To probably misquote Stephen Fry: “Was there ever a smartphone that I didn’t buy?”
As I posted a little while ago, I’m pretty happy with the Nexus One. Android is a nice, feature rich, open operating system, and the hardware isn’t bad. However, the one major drawback is the keyboard, which is at times incredibly frustrating.
As well as the Nexus One, at home I have an iPhone 3gs and a Blackberry Bold 9700. Each has its ups and downs, and I thought it might be worthwhile writing them up here. It would be great to hear what others think in the comments, too!
Google/HTC Nexus One
- Integrates beautifully with both Google and third party services
- Email application is a delight
- Decent browser
- Plugs straight into a computer to manage files etc – no messing about with iTunes or other software
- Touchscreen not always brilliant, and the keyboard can be appalling at times
- Not as many high quality apps as the iPhone
- Hardly any games
Apple iPhone 3gs
- Lovely user experience
- Great on screen keyboard
- Mail application is OK
- Web browser is excellent
- Lots of great apps
- Lack of sharing options – eg with photos etc
- Reliance on iTunes
- Not great as a phone
Blackberry Bold 9700
- Physical keyboard is great
- Small and light
- Phone is very reliable
- Mail application is surprisingly rubbish
- Doesn’t really work at all well with Gmail (whether consumer or enterprise editions)
- Terrible web browser
- Few apps
So there we are. The iPhone is probably overall the best, but because of my reliance on Google, I’ll stick with the Nexus One for now.
Perhaps the way forward would be an Android phone with a physical Blackberry-like keyboard?
Being a HTC Hero owner and having had a considerable amount of fiddle/play time with my sister’s shiny new iPhone 4 at the weekend I completely agree with your points on both platforms! I do think that more publishers are coming over to the Android marketplace (I believe Electronic Arts are porting some of their iPhone games) but Google need to do some serious work on the interface and quality control (not to Apple levels, but there is so much cack that gets onto the Android store it’s unbelievable!)
As with you I’m a Google-phile and the Android OS is a no brainer for me. It just works with my Google account and shares information seamlessly. A good example is when I got the email addresses of a couple of parents at a party my son attended a while back so that I could send them some of the photos I took. I plugged them in as contacts on my Hero and, when I got home and logged onto Gmail on my PC – there they were! The calendar integration is simliarly seamless. It’s a beautiful example of synergy that’s a far cry from anything I’ve seen the iPhone do.
On the flipside, the iPhone is a wonderful thing to touch and use. The screen is so unbelievably responsive and the device itself has an incredible feel to it. It can also shift some severe graphics (check out Epic games recent tech demo for Unreal Engine 3 running on the system – http://pixelatedgeek.com/2010/09/epic-games-unreal-engine-3-tech-demo-on-itunes-now/) and has a strong selection of games.
For me, it comes down to how I want to use the device and what I’m willing to pay for that. If the iPhone had significant enough storage that it would replace my iPod as a multimedia device, I think I would opt for one. As it stands, the monthly price is too much and at 16Gb max I cannot put all my songs and movies on there (I’ve already half filled a 160Gb iPod classic). So, it’s Android devices for phone – iPod for entertainment.
I made the switch from BB to iphone 9 months ago having been a committed BB user for many years. I miss my BB but only for the keypad which allowed me to type/text speedily. My typing/texting on the iphone is rubbish and I often find I’ve written gobbledygook. Frequently don’t have signal either so as you say, not great as a phone (which it’s meant to be, first and foremost!). BUT I love the apps, browser and general feel.
How hackable is the Nexus One? Can you put your own not-linked-to-Google Android on it? Your own apps not downloaded from Google’s marketplace? I’ve been seeing some conflicting messages about how free and open Android is, so I’m confused. I suspect it’s probably still more open than Apple or RIM, but less than Symbian.
@MJ Ray – you can indeed root your phone to put your own OS on it. Lots of people do this to get the most recent version of Android without having to wait for their carrier specific version, however the Nexus One will always have the most recent version first. As for installing unlisted software, this is possible without rooting however you obviously do it at your own discretion.