All together now!
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?
The device won’t have an impressive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will certainly be able to run a lot of interesting applications.
Android’s first iteration, released last week, is certainly less of a watershed than Apple’s iPhone debut, but then again Google has been very open about their project. While Apple has built a reputation on carefully constructed excitement about the unveiling of their new projects, Google was very upfront about Android and the Open Handset Alliance—to the point of attracting doubts of the project’s fruition.
You can read the reviews of T‑Mobile’s/HTC’s G1 elsewhere; after a week there are plenty of good ones (and I haven’t held one myself). But here are a few of my initial impressions of Google’s Android project itself.
I mentioned that Android’s default synchronization with Google applications is pretty slick, and definitely a way to get out of the gate quickly. However, I’m not sure if that’s only for the G1 or if Android will include that in every iteration. (I only really wonder because it’s not available in the emulator yet.)
It will be interesting to see how the Applications fare; Apple has proved that there is a business here, and they have a jump start on their App Store. While Apple has attracted a lot of developers, they have their own problems keeping their trust at the moment, and certainly for myself I’m more motivated to write for a multi-process, open-source operating system where my application will definitely be available for users. I’m encouraged that there have already been some interesting applications rolling out.
Speaking of development, it is very promising to see that the Android team has released an emulator for all major operating systems. Apple’s developer program seems robust, but I don’t plan on switching to OS X anytime soon. (Then again, I’d rather avoid Java, but that’s not a dealbreaker for me.)
The Android is certainly the biggest competitor to the iPhone thus far, but it’s certainly not just trying to imitate the superficial qualities (like, say, the LG Dare); it seems to have slightly different motivations that have shaped the project thus far. Either way, competition is a good thing.
It seems likely that AT&T will be producing Android phones but even if so, the question is when. I’m imminently looking for a new phone, so the sooner the better; I have no plans to switch to T‑Mobile and I would really appreciate the ability to give each one of these platforms an even chance.
To me, this is a very compelling Android feature: log in and everything synchronizes.
Now all they need is a decent music player and a 3.5mm headphone jack.… (Just say no to adapters and proprietary jacks!)