Baby Come Back

May 27th, 2010 21 Comments

I’ve spent a few days talking about smartphones, and as I mentioned in my EVO review post, I’ve switched away from the iPhone, which I loved for three years.

With the iPhone 4 on deck to wow us all with new features, I’m wondering what it would take to switch again. I’m talking about between phone OS here, i.e. iPhone, Android, WebOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, etc.

Photo by Joelyisanowl on Flickr used under Creative Commons

Obviously, we have to leave cost out of the equation here, since that is the most powerful motivator. I asked Rich (@rmanalan) this question, and he said he’d switch back to the iPhone if it weren’t exclusively on AT&T.

That’s not even a feature. Have iPhone and Android reached feature parity?

So, other than price and cost concerns, what would it take to get you to switch, including non-feature arguments like Rich’s. Or looked at another way, what would drive you away from one phone?

Find the comments.


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21 Responses to “Baby Come Back”

  1. manalang Says:

    Clarification… I would switch back to the iPhone if it were available on a better network (Verizon or Sprint are my preferred networks) and if I got the phone for free. It would be hard to switch from a free EVO to a $200 (maybe more) iPhone HD/4 on a shitty network.

    For me, the only reason I still like the iPhone are the apps. There are a lot of really good apps on the iPhone that I can't get on Android… at least not yet. It's coming, but it's slow and who knows if some apps will be ported.

    The fact is, the iPhone is still king when it comes to usability. It's the kind of device I would recommend to someone who's not a tech/gadget freak like the readers and authors of this blog. There's no question that I think my wife would be frustrated with the Android. It's got too many “features” / options. It's not a “simple” phone like the iPhone. However, it's on it's way to getting better and better. But as for now, it's still a techies' phone.

  2. Jake Says:

    Dude, I said leave cost out of the equation. I'm with you on apps, especially games. Like I said in the EVO post, I'm not confident that game producers will embrace Android due to hardware inconsistencies.

    Agree with your assessment of Android, which is great, albeit a bit rough around the edges.

  3. Hassan Schroeder Says:

    I would get an iPhone in an instant *if* it were available on another network. My Android G1 can't reliably go 8 hours without a charge (even new), while my wife's iPhone is fine for a couple of days at a time. And what I've heard about new Android phones' batteries isn't reassuring me that that's been improved.

    But we travel widely, and we just won't have phones on the same network for redundancy, so I'm starting to revisit Nokia and Palm phones.

  4. Christina Says:

    Got to be able to type, do work & web email, make phone calls, browse the web. Got to be on Verizon. On a Treo right now, waiting for Verizon to sort out my NewEveryTwo so I can order an Incredible. I'm really going to miss my physical keyboard and being able to type/control the device w/out looking at it. I can't type on an iPhone/iPod Touch. At least HTC redid the keyboard on the Incredible to be bigger, but it will still be a learning curve. I really like the user experience HTC did on top of the Google experience. At least in the few minutes I played with it in the store.

  5. Christina Says:

    Also NEED a back button/gesture. Another showstopper for the iPhone.

  6. Jake Says:

    Another person with a network preference. I assume you have to be on Verizon due to contractual obligations?

    I have to agree that Android does a better job at the soft keypad than Apple, and I agree that HTC's keypad is nicer/better than Motorola's. Luckily, I never used a tactile keyboard, so I didn't have to relearn. Unfortunately, I think you're stuck with the soft version. Implementations like the Droid's fail, IMO.

    My wife had Treos for a while. No comparison to the iPhone or other smartphones.

    The back button gesture is a bit odd bc the multitouch supports embiggening the page, making that gesture a scrolling one. Might be tough to pull off a back gesture too.

  7. Jake Says:

    You don't like AT&T then? Battery is a constant issue, but I'm thinking the iPad foreshadows iPhone 4 making a battery leap. We'll see.

    If you travel, I assume you use T-Mobile. You could unlock an iPhone to take it abroad with any SIM. I assume travel makes CDMA phones useless for you.

  8. ileane Says:

    Hi Jake, Is tethering an issue for either of these phones? I have an incredibly slow DSL connection that I need a work-around for.

