iPhone Rene Goes Android -- Round Robin Help!

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Rene Ritchie

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Ooteenee!

I'm Rene from theiphoneblog.com system and I'm lightspeeding up to this cantina in hopes you Heroes and Droid'ekas can help an iPhone guy like me understand the power and possibilities of Google's Android platform. And since this is an official 2009 Smartphone Round Robin thread, every day you decide to help by replying to this thread, you get another chance to win an Android smartphone! Uta puta indeed!

Enough with the Star Wars silly (I blame Verizon this year!). Here's what I'm struggling with:

1) Which device do I focus on? Let's face it, those Droid commercials called the iPhone a princess, but the white, touchy-feely Hero looks just a pretty. Is it powerful enough? And speaking of the Droid, is it all hype or does it live up to it? Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?

2) Do I need to be afraid of platform fracture? On my network, Rogers, the Dream and Magic may never get updates since they aren't "with Google" and don't use Sense UI. Do Android users need to be more careful about getting a device that's great now, rather than hoping for software update improvements later?

3) What if I don't want to use Google, can I still use an Android device? Let's say I don't like their privacy policy, or just think they're evil. Or I work for Bing or Yahoo! On every other platform, I can pick and choose my search, email, calendar, etc. solution, can I avoid Google and still enjoy the Android?

4) If I do sell my soul to Google, I'll get Google Voice, Navigation, and Latitude, which Apple has stricken from my usual device. What else will I get that the iPhone could never give me?

5) Yeah, that iTunes thing. Right now I enjoy super-simple sync and on-device download for movies, TV shows, and podcasts and I *adore* it. The G1 wasn't great for media. Are the 2009 Android device better? Anything else I'll miss if I go from iPhone to Android?

6) What's with this Nexus One? Seriously? Is it THE Google Phone, A Google Dev Phone, or just the next HTC we'll see in 2010?

7) Can someone please tell the Droid to stop yelling and me and just staring with that one, red, eye. Banta Poodoo!

Thanks, and *really* looking forward to Android this year!
 
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jdougal

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I'm new to the Android scene as well after purchasing the new Droid with Verizon. Prior to that I was addicted to the Berry owning the Pearl, 2 Curves, Storm, and finally the Tour. Prior to the Blackberry I had a few Windows Mobile devices which I loathed.

Anyway, since I am new I can only answer a few of your questions but I'm sure others will jump in quickly.

For me personally I’ve been with Verizon and wanted to stay because a cell phone isn’t worth anything if it has no service. With that being said I had a choice of the Eris or the Droid. Coming from the Blackberry and having tired the Storm and used friend’s iPhones I knew I needed a keyboard. Because of that my only choice was the Droid.

The fragmenting of the platform could become an issue in the future. If a carrier doesn’t put support behind their creation then you’ll be stuck, like you are. For me the new UI created by manufactures may be nice I personally like the basic android OS. This way you’re going to get the updates directly from Google and not having to deal with a middle man that has to do their thing as well to get the update. The delay would be an annoyance, but the fear of the support behind the phone disappearing would be a big fear.

I personally use pretty much everything Google so I’m not 100% sure of the ability to use other services. I do know of others using Hotmail or other email providers. There are also different calendar programs, that I believe let you sync with whatever calendar you like. The only thing you’d probably be stuck with is Google search and voice search. I could be totally wrong with this however.

Service? All kidding aside I’m not totally sure what you’ll be gaining coming from the iPhone. I’ve honestly never gotten on board with the big iPhone craze as the keyboard and ATT just killed it for me. I have read how a lot of developers are leaving the iPhone OS though and moving to Android. The open system and lack of Apple oversight seems to be more appealing to them. This in the end will have the Android having more and more features and applications that you won’t be able to get from the iPhone. I’m also not sure how updates work with iPhone, but I’m constantly getting updates and bug fixes on the apps I have installed. Knowing of Apple’s heavy hand in allowing apps to be sold in their store I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same way with allowing updates.

