Personalization and Co-opted Affection

I’ve had my Nexus One (the initial googlephone) for a couple of months now, and it’s been enjoyable. I bought it knowing that it’d be a useful toy. Checking personal email, work email and so on, except now in the subway station or on the train! Also, spider solitaire any time I want. Outstanding.

Today I learned that it allows me to stick a picture to a quarter of the screen, like a quarter-wallpaper. My emotional investment in the phone just doubled, even though I know it’s silly. A smartphone is a tiny touchscreen computer that can also make phone calls. But I can customize it, make it “mine” via pictures of my kids. And that matters, even though I know it shouldn’t. I know that this feature is here for precisely this purpose, but that understanding doesn’t make me smile less when I see those pictures of my kids, sitting there like reverse-pop-up ads.

But ads for what? “Wow, they let me look at my beautiful kids/dog/car/whatever on this smart phone.” I know that I could (probably) take any other equivalent phone and do the same thing. But this phone is my phone, and my phone does all this stuff that I can’t afford to test on multiple devices, because who buys multiple smart phones? If I’m happy with the phone, why would I switch? So I enjoy my Nexus One a little more than I otherwise would.

I’m guessing this happens a lot.