Smartphones will thrive despite buyer reactions

Craig Watkins, Crier Staff

It was an entertaining week for the few Windows Phone users out there. The Android-running Galaxy Note 7 is being recalled for exploding batteries, and Apple has made complete fools of themselves yet again by unveiling an iPhone (the smartphone originally designed around a music player) without a headphone jack. However, I stopped laughing when I realized I’m due for a phone upgrade and the latest news on Microsoft’s next big release, the Surface phone, is that it could possibly be delayed until 2018.

Will the market change now that smartphone companies have all but flipped off their consumers? Unfortunately, it most likely will not.

Apple is no stranger to alienating their long-time fans, but the company’s charm and insistence that their ideas are the most innovative on the market saves them every time. The last major upset that turned iPhone users into near-rioters was the iPhone 5’s incompatibility with the connector every “i” product had used since the first iPod. However, after a short period of time everyone had purchased new adapters and cords and today I get ticked off when my hotel room’s iHome has the old style that I never wanted to leave.

That example from 2012 proved that Apple is aware that they can do whatever they want with a product and customers will follow no matter what. Even I was more willing to be forced into collecting extra junk than be left behind with my failing 4th gen iPod Nano (or worse, being forced to purchase a Zune.)

Samsung is held in slightly higher regard by the public for not being so manipulative with their consumers, although they did just sell a ton of exploding cell phones. That being said, they will probably be fine since they also sell many non-exploding cell phones.

The Galaxy series of phones, tablets, and (sigh) phablets is one of the best reviewed and most popular lines of devices that run Android software and very few of them are known to burst into flames. The cushion of support from people who swear by the devices and the fact that there are plenty of Galaxy phones beside the Note 7 means even a severe case of failed quality assurance probably will not hurt device sales.

Lastly, we have Microsoft with the little smartphone that thought it could. To fill in the 98% of smartphone-users who do not own a Windows Phone, early this year an upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile (which had been promised to most Windows Phone 8.1 users) was not given to many users who were told they would receive it, myself included. This action left many Windows users with the older operating system, which would not be a problem if not for the fact that Microsoft is removing support for several of their apps for WP 8.1, including Skype.

The encroaching death knell for WP 8.1 means users will need to find a new phone quickly. All Microsoft needs to do is come out of the dark and tell the public about their future plans. Their supporters would be assured and disgruntled users of competing phones with too few output ports or too many flames would have a new option to consider. Instead, Microsoft’s plan seems to be waiting in the bushes while teasing the few fans they already have with a phone that may or may not ever be released.

This should really be a revolutionary time for handheld technology, but consumerism has so saturated our culture that nobody wants to be the first to change.

iPhone users will be annoyed by the bureaucracy of wires it takes just to listen to some Nicki Minaj without announcing it to the whole room, but as long as the fear of switching to another OS exists, they will suffer through it.

Android users will get along by buying any phone but the Galaxy Note 7 and forget to worry about batteries ever again.

Then Microsoft, who try so desperately to be relevant, will pass up the chance finally given to them to shock the world and gain followers because they are too afraid to swallow their pride and admit they aren’t already playing with the big kids.

Times like this show that the trap set years ago at the start of the smartphone boom snapped so tight on us that even when it falls apart us prey are perfectly content to sit and wait for it to be repaired. The only way out at this point is boycott, but does anyone want to boycott their prized Snapchat machine?

I didn’t think so.