Before I launch in to explaining myself, a disclaimer;
I am not a wireless expert, a mobile phone operating system guru, nor a pundit on the topic of mobiles. I have been buying Apple products for 15 years now and a fan of their design. I am just an everyday user of technology.
Okay, now to the explaining.
When the iPhone first arrived years ago I had a severe case of gadget envy, even though I don’t fancy myself as a gadget geek. Yet a prior, very negative experience with AT&T, kept me from taking the plunge . No amount of awesomeness was going to sway me to switch. And besides, Verizon (especially at the time of the iPhone launch) had a much superior network for my travel needs. The pragmatist in me also knew that it was likely that Verizon and the other companies would launch products to compete with the iPhone, as this is the cycle of innovation and tech.
Instead, I received a first generation iTouch which mostly addressed my iPhone pangs. Because I spend most of my time in wireless environments, I could essentially use the iTouch as I would an iPhone (well except for the talking, but who really talks these days on their phones?). I downloaded the common apps to try. As an experiment, I even used my iTouch through most of the ISTE10 conference this past summer (with the exception of the keynotes where the wireless was laggy and bad).
While I embraced my iTouch, I also upgraded to a Motorola Droid as it was the most reasonable option for my needs. It had some similarity to the iPhone/iTouch. And, as the title of this post suggests I love it. I love both really, but as a handheld computer/phone/multipurpose device I really appreciate the Droid OS design and ability to multitask. If there is anything that drives me a bit batty on the iPhones/iTouches, and iPads (our household has one of these too) is that they are at their best when you are single tasking. I realized I expect my smart phone to do more than one thing at time and do it well. All things I find with my Droid. And also, when you get down to it, most of the popular, common apps are the same across the platforms. I don’t really feel like I am using something that is soooo different.
Now Apple fans I know you may take me to task, and that’s fine. Please refer back up to my disclaimer. This is just one consumer’ s point of view. But I do find this iPhone v. Droid business a bit apples to oranges some days. The iPhone is the device + plus the OS. The Droid OS is available on a variety of devices (and providers); so as user you can choose a touch screen only experience (like iPhone) or select devices that utilizes the pullout keyboard (BTW -When I got the Motorola Droid I thought I would use the keyboard more. I barely touch it, probably because I am so used to using touch screen on my iTouch). For a Droid customer you can choose the device that you are most comfortable using. So when I am talking about the iPhone I am really thinking software, I am not thinking about physical phone design itself.
So I wonder, after the iPhone/Verizon hype dies down a bit, how many Droid/Blackberry/Windows OS folks who switch to the iPhone ultimately end up going back to what they had? It’s just something to think about. For me, I could use either, but after having my Droid I am not sure that I have a compelling reason to switch (yet). The iPhone OS 4 is not that big of change from the previous version (or so I am told by experts and friends). If that’s the case, I am going to continue enjoying what I have.
Of course I do realize there is a whole status thing of having an iPhone. As an educator, I think of all the girls that came back after the Xmas/New Years break with their brand new Uggs. Ugg knock-offs might provide the same cozy warmth (function) and similar style, but they still are not an Ugg. I can see where there is parity in the mobile phone realm that we will sacrifice a bit of function for the perfect or envied form. And for many Verizon customers that alone is worth the plunge because we have been waiting so long to make it to the cool kids table (and there is nothing wrong with that).
As I approach middle age I am bit more of a pragmatist on things. And I don’t see the Droid OS as a knock-off either. I think it is a solid piece of software that I hope continues to innovate, especially as Verizon now offers pretty much every mainstream mobile OS to its customer base. The competition will be interesting and fierce (I hope).
But this brings me to me last thought. Wouldn’t it be swell to get the nice physical design of the iPhone that could run the mobile OS of your choice? Hahahahaha, that’s a good laugh but I can dream can’t I?