h1Microsoft needs to work harder to get the message out there that Windows Phones are great devices.
Eric Zeman, Phone Scoop
We love our smartphones: we talk to them, we play with them, we sleep with them, and we even create art with them when they die. Perhaps no one knows how much we love our phones better than Eric Zeman, a 10-year veteran of the mobile phone and telecomm beat. Phone Scoop might not be one of the biggest mobile phone sites out there, but Eric has a strong grasp on the industry, those who work in it, and always knows exactly what’s going on, even if he can’t officially tell anyone. And he can make or break a phone product says Stuart Miles of Pocket-lint, who named him to the SAY 100 technology channel.
We caught up with Eric to ask him what consumers care about now, what the hot topics are in the Phone Scoop community, and what interesting mobile developments he's looking forward to in 2012.
What are the most interesting new devices we're seeing right now (or will see soon) that are game changers? The most interesting new devices are the ones pushing boundaries with odd features (huge screens, 3D cameras, NFC, etc.). We need to adopt some technology at a faster rate and at least a few vendors are taking the chance to include those bleeding edge technologies in their phones. NFC, in particular, could be a big game changer.
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What phone are you carrying right now and why? And what's your personal wireless carrier? Right now, my main device is an Apple iPhone 4S on AT&T's wireless network in the U.S. I use the iPhone 4S mainly because of its tight integration with Apple computers and products, in which I am invested heavily.
What makes or breaks a phone or telecomm product right now? There are so many phones available, that the slightest hiccup in performance can doom what most might consider to be a perfectly good phone. With so many options, it's hard to stand out in the crowd. Phone vendors have to get everything right in order for a phone to really succeed. Performance (more so than specs) is what really matters. If it doesn't perform, I can't recommend it.
Instant product review: What's the best Windows phone and why? And why doesn't everyone have one? Right now, the HTC Titan is the best Windows Phone available. The screen is amazing, it performs well, it's a good-looking phone, and everything about it screams quality and class. It's a great device. The Titan is a great device, but Windows Phone has a real awareness problem with consumers. It's not being pushed by in-store sales reps. Microsoft needs to work harder to get the message out there that Windows Phones are great devices.
What are your all-time greatest phone scoops? Ones you're most proud of? Probably the biggest scoop Phone Scoop has ever had was the Helio Ocean, back in 2007. We caught it on the FCC long before anyone else did, and had angry phone calls from Helio within minutes asking us to take down the story. Of course, we didn't. We've scooped other good phones from the FCC, but the Ocean was the best one, I think.
Phone Scoop has pretty active phone forums. What are the hot topics in the community right now? The community really polarizes around carriers and platforms. Each US carrier (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) has a loyal fan base, as do platforms (Android, BlackBerry, iOS) and handset makers (HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, etc.). Basically, it boils down to Android fanboys versus iPhone fanboys in everything. It can devolve quite rapidly along those lines.
What other phone and tech sites or reporters do you follow and why? Who’s doing it right? I follow everyone. The Verge has done a phenomenal job at growing from nothing to a huge site in less than a year's time. The Verge is definitely doing it right, with good product reviews, good scoops, and excellent in-depth pieces. Other sites that I respect include All About Symbian, Android Central, Mobile Burn, and GigaOM.
You see everything in the phone world – what's your crystal ball say we should look forward to this year? What are the big stories you'll be watching? I am looking forward to a few key specs normalizing: screen size, 4G support, and HD resolution displays. I think phone OEMs have pushed the boundaries as far as they will go with respect to screen size, now we need to get less variation in resolution (number of pixels). We need LTE 4G support is as many devices as possible. We also need NFC is as many devices as possible. OEMs need to step it up and include these features.
Follow Eric on Twitter @phonescooper
[Image credit: cell phone art by Rob Petit]