I’ve watched Alison work her iPhone for a year now with poorly disguised jealousy. The scrolling touch screen, the easy app store, the speed and crisp graphics – they all combine to make it a pretty cool gadget. And I ADORE gadgets. I tried to wait for Verizon to carry the iPhone, but Apple and AT&T look like committed bedfellows. So I went another direction. Two days ago, my new Droid X finally arrived and the game changed. It could be the greatest toy I’ve ever bought myself.
Alison knows well how orgasmic I get over technology and has already anticipated a post trumpeting the advantages of my next-gen machine. I’m happy to oblige with some initial impressions. Running on an Android phone feels to me like joining the Rebellion against the Empire. Which isn’t the delusion of grandeur it sounds like, because I’m pretty sure I still get cast as Chewbacca.
I think it’s impressive that Apple has maintained its image as edgy and hip – that takes a tremendous amount of marketing. Especially if you stop to consider that the company is bigger than Microsoft and more restrictive of its OS and apps than Microsoft was in its heydey. My friend Patrick designs apps for the iPhone and has repeatedly had his work pulled from the iStore without even an explanation. The problem is that the interface is so sleek and easy, users don’t care mind they can’t have it their way.
By contrast, Android is driven by the Google open source philosophy. I’m already learning to customize, which as an aspiring “power user” of any of my tech toys, is crucially important to me. Hacking the OS of an iPhone voids the warranty; hacking the OS of a Droid is regarded as a good way of improving it. Apply marketing reminds me of that satirical slogan for The Gap: “Be unique … just like everyone else.” When I break down and start reading the instruction manual, all kinds of groovy things are bound to happen.
In terms of tech specs, I don’t think my new phone loses anything against the iPhone 4, with the glaring exception that Verizon still doesn’t provide simultaneous voice and data (which I would use a lot). The resolution on the iPhone is better while the screen on the Droid is almost 20% bigger. The processor on the Droid is reputedly faster, although Apple won’t release specs on their processor, and the Droid allows 25% more on-board memory. There are more apps for the iPhone but I’ve surfed around the Droid marketplace and there are already far more free apps than I know what to do with. The GUI on the Droid is customizable, while the iPhone’s interface is unquestionably smoother and sleeker. I’m hoping that when Froyo arrives in a month or two, my new phone loses a little of the clunk in its trunk.
I’ll have to keep playing with my new best friend to get more in-depth with the review, but so far I’m very happy. And I think I’m going to be really glad I stayed with the Verizon network, because AT&T’s reputation for crappy coverage is well deserved. Let’s not forget — there’s one place from which the rest of your phone’s functions stem:
You should be able to talk on it.
PS @Alison: I’d still appreciate it if you would rub my back, but I’ll clean my own kitchen. Deal?