Being fairly new to Singapore I am learning the local ropes slowly but surely. The little nook and crannies that conceal the occasional taxi allowing me to get home without having to book one. The hawker stalls that the locals might be hanging out at versus the gawkers from the Lonely Planet. I am getting the hang of it but one thing about me already defined me as a local – the Singaporean craving for all things gadget like. Phones, mp3 players, in car TV systems, big screen TVs, stereos, remotes, and more phones. The statistics tell us that we must each have more than one.
Singapore is mad about mobile phones. When I first showed up to town with my little Nokia I bought used in Bangkok I knew right away I was out of depth. Fortunately on my first day at work I was given my trusty new BlackBerry. I was stepping up in the world but of course everywhere I went I was bumping into iPhones.
The local mobile phone companies all push iPhones with great calling plans and incentives to entice people into being a proud iPhone owner. Everywhere I go I see an iPhone and at times I have iPhone envy. iPhones in people’s hands, iPhones tethered to machines for surfing the web 3g style and iPhones being tapped on in the dark of the cold movie theater giving off a warm, inviting glow. I won’t lie – there are times I have iPhone envy but I haven’t given in yet.
Not quite yet.
Being the tech hungry media junkie that I am though I was able to stave off my iPhone craving with a Nexus One from Google. Singapore is lucky enough to be one of the countries where you can pop online and buy a Nexus One directly. Unlocked and ready to go. Just pop your SIM card in and experience Google’s vision of the new smartphone. Of course I didn’t order mine. It was given to me for some testing I am doing for some mobile software products. What can I say other than it is cool but sometimes I still look at the iPhone’s in my friend’s hands and get a tad jealous but at least now I have a phone that I can swipe, pinch and touch. Makes my BlackBerry look at little old school but I still use that little keyboard profusely.
Apple keeps tempting me but so far I am holding my own against the tide – that is until I touched one.
I saw my first one at a conference. It was too far away so I just ignored it and pretended it had no effect on me. Another time I saw a whole stack of them in boxes. A good friend had returned from the states and brought five of them back with him. I wanted to open a box and see it for myself but I refused. There I was though. In a meeting and sitting right next to me was a co-worker reading his email on it. Zooming, flipping and engorging his email. I read my email all the time but he seemed to really be enjoying his email. Much more than anyone should.
I asked if I could touch it. He said go ahead – check out some web sites on it. Oh and here is the latest episode of Lost – plus check out the Keynote stuff. I had only wanted to touch it but I couldn’t help myself. Loaded up DaringFireball and marveled at the speed of the page loads. ITunes, TV shows and then Lost. The TV show has jumped the shark but watching it on the iPad made me feel like I was back in season 1 enjoying the magic. Then I popped into Keynote loaded up a PPT. A staid company presentation came to life and I was suddenly drinking up the corporate brainwashing and actually agreeing with the company line.
I set it back down on the table and slide it over. Like something forbidden that I wasn’t meant to cradle – let alone explore.
I keep telling myself I don’t need one. They are all over SimLim and I even have a friend selling a stack of them at US prices because he is an Apple fanboy wanting to spread the gospel without making a killing. I have refused – but it keeps getting harder to do so.
All was fine until I read the Apple press release stating, we knew it was coming, that the iPad is officially coming to Singapore in July. People are speculating as to the exact date, how much and will this include the 3g model as well. Which carrier will jump behind it and what wil the plans be – the discussion will peak in the ensuing months. I am positive we will hear more soon but I have to admit though that I may just have to pick up a 3g model knowing that I won’t be able to resist the call of the overgrown iPhone.