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