Of iPhones And Blackberries And Smartphones
This post is about the iPhone. Well, kind of. I don’t actually have an iPhone as my willingness to own devices for which I pray the magic fairies will do their glittering dance of wonder and functionality is limited to just the iPod. So far. Since I don’t have one, this post isn’t a review or a comparison or really anything useful about the iPhone at all. In fact, I’m not sure why you’ve even read this far as you probably already have an iPhone and can just go talk on it. Or maybe you’re reading this post on your iPhone in which case those Flickr pictures I have at the bottom of the are probably loading really slowly. (Haha! Just an iPhone joke! I’m sure that EDGE network did you just fine!)
Speaking of my shiny new phone, my Blackberry days are over. I know it seems crazy. I was addicted to that barely functioning box of electronic joy, but I’ve traded it for even more joyousness (who thought that was even possible, I know). I typed on many keyboards and did lots of geeky research and finally settled on the HTC 8525, available here in the U.S. from AT&T. It runs Windows Mobile and has 3G so it’s basically a very small computer at broadband speed.
How does the 8525 stack up against the Blackberry?
- The screen is much bigger and better and you view it in either landscape or portrait.
- Touch screen. Seriously how did I do without that before?
- Sure, you have to dial a number on the touch screen, which can be problematic, particularly when driving, but have you tried dialing on a Blackberry?
- I can use it to power broadband on my laptop. I could never figure out how to do that with the Blackberry and at one point was told I had to pay this huge extra monthly fee. I don’t know why it’s different, since I had it through AT&T as well, but all I know is that I can tether the 8525 to the laptop with absolutely no problem.
- It’s Windows, so its apps are more flexible than the Blackberry.
- They keyboard is better. For one thing, some of the keys just make more sense. Like you can type a period without needing the shift key. Sure, it’s harder to type with one thumb, but I think I’ve figured out how to do it with the 8525, I just need a little more practice.
How does the 8525 compare to the iPhone?
I can’t do a true comparison since, you know, I don’t actually have an iPhone. I know, I am the lamest comparsion writer-type person who ever compared. Feel free to stop reading now and spend the rest of the evening mocking me. I would do the same for you. For now, I rely on what I read on the Internet. And on the Apple demo video. (Mostly what I got from the demo is that the iPhone is very, very pretty. So pretty you want to dress it up in frilly pink outfits and give it dainty little Cinderella glass slippers and sprinkle it with glitter. Also, did you know that the iPhone is revolutionary?)
I admit, the display does seem super sexy. I can’t really argue about that.
mostly I need to carry the internet around with me
If it is, as Calacanis says, more a web device with a phone built in, I’d prefer my web at the highest speed possible, which isn’t EDGE. Sure, WiFi, but that’s not available everywhere and mostly, you have to pay extra for it. And Scoble is comparing a Linux Smartphone to the iPhone, but neither have the functionality of Windows that I’m looking for. (I know, some people would say that the phone being powered by Windows is a drawback, but I’m mostly a Windows girl at heart. There are Mac geeks and there are Linux geeks and there are… are there any OS/2 geeks still around, you think?) I read that if you’re downloading something, any incoming calls are directed to voice mail since the non-3G connection can’t take the added load. (Alton Brown might call that a unitasker.)
What about the camera?
I don’t care all that much about the camera quality. It is nice to have a camera that isn’t super crappy, but as I tend to lug all kinds of electronics with me all the time, I generally have my 10.1 mega pixel Cyber-Shot with me anyway. And those who know me know that I also tend to carry another phone with me too that I use as, well, a phone. (I lug around a second phone, you say? Look how thin it is! It’s like carrying a feather. Who doesn’t have room for a feather?) I had previously used the Blackberry and now use the 8525 mostly as a portable computer. It’s just not practical to carry around a laptop in your purse all the time (although it’s practical to carry around the laptop more often than you might think). The 8525 works pretty well as a phone though, particularly in conjunction with a bluetooth headset.
Then there’s the cat factor, of course
So what does the iPhone have that makes it so much better? Well, you can put one on your cat. Dude. You can totally do that with the 8525 too.
But it’s revolutionary!
You can sync with your contacts on your computer? Make a call with a touch of the screen? This is “revolutionary”? The first mobile computing that fits in your pocket? What the hell are they even talking about?
Typing: the added thrill of living dangerously at no extra charge
And there’s only the touchscreen. No keyboard. I know. Everyone says it’s great. Maybe it is. But give me the choice at least. I’ll be typing faster on this virtual keyboard than any other small keyboard if I only just trust the intelligence of the keyboard? Look. I used to work for Tegic. The predictive text company. I know all about intelligent keyboards. I worked on SloppyType and T9. T9 works pretty well. And maybe Apple’s come up with something even better. But I know how these predictive/corrective typing systems work. I’ve seen the code. And I can tell you that most sets of keystrokes map to more than one word, particularly when you’re working with quadrants and multiple potential keys like you are with a virtual keyboard. All I’m saying is that you should look your text over before you hit send unless you want to end up sending really interesting messages. Especially to say, your boss. Trust me. (I notice the demo features very little typing. I type A LOT on my phone.)
We all need more iPods in our lives, right?
It’s the best iPod ever? Well, that’s great and all, but I already have an iPod. Several actually. And if you can really only get a 4GB or 8GB and that storage is for all the phone apps as well as the music with no removable storage, I fail to see how it’s better than my 80GB iPod.
I’m as free as a bird now…
The iPhone doesn’t have removable battery or SIM card? No instant messaging? (Maybe through meebo though.) Really? No removable memory card? I tend to need an extra battery to swap if mine runs low. You may say that the iPhone has such greater battery life that I wouldn’t need to do that, but really, I’d at least like the option, just in case. And I travel to Europe sometimes. It’s nice to just buy a prepaid SIM and pop it into my phone. And it would also be nice to be able to unlock my phone and take it to another carrier if I wanted. And since I use the phone as a mini computer, I like having removable storage. I can only run apps that work with Safari and can’t download unless I’m connected to a computer? And does it even support Outlook?
I know, I know. I’m judging. I haven’t even tried it. I should give it a chance. Maybe I’ll borrow yours.
And apparently, you can’t use your existing headset to listen to music on the iPhone. I just bought these nifty Bose headphones for my iPod and they’re a little too pricey to just toss aside because Apple decided to change it up. Apple syndrome indeed.
Apple is hyping up the “simple” design. Simple is just another word for limited functionality. I like my flexibility. Don’t box me in! The iPhone is starting to sound like The Man, trying to hold me down. Well, I’m living free with my 8525!
(Don’t shun me for my unhipness. And maybe every so often, I could just look at your pretty iPhone screen? Just a peek every so often?)