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My Phone Dilemma: I’m Ready for a Change and I Want Your Opinion

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

image Well, that time is finally here. My 3 Year (bloody) Contract with Bell Mobility (one of the Big 3 rip-off artist/cell phone & communications companies on the northern half of the North American continent) has less than a year left and I’ve been presented with a $100 hardware upgrade and about $300 in data credits. The data credits can be applied to the hardware too, leaving me with a substantial discount on any phone I would like to get. So the question is… which one? Bell is finally carrying the iPhone 3GS and has some older Android phones, as well as some Blackberries and newer-model Windows Mobile phones like the Samsung Omnia II. Currently, as some of you may recall from previous posts, I’m rocking the marvellous workhorse of the Windows Mobile world, the HTC Touch. Love the little beast, but it’s got to go. Time to pave the way for something faster and smoother and generally better than Windows Mobile has been able to offer me. I’d love your help! I am so torn at the moment, that I have been ripping at what little hair is left on my head trying to decide.

Save my scalp! Help me save myself from patchiness! Read on and then throw your opinions at me in the comments (and don’t be afraid to have fun with it)!

 

 

 

Windows Mobile

I have a love-hate relationship with Windows Mobile. Love, due to the inherent flexibility for modding that I enjoy. Hate because of the inherent bugginess, and the fact that the OS, while constantly re-skinned, hasn’t actually seen a real update in years. Don’t get me started on the Windows Mobile app store, either. It’s getting better, but is still a pain in my butt and practically useless aside from my discovery of TouchTwit. Still, they are improving… and Windows Mobile 7 isn’t far away. I hear the Omnia II is pretty good, and I know I could mod the crap out of it via my good friends over at XDA-Developers, PPC Geeks, and the fun over at PointSense/PointUI. Could be fun — but the reason I keep modding Windows Phones is, fundamentally, because I am trying to get them to act like and iPhone or an Android phone. Hnh. Perhaps there is a fundamental flaw there?

Blackberry

I am not really familiar with the Blackberry, Crackberry, or whatever else the kids are calling it these days — never owned or pwned one (annnd there goes my commitment to never use -that- “word”, ever… *sigh*). From watching numerous others with them though, people seem to love them. In fact, they seem to love them in spite of a fairly weak app store and a tendency to lock up inexplicably. What am I missing here? Do Blackberries cook you dinner? Do they provide some other form or mental or… other stimulation that I am unaware of? What’s the draw?

Android & iPhone

This is where I am having the most trouble… My partner at Bluetoque Marketing (also a once-dedicated Windows Mobile modder — more so than me, in fact), has recently gone iPhone crazy. He got one a month or so ago and, I swear, his wife should be jealous. He describes the experience in one word: “Fluid“. It just does what it is supposed to and it does it very, very well. I hear the same from my sister and others who have been yelling for me to come over to the “dark side” and give up my staunch anti-applefanboy stance. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Apple as an innovator, but I have a problem with their innate elitism, which they (I admit) use quite well to pander their product to the lifestyle-craving masses. However, as has been noted recently here on 40Tech (and here, and here too…), Apple is not necessarily playing nice. Then there is the lack of certain features, like multi-tasking, that could be a deterrent for me — though that may (may!) be fixed in the upcoming OS4. And what about the whole modding aspect of the iPhone? While it may truly leave me in a comfortable place where I decide to never mod again, I’m not sure I’ll be able to help myself! I like doing everything with a device I can possibly do, even if I never fully use what it can do — if that makes sense. I’m a closet geek: I just like to know that I can. The iPhone seems to discourage modding in favour of tight control, which balks me. The Android OS, on the other hand, is almost too open. I may never sleep again if I get one of those!

And what about the Android, anyway? Bell Mobility really only has the Samsung Galaxy, which is only Android 1.5 and has received questionable customer reviews — though I have heard that there are Android 2.0 feature ports/mods for the Galaxy. Do I really want to go that route though? Sounds like my Windows Mobile days all over again…

The big question is, how does the Samsung Galaxy compare to the iPhone for performance and such? I have some familiarity with Android OS from running it on my HTC Touch, and I like it, overall. I am a Google apps user (the regular ones, not the business) and I really like the smooth integration of those into the Android OS, but do I want to invest in a piece of hardware that is inferior to the iPhone? After all, there’s no Motorola Droid or Nexus One at Bell — or even in Canada, those bastages!

Android definitely calls to me from a few different wavelengths, though — but I am still unsure as to the inherent level of Evil that may or may not be at the core of Google. How much do I really want them in my pocket? Do I really want to be on either side of the rumoured Google vs Apple (or vs Apple and Microsoft!) war? Maybe I should get a *gasp* Palm Pre??

So, there you have it. It’s a conundrum — but it’s nice to actually have the choices that I do have. What are your thoughts? Who wins? Who gets my money? Please feel free to comment liberally…