As an owner of practically every major smartphone released over the
past five years, I’ve had some good and bad experiences with devices.
But in 2007, when the iPhone was first released, I thought I had found
the perfect smartphone. It was sexy, it had character, and it
revolutionized the way I was using mobile phones. It was incredible.
Because of that experience, I bought an iPhone 3G a year later. I
was similarly impressed.
But earlier this year, I bought the BlackBerry Bold to replace my
iPhone. It has everything I need in a phone, the e-mail has proven to
be far better, and based on my experience, Apple’s App Store, while
appealing, hasn’t been missed. It has helped me realize that I just
don’t miss my iPhone.
So, when I overheard someone at the Apple Store recently say that
they’ll miss the iPhone if they get rid of it, I was inspired to write
this column. I know that the iPhone is a great device. I understand
the feeling of missing it. But I’m here to tell you that you won’t
miss it when it’s gone.
Today, there are a handful of phones on the market that will easily
satisfy your desire. Save for the Palm Pre, you’ll find many of the
applications in the Apple App Store in app stores for Android-based
devices or BlackBerry smartphones. Granted, there aren’t as many
apps, but I’ve found that, for the most part, those you actually want
are available in all the stores.
But it goes beyond that. The iPhone isn’t necessarily the best at
any one thing. The BlackBerry Bold has a far better e-mail and
messaging platform. The Palm Pre does a better job of helping you
multi-task. Android-based devices tend to have several convenient
features that you won’t find (natively) on your iPhone. And only
recently, with the release of the iPhone 3G S, have we seen the iPhone
compete with video recording and tethering — two important features
that drove me to the BlackBerry.
I’ll be the first to admit that iPhone alternatives aren’t perfect
either. They tend to have less-appealing software. They don’t always
provide the best call experience. But two major platforms — Android
and BlackBerry — have something that the iPhone doesn’t: ubiquity.
If you want a BlackBerry, you can have it on Verizon Wireless,
Sprint, T-Mobile, or even AT&T. And although there’s just one Android-
based device on the market today, Google plans to have almost 20
Android devices on the market by the end of 2009. Best of all, those
products will be available to customers of most major carriers.
The iPhone is different. It’s only available for AT&T. And
although I’m using the Bold, which is also available on AT&T, I can’t
wait to ditch the carrier and move back to Verizon Wireless. If I
wanted to keep my iPhone, that wouldn’t be possible. But if I want to
stick with a BlackBerry and pick up the Tour to go back to Verizon
Wireless, I can. That means something to me. It means I can escape a
bad carrier when I want to, while still enjoying the same experience
from a phone.
And that, along with the realization that, for what I need (e-mail,
tethering, and better push features), the BlackBerry does a better job
than my old iPhone, has driven me away from Apple’s smartphone.
The iPhone is great and all. But after a while without it, you’ll
quickly realize that it’s not dominating the competition, even though
the Apple hype machine wants you to believe it.
So, don’t worry about switching. You’ll be just fine. Trust me.
Don Reisinger is a technology columnist whose work has included popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.