is possible with a good enough product..

Look at the Moto Atrix for example, when announced it was hyped up due to the dual core and all the clever accessories and im sure if it had come out when it was announced then people would have gone nuts for it, but now people have moved on and from the little reporting that people have done on it it sounds like its bombed.... shame

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 15, 2011 at 13:53

Yes, it's nuts.
HTC used to be good - announce a phone, and bang a few weeks later it's in the shops. That is changing now, and added to that the breed of market specific models. Released in one country only, or even by one network in one country only... Yesterday someone here was wondering when the HTC 'Pyramid' is coming to the UK...a phone without any concrete known specs, nor a real image...but 'must have it', duh.
Sony Ericsson and Nokia are among the worst culprits in that regard - I thought after the original Xperia and N97 respectively those two had learned their lessons; but no - delays delays delays... Now HP have shown of the great Pre 3 before the Pre 2 found a place on store shelves.
Just like Nokes teasing us with the now canned N9 and the E7 BEFORE the N8 was even out. It is downright weird. Imagine Cameron said 'Avatar is out next week, but boy, Avatar 2 is much better and you don't need to watch part 1 to 'get' part 2'. Then he adds some spoilers, so that people really don't wanna queue for Avatar. We would find that odd.
And frustrating.

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