I’m not a big user of media on my phone. I do however have most of my music on the phone just incase the mood hits me. I do listen to the occasional podcast, which I’ve found Google Listen to be awesome for. It lets you subscribe to your favorite podcasts and can even stream a podcast if there’s something you find out about while away from your PC. There’s the Amazon music store for purchasing songs while out, but honestly I don’t find a need for that. It seems that that’s a big thing for some people though, just not something I use.

It seems the Nexus One may be something big from Google. It may be just the phone but what’s been seen from Android 2.1 it appears it may be incorporated in that as well. What it may be is totally unknown to me. As for the Nexus One phone it looks like a phone designed from by Google and HTC. One thing I’ve heard from a podcast I listen to is that his hands on experience seemed very similar to his Droid with just a few GUI changes.


Hopefully my fellow Android users can fill you in more, as I said I'm coming off my Crackberry addiction and still finding my way around my Droid.
 

nonie3234

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Hello! Former BB Storm user here, now I have the Eris. I'm also new to all this, so the only question I feel qualified to answer is this:
Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?

The wonderful thing about Android phones - IMO - is that there is an Android device for every taste. I prefer the Eris, my coworker loves his Droid. Also, I love the amount of customization that I can do with this device. I can't compare it to the iPhone, cause I've never had one, but compared to the BB, it is a HUGE difference!

Like jdougal above, I also have my whole life on Google, so the ease of syncing to all of that is just a dream for me. Sooooo easy!

Hope that helps, I'm sorry I don't know more.
 

ripcity00

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Enough with the Star Wars silly (I blame Verizon this year!). Here's what I'm struggling with:

1) Which device do I focus on? Let's face it, those Droid commercials called the iPhone a princess, but the white, touchy-feely Hero looks just a pretty. Is it powerful enough? And speaking of the Droid, is it all hype or does it live up to it? Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?

I'd suggest the Droid. Speed is one of the nice things about the Droid. I'm curious how it really compares to the 3gs for speed of user experience especially web surfing. Keyboard is ok but nothing great. Droid will give you a more generic experience. For look & feel and entry without a keyboard, use the Eris. I don't think any of them is a direct match to the iphone, but something different.

2) Do I need to be afraid of platform fracture? On my network, Rogers, the Dream and Magic may never get updates since they aren't "with Google" and don't use Sense UI. Do Android users need to be more careful about getting a device that's great now, rather than hoping for software update improvements later?

I think platform fracture is a real potential issue, so it will be interesting to watch what key players like HTC do in coming months. I'm sticking to a generic droid device for now.

3) What if I don't want to use Google, can I still use an Android device? Let's say I don't like their privacy policy, or just think they're evil. Or I work for Bing or Yahoo! On every other platform, I can pick and choose my search, email, calendar, etc. solution, can I avoid Google and still enjoy the Android?

As far as I know you don't have to use Google, but I like their features so this hasn't been an issue for me.

4) If I do sell my soul to Google, I'll get Google Voice, Navigation, and Latitude, which Apple has stricken from my usual device. What else will I get that the iPhone could never give me?

Right now Android Market, although good, is not an advantage, but this could change as more developers switch to Android. For me, I'm looking at what is most critical to have on the phone now and it meets my needs plus I like the potential of the market.

5) Yeah, that iTunes thing. Right now I enjoy super-simple sync and on-device download for movies, TV shows, and podcasts and I *adore* it. The G1 wasn't great for media. Are the 2009 Android device better? Anything else I'll miss if I go from iPhone to Android?

Not a big media user, but it is simple enough for podcasts, music, etc. Hey if itunes works for you, stick with it!

6) What's with this Nexus One? Seriously? Is it THE Google Phone, A Google Dev Phone, or just the next HTC we'll see in 2010?

I'm not convinced this is really THE Google phone. I think it is Google's way of testing things out, but time will tell. It makes sense to have a test device.

7) Can someone please tell the Droid to stop yelling and me and just staring with that one, red, eye. Banta Poodoo!

That's what's great about competition - it's a great motivator for change and improvement...whether you're running scared or running to leave the competition behind. Either way, the consumers win!
 

