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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

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