I write a lot about all the great functionality and power of today's smartphones here on the blog. I spend a lot of time showing off my devices to family and friends, including the services and 3rd party applications I use on a daily basis to get things done. I followed a link from the IT Facts blog to the BBC news site that quoted a study that said 85% of users reported they were frustrated by the difficulty of getting a new phone up and working. As a mobile enthusiast who has been using PDAs since 1997 it is easy for me to get wrapped up in mobile technology and think everyone should be as familiar as I am with these devices. My friends and I are often found looking for the latest and greatest and wondering why a certain device has this or that feature missing. In reality, I think those people who don't read this blog and have cellphones just want a few basic features and could care less about the high powered features I care about.
The quoted study organization interviewed people in the UK and US and data showed that 61% of those people said that setting up a new phone is as challenging as moving bank accounts. 95% said they would try more services if phones were easier to set up. A spokesman for the survey group said that it should only take 15 minutes to setup a new phone. If you have ever tried the T-Mobile G1 (see my review) then you have experienced this ease of use since Google and T-Mobile did a great job in walking you through a simple wizard that gets the phone setup and going in less than 15 minutes. The iPhone is also fairly easy to setup and I think manufacturers and carriers should focus on a simple out-of-the box experience. The device can have all sorts of power and functionality, but if the first experience makes the person stumble then it won't really matter.
Do you find family and friends frustrated with their mobile phones? My purpose in writing this blog is to help people learn about and get the most from their devices and I love helping people out because I think there are real benefits to these devices. Let's all help make it less frustrating for people.