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Monday, February 25, 2008

What's a Normob?

You know that feeling when you encounter a new word... and then within a couple of days you start noting it everywhere?

Well, if you hadn't spotted it already, let me open your eyes to this particular neologism:

Normob = Normal Mobile User.

Basically a non-geek, non-mobile industry person who wants to use their handset to make calls, send SMS's, take some photos and maybe play a built-in game. Maybe they use the MP3 function, and occasionally they'll Google on the phone to cheat in a pub quiz. But someone who doesn't know what a smartphone is, and doesn't care. Not interested in "finding" things, downloading applications, using GPS, changing the softkeys, customising the menus or anything else. Someone probably on prepay, and who chose the phone either because it looks nice, or it's an update of their old one.

About 90% of people, in other words.

I'm not sure who coined it, but it could be from here or here.


Julia said...

I wouldn't say GPS on mobile is a geek thing. Okay, maybe it still is, but it won't have this status forever.
If you have a look at services like yahoo's planned "oneconnect" (http://mobile.yahoo.com/oneconnect) you can imagine how many people are going to use mobile phone GPS in the next years.

Ravi said...

A useful new term to add to the mobile debate, but I think these "normob's" are a more a function of the dreadful mobile OS's than a real lack of interest in new features. The iPhone search and browsing numbers are absolutely stunning and indicate that the right user interface can change everything. Of course, it is an open question on when the competition will catch up. Will touch grafted on Windows Mobile and S60 be enough? I tend to think that a more radical approach might be necessary but we'll have to see what Nokia and Sony Ericsson have up their sleeve for the 2nd half.

alessandro said...

Once were nomob.
The easier the flickering around "things" the larger the usage. My mom does not call, sends sms. she would email me should there be a one-click function ...
still, nice one to define today something that will be lost forever, like tears in the rain, pretty soon...ok, sort of..

HeavyLight said...

Some normobs would love to be smartphone geeks but find their phones' too impenetrable and network connections too fragile.

Many more, like myself, love to experiment with new software and services and still find the mobile experience to be more frustrating than liberating.

"Average users" have a valuable story to tell, if only the networks, manufacturers, OS builders and app builders would listen!

I am the Opinionated Normob and thank you for your link love.

Giff Gfroerer, i2SMS said...


When you asked me what a "normob" was on ForOx I assumed you were being satirical.

The term was coined by Ewan MacLeod over at SMSTextNews I believe...