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“Informed decision-making comes from a long tradition of guessing and then blaming others for inadequate results.”
~Scott Adams.

There is a battle going on out there in cell phone land involving the 3 hottest-of-hot cell phones. I write of course about the iPhone from AT&T, the G1 from T-Mobile and the upcoming Blackberry Storm from Verizon.

All include the obligatory-cool touch screen interface--the G1 also sports a keyboard under the hood for you touch-typing phobes--but each has its strengths and weaknesses. It would be foolish to buy a phone that doesn't meet your needs just because it's popular, so let's take a closer look and compare these three hotties. Perhaps it can help you make a decision about which one is right for you.

The Apple iPhone

It was the first popular touch-screen phone and it sports a very intuitive, clean interface. You can access the internet using the AT&T 3G network when available or use WiFi. It comes loaded with applications that have been tuned to the iPhone and the App Store gives you access to hundreds of add-on application that enhance the iPhone experience. With a choice of 8 MB or 16 MB of onboard storage, the other two phones can't compete on this spec.

On the down-side it is a distinctly closed system--Apple maintains tight control over developers in the App Store. It has a pathetic 2 MP camera and doesn't have a video camera. Some people complain about the lack of a physical keyboard or even a compatible external, portable keyboard. The battery is locked away, so that if it goes, you basically need a new phone.

At $199 for 8GB of on-board storage for a two year contract plus $30 a month data fee, however, it's not the worst deal out there.

The G1

The G1 is the HTC dream running Google's open source Android phone OS. The fact it's open source is a huge advantage for this offering because it means that anyone can create applications for it, not just the ones that Google approves of, and those applications in turn are usually open source, creating a huge open source eco-system. This could result in some very interesting interactions between applications, the different parts of the phone and even other phones running Android. It includes a keyboard, which is a big advantage for some people. It kicks up the camera to 3.2 MP, decent as cell phones go. In the coolness department, the G1 offers a customizable home screen and street view GPS for simple directions, especially on foot.

On the downside, the interface is not quite as clean as the iPhone and adding a keyboard adds extra bulk and weight. It's offered by a small US carrier in T-Mobile (but remember there will be other Android-powered phones in the future). Another big negative is the paltry 2 MB of onboard storage (although it is expandable to 8 MB using a Micro-SD card)

At $179, it's a hair cheaper than the iPhone, but $20 is not likely to affect your decision all that much. T-mobile offers a $25 and $35 data plan. Again, plus or minus $5 is not going to be a deal breaker either way, but chances are you are going to have to invest in a Micro-SD card.

Blackberry Storm

This is the new touch screen offering from RIM, the makers of the wildly popular business phones, the Blackberry. These phones have been famous for their keyboards and their fanatical keyboarding user base. Will Blackberry users want a touch screen? It's a big unknown, but the biggest advantage for any Blackberry phone is how well it plays with enterprise email systems and how comfortable businesses are having its employees use them.

The Storm boasts the 3.2 MP camera like the G1 and also records video (a big point in its favor). It loses points with only 1 MB of onboard memory, which is expandable via a Micro-SD card slot. At first glance from the pictures I've seen of the unit, the interface looks busy, not as clean and sleek as the iPhone interface.

Pricing and data plans are not currently available, but if history holds any clues, it will probably be slightly more expensive than the competitors (although rumors, for what they're worth, peg it at around $199 plus a hefty monthly data fee).

So there you have it, cell phone fans. Three hot phones and you can't buy them all (well, most of us can't anyway). You have to look over the specs, the costs, the pros and cons, and decide which of these lust-worthy phones is right for you. It's not going to be an easy decision, but take comfort in knowing whichever one you go with, chances are you are going to be happy.

Which one do you want? Why do you want it? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Last Post by Techwriter10
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I fail to see why a "closed system" is a downside for the user. I also fail to see how the iPhone is a "closed"' system. The "registered list of developers are allowed to share and discuss their work with one another now. In fact I would say there is a plus to this as it ensures "control and management" and "filters" applications to ensure they work well with the iPhone. Beyond that, it is a business decision that Apple makes. It is a listed company so its stock price price reflects the risk and rewards of such a strategy. It is more closed than the G1 which is like the Linux strategy (and is not widely adopted by main stream users) but that hardly makes it a "downside" as far as # of applicable and useful applications exist for the consumer. Perhaps it is a downside for developers, but your article is about comparing the 3 phones for consumers and not developers.

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Also, the Blackberry BOLD was just announced to be carried by ATT at $299.99, that's 50% more than the iPhone and 67% more than the G1. I cant imagine the Storm to cost less unless the carrier subsidizes a lot more.

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I think you make a good point that the closed system can save the users some hassles, but I would argue that Google is making a business decision by making it open source. Google has to worry about stock prices too don't forget. I think once you see the types of applications that will come out of an open source environment, you will see that it has a huge upside.

Thanks for the comment.

Ron

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The Bold looks more like a traditional BB with the full keyboard, so it doesn't really apply to this round-up, but you make a good point about the pricing. From everything I've seen the Storm will be substantially less than the price you list here for the Bold. As an AT&T customer (which I am) given the choice of smart phones between the BB & the iPhone, I would take the iPhone in a heart beat, but many people who work inside large organizations might opt of the BB, especially if the employer is paying.

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Why does it matter which is better? The G1 is a T-Mobile exclusive, Iphon on AT&T, Storm on Verizon. Very few people would change carriers over a phone preference and even fewer people who don't have a cell-phone already are going to spend this kind of money on their first phone.

These are all great phones, but they're also first generation models. Let them compete with each other for a while or become available on multiple carriers and then we can compare, but until then I'm sticking with Verizons offering (storm).

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Actually, the iPhone is in its second iteration and much improved over the first I might add. That's actually a point I forgot to make as the other two *are* first generation phones. I'm not sure that people won't jump carriers for a hot phone, but I can't say for sure as I have no way of knowing that. I agree they are all great phones or at least potentially great phones, but they are not created equal as I pointed out in this article. There's no saying that the Storm is the right phone for you just because it's a touch screen phone offered by your carrier, which is the point I was trying to make. You shouldn't get a phone just because it has a high cool factor. You should get it because it's a phone that works for you.

Thanks for the comment. I always like hearing from you.

Ron

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First off, Cheers for your commitment, I've never seen a blogger with the willingness to approach every commenter points.

I did forget about the 3G revamp, but what I meant is that it's still the "Iphone" not the "Iphone2" yet. Aside from 3G it's the same features, interface, and capabilities, but the first version comments were mostly in reference to the AT&T having exclusive rights to the first release, where the "Iphone2" is expected to be available across platform.

Just for the record, I'm playing with the developers BB storm emulator right now trying to decide if I'm interested but plan to go with the curve for the price and hardware keyboard. I'm sure some people would make the switch for phones, when the Iphone came most of us were locked into our contracts until after the hype died down.

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Yes, an iPhone available across carriers would in fact be a significant change, but there were other changes with the second generation besides the 3G upgrade (which was mostly AT&T, not Apple's doing), most important being the App Store, which was not available in 1.0.

Thanks for commenting and for noticing that I try to respond to most comments. It's something I try to do build community and keep the conversation going.

Regards,
Ron

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It was just pointed out to me that I mistakenly wrote that the G1 has only 2 MB of memory. What I should have said is that it has 2GB of memory. Still not all that good compared to the 8 GB and 16 GB offered on the iPhone, but better than what I wrote. :-)

Thanks, David for pointing out the error of my ways.

Ron

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The same correction goes for the BB Storm. That should be 1GB of memory (not 1 MB as I wrote). That would be very bad, not that 1 gig is very good.

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