I have to admit, being over here in Europe for a solid month has really changed my perspective on some things related to technology. Here are some observations:
Apple, which was never so dominant in Europe five years ago is clearly the runaway leader. I have seen more iPhones now than anything else as the most common phone in the hands of people on the go. Even the cab drivers have them and everyone uses the wired earphones. I'm not seeing so many Bluetooth earphones stuck in people ears' that make them look like the Borg and wired earbuds are still very hot.
Blackberry is what I'm seeing more of and was in second place of what I'm seeing more of, especially in Spain where even winemakers and hotel staff have them in their hand and the insiders I know at RIM tell me that kind of usage is growing. Candidly, I didn't see much Android, at least not many Milestones. Nexus One's are a figment of someone's imagination over here. Feature phones are still ruled by Nokia, with some Samsung and LG with HTC getting hotter, but HTC's heat index is more in the UK than anywhere here on the Continent.
When it comes to PC's I see more and more Macs in meetings, with only the corporate IT type company folks or those from the oversized Enterprise companies carrying PCs, and those were usually Lenovo's. Netbooks (Samsung, Acer and Asus) are the rule for students and execs on the go not using a Mac. People seem to prefer them vs. more expensive laptops so it was obvious to me that Dell is losing/has lost ground fast and even H-P but they do have a growing Netbook share it seemed. And yes, the iPad is hot, but there seems to be shortage of them here, and a very real shortage of 3G MicroSims is slowing down roll out/uptake. Given how mobile of a society Europeans are, my take is that Apple is timing the big push for them when the MicroSim's have deeper supplies. For example, none are available in Spain until last week of July. The reaction to around the iPad when in the cafe's is "wow" but nothing like in the USA where I get fully engaged in conversation about it by someone. Then again, I'm hardly fluent in French or Spanish.....When I'm back in London tonight my iPad on 02's 3G network will be a blessing the next few days, as the laptop can take a rest and my shoulder will love me once again.
Public Broadband-and what we suffer through is embarrassing back in the USA. It's not only speed. It's packet loss, jitter and such and over here it's the lack of any of that. I'm getting almost none of that over here in the better hotels, nor in coffee shops. Broadband just works. Even when my bandwidth is only 500k I can have awesome video and voice calls over Skype or using CounterPath's Bria on the Mac. On my iPhone I use Truphone and Bria more than Skype for calls to real numbers (like banks) and credit card companies over WiFi. It sounds awesome. I still get tons of use out of my Nokia E71 as the phone of choice, but more because it has a keyboard, ala the Blackberry, but with the new Truphone Local Anywhere and my ported number I'm having a blast not having to carry so many phones any more. Paid Wi-Fi access to me trumps the so called free stuff that hotels back home like to promote. And, there is something to getting what you're paying for, or staying in hotels that have done it right as a true amenity. And yes, I've even finally seen the value of FON while sitting at a Cafe yesterday and jumping on the NEUF WiFi service here in Paris where I simply sent an SMS to gain access to the network while having brunch at Cafe de l'Industrie not far from Bastille.
This week when I'm back in London I'm actually going to try to purchase an unlocked iPhone while I'm there. I've really gotten hooked on the iPhone when i had my 3G that was Jailbroken (I restored it to see what 4.0 was like and thus locked out from using other SIMs) and found for reading and doing tasks that it very high on convenience as the apps make the phone more and more valuable each day. Heck, even using it without a SIM over WiFi has been easy as those calls over Bria, Truphone and Skype all sounded so, so good.
More observations to come...from your friendly, neighborhood Global Nomad.