  9. osteinmeier Says:

    While I agree that the iPhone has overall better usability (or is it discoverability?), my wife — who is not a geek — had no problems finding her way around in Android on my (eh, now her) EVO. Her previous experiences were PalmOS (assorted Treos), WebOS (Palm Pre) and a lot of playing with my iPhone and iPad.

    I think Android definitely has reached the “good enough” point and my deciding factors are now shifting from the OS towards the hardware choices (love the EVO hardware for the most part) and software availability.

    I also notice that I personally am getting a bit bored by iPhone/iPhone OS. I've used it for about two years now and feel ready/eager to explore something new. Not sure if the 4th generation iPhone hardware and iPhone OS 4 will give me enough in that regard.

  10. Jake Says:

    The iPhone OS has supported tethering since 3.0 and is available to international users, but AT&T has not surfaced that feature. Apparently, that will change soon, if you believe the rumors.

    Android has tethering for some carriers in 2.1, e.g. the EVO runs 2.1 and has a Sprint Hotspot feature. Also, when you plug in USB, you can share tether. Not sure what will be new for tethering/hotspots in 2.2.

    How slow is your DSL? Sharing a 3G connection won't be super fast either. If you have 4G with a strong signal, that would be ideal for tethering.

    I dunno what the cost of constant tethering would be. Your carrier might not like it :)

  11. Jake Says:

    I think the getting started experiences are on par, but longer term, Android has its rough spots, e.g. all the notification settings. I think iPhone does a better job of sustained usability. Not that Android is bad, just not as user-friendly. That will evolve though.

    I agree about iPhone OS, which is why I wrote the post. What's out there that will wow us?

  12. osteinmeier Says:

    Android 2.2 has the hotspot feature in the core OS (on the EVO, it's a Sprint-branded app and comes with $30/month fee). Not 100% clear if carriers will have the right/ability to rip it out of 2.2 if they don't want to offer it or if they will have the ability to detect and thus charge for it.

    With my iPad, the hotspot feature is a very attractive feature. For jailbroken iPhones there is a $10 app called MyWi, but it keeps dying on me.

  13. Jake Says:

    Right, I guess that didn't come across in my reply, but that's pretty much what I meant. Re. the Sprint Hotspot, does that come with the 30-days of service we got and is it discounted in a longer term contract?

    That's a feature I can see needing every so often.

    What about USB tethering? Same restrictions and cost?

  14. Christina Says:

    Got to be Verizon b/c I've tried others and they just don't work. :-) I prefer my Treo over the iPhone/iPod Touch. I can't stand having to always go back to home then navigate over and over and over. Then the disappointing soft keyboard too. Just drives me nuts. Excited about the Incredible though! Finally something that makes my Treo look OLD.

  15. Jake Says:

    Interesting, I may be the only person who doesn't have issues with AT&T. Then again, Verizon and Sprint have been fine too, so maybe I live in heavily covered spot.

    If you don't like going back to the home, Android may disappoint. I guess for notifications, you won't have to, but for most everything else you will.

  16. oraclenerd Says:

    i would switch simply because i am currently using the 10 year old blackberry technology which hasn't seemed to change a whole lot in that time. iPhone or EVO…either one. Give it to me.

  17. Jake Says:

    I think Android is more up your alley as a tinkerer. Plus, there a more flexible options in carrier and phone. I'll bet you could find an EVO (or Droid) on Craigslist from the IO hangover.

  18. Jake Says:

    Interesting, I may be the only person who doesn't have issues with AT&T. Then again, Verizon and Sprint have been fine too, so maybe I live in heavily covered spot.

    If you don't like going back to the home, Android may disappoint. I guess for notifications, you won't have to, but for most everything else you will.

  19. oraclenerd Says:

    i would switch simply because i am currently using the 10 year old blackberry technology which hasn't seemed to change a whole lot in that time. iPhone or EVO…either one. Give it to me.

  20. Jake Says:

    I think Android is more up your alley as a tinkerer. Plus, there a more flexible options in carrier and phone. I'll bet you could find an EVO (or Droid) on Craigslist from the IO hangover.

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