Welcome to my Breitbart London tech column. It is an honour to join the roster here. I’m a long time tech watcher, pundit and consultant, having worked in Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East. I’ve mostly worked with big bad bankers, but there have been other stops along the way. I’ll try and fill in some of your technology knowledge holes here for what is now a HUGE industry, and one that touches all of us every day.
The fact is I need a new phone. And I never buy without seeing what is what in any market, so I looked around to see what my fellow little-Englanders were buying and how much they were spending before taking the plunge myself.
2013 sales figures are in, and the UK looks to be bucking the global trend. Android galloped to the front of the market, shipping 79 percent of the one billion smartphones sold, with Apple selling just 150 million units — only 15 percent globally.
But here in the UK, iPhones are 30 percent of the market — double the global average. But why? Is it price? Is it features? Is it fashion or just good old fashioned inertia? Just why are we lagging behind the rest of the world?
So first price. Apple’s 32GB 5S model retails for £629. Crikey that is a lot of money for something you’ll throw away in 24 months. The Google Nexus 5 sells for about half that at £339. Some may think the 24 month contract with a ‘free phone’saves them money, but check the plans and do the sums all a ‘free’ contrac does is spread the cost ofSo is price the reason you buy iPhones? Apparently not.
So it must be features, then, right?
The Nexus has a larger, better full-HD screen, longer battery life, allows you to tailor the home screen with any matter of live widgets, runs all the latest apps, has a great camera, and world class voice commands. The iPhone has, wait for it, a new candy coloured interface and a slightly better camera. So who wins on functionality? The Nexus wins hands down.
So sorry folks we’re down to fashion or inertia. So, when your sexy lady companion for the evening slides a gold coloured iPhone 5S out from her tiny clutch bag, do you feel a small rush in your tummy? “Damn she looks good!” you think. Who cares how much it cost? Much cooler than that beat up old Samsung stuffed down in your pocket that you’re now too embarrassed to use while in her company for sure.
But most of us aren’t posers, or clubbers, or have extra dosh to splash out on a trendy fashion item. Hell, we’re struggling to pay our electricity bills what with Red Ed calling the shots and jacking up energy prices by the day. And have you seen petrol prices lately? My god man, we need to squeeze every pound in our pocket.
So now our two years is up, we wander down to the high street ghetto of mobile phone stores and too stressed to argue, we re-up on the current contract. Pushing the hard decision to switch a couple years out.
Are we sheep? Too lazy to do the research and switch to something better and cheaper? No, I say! Be brave. Be bold! Throw down your contract, buy an Android instead!
Pay your bills, afford to heat this winter and keep a Nexus in your pocket.
Jeff Wolfers is a tech-minded, banker-loving, IT exec based somewhere between the United States, the UK, and the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffInLondon