Good news everyone, I just upgraded my exo-cortex! And by that I mean that I got a bran new phone. Yes, the venerable blackberry was retired and replaced by the spiffy new Verizon iPhone, which I’m told is better than the AT&T iPhone because it can actually be used as a phone.
Oh, and in case you don’t live in US, let me explain this joke by oversimplifying it. AT&T is known for having poor coverage in certain areas while Verizon is known for having better coverage but shittier non-GSM compatible network. So, you know – it’s a trade-off.
As you may or may not remember, I kinda liked my Blackberry Storm when I first got it. I don’t think I ever retracted the statements in that post, but my opinion about the phone changed quite drastically since then. The first generation Storm was very buggy. The phone would freeze up all the time (especially when USB cable or charger was connected), the text messaging system would glitch and refuse to scroll and show you the newest message or reply to it, the Blackberry App World (primary way of installing new apps on the phone) was so bloated that it would make the phone unresponsive for like a minute after every action, and the device usually took about 10 minutes to reboot itself. Oh, and the only way to recover from a freeze was to pull a battery – which I had to do 2-3 times whenever I wanted to charge the phone, which in turn made the battery loose and prone to falling out. It was essentially a train wreck of a phone, and the only reason why I kept it for so long, was that I did not want to pay a full price for a decent Android device.
And then, right when my contract came up for a renewal the Verizon iPhone hit the store shelves. Considering that everyone on the market is trying to imitate this device, buying it made a lot of sense to me. Droid phones are great, but in many ways they are still playing catch-up to Apple which is sort of the undisputed market leader.
Not that the iPhone is perfect. It is a closed platform that only runs code blessed by Apple and it currently can’t do flash due to the ongoing pissing match between Steve Jobs and Adobe. Not only that, but the device also does not have user-swappable battery which still kinda worries me. But I remind myself that I have actually never bought a replacement battery for any phone I have owned. I just never needed to do this. Not even for the shitty blackberry.
Obviously there are pros and cons of going with Apple. But I do not regret it so far. Switching from a Blackberry to an iPhone is like going from… Shit… I wanted to make a car analogy here but I don’t really know that much about cars. Hmmm… How are we going to do this. How about this:
Switching from a Blackberry to an iPhone is like going from $shitty_car to a $cool_car.
Now imagine that $shitty_car is a cheap, rickety and not very fast, and $cool_car is an awesome, sleek convertible model that gets you all the ladies. I guess my point is that the difference is like night and day. It actually makes me wonder if we should even classify Blackberries as smart phones. I rather call them smart-ish, because they are clearly not even in the same league as the iPhone, HTC Incredible or Droid X. Do you know what makes the difference? Performance. Blackberries just do not have the raw CPU power and memory to compete here.
Let me give you an example, when I tried to check my Twitter or Facebook feed on the Storm I could actually feel the device straining to download and render all that data. It would usually take the respective app about a minute to fully load an updated feed, along with it’s images. I always assumed that part of the problem was a slow network connection. Only after I got the iPhone I realized that it was not. I’m on the same 3G network, trying to fetch the same type of data and my phone is like “Pssshh, that’s it? Here you go – *PLOP*”.
In addition to being really fast (compared to my last phone at least) the iPhone is also very sleek and intuitive. When I first started the device a popup message decided to teach me how to rearrange the icons on my home screen, but I promptly closed it mumbling “fuck you phone, I don’t care….” 5 minutes later I realized that I did care, but I couldn’t figure out a way to bring that help box back. So I decided experimenting with the icons. I knew that tapping launched the apps, and that dragging was used for scrolling so I did the only other thing that I could think of: I held my finger on an icon for a few seconds. Suddenly all the icons un-hinged themselves from the home screen with a plopping sound, and became wobbly indicating they could now be dragged around the screen. Then I accidentally dragged one icon onto another only to realize that this created a “folder”. I don’t know about you but this seemed incredibly more intuitive and user friendly than the Blackberry way of choosing a move option from a menu, and then navigating a folder choosing dialog.
This is pretty much my impression of the iPhone right now. Very sleek, very intuitive and very fast. Granted, if you just want a decent smart phone, the droid devices are just as good. I was comparing phones with a friend who has the Incredible and they were actually very close feature and performance wise. The only difference is that droid phones sometimes has issues with resident apps running in the background, dragging the system down while the Apple specifically forbids this sort of behavior. But as long as you know about it, and you flush your memory every once in a while, it is not a problem. And you are using an open platform which is a plus.
I guess what I’m saying is: get off the Blackberry platform. No seriously, their time has passed. Modern smart phones such as the iPhone or most of the high end Android devices just leave them in the dust.
PROTIP: if you are a new Verizon iPhone user like me and you are trying to use the VZ Contact Transfer app to migrate your address book from an old phone make sure you disable Wifi before you do this. For some reason the app won’t send you a text message with the security code unless you are connected via 3G and only 3G.
Now, do we have any other iPhone users on here? Care to share your pro-tips? How about must-have apps? I already have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr add Reddit covered. I also downloaded a port of Nethack. What are your must have apps? :P