A new phone: Terrible timing?

So my AT&T contract is up this month and I’m considering all my options for my next PDA. My BlackBerry has been slowly dying on me, and I’ve not been happy with it.


It’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of Android—it is produced by Google—so ideally I’d get an Android device next.

However, I’m not terribly inclined to switch to T-Mobile; their network is smaller and not as robust in all locations. And the G1 leaves a lot to be desired, so I’d rather wait for the next iteration. But how long will that be? Hard to say, though they may have a new, awesome device soon, so it may be worth waiting.

I had also mentioned that AT&T would likely be producing Android devices, but that dynamic seems to have changed somewhat: I suppose because of their ties with Apple and the iPhone, they’re not keen to produce any competing devices currently. And I can understand that, though it’s unfortunate.

It does seem like I’d be joining an active community though. :)


An iPhone would be a solid choice, and I certainly think the devices deserves (most of) the acclaim it’s been getting, but I’m not switching from one proprietary mobile device to another. Even if it is Apple. I’m also not impressed with the inability to run background applications, and while jailbreaking the phone would open up a lot of extra functionality, I’m not inclined to do that. I don’t want to support Apple by buying their device if I don’t actually support how they design their software.


So my two choices feel like this: Get an iPhone (and possibly jailbreak it) or switch to T-Mobile if/when they release a second (slicker-than-G1) device.

Are there other choices? Which do you think I should do?

18 thoughts on “A new phone: Terrible timing?

  1. i have tmobile and like them quite a bit for the most part…a few dropped calls here and there, but honestly it’s not much different than when i had verizon…and it’s WAY cheaper!!! i have to say, you can’t beat “favorite 5”, and now you can get a home phone line through them for 10 bucks a month and all calls you make from your home even on your cell phone (i’m 99% sure this includes your cell phone too) aren’t counted towards your minutes. can’t beat it!

    i also have the itouch…just like the iphone w/out the monthly rate and on-demand internet…and i love it. i don’t know how it would do as a phone too, but the itouch is the best toy i’ve ever purchased. lol

  2. I vote iPhone. I understand that it is not open source, but jailbreaking will allow you to do most of what you can’t do with it normally. With the 3.0 firmware that is coming out you will be able to run background applications. It seems that they are responding to peoples demands, they added copy and paste as well as MMS in the new firmware. That said, there are rumors of another version coming out in June, so I would wait till at least then to see if that pans out or not. If you don’t want to switch from AT&T then I agree, you will be waiting a while for an Android phone on their network, especially since they are trying to extend the exclusivity deal with Apple. For what it is worth, T-Mobile has been building out their 3G network in the major metro areas so the argument about their network not being as big is getting smaller. I now have coverage where I never did before. Hope this helps, see me for more insight if you like.

  3. Bill: You more or less convinced me that T-Mobile wasn’t dismissable out of hand; otherwise I’d have little doubt. So it’s sort of your fault I’m so conflicted. :P

    Joshua: I haven’t seriously thought about Palm in years; while the Pre seems like a big step forward for them, I’m more or less avoiding Palm’s products these days (and definitely avoiding Sprint/Nextel).

  4. I would say get the jPhone, but wait until after June. If they come out with a new phone it’ll be then. Either way, 3.0 will have background apps and a slew of other things we should have had from the beginning. I can survive easily without jailbreaking. Plus it gets a lot of attention from Google and integrates well. The only thing is I don’t know how you’d run it off Linux.

  5. Donald: I should’ve specified: One of the big things I want to do with my next PDA is to replace my (dying, decrepit, etc.) music player. So being able to drop my music on my PDA is nigh essential, and basically, the process with the iPhone would be as follows: [ahem]
    Create a virtual machine, connect it to my host OS with USB, install Windows/iTunes there, transcode my lossless FLAC audio to MP3/AAC, copy it to the virtual machine, import it into iTunes, and copy it to the iPhone.
    Needless to say, I’d really like to avoid that. :)

  6. You only need iTunes to update and backup the iPhone. There are ways to put music on it without using iTunes…

  7. …only by jailbreaking, which I’m still not sure I’d want to do. Apple makes it impossible to circumvent iTunes “properly”, and while I understand the reasoning, I’m not convinced I want to hack my phone just to do something I think I should be able to anyway. :)

  8. Corey: Such would definitely be ideal. I was under the impression from what I read that the unlocked phones were limited in using Amazon for music and in buying paid apps in the App Market. Could you confirm that with your colleagues? If so, that might be my winner!

  9. I’d vote for the G1, because I’ve got one. The device, although not as “shiny” as the iPhone, is cheaper (by a lot) and the service is cheaper (by a lot), and the functionality is pretty awesome.

    I really dislike Apple’s proprietary stranglehold on the iPhone, iTunes, the app store, etc. Android is taking a really different approach, and I think it’s just begun to gain momentum.

    If you’re *really* into ‘droid, then you could buy a dev phone, and go unlocked, get user builds of pre releases, etc. All this stuff is fun, if a bit time consuming.

    I think the real issue today (for either iPhone or G1) is whether you get locked into a 2yr contract or not. In 2 years, I’m 100% certain that there will be a much cooler iPhone and several much cooler Android powered devices out there. Heck, the whole market will have changed in 24 months. So, consider that: If you had to purchase the phone outright and go without a contract, which would you choose? This will give you more freedom in the future, for sure!

  10. Linux has a FUSE filesystem for supporting iPhone/Touch. I haven’t used it, so I can’t vouch for it. That said, I really enjoy the G1. I live in an area where T-Mobile beats ATT coverage, and a cheaper plan is nice.
    Battery life when using 3G is bad for every phone. G1 is bad because so many things can be doing background radio access, unlike the iPhone.

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