Boy Genius Report got it’s hands on the latest Verizon Wireless summer device catalog. It’s a beautifully produced brochure that lays out what VZW hopes will be a killer collection of hard-to-resist wireless gadgets. But the truth is, it’s not really a “device” catalog. It’s actually a cell phone catalog. And as such it’s not bad. But to me it represents the absolute corner the carriers are stuck in right now. These phones are all they got. If none of them appeal to you, they’re screwed. What if you want some cool wireless device that’s NOT a phone? I’d hate to have the job that selects what goes in that book.
Contrast this device world to software. You can go to Apple’s Appstore right now and avail yourself of 250,000 applications. A collection that grows everyday. Anyone with the time and talent (and Apple’s approval) can add to the collection. Verizon’s catalog has…wait for it…25 options. And these change on a quarterly basis at best. For example the Microsoft Kin is in this catalog. Oops.
This dichotomy is artificial. The world would benefit equally from a device catalog with 250,000 choices. I know it seems sort of inconceivable, but it’s not. All the pieces, technical, economic and now cultural, are in place for it to happen. Everyone – consumers, producers, the environment – benefits from greater choice.