Shopping for a Smart Phone? Better Have a Spreadsheet

You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.

–Henry Ford, describing the colors that the Model-T came in.

We’ve certainly come a long way since Ford’s day — maybe too far.

As part of my due diligence picking a successor to my trusty (but very old) Sprint Treo, I’ve now checked out the “Bold,” “Curve,” “Storm,” “Tour,” and the “Storm II” (you know you’ve been shopping awhile when you start to get “lapped” by the sequels and knock-off’s).

And that’s just the lineup of smart phones from one maker, Blackberry.

For one carrier, Verizon.

(Apparently, Blackberry makes different models for the other carriers — or was it just that they go by different names??).

And I haven’t even gotten to the equally labyrinthine coverage plans (voice, text, data and various permutations of same).

You literally need a spreadsheet to keep track of it all — which increasingly seems like the point.


The downside of all this “choice” is that consumers are left overwhelmed — and paralyzed.

Paralyzed customers keep what they have, delivering the carriers a fat, monthly annuity.

Maybe that explains the tsunami of advertising by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. touting their advantages.

P.S.: Oddly, the cell phone companies’ marketing strategy is starting to resemble the mattress companies’ (Simmons, Serta, etc.), who make it virtually impossible to compare one model at one retailer with another model at a competing retailer.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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