No iPhone 8, only lo­cal brands for me!

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Michele Rich

No sooner had Ap­ple an­nounced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X than WeChat users flooded Mo­ments with opin­ions on the new de­vices. Many peo­ple were ready to trade in their old phones, while oth­ers were cau­tious be­cause of the high price tag – the iPhone X will cost $1,000 in the US but might be more ex­pen­sive in China.

The com­mo­tion was con­ta­gious. I es­pe­cially en­joyed memes ex­press­ing nos­tal­gia for the phones peo­ple used 10 years ago. My feed was filled with photos of Nokias that could fit into the palm of my hand and tiny Sam­sungs and Sony Eric­ssons that were a hit long be­fore touch screens took off.

I still have the Nokia I bought in China. Send­ing a text on its tiny gray LED screen re­quired some skill, so much so that it didn’t take long be­fore I up­graded and had my first en­counter with the iPhone.

I can com­mis­er­ate with the Chi­nese con­sumers who think the iPhone is too ex­pen­sive. I think so too, which is why I bought one sec­ond­hand for dirt cheap. It was a ma­jor up­grade from the pre­paid phones I nor­mally used. How­ever, good things can’t last for­ever, and this one ended when I ac­ci­den­tally left it be­hind in an air­port af­ter hav­ing too many sam­ples of whiskey.

Af­ter­ward, I couldn’t shell out so much cash for a device when some­thing could go wrong so eas­ily. I’ve watched friends lose phones in taxis af­ter nights out in Beijing, drop their phones into the toi­let and con­tinue us­ing a phone with a cracked screen be­cause they couldn’t af­ford to re­place it. I told my­self there had

to be de­vices out there with a bet­ter value. So, I be­gan re­search­ing Chi­nese phones.

At the time, I changed course. One of the hottest Chi­nese phones on the mar­ket was the Xiaomi. A few of my friends had them, and it looked slick. It was big, yet slim enough to eas­ily grip with one hand; it had a great cam­era, and brand­ing and mar­ket­ing that made me feel a part of some­thing big­ger. It was also no se­cret that Xiaomi had in­ter­na­tional am­bi­tions and like Ap­ple, wanted to pro­vide its cus­tomers with tech­nol­ogy and de­vices that would eas­ily in­te­grate into their life­styles. It didn’t take long be­fore I was ad­dicted. It also didn’t take long be­fore I lost my first Xiaomi phone. This time, it was in a park­ing garage; I guess it fell out of my bag. My friend joked that I needed to at­tach my phone to a lan­yard around my neck. Luck­ily, the money I saved on the first Xiaomi was enough to up­grade to the newer ver­sion to re­place the lost phone. I have ex­per­i­mented with other Chi­nese phone brands since then, but I never re­turned to the iPhone. I’ve even had a few friends switch to a Chi­nese device af­ter they ex­pe­ri­enced is­sues with their iPhone bat­tery. It’s cer­tainly easy to get caught up in all of the hype about smart­phones. But when it comes to prac­ti­cal­ity, fru­gal­ity and deal­ing with the woes of ab­sent­mind­ed­ness, I am thank­ful there are lo­cal brands that sat­isfy all my needs.

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