Apr 232010
 
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Going back a couple of years I used a T-Mobile MDA Compact III (HTC Artemis) as my main phone. It ran Windows Mobile and was pretty slow and clunky at times; but it worked. It had mobile internet (although no 3G), it had GPS, a Micro SD slot for expanded memory (although you had to shut it down and remove the battery to access it). I actually liked the phone – it was my first PDA / Smart Phone which brought me out of the world of Samsung who I had sworn by for the years leading up to my switch. One thing I loved about it was it’s customisability (is that a real word?!) – the sheer number of programs (they weren’t called ‘apps’ back then) you could get, the majority of which were free. Great programs that ranged from registry editors and media players through to screen capture and satnav’s. You could just… fiddle with it!

At the back end of 2008 I acquired an iPhone 3G through PocketGPSWorld – the idea being that it would be used once they started developing their iPhone App (it’s called CamerAlert, if you’re interested, and is available in the AppStore). It was a Pay As You Go so I only really used it for mobile internet and that was pretty much it. My T-Mobile contract then got expensive and, to be frank, the signal in my home village was shockingly bad with frequent drop-outs during calls etc. Many calls to technical support resulted in me being told that our local mast was overloaded and could not keep up with the number of users in the area (which explained why my wife’s mobile signal also did the same). As such I got my £35/month contract for £17.50/month for 15 of the 18 months I was contracted to. Early 2009, at the end of the 18 months, the signal had not improved and I was reluctant to pay full price. So I decided to get an O2 SIMplicity SIM card for £20/month with unlimited internet and a tonne of minutes and text’s. I’d been on O2 before getting the T-Mobile PDA so knew the signal was fine. I used this SIM card in the iPhone…

I hated it. Actually, genuinely hated it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was but I hated it. After a week or so if fiddling about with the iPhone I actually sussed out what it was – I simply couldn’t fiddle with it. OK, you can change a few settings, install apps from the AppStore etc BUT there were no little settings you could really fiddle with; you couldn’t, at that point, send MMS messages; there still isn’t any bluetooth file transfer… It bugged the hell out of me but for financial reasons I couldn’t (still can’t) afford a new phone or the cost of a more expensive contract with a ‘free’ phone. So I was stuck with the iPhone. A few generous friends offered to take it off my hands, but I needed it for work…

Gradually though, as I used it more and more and also used my MacBook Pro more and more I got used to the Apple way of things. Simplicity CAN be a good thing. It means things are less likely to go wrong as there are less variables that can be changed. I actually started to go from hating the iPhone to loving my iPhone – note the use of the word ‘my’, the more I used it, the more it became a part of me. I still use it as my main phone now, and actually like the simplicity of it all. It is probably the best UI I have used on a mobile phone – it’s easy to use, although not massively customisable, it works really, really well.

So, move on to the end of 2009 when I was given a T-Mobile G2 Touch (HTC Hero) Android phone – again for PocketGPSWorld.com app development. The default version runs Android 1.5 so some of the features are missing (such as bluetooth file transfer, text to speech etc) but, in general it’s a good phone with a lot of features. I should love this phone more than I do though. While it is great that it is highly customisable, the whole UI and user-experience is… how can I say… different. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the iPhone’s simplicity but I have to try hard to want to use the Android phone. It’s not that it’s bad in any way, it’s just not my iPhone. Had I not had my iPhone in between my WinMo phone and the Android phone I doubt I would have felt this way about it.

I do like using my Android phone, don’t get me wrong, but my whole outlook seems to have been changed in that I no longer wish to fiddle too much – I just want a phone that works and as simply as possible. There are some things I would like to see done differently in Android, but then again there are things I would dearly love to change on my iPhone too. I’m going to use my Hero for a while this time and see if my outlook changes again. I suspect though, like last time I tried, I’ll stick it out for 2 weeks then just need my iPhone back again! We’ll see – maybe I’m just addicted and I need to break the habit!