AZbear

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I am an ex iPhone user. I got really tired of AT&T ripping me off and the Android phones looked interesting. I am now on t-Mobile so i cannot speak about the Droid. I did not like the G1 or Cliq because the keyboard made them heavy to carry and I was quite used to using the virtual keyboard already so I chose the MyTouch 3G(an HTC Magic with T-Mo branding but no Sense UI) as my phone. I love the customization you can do with it and the ability to multitask.

As for platform fragmentation, yes this is already somewhat of a problem and will probably grow. I think however that as the platfiorm matures this will not be as big a problem.

That's my .02 cents
 

Snowman81

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Well...

1. For me I'd say got with the Droid. It's large screen means that if you don't like its physical keyboard you'll be ok with the on screen one. And the specs and desgn are likely the best Android has seen to date.

2. Android is quite open and so if you don't mind getting your hands dirty you can always up date your device on your own even if your carrier and hardware manufacturer doesn't show your device any love.

3. To get the most out of Android you really do want to at least have a google account to sign into, but after that you need to really use google's services if you don't want to.

4. Since Google doesn't really police the Android Market Place I'd say the sky is the limit as to what you could end up getting on it vs the App Store, but right now I don't think Market Place really has any advantage.

5. I'd say for easy media management Apple is likely to continue to be head and shoulders above everyone else, but I think Android has the advantage in codec support since its unlikely Apple will ever let divx, mkv, etc codecs/players into the App Store.

6. Who knows at this point.

7. You tell it yourself, I'm not brave enough to say anything back to it!
 

Pimp Lucious

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1) Which device do I focus on? Let's face it, those Droid commercials called the iPhone a princess, but the white, touchy-feely Hero looks just a pretty. Is it powerful enough? And speaking of the Droid, is it all hype or does it live up to it? Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?

Hey Rene

This is Droid from the iPhone Live/freaknasty from TiPB . I personally chose the Hero due to Sprints pricing and HTC customization. I find vanilla Android to be a bit bland though 2.0 helps out a bit. The Hero and all other devices with the same processor are just a bit underpowered, but nothing that really dampens the experience much. HTC intertwines Sense UI so deep into the OS, and it is such a better experince than stock Android, I think you will find the HTC more compelling. If it had 2.1 with Sense UI there would be no question. The hardware...well the Droid screen resolution/size gives it the upperhand of course, but the Hero is still a solid device. I am very much turned off by the Droid design.

2) Do I need to be afraid of platform fracture? On my network, Rogers, the Dream and Magic may never get updates since they aren't "with Google" and don't use Sense UI. Do Android users need to be more careful about getting a device that's great now, rather than hoping for software update improvements later?

Seems at this point to be a carrier issue, not a manufacturer issue. At the rate I upgrade phones(once a year), it wouldn't be much of an issue anyhow.

3) What if I don't want to use Google, can I still use an Android device? Let's say I don't like their privacy policy, or just think they're evil. Or I work for Bing or Yahoo! On every other platform, I can pick and choose my search, email, calendar, etc. solution, can I avoid Google and still enjoy the Android?

I think you have to have a google account for sync, but outside of that I could go google free on my Hero. Well search uses Google. I can unsync my mail, calendar and contacts from Google.

4) If I do sell my soul to Google, I'll get Google Voice, Navigation, and Latitude, which Apple has stricken from my usual device. What else will I get that the iPhone could never give me?

Very expansive customization, mutlitasking(I bounce around certain apps a lot), robust notifications. You know all this though. The notification deal is something I don't understand how iphone users go without. I get emails, messages, Facebook notifications, IMs all through the day. the ability to see whats waiting for me at a quick single page, pulldown glance is invaluable. Its probably the most used function of my phone.

5) Yeah, that iTunes thing. Right now I enjoy super-simple sync and on-device download for movies, TV shows, and podcasts and I *adore* it. The G1 wasn't great for media. Are the 2009 Android device better? Anything else I'll miss if I go from iPhone to Android?

I find both Mediafly and Google Listen to be better for me for keeping track of and updating my podcast subcsriptions. maybe I haven't figured out how to configure itunes on my Touch, but I find that I have to search for what I want everytime instead of having it right there waiting for me when I open the program. I don't buy my music or tv shows/movies from itunes so I need to ht it on my devices over the computer. Itunes on the PC is a horrid, slow, bloated experience. USB drag and drop to my Hero is quick, easy and normally done before itunes has finished loading and syncing. itunes does do a much better job of initiating podcast playback. On my Hero it normally takes two or more screen pushes to actaully get the podcast to start streaming.

