Stan's Chrome-Plated Tech Tips

Monday, November 1, 2010


Can you hear me now? The Smartphone Wars Heat Up!

There's a war going on, and whether you know it or not, you're caught in the middle of it. It's the battle for YOUR ever-important, recurring cell phone bill. And while you may not have any interest in being a pawn in this battle, unless you're still rocking your extra-sweet old school flip phone (ah, simpler times), you're in it. Fear not for this healthy competition between Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, and Nokia (yes Nokia, that's what the report says, but I guess they're big overseas) will only amount to better products and more advanced features for you to be totally befuddled by.

Why all this hype all of a sudden? Well, Technology Research firm Canalys (I know, I thought they were a movie studio too), came out with this recent report on just which Smart Phones are leading the marketplace in sales for the third quarter. What did theycome up with? Not anything really definitive, but I'll outline some of the high points. There were 9.1 million Android phones sold, 5.5 million iPhones, 5.1 Blackberries, 600,000 Windows Mobile Phones (they did just launch), and 600,000 "others." Now I don't know what other consists of, probably Palm or Nokia, but they really amount to garbage that some cell company will give you for free for signing up. Truth is you don't care about other. If you're the typical U.S. Smart Phone consumer you'll be rocking an iPhone, Android Phone, or Blackberry.

So how do you know which is right for you? Most of it is preference and budget. As a Los Angeles area, technically savvy-type (I have a computer repair business after all), AT&T is just not an option. Sorry AT&T, but around West Hollywood, I can't complete a phone call, much less look up something quickly online. In the canyons, I'm lucky to get a text to go through. I appreciated the iPhone for it's simplicity, apps, and styling, but not being able to make a phone call sealed the deal for me. Bye bye AT&T. AT&T=Biggest. Fail. Ever. I gave it a run using the iPhone on T-Mobile's network, but being locked to the slow EDGE (still faster than AT&T's 3G around Los Angeles) network made having a Smart Phone, well it didn't feel so smart.

Then along came Android. Faster phones. Not being tied to AT&T. 4G Data speeds. Bigger Screens. Cameras with flash and video. Speaking of flash, Android supports it. I was sold. And I have to say, I'm staying. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone 4 is like a work of art, and has the great features, but I had all those features a year before it came out. Then there's still the AT&T problem. Apple has recognized that Android isn't going away anytime soon which is a big reason iPhone will be showing (as yet unconfirmed) up on Verizon in early 2011. Congrats Verizon! Enjoy your once proud network now become slowly eroded. Still, it should be a big improvement over AT&T, at least in the big cities, but as far as traveling Internationally with it, that's a big question mark too.

Still not sure? I'll make it simple for you. For corporate email users, or if you just want a basic smartphone to text and email with and still be able to do a little browsing, blackberry makes a nice (cheap) option. If you're more tech savvy than not, like to be able to tinker and customize your gadgets, enjoy freedom of choice when it comes to cell carriers, Android's your ticket. If you live in an area AT&T gives you decent coverage, want access to the biggest app store currently available, have a big iTunes library, or just want a phone that works regardless of vendor limitations, the iPhone's for you. Also, if you're simply a poseur who needs a status symbol of a phone to make up the your shallow existence, then you're probably not reading this because you had your assistant get in line to make sure you were the first to have the new iPhone. Ass.

Windows Phone, Palm, or Nokia - really? You're still considering them? It's probably not going to happen for you. Just a case of too little (Palm), too late (Microsoft).

In reality you, the average consumer, could care less about how this all shakes out. Unless you're the fanboy/girl type who's so blindly dedicated to one brand that you're entire sense of being rests upon the brand that you've pledged your undying allegiance to being the ultimate victor. If that's the case, you've already lost. ROTFLMAO.

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