I originally ran this post a few months ago. I thought I'd repost it for those if you considering a smartphone for a holiday gift!
So after spending some quality time with my friend Paul Anater in Miami this past week, I have become inspired to expand what I write about on this blog. I usually like to stick to strictly Sketchup topics. I am a bit of a geek sometimes, and I'd like to share some experiences I have had switching smartphones.
I remember when the iPhone first came out in 2007. I watched in envy as everyone was able to switch over to get what at the time was, the most advanced smartphone out there.
I jumped on the iPhone bandwagon on the day the iPhone 3G was released. That was a great year to be an iPhone owner. There were 10,000 ways to waste time on the app store, and limited 3G coverage. The best part was, this was before AT&T was REALLY bad....
For two years I used my wonderful white iPhone. I loved it. It did everything I wanted it to. When the 3GS came out, I didn't even really want to upgrade. The 3GS was quite a bit faster, and I did feel myself wanting for a little more speed on my phone, but my 3G still ran great, and I never ended up trading up to the 3GS.
Then something happened, Apple released the new iPhone 4. At the same time, they also released a huge software update, iPhone software 4.0 for all models except the original iPhone. Apple has a nice habit of upgrading software on old devices, even as they release new hardware. This is nice for current owners as they usually add some nice new features, and performance enhancements. I think this is a really good move on Apple's part, it makes current customers happy, which generates good PR, and drives sales for new hardware.
I have been through three major software revisions with my iPhone. Each time there is a major release, there is a slew of new features, and a few bugs. Apple usually quickly fixes the bugs, so I always have felt really comfortable upgrading the day these new updates come out.
I upgraded to 4.0 the day it came out, and things were not as they usually are. The software took forever to install on my 3G, and once it did, I immediately noticed a major performance hit. Instead of feeling like I had all my apps, and the internet at my finger tips, it felt like I had to reach through a bowl of Jello-O to get to any of them. Once I got them they were, sticky, and hard to handle. I think that Apple put out a piece of software that was not well tested on the old iPhone.....
Check out my friend Paul Anater's blog post on the subject. There's a great video embedded in that post as well. If you're a current 3G owner, you will be able to relate.
I have a theory that this has something to do with their business model, but we'll keep theory and conjecture for another article.
My resolution was to switch phones, and carriers. I was sick of getting dropped calls, and slow internet connectivity on my iPhone. That software update did me in. I walked into my local Verizon store and picked myself up a Droid Incredible. I was a sucker for the original Droid ads. As a geek, they really got me interested... This was the first commercial.
Now, this commercial is a little dated already, as the new iPhone CAN do all of these things... But there is so much more to Android then just side by side comparions of features.
Lets break the two platforms down. You've got Apple, they want everything to be perfect. They control the entire process, from the hardware, to the software. I'll bet they'd even love to control the cell towers if they could afford to. You can't do anything on your iPhone unless Steve says that you can. Things are magical and perfect in iPhone land.
Then there is Google Android. Its open, customizable, and available to anyone who's got a piece of hardware that they want to put it on. This has its upsides, and downsides. The upsides are that you can do ANYTHING you want on Android. If you want to run 60 apps at the same time and drain you battery, go crazy. If you want to have a different music player then the stock one, just go ahead and download one. If you want to have apps that have full access to the phone, you can get them. A great example of allowing devolopers access to the entire phone system is that you can create apps that work great with other apps. For example, just about any piece of media on the phone can be shared. If you have your favorite Twitter app on your phone and you want to post a photo, that app comes right up in the list of ways you can share a piece of media. No longer to you have to launch the app, create the tweet, go to your camera roll, and search for the picture.
Perhaps you aren't happy with the dialer pad on the phone, simply download another one! Smartphones are more and more becoming portals to the internet, and less and less about phones. I think the internet should be open and free, and I also think that the device that you use to access it should be the same. Remember how angry we all got when Microsoft blocked Netscape back in the day? Its funny how we now tolerate that sort of Draconian control from Apple, just because they are "Hip" and "Cool".
Now for the really good stuff: The speed of the Droid Incredible. Between Verizon's speedy 3G network, and the Incredibles hi octane processor, this phone can go faster then you can think. The internet operates at nearly broadband speeds. You can even load Flash on it! Then there is Google's system wide voice search. Want to find something, anything on your phone or the internet? Simply tap one button, and just ask it!
You can ask Droid anything. Things like "Call Paul Anater" or "Navigate to Orlando Florida" will do exactly what you expect them to. The voice recognition is uncannily good.
If you are thinking of making the switch, you should. I use this phone more then I ever used my iPhone. Now have at the disposal of my thumbs the ultimate connection to the world. Its brilliantly fast, and rather then get in my way, it gets out of the way and just gets things done. Droid definitely Does.
As an aside, I was able to take my now deactivated iPhone 3G and downgrade it to the old 3.13 software. Its not as easy as upgrading, and you do have to wipe your phone and manually put everything back on it, but it does work perfectly now!