6) What's with this Nexus One? Seriously? Is it THE Google Phone, A Google Dev Phone, or just the next HTC we'll see in 2010?[/qoute]

More than anything else, it a commitment from Google to advance the flagship/reference design. Mere months after release, the Droid is leapfrogged. HTC is the premier Google partner, and thats where the real iPhone competition will come from.

7) Can someone please tell the Droid to stop yelling and me and just staring with that one, red, eye. Banta Poodoo!



Rene.jpg
 

the one and only M

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1. Focus on the droid only because it's the flagship android phone right now.
6. I think it's just an htc android device that will eventually be sold by t-mobile. The next android flagship.
 

Magellan

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I own a G1, but played around a bit with a friends Droid. I would concentrate on that since it is the top of the heap , at least until the Nexus one comes out.
 

Flyguide83

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Hi,
I would start with the droid and the HTC hero or the ERiS both very similar phones. I have owned bb up until now and would never go back. I would get dolphin browser and handcent right away. With this phone your going to get speed and the ability to really multitask... You do not need to be using Google mail or any of their stuff really. Because it is so open sourced you can find an app to run pretty much anything you like. Facebook sucks badly compared to iphone... but thats ok... Im running talk to me keyboard and swype right now.. They really need to combine some features to make it 100% We need to have spelling correction and dictionary on the hard keyboard and have swype on everything else with the speech to text feature... lol. I dont think that the droid is really a iphone killer at all.. Its more up to date and you dont NEED to hack it(jailbreak)to make it really functional. I think the biggest reason to get it is that its comparable and on a WAY better network.. I have full 3g service way out of city limits...
My friends can bairly make calls from here on their iphones..
 

carrots

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on whether u need to use google...I honestly haven't tried without a gmail account.
But everything seems to be tied into my email address...contacts sync, push email, google checkout, google talk, google voice, google maps....granted some of these thing aren't really needed...but my opinion is google apps are what I use most
 

lucky4meman

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I've owned the Palm Pre, then went to the Samsung Moment and now I'm on the HTC Hero. So far I love the Hero. The notification bar is similar to the Pre's notifications and very convenient. The app store isn't at the iPhone level, but is growing quickly and isn't as strict as to what is in it. Also, many software developers are creating software for Android now because the consumer base is growing rapidly. The phone is also very customizable (similar to the Pre). I'm not a fan however, of how all the android phones have different levels of the operating system. I know they'll be updating the Hero to 2.0 or whatever, but that should have been done when it first came out.

Anyway... that what I have so far. If you have any other specific questions just let me know and I'd be glad to help.
 

simp_10

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Please see red below

Ooteenee!


1) Which device do I focus on? Let's face it, those Droid commercials called the iPhone a princess, but the white, touchy-feely Hero looks just a pretty. Is it powerful enough? And speaking of the Droid, is it all hype or does it live up to it? Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?Droid, as it is the newest form factor

2) Do I need to be afraid of platform fracture? On my network, Rogers, the Dream and Magic may never get updates since they aren't "with Google" and don't use Sense UI. Do Android users need to be more careful about getting a device that's great now, rather than hoping for software update improvements later?Could be an issue but hopefully most if not all devices will get compatible updates. If not they may be forcing us to buy new phones

3) What if I don't want to use Google, can I still use an Android device? Let's say I don't like their privacy policy, or just think they're evil. Or I work for Bing or Yahoo! On every other platform, I can pick and choose my search, email, calendar, etc. solution, can I avoid Google and still enjoy the Android?I currently have a hotmail account on my Droid along with another non GMail. Not sure if you have another search option other than Google by default....but really why would you?


Thanks, and *really* looking forward to Android this year!
 

RamboDroid

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Have fun with the phones. I am an 4-5yr Blackberry guy that came to Android just around a month ago. I have never had a touch phone before and got the Sprint Hero. I wasn't very fond of the look at first but to me it does feel solid and i love