Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If iPhone Isn't in the Cards for You

If a person can't or won't change to AT&T what device would you recommend to them? Why? What small, portable tech devices are the closest in spirit to Apple's products?

The Droid series from Motorola, HTC and others offer almost everything the iPhones do.

The Android phones offer several options not available on the current generation of iPhones:  (These options are basically not available on the Apple iPhone, due to the policies of Apple in regards to Flash and their system regulations.   I support Apple on making these decisions and feel that they have always had policies that produced superior and innovative products).
  1. Flash integration in the latest versions of the OS (Froyo, or v. 2.2)
  2. Physical keyboards in several models.  Although I personally like a touch keyboard over the tiny keys available on physical keyboards.  Apple also includes numerous international keyboards as a standard option in its system.
  3. Ability to "root" the phone (or disable the standard UI in order to implement modifications)
  4. No application censoring in the Android Marketplace (whereas Apple holds a tight rein over the type of content that may be added to their store).   
There are several apps that allow you to modify and customize almost all of your phone's abilities, based on, for example, your proximity to a wi-fi connection, or whether it's lying face up or face down. Automatically turn down the volume on a call from your deaf grandmother, or lower the volume of notifications and turn off wi-fi when you enter your office. Apple does not allow this sort of automated manipulation, nor do earlier versions of the iPhone allow multitasking apps, at which the Android platform excels. The latest version of the platform also allows USB tethering and hotspot creation.

Perhaps the best feature of the Android-based phones is the smooth and nearly complete integration with Google Apps. Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Latitudes, Places, Night Sky, Google Earth, etc., all come either pre-installed, or they can be installed with a few clicks through the Android Market. Best of all, a GPS navigation system via Google Maps is useable for most of these apps.

The Android also has apps similar to the ones available on the Apple iPhone.   Looking for a great restaurant? Go to Places and look for restaurants - you'll instantly get a listing of nearby restaurants. Click on one of the restaurant results to read an  up-to-date reviews.  Call them with a touch of a button, make reservations, and either get directions for later, or hit the Navigate button to fire up the GPS and head on over.  A long keypress on the URL and you can copy the information, paste it to your calendar, and create an event to send to your friends.   If they don't use the calendar, you can paste that information into a Google Talk dialog, or send it in Gmail.  Take some photos with your friends, and upload it to Picasa.  Even take a video and upload it to the Google-owned YouTube. 

Where Apple probably takes the lead in screen resolution, in the realm of hardware capabilities, many of the Android phones are equal to or near to the iPhone's capabilities, including video recording, photography and sound quality.   If you can't or won't change to ATT, an Android phone may be the next best thing to an iPhone. -

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