I’ll admit it. I’m an Apple snob. I’ve been using Apple products since 1990. That’s right. When the mouse looked like a dinky transistor radio, the screen was bluish grey and white, and when DOS was something programmers used. For creatives, Apple represented a breakthrough in how we did our digital work. I was there for the first version of Director. I made the switch from Director to Flash. Reluctantly at first, but when Flash finally came into its own, I embraced it whole heartedly and dumped Director like a middle school crush. And as Apple grew (and became more expensive) I stuck with the habit. I still have the first generation iPod! And because of Apple, I became a gadget junkie. And THAT habit led me to my first Android device. The Hero.
My geeky friends would constantly challenge me to jailbreak my iPhone and root my Android devices. They would admonish me for not diving into the Unix underbelly of OSX or use Gimp “because it’s free.” By the way, now would be a good time to let you know that I’m a loyal Macromedia and Adobe user. Don’t ever talk to me about Corel Draw or Microsoft products. I’ll have to slap you. Seriously.
So when I finally got a job designing mobile apps, I found myself in a curious position. I don’t GET to choose sides. Sure, silently, I can continue my love affair with Apple. But my clients want a product that goes everywhere…including Blackberry (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.) Thank God there are no Palm requests in there, but it gave me unique insights into the 3 big platforms. And so when people ask me what phone they should get, I ask them what they want to use it for. I disagree with Gizmodo’s recent article that you should keep your opinion to yourself. That espousing your love for one platform or another is just your opinion. Well…YEAH! That’s why they friggin’ asked me. But I don’t blindly charge into the discussion saying that Android is the end all be all. No, no. I say to my friend, I says: WHAT do you want to use your phone for??
So here’s my general responses. Keep in mind, it could change depending on your specific needs.
Friend 1: I want to surf the net and download apps!
Me: OK. Well, first of all, that’s a lot of data. So you want to go with a service that allows that kind of data transfer. Most services do to some degree (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint.) But companies like Sprint don’t have limits and they won’t throttle you down. Also, you’re going to need a smartphone. Android has them. Apple has them. If you’re used to iTunes, get an iPhone. If you’re used to Google and Amazon, go with an Android. Oh…by the way, do you realize that you are AUTOMATICALLY signing up for the premium service? You HAVE to have a data plan to have a smartphone. Just keep that in mind.
Friend 2: Mostly texting, phone calls and checking email.
Me: Flip phone should do for you, my friend. OK, OK. If you like the sexiness of the smartphones, let me ask you this: What kind of email account do you have? That can determine the complexity of setup you’ll have to go through just to access your email. Got gmail? Android. Plays nicely with your calendar and contacts. Use Mail for Mac or some other POP3 account? iPhone rocks. Android will do it, too. And how do you sync your contacts? On Google? Android. Use a Mac? iPhone. Type them in manually to each phone you buy? Move away. Move far away. Because if I see you again, I’ll have to slap you.
Friend 3: Need to sync my calendars and use it for work.
Me: Do you work with a ton of Microsoft products and Outlook? Blackberry. But for the love of Zeus, at LEAST get a newer one. If I see you fumbling with your filthy little clogged up trackball, I’ll…you guessed it…have to slap you. Hard. Maybe even a bitch slap. I haven’t decided. Depends on if you start waxing poetic about how you can’t believe the Palm Pre didn’t do better in the market place. Working with iCal? iPhone. Working with the Google Calendar? Android.
Friend 4: I want to do everything on it.
Me: iPhone or Android. It’s really your call. NOW…Sprint has the 4G, but dang if I’ve ever gotten it to work for very long on my Epic 4G. Got my wife an EVO and it works GREAT on that! And it’s fast. But if you like the sleek Apple feel and interface. Get an iPhone. I WILL say this! I do love the added functionality you can get with Android’s menu button. Yes, you can solve some of those functional access issues with more graphic interface tweaks on the iPhone, but it’s kind of convenient. That’s all I’m saying.
There you have it. I’m torn. I LOVE my XOOM tablet and Epic 4G. My wife LOVES her EVO. I LOVE my MacBook Pro. I REALLY LIKE iPads. I LOVE that Apple has a stringent policy on what goes into their market. I LOVE that ANDROID simply lets you post apps without going through the SERIOUS amount of rigamarole you have to go through to be an Apple Developer AND put something in the market. I LOVE that Android plays Flash. I LOVE iOS’s native interface elements (drum wheel, interface designs, tab structure.) I LOVE Android’s ability to design a little more freely on the interface. I hate Blackberry. (oops…did I say that out loud?)