Mat Newman 12 July 2010 09:30:00 PMI get a lot of questions from customers regarding mobile devices, which are summarised nicely by this question I received through Twitter recently:
|johnstockbridge @matnewman Am looking to change from Nokia. What do you recommend, Droid or iPhone4? If Droid, which model do you like?|
Jul 9, 2010 2:34:18 PM from Twitter - Tweets60
CAVEAT - these thoughts and impressions are my own, you should evaluate and consider your own requirements before selecting a mobile device.
That being said, I have some pretty strong opinions on Mobile devices and what tasks they should be capable of performing. You should also consider the perspective from which I write these recommendations:
- First: I am a Notes Zealot. Whatever device I run HAS to work with Notes.
- Second: I am a Nokia fan-boy, have been since my first Nokia in 1998. I currently carry an N97.
- Third: I am a country boy. I grew up in an environment that necessitates that the things you buy do their job first, and look pretty second. If you have ever seen Deadliest Catch you will know that those fishermen don't look like they have stepped off a fashion run-way or use tools that look pretty!
- Fourth: I spend a LOT of time on 'planes and working at remote sites with poor or no network connectivity.
So when iPhone 4 was announced I was slightly bemused. It just catches up with my 12 month old device on Storage, Camera and multi-tasking (!? hmmm) but still lags behind on battery, capabilities and core functionality.
Having played with iPhone extensively (I bought one for my wife) I - along with everyone else - was amazed at the display, touch, navigation and simplicity of the device. Add in the myriad of applications available and it's easy to see why iPhone has been a winner.
Then you go a step beyond first impressions and try to do some functional things. That's where I lost interest in the Apple device.
I could not create a meeting, or accept an invitation (that's been fixed) I could not view my To-Do's, I could not reorganise or file the images taken on the device, I could not drag files directly to the device and then use them (think presentation or off-line study/review), there were no video calling capabilities, every time you switch to another application - and then switch back - you return to the other applications start screen (no true multi-tasking) and many of the web-sites I access didn't quite work on the iPhone (I've written about the number of sites that now specifically cater to the iThing's restrictions via dedicated mini-sites as perfect Notes side-bar apps).
Compare all of those items listed above with what I have in the N97, and I personally will stick with my current phone over the outstanding touch interface and great screen on the iThing.
Yes ... Ok ... I hear you: You've got an app that....
But for me those things still don't overcome the limitations I indicated above, along with the fact that many of the apps are simply a local front-end for a web-site somewhere with no off-line functionality. As a business user a device needs to cater for ALL of my business requirements. As someone who subscribes to the GTD methodology, living without my To-do list on my device would create a huge hole in my personal productivity.
So what makes a great device?
This is where the caveat I mentioned above comes into play, YOUR device needs to cater to YOUR requirements.
Here's a check-list for you:
|First - How important is call quality, network support and carrier availability (you are buying a phone ... right!)?|
|Do you travel frequently, and do the destinations you visit use frequencies/bands available on your device?|
|What is the Talk/Standby duration?|
|What happens to the battery when Wi-Fi or extended network synch is on?|
|Do you have a device operating system preference?|
|Is the ability to customise, modify or tweak your operating system important to you?|
|Is it possible that the operating system on the device is tied to your carrier, and therefore up to your carrier to pass on updates available from the manufacturer (one carrier here in Australia has only just provisioned an N97 update Nokia released in October last year)?|
|Does the device have Network/WiFi/Bluetooth support for data and peripherals?|
|Do you need to synchronise your PC mail, calendar, contacts, to-do's with those on your device?|
|Do you need off-line access to the content available to your device?|
|Do you need advanced functionality in the core applications on the device that make transitioning between your PC and your mobile device more or less seamless?|
|Do you need to use the memory on your device for portable storage?|
|Additional Features (are the add-on's that are now available on most devices important to you:):|
|Do you care about the quality of the Camera?|
|If the device has a Camera, does it have a flash for those low-light moments?|
|Do you need a second camera for video calling (either device specific, eg; FaceTime , carrier/network capable or even Internet video calls to anyone, eg: Skype)?|
|Do you need A-GPS?|
|Do you need access to maps when there is no network available?|
|Do you need to listen to FM radio on the device?|
|Do you need to broadcast music/podcasts through an FM transmitter?|
|Do you need to project images/videos/presentations from your device?|
No I didn't write the above checklist to highlight the deficiencies of the iPhone, that's just how MY check-list pans out for ME.
To answer the question John - unless Nokia come out with something amazing in the next few months I will be in the same boat as you, and looking to change.
iPhone or Droid?
Knowing you as a technical person who is also into Notes: now that I know Traveler 8.5.2 supports Android; that it works as perfectly as it has on Windows, iThing and Symbian; and will be available SOON, I would go the 'Droid.
Having played with the Nexus, HTC and Samsung over the last couple of weeks - I would recommend the Samsung Galaxy S.
Hope this helps.