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Best of... "To iPhone or not to iPhone"

I've decided to bring over a couple of my posts from my personal blog that talk about technology. This one quoted below is from when I was considering jumping from Android to iPhone. A few weeks after this post I did jump ship, and was happy I did, but I liked this post because it talked about my thinking at the time and why I considered it a big bonus to get inside the Apple ecosystem.


To iPhone or not to iPhone….
Apologies up front if this post is a bit more geeky than normal for me, but I’m going to dive into the realm of cool smartphones for a bit and ramble about things that most people might not care less about. 
A year ago I decided to make the plunge and join the smartphone revolution. Since I’m a Verizon customer my choices were based on an Android phone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Palm WebOS. The iPhone was not an option at the time. Well, after a bunch of research I decided to go with the Palm Pre+ with WebOS. I loved how it was an entirely different view on how to create a mobile smartphone device. The gestures that you use to interact with it were different and intuitive, and the way that it handled things like multi-tasking were amazingly solid. All in all it was a great little phone (especially for a discounted price). However, as the months went by the major downfall of Palm started to show itself. The hardware wasn’t nearly powerful enough to handle what the operating system was trying to do. Add to this, the fact that Palm, as a company, was in the position of being sold and app developers were not jumping on the platform. So you ended up with a great operating system, with iffy hardware, and dwindling application development. By October I decided I was done. 
In the technology world, things often come down to a duality. Mac vs. Windows; Firefox vs. Internet Explorer; Word vs. Word Perfect, on and on. It’s very hard to maintain consumer interest, and developer interest in more than two platforms at a time. So as cool as WebOS was, it just seemed like it was too little too late. The battle seems to be down to iPhone vs. Android. So in October I decided to jump ship and join the Android world, and got an HTC Incredible (also at an incredible price). From the moment I fired up the phone the difference was amazing. Everything was fast and responsive. The interface, though not as elegant as WebOS was decent and allowed me to do most of what I wanted to do. Additionally, since this is an Android phone, the number of apps available was much, much larger than WebOS, and the platform’s growth potential has many more developers hopping on board. The hardware is more solid, and things like the GPS system just work. Overall, this has been a great smartphone for me. 
However, now we come to February, and the big announcement that Apple’s iPhone is now available for Verizon. I’ve been asked many times over the past few weeks if I’m going to pick one up. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure yet. Unlike my experience with the Palm phone, I’m not lacking much on my current Droid Incredible. It does most of what I want it to do, and does it quickly and efficiently. However, there’s one thing that it can’t do, and never will be able to do. That’s the ability to integrate in to the rest of my digital media world seamlessly and easily.  My home computer is a Mac, my work computer is a Mac, I have an Apple TV in my living room, and I’ve owned a myriad of Apple ‘i’ devices over the many years. I’ve also purchased a great deal of entertainment in the Apple world, from the iTunes store. None of this “just works” with an Android phone. Sure there are tricks and utilities that can kinda get you close with some work… but it’s not quick and easy. 
There also are a few more apps that interest me on the iPhone side, that simply aren’t available on the Android side. However, that’s a bit of a smaller issue for me. The bigger question is that integration piece. I know a few people who get all up in arms about how Apple is a closed eco-system, but that closed nature has allowed them to provide some wonderful integration between environments. I acknowledge that Apple is a walled garden. But if the garden is where you want to live… then it really isn’t that bad of a deal.
So I guess I’ll be thinking about it for a few weeks, not going to jump on anything that quickly. But the idea of a phone that can actually use a bunch of the media that I own is a pretty compelling idea. 
Oh, and as a postscript, I did just see the new WebOS devices that HP (which bought Palm) released yesterday. There’s some serious potential there. Again though… might be too late to get in the game.

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