August 20, 2009

Great Phone . . . or Greatest Phone

Some background first . . . .

I got my wife the iPhone 3G the day it came out.  Waited in a line for a few hours and everything.  She had been using a Razr for about 3 years and it was time.  And we were already on the AT&T network so it was easy.  I would have gotten one for myself but a month before the 3G was announced I got myself a Blackberry Pearl so I wasn’t eligible for the $199 new customer price.

At the time the biggest problem with an iPhone was the $30 mandatory data plan.  It’s the only phone on any network that requires you have a data plan.  I like the idea that even though I’m locked in for 2 years I can get the $40/month voice plan to lower my bills just in case. And a year ago the iPhone was a 10 and there was nothing even close from what I could see.

Anyway, a few months ago I went to Google I/O and got one of the G2 HTC phones (it’s called a Magic or myTouch or something like that on T-Mobile).  It was a dream come true . . . a chance to use “the other cool phone” without paying for it.  And the best part is that I got AT&T to give me a data plan for $15 a month!!  Please don’t call AT&T and ask for that plan and ruin it for me.  No, seriously . . I’m glad that no one will be reading this.  And it sucks that I only get “Edge” speeds because apparently 3G isn’t a standard and AT&T and T-Mobile do 3G data in different ways so if I want 3G on AT&T’s network I have to wait until an Android phone comes out for AT&T.

Okay, so that’s the background info out of the way . . . I’ve never had an iPhone personally but being the techie of the house I do get how the iPhone works and use it occasionally and I always know about cool apps for it before my wife does.  And I’ve used a Blackberry for over a year.  And now I’ve had the Android phone since May.  Here are the results:

If you are a non-tech person, the iPhone is a 10.0 and sets the bar incredibly high.  If you can afford that phone, ignore all the stuff about how crappy AT&T is and just get that phone.

If you are a tech person it’s a much harder call because although the iPhone is great . . . it’s locked down!  So, a phone like the G2 or any other Android phone (once they come out!!) has an incredible appeal since they are so hackable.  It’s an 8.2 to the 9.0 of a iPhone (not a perfect 10 because it’s missing concurrent apps and no Google Voice app but those things don’t matter to a casual user).  The old blackberry I had would be a 5.0 at best . . . I mean, you can use maps and check gmail with those apps but getting the apps in the first place sucks because you have to get them directly from the vendor (although this is different now from what I understand) AND it’s still a locked down OS that no one want’s to develop for.

The apps and the speed of the iPhone is why it has any chance against an Android phone . . . and both of those problems will fix themselves if someone releases some decent hardware.  It needs to be powerful and WITH a headphone jack (even though bluetooth noice canceling headphones have got to be in the pipeline somewhere at Bose, right?).

I’ll do a pro/cons list about my Android phone some other time, maybe.

Sheldon