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Come, gentle readers: Help me buy a new phone (Part 2)

Having vented about my frustration with the iPhone, it’s time to look at the other two contenders: Android, and Palm Pre.


Ahh, the gentle, warm embrace of the Googleverse. Who could resist? Well, me for a start. While I like some of Google’s apps, I tend to sneer at them a bit too. Outside of search, a lot of their technology is… well… actually pretty lame.

Android, though, seems to be gathering some momentum. Every phone maker other than Apple seems to either have or be planning an Android phone. While the first lot of Android phones were more than a little clunky, the next wave looks a lot more appealing. And the hardware is finally up to the speed of the iPhone and Pre. Certainly, hardware development on Android is outpacing the iPhone.

And – wonder of wonders – Android multitasks. Yes, this means you can end up running too many apps at the same time and consigning your battery to an early grave, but as I previously said, that should be my choice to do if I please.

What’s bad about Android? Mostly that the number of applications is, at the moment, small. But as John Gruber pointed out, what matters is not the number of apps, but the quality. Sadly, there are few stars in the Android app world, at least not yet.

However, does this matter so much to me? After all, I have a perfectly good iPod touch which can run most of those lovely iPhone apps. And having a separate media/games/stuff player makes sense for me: I want my phone to have enough battery left to do real work, like email, calls, and, erm, Twitter. Running out of battery and missing a call because I played Championship Manager till my eyes bled would be a bad thing.

Sure, it’s less convenient to carry two devices – but it’s really not that big a deal for me.

Until I have one of the newer Android phones in my hand, though, iPhone will be a safer bet. I know iPhone, it’s good points and bad. Android is less-known territory – and that, on its own, makes me err towards iPhone.

Palm Pre

I want to love the Pre. And there’s a lot to love about it. The fact that apps are HTML, JavaScript, and so on makes me happy (and no, before you say it, they are not “web apps like on iPhone 1.0”. If you don’t know why they aren’t, go read a book or something.)

The screen is lovely. The pebble shape is lovely. The charger thingy that works without wires is lovely, like a little bit of magic.

There’s only one problem: the keyboard blows. Badly. I’ve tried it and I know damn well that I would just not bother typing anything longer than 140 characters on it.

That, on it’s own, is probably enough to rule out the Pre. Sorry, Palm.

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  • John Molloy

    Pre is a bit of a has-been over here now Ian. The Milestone (I think it will be called in europe) has some issues as well. Firstly Verizon insisting on charging for Exchange connectivity (US only issue but still) and the keyboard being strange. Most worrying with the device is that the menus in Android 2.0 seem to be slow – once you are in an app it is fine but there is some weirdness going on there.

  • http://www.oddlytogether.com Joe Wilcox

    Ian, I got a T-Mobile MyTouch a few weeks back. Is that the HTC Magic to everyone else? I’m lovin’ Android. I’ll soon blog about my experience, but I say go Android. I’ll never go back to iPhone and certainly not AT&T here in U.S. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Ian Betteridge

    Yeah, but Joe – you change your phone like other people change their socks. How many different kinds have you had this year? :)