It was more or less inevitable. I bought myself a new smart-phone and it wasn’t an iPhone. There were many reasons I didn’t buy one. Most of which are purely subjective. Some of which I list here:
- I do not like iTunes. There has always been something about iTunes that has not sat well with me. For reasons I cannot put my finger on, I just don’t like the way it does things! If it were not for the consumer lock in of iPods and iPhones and iWhatevers, I am convinced it would not be as prevalent as it is.
- I have an objection to DRM in music. I consider myself to be pretty honest. I buy music I want to listen to, but I will not pick a format that restricts how I want to listen to it. I also could not be bothered trying to work out how to circumvent DRM. Music is just something I want to listen to. I do not want to fight it / worry about it / manipulate the format it appears in / lose it because I upgrade computers too often etc. I can appreciate that some people will pirate music and that DRM probably prevents some people from doing so, but that does not change my opinion on the matter.
- I wanted the potential to develop applications for a smart phone. I know – I could jail-break the iPhone, but that falls into the same category of circumventing DRM. I can’t be bothered! There is a learning curve to starting development of smart-phone applications, and I do not need to introduce extra hurdles.
While these reasons are all true and valid for me, if I am completely honest… There is something deep in my personality that makes me despise following the crowd. As such, an iPhone was never going to cut it. From what I read, iPhone market penetration in the US is not all pervasive. In Australia, consumer gadget of choice, is an iPhone. I am not sure what will happen when the oversized-novelty-iPhone (the iPad) is released here next week. I am sure it will sell well, but not convinced it will be quite as ubiquitous. Everytime I catch public transport, I swear iPhones outnumber passengers. Everywhere you look, iPhones abound. I am writing this post on a plane, next to some guy listening to songs on his iPhone… That this happened was not a surprise to me…
So, if “second place” is the first of the losers, I have fallen into that category. My recent purchase was that of the HTC Desire. From the little I have “played” with friend’s iPhones, the user experience is different. With more buttons to press, I would not expect for Android devices to win converts from the Apple buyers out there. Simply, there is a mental adjustment to make if you go from one system to the other.
Initial impressions are that it takes a few days until you are comfortable with using the “menu” button to get to features in Applications. The screen on the Desire absolutely beats the iPhone hands down. I have no doubt that iPhone v4 will probably reverse this trend, but as it stands now, there is no contest. Even though it has extra hardware buttons and I appreciate minimalism in design, I think the Desire is a better looking device. I haven’t bothered putting a DRM free music library on the device as of yet, so won’t pass comment on the media player. If I am to believe what I have read, this issue divides opinions like few others.
Regardless of brand loyalty etc, last night I had my first “I ♥ my smart-phone moment”. I will not claim that this sequence could not be replicated on other types of smart-phones, but the whole technology came together in an almost magical way for me.
I have been in Melbourne travelling for work. I lived in Melbourne for years and know it reasonably well, but still enjoy exploring when I go back there. I picked a suburb I could get to on the nearest tram and decided to go there for dinner…
- I used “Google Voice” and spoke: “Places to eat, South Melbourne”
- From the search results, I found a restaurant review website and picked a place I liked the sound of.
- I cut-n-paste the address into Google maps, so I knew how to get there.
- While I waited for the tram, I spotted a “star” close to the moon and pointed my phone running “Google Sky Map” at it to determine that it was actually Mars.
- On board the tram, I used the GPS to show me when I was close to the restaurant so I didn’t have to walk far.
- While waiting for my meal, (eating alone is a hazard of traveling for work) I caught up on some Geek news via the Engadget RSS feed.
It was simply brilliant! I now know why people love these gadgets!