What do teenage girls think about BlackBerry, in-app purchases, Android and more? I asked some…
I'm on holiday in a remote corner of Wales, cut off from mobile connectivity and therefore unable to check the important things going on in the outside world. Football transfer rumours for example.
I've also little idea what's going on in the mobile space, which makes it tricky for me to comment on the week's big news.
So instead, I quizzed three youngsters about their phone habits. They are Lois (16), Marnie (14) and Lucy (12).
If you're a BlackBerry exec I suggest you don't read any further…
What phones do you and your friends have?
M: iPhone. And so do nearly all my friends.
Lo: I have an iPhone and I reckon four of 70 friends I can think of have a BlackBerry. Nearly all the rest have iPhones.
Lu: I've got a BlackBerry and I absolutely HATE it.
Lu: It freezes all the time, the camera's terrible. It's not even that old – less than a year.
I assume you all had BlackBerrys before. When did people start switching?
M: Last Christmas. Everyone started changing then. Now, anyone who's coming to the end of their contract wants an iPhone.
Are you aware that BlackBerry has completely changed its phones?
Lo: I've seen adverts, but I've never seen anyone using one. It's funny that two years ago everyone knew when there was a new BlackBerry out and they all wanted one. Now, no one's interested.
Is there anything you miss about BlackBerry?
Lo: I like the keyboard. You get used to touchscreen, but I still miss it.
M: But the noise was annoying. I like the way you can turn off the sound with iPhone. And iPhone's just look so much sleeker.
Lo: There's still nothing on iPhone to replace BBM. It was brilliant the way you could get status updates and post your profile. Everyone was on BBM so you could get an instant idea of what was going on all the time.
M: And if you were bored you could send out a broadcast and you'd always get a response. I've tried Peeem, but no one really uses it. It's a bit crap.
Do you know that BBM is coming to iPhone?
Lo: That would be amazing. But why would they do that? It's the one thing people love about BlackBerry. I would definitely try it.
What about Android? Do you have any friends with Android phones?
Lu: Is that like HTC and Sony? The big fat phones?
(at this point I explain Android – none of them has a clear idea what it is)
Lo: Some boys have got Android phones, but none of the girls.
M: I don't know anyone with one.
What about Nokia Lumia?
Lu: I know one boy with one. I don't think he had any choice.
Lo: Lots of boys have cheap Nokias. There are still quite a few boys who don't really care about their phones. But not girls. If you see a girl with a Nokia 'banger' you know it's because her main phone is broken or confiscated or something. And you really want something crap when your main phone is out of action. You don't want an average phone in case people think it's your main phone.
How many texts and iMessages do you send a day?
M: Over 50. But I don't even think about whether it's a text or an iMessage. I just go into messages and send it. If I've got wifi it's iMessage.
Do you still use Skype?
M: As soon as you get an iPhone you don't use Skype any more. Just Facetime.
Do you ever feel like you've wasted your time by using your phone all day?
Lo: It is possible to just go on forever. There's always a new notification to reply to or something on YouTube to check out. Sometimes I do get fed up with it, and just go off an do something else.
M: At least it's sociable. It's not like spending hours on Minecraft, which is just pointless and sad.
Lu: I'm not addicted to my phone, but I am addicted to my iPad. The school gave us all iPads, and all we ever use them for is Instagram and SnapChat and YouTube. Everyone's connected all the time. They must have thought it would help us with learning but it's completely backfired. They even tried to change us to a new wifi signal but we knew it would block off lots of content, so we all carried on using the old one.
Have you ever bought anything from an app? And do you know your parents' passwords?
Lu: My mum hasn't got a clue how to set up an iTunes account, so no. I've bought stuff with gift cards.
M: I don't know my parents' passwords, but they have bought things for me.
Lo: I've got my own account with my own debit card. But I've hardly bought anything. It's stupid but I see '69p' and I think it's too much. It's ridiculous to think that.
M: Yeah, and sometimes the paid version is to block ads. I don't know anyone who would pay for that. You can just ignore ads.
Lo: I've never paid for music. I used to use Limewire, but now I record YouTube.
M: Everyone uses the Music Tube app. Since that came out, hardly anyone buys from iTunes.