Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Turbo’s New Calling Plan

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I mentioned last week that I broke up with my BlackBerry.

I didn’t mention what was to be my new mobile love.

Because I had to do some speed dating to figure out what was the best way forward.

Many of you have guessed, both on this blog’s home base and out at Internet Evolution.  Some guessed rightly, some wrongly.  I sense a new reality show in the making.

My heart has healed to the point I figured I could tell the whole story without wincing too much.

You have to understand, making a mobile phone selection decision for someone like me is like a pro golfer deciding which line of clubs to use (except they don’t pay me to select their phone!), or a Hollywood starlet trying to decide whose dress to wear on Oscar night.

This is serious stuff.

But first, the breakup.

I’d been a huge fan of my BlackBerry Bold, and prior to that, the Pearl, and had been on the RIM platform for a good four years.

Of course, there was no iPhone or Android when I first went with the Pearl, and there was no other practical way to get on to IBM’s corporate email system with a mobile device, so it was an easy decision at the time.

But a lot’s happened these past four years, and RIM just didn’t seem to be keeping up.  And then, like many a relationships that go south, it was the little things: My browser would hang up, or be too slow.  The operating system would slow down and not let me get to my meeting information quickly.

Like I said, the little things, but they quickly added up.

After the BlackBerry got hung up one too many times after a long bike ride last week, I decided that was it. But not wanting to be without a mobile phone for too terribly long, I needed to make a decision about what to switch to, and quickly.

It was a relatively easy landscape to surf before I narrowed it down: Android v. iPhone.

I loved the idea of having an HTC Android on Sprint at 4G speeds, but I absolutely dreaded the idea of going back to Sprint, where I said would never return as a customer (and so far, I haven’t).

They treated me very badly as a so-called customer several years ago, and I’ve never remotely considered going back into their throes.

That left Droid on Verizon, and iPhone on AT&T.  Because honestly, that’s about the way the mobile decks are currently stacked, at least here in the U.S.

Sure, you can get an Android-based phone on AT&T, but it’s likely an outdated model running a back level version of the Android OS.

So which way did I go and why?

Ultimately, I chose the lesser of two evils: the new Apple iPhone.  And it wasn’t because I liked dealing with AT&T any more than any of the others.

In fact, ordering the iPhone via AT&T was AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE.  I can’t imagine a worse online customer experience.  But I suffered through it, and ultimately ordered the phone through them, even though I was told I’d have to wait 5-10 business days.

Then, AT&T forgot to put my condo unit number on the FedEx ticket, so FedEx couldn’t deliver it.  I could go on and on about what a bad experience I had GETTING the phone.  It’s still amazing to me in this day and age that I can have good money burning a hole in my pocket, and have such difficulty spending it with a vendor, including AT&T/Apple.  But I did.

But once the iPhone arrived via the nice FedEx man on Friday afternoon, heading directly into the Labor Day weekend, the experience I had setting up the new iPhone 4 is precisely WHY I ended up buying the iPhone.

I had the phone activated (without having to speak with a human, mind you), up and running, and with all my Gmail contacts imported — along with all my iPad Touch and iPad apps — loaded into the device in about 20 minutes.


I was making phone calls, sending emails, playing games, listening to music, watching videos, etc. in 20 minutes.  I remember it taking me that long just to get the BlackBerry software loaded, never mind the nightmares I had synching it to my computer.

So, once again, Apple wins on elegance and overall user customer experience (if NOT on customer pre-sales support).  And make no mistake, the iPhone 4 is a technological thing of beauty.

We shall soon see if it can hang with the Turbo on all his worldly travels, but I feel as though I made the correct decision so far.

Though I fear the looming limitations of Apple’s continued proprietary development milieu, and believe that Android is much better suited for the longer-term, open cloud viability that will help mature the mobile phone market, in the near term, for MY purposes and MY current needs, I’ve no doubt that the Apple iPhone was the right choice for me.

Now if I could just find somebody else who has one and try out the new FaceTime mobile videoconferencing feature!

For a summary of my iPhone 4 experience thus far, check out the video below:

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

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