Friday, November 12, 2010

...Smart Phones

Being a gadet freak, I go through a lot of phones, and they're pretty much always smart phones. I've owned three different SideKicks, several Windows Mobile and several Android OS phones now. I've also researched various RIM, Symbian, iOS and PalmOS devices over the years.

So why smart phones?

Honestly, I rarely use my phone, I need it for business and emergencies, but I just don't like talking to people if I can text instead. I like the smart phones because of everything else they can do. They're better at texting than standard phones, and there's a huge selection of applications for accomplishing other tasks as well.

I used to own a Palm TX that I used for taking notes, tracking my car mileage, and managing my bank account. It was also handy for carrying documents around in digital form. At the time, there weren't many smart phone choices yet, but I eventually ended up with my first Sidekick.

SickKick's OS is pretty slick for light users, people that just want the social network and mini-games will enjoy this phone, but it's not real strong at anything else. It's just not designed for adult tasks.

Eventually I graduated up to Windows Mobile 6, where I was finally able to start using more business apps and was able to replace all of my Palm TX apps (except my universal remote control, darn them for not equipping smart phones with IR ;).

Windows Mobile was an excellent business platform, and did texting pretty nice as well. But, along with being a tech head, I'm also quite a bit of a gamer. I enjoy more than just mini-games, and honestly Windows Mobile couldn't even do them very well due to it's low end hardware and lack of graphics power.

Symbian and RIM were way too business oriented, and while both are quite strong at business, they weren't "fun" phones to own. RIM was especially prevalent with all the different BlackBerrys coming out on every telephone company imaginable, but Windows Mobile was keeping pace.

After a few Windows Mobile 6 phones, Apple had come out with iOS. And at first, this was great. Apple set a new bar, but unfortunately they made several major mistakes. No MMS, no copy/paste, and stuck on AT&T, who at the time thought a $750 deposit on top of the price of the phone and first month's bill, was a fair price. Needless to say, I passed on iOS because it really didn't offer enough above Windows Mobile to justify the cost.

Then comes the 3G networks, and with them, Android OS.Android OS was, and continues to be everything iOS wants to be but has yet to achieve. Android OS was fun, Android OS was business, and Android OS was social. But most importantly, Android OS is an open platform.Right off the bat, Android OS had everything iOS had and then some, it could even copy/paste, MMS, and was scheduled to launch on several major telecomm networks. Unfortunately, they still lacked enterprise support.

Of course, Apple had to respond, they fixed the missing features in iOS in an attempt to catch up to Android OS. But Android OS's open nature means it continued to evolve and grow, receiving speed, stability, and feature updates including enterprise support all faster than Apple has been able to keep up.

Here we are in the present day, and Apple is still playing the catch up game, as Android OS takes over more and more of the market. Apple releases its pseudo-tablet iPad and finally catches up to the 3G revolution; Android comes out with multiple pseudo-tablet chocies, an eBook reader, dozens of new 3G and 4G phones, and even dedicated GPS devices.

Then all of a sudden, FUMBLE! Apple pushes an embarrassingly broken phone to market. The iPhone 4G and it's broken antenna, video chat that only works on wifi, and nothing new from previous models. But, the raving Apple fans continue to buy it all up, refusing to admit that Apple's broken offering is anything less than perfection.

Honestly, I think the different OSes have their place. For open development, a fun phone with loads of power and customizability, go with Android OS. For business, especially enterprise, go with RIM (BlackBerry). For younger socialites, go with SideKick. And if you just have tons of money to blow on a brand name so you can look cool and don't care about the problems and draconian practices, go iOS.

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