After three years as a loyal iPhone user, I'm thinking about making the switch to a phone running Google Android. I'm looking for something new, Android is looking good nowadays, and Apple's creepy corporate culture is wearing me down.
The primary thing making me look at Android -- specifically the HTC Evo 4G, which seems to be the current top-of-the-line for Android phones -- is word-of-mouth. I know a few people who have the phones, and they're happy. My friend Gina Trapani, founding editor of the Lifehacker blog, is a former iPhone user and she's very happy with her EVO.
Customer satisfaction is far more important than speeds, feeds and features when evaluating a smartphone. Are people using it? Are they happy with it? In the case of EVO, the answers are definitely: Yes, and yes.
But let's take a look at the specs and features anyway, shall we? CNET's Nicole Lee has done a side-by-side comparison of the iPhone 4 vs. EVO. Some of the differences that jump out at me:
Bandwidth: The EVO is faster, 4G WiMax where available. But is it available near me? I'm hearing the 4G kills battery life.
Screen size: The EVO has a bigger screen, 4.3 inches vs. 3.5 inches. On the other hand, the EVO is also a bigger phone: 4.8 inches vs. 3.5 inches. It's heavier: 6 ounces vs. 4.8 ounces. And the iPhone screen has better resolution.
Camera: The EVO has a bigger-capacity camera: 8 megapixel vs. 5 megapixel for the iPhone. That's not as important as it sounds, though; with a digital camera, it's not the megapixels that matter, it's the size of the sensor, which information is not available on the CNET chart. Both phones have tap-to-focus, LED flash, and 720p HD recording.
Storage: Storage is 16 GB or 32 GB on the iPhone, with no external storage options. The EVO has a scant 1 GB internal memory, but it accepts 32 GB external SD cards. Big points to iPhone on this one. External SD cards are more components to buy, keep track of, break, and lose.
Voice-data plan: As is always the case, comparing between the two is confusing as heck. With the EVO, I'd probably go with an $80/month plan for 450 voice minutes, unlimited texting and data. The iPhone's closest equivalent is more expensive, $85-$90. That's not enough of a difference to matter in my decision-making.
Hardware price: The EVO, at $200, is the same price as the low-end iPhone 4, and $100 cheaper than the high-end iPhone 4. That doesn't matter a lot to me; if I were looking to economize, I wouldn't buy a new phone at all. I'll pay $100 more if I get a better phone for it.
Other factors I'm weighing:
Corporate culture: Earlier this month, I asked, Is Apple evil? I concluded they're not. But they are creepy. Employees at their major manufacturer, Foxconn, are committing suicide rather than work there (Foxconn also makes products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony). Apple is sending the cops to break down journalists' doors. And they're subjugating content providers -- that's me and my employers -- to their will, driving applications to the App Store where Apple keeps a tight leash on its partners.
The latest step in that direction: Apple added an ad-blocker to Safari 5, while simultaneously introducing the iAd platform for App Store advertising. Apple is pushing content providers off the Web and pulling them into the App Store, where Apple will control access between the content providers and their audience.
Google has its problems, but it's nowhere near as creepy as Apple.
Also, Google talks to journalists and bloggers. Apple is buttoned up as tight as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.