Should I stay or should I go…

The following blog post may be filed under “things I do when I am supposed to do other, much more important stuff instead”, but I just need to write it down and share it here.

I am in the process of buying a new mobile phone, and my switch to the iPhone Classic some month ago made me realize that – in the end – I am no real software hacker (hardware, yes) and prefer a system that’s reliable and just does the job.

P1030474
main screen on my iPhone Classic
(note the Full Body Film coming off on the top right corner)

Meaning, the limited options on an iPhone Classic with a jailbroken iOS 3.1.2 aren’t necessarily negative, because you end up using only a few apps of the 140+ apps I’ve meanwhile installed on the system and also adjust to the user interface. I think we are human enough to accept user interface design flaws as long as we’re getting things done.

From my experience with Symbian and iOS so far, I can tell that iOS is kick ass and only has a few things that I would probably like to change (on 3.1.2, but also 4.x). There’s a plethora of apps available for iOS, there are many good apps also ONLY available for iOS (like the app provided by my bank) and everything is just very straight forward. There’s no doubt that Apple’s / Steve Job’s ZEN approach and the things they DON’T do or offer on their devices isn’t wrong, but instead one of the main reasons for their success – even in Japan, where analysts feared that the somewhat limited iPhones wouldn’t succeed (as stated in this brilliant article).

This week I went to a local Twitter meetup and realized that almost everyone was using an iPhone. Except for two coders who were on Android devices.

JKEs-iPhone-Classic

the back side of my iPhone Classic – with the partly worn out & yellowish Full Body Film (that covers the gaps on the aluminium back).
QR Code = my address for business contacts

Android and iOS. Let me be clear on this: I judge phones on their reliability and what I can do with them. I said it before, Nokia does not interest me anymore despite their awesome (really awesome and unbeaten) hardware. The camera on my Nokia N95 from 2007 is still very good when compared to current devices. And this although it only has an LED flash!

It’s the apps. No apps, no fun.

Hence it’s only iOS or Android to me these days. Likewise, any change of mobile phone operating systems has to be well planned. Seach the now (eventually also via web accessible!) Android app store online and see which app relates to the one you like best on your iPhone. Also, sometimes there’s no extra app necessary on Android as the functionality is also included on the default operating system. I am a bit afraid of software hacking any future phone, but going through the various forums/fora online I realize that a lot of ppl manage to hack their Android devices, so I should also manage to hack it to some extend.

JKE-iphone-Classic-docking
iPhone Classic docking station

Hardware

What you see in the snapshot above is the very nice, small & slim docking station for my iPhone Classic. I have two of them – one on my desk and one on my bed table. This is VERY convenient and also necessary, because they battery on this phone isn’t original and only lasts 8-10 hours maximum. I am using Kirikae multitasking switches and SBStoggles on the iPhone to kill unnecessary apps and free available RAM, there are no constant data connections and I mainly use it for Twitter/FB/Reader & as a phone. The battery and the display are both not original and thus a bit peculiar on energy consumption. Missing 3G speed, a lousy camera, battery life and limitations of iOS 3.1.2 now made me consider an upgrade to:

a) an iPhone 4, paid for in installments @ 25 EUR / month, iOS 4.x (= 649 EUR)
or
b) a Motorola DEFY, Android 2.1 (+ unofficial UK upgrade to 2.2), currently selling for ~ 290 EUR

Now, given that I can get the same things done with a cheaper Android device like the Motorola DEFY, why should I upgrade to an Apple iPhone 4? From a “let’s-be-real” perspective, the DEFY will just do as well. Most of the apps I am using will also be available via Android Market, and since I’ve also already jailbroken my iOS device, I will probably be able to hack an Android device, right?

Right?

Interestingly, one of the main reasons why I still haven’t bought the DEFY is the lack of a docking station. The DEFY also has its connector on the left side, so you’ll either have to modify a Motorola Milestone docking station (with a magnet, so that the display flips 90° to the side) or build your own, but in any case I will always have to remove the plastic/rubber flap that covers the USB port on the DEFY. Do I really want that? And will they be dureable enough?

Another alternative would probably also be an HTC DESIRE on Android 2.2 because it has its docking port at the bottom. This, the availability of many custom firmwares and the camera on the HTC DESIRE are reasons why I would go for an HTC DESIRE. But for the moment, also because of it’s rugged character – the Motorola DEFY is rated as IP67 – the DEFY looks like a current Android device with a very good value for money. The still missing & rather complicated docking station issue and the only average camera (I take a lot of photos for use on my Posterous blog) – sijui… will still have to make up my mind on this.

The recent launch of the Huawei IDEOS U8150 in Kenya triggered my interest in low-cost Android devices. A friend, who is currently programming a scientific app for Android devices, also recently recommended the DEFY (given my budget) as he’s currently using one himself. I had the chance of playing with the DEFY for a few minutes and liked what I saw. Of course, it’s not an iPhone 4, but it costs only half as much and makes me getting things done.

So here’s the question: wait for the iPhone5, buy an Android device like the DEFY or DESIRE, invest into an iPhone 4 or stick with the old one because there’s never “the right time” for buying Android devices?

(pls note that I didn’t even mention the convenient microSD card memory on these Android devices & the lack of iTunes, which is a nightmare on Windows & also reason for the change to Android)

8 comments » Write a comment

  1. I agree with Cedric. I’ve had the HTC G2 for afew months, and like it a lot. I would get the Motorola pro though, with iphone i missed the tactile keyboard… keep your Nokia coz when you go to Kenya/other tropical place, the glare on the touchscreen renders the phone useless. You’d have to turn up the brightness and thus deplete your battery life.

  2. Oh ok. Thx! Display, yes, for some reasons most Androids sold in Europe are bila AMOLED, just SuperLED, which probably also means they are less prone to the sun. But I’ll be using a semi-matt display cover I am already using on my iPhone, which adsorbs most reflections and fingerprints. Anyhow, you’re right, the Nokia screen is much more usable in sunshine, no matter if SLED or AMOLED.

    I’ve seen your Moto Milestone2?/Pro tweet earlier this week. You are into this keyboard thing, eh? I used to like it but realized that i am faster with just a touch screen keyboard.

    I’ve meanwhile gone through all my apps on the iPhone and come to the conclusion that I won’t miss anything except user interface and the docking station. Normal apps are fine on the 2G, but anything with uncertain memory requirements, such as the browser, are killing this 50MB-only RAM device. The browser often quits. So it’s really about time for me to upgrade. I am surprised by the speed Android has taken up to compete with iOS. Bwana Kentunes btw also remarked via Twitter that for 600 EUR, it’s probably better to buy an iPad, which is true. The iPhone in Germany is still always too expensive, especially now with an iPhone 5 up on the horizon.

  3. Or you get yourself a Nexus S which uses a concave glas for its display – this should minimize reflections rather nicely.

  4. Well, Amazon wants 495€ for it – a tad higher than the 300€ for a Defy. Downside to the german model of the Nexus: SLCD.

    Amazon.co.uk has an AMOLED based Nexus S for 450 pounds.