It's All About Design
Sony just announced the first of its new Xperia line of phones. It's slick, its functional, it creates a powerful tingling in the pants of any red blooded, gadget phile. . . the first step is admitting you have a problem. Many will run and and buy it, some may have pre ordered. Some of you may pre order it because you saw it here. But it also very vanilla and a bit off. Look at this picture:
When the thing is just sitting there alone in the flesh you are no longer in the Abercrombie world of the video, and its flaws cry out like little beacons. Before you get to the function, just look at the design. It is square. It doesn't scream for me to pick it up. The front is not symmetrically balanced. I have to flip the thing over and open it to use it, and the screen is not glass. Perfect for the business world, not exciting to consumers.
Even if it does more than the iPhone, and it does, it doesn't make a normal human being feel good looking at it. The iPhone is screams to be picked up. When you do pick it up, its magic. It recognizes that it is picked up. It turns it screen configuration to suit you. Sure, Steve Jobs told us there is only one button and there are really a bunch more, plus a rocker switch, but we forgive him because it feels so good. Set an iPhone down on your coffee table and you want to upgrade your house so as not to embarrass the phone.
Now, looking at function. Turn on and iPhone and you are seamlessly, painlessly, integrated into not only your life (contacts, calendar, photos, music, but a ton of content through iTunes. Turn on Xperia and you get. . . .you get. . . some driver installation to maybe sync, a store that kind of has some stuff, and email client hell.
The beauty and ease of use of the iPhone causes users to overlook many, many flaws. The design weakness, and lack of integration to the rest of the world will mask the lack of operational flaws and cause users of overlook the product.