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. Get an unlocked android: http://​www​.geek​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​m​o​b​i​l​e​/​g​o​o​g​l​e​-​o​f​f​e​r​s​-​u​n​l​o​c​k​e​d​-​a​n​d​r​o​i​d​-​d​e​v​e​l​o​p​e​r​-​p​h​o​n​e​-​f​o​r​-​399 – 2008129/ then you can just use AT&T still. There are a cou­ple of guys in my office that use them and they love it. A ton of inte­gra­tion points, and easy to run off of…one of the guys got mono run­ning on it(since our soft­ware runs on Mono)

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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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