David's Blog | Misc ramblings about things in general, work and technical items of interest.

Archive for March 2011

After switching companies in January, I was confronted with a choice of which smartphone to acquire – Blackberry, iPhone or Droid. I have been a Blackberry user since the first units were available. My most recent unit was an 8130 (Pearl) and I could type quicker on it with my eyes closed than most folks could type on a traditional computer keyboard. But the Blackberry units have become very dated and with all the activity focused on iPhones and Droids I really didn’t look at continuing with a Blackberry.

Pros: Email/calendar integration with Exchange is the best
Cons: Dated hardware, less apps then iPhone and Droid

Up until this past month, iPhones = AT&T, and that was a problem for me. I had heard nothing but horror stories from coworkers about the service. The individual I was dealing with at my new company was extremely helpful and had a loaner iPhone 4 I could use for a couple weeks. He said he doesn’t have issues with AT&T like I have heard so give it a shot. I get the iPhone loaner and start using it normally. “Normal” for me is very data heavy usage ith minimal voice. Lots of typing, web browsing, Gmail, Google reader, etc. I quickly notice on my 30 min train commute in Northern NJ that I experience pauses using the iPhone on AT&T. Pauses occurred when the iPhone showed no signal and when it also showed a signal of 3 or more bars and 3G coverage. Over the course of the time I had the loaner I could tell what spots would likely be a problem as it occurred every trip in the same area. Also, regaining a signal after going through a tunnel or any loss of signal could take a couple minutes. There is also no physical keyboard which, though not horrible, was another concern of mine.

I discussed getting the Verizon iPhone but it is CDMA only which could be an issue when travelling abroad. I don’t have any immediate plans but with my company it is a possibility. The fact that you can’t do both data and voice at the exact same time on the initial Verizon iPhone was a non-issue for me and I imagine most anyone else too.

Pros: Excellent user interface, tons of apps, out of the box ready to go
Cons: AT&T service, Apple’s lockdown/control, AT&T service

Verizon offers multiple Droids and I selected the Droid 2 Global because it has the fastest processor, a physical keyboard, and provides global voice/data support if I traveled outside of the US. Within the next 2 weeks, Corporate IT will be allowing Droids to connect to Exchange for mail, calendar, etc so until them I’m not hooked up to my work email. My Droid 2 is running the latest released Android OS v2.2 (froyo). I have seen no data delays at all on Verizon taking the exact same route using the data connection non-stop. Acquiring a signal coming out of the tunnel is seconds not minutes and that is even if I lose the signal in the tunnel. The phone is much more configurable than the iPhone but that comes with more complexity the “average” phone user might be less comfortable with compared to a pretty brain dead easy iPhone. Also the device comes with a tremendous amount of pre-installed apps some of which run in the background and the battery drains quickly. I removed a lot of the background services and that helped a great deal with improving battery performance.

Pros: Faster than iPhone, Verizon service + global capable, physical keyword on some models, tons of apps, highly customizable
Cons: More complex UI than iPhone, battery draining apps installed out of the box, no vendor supplied iTunes mindless sync for those that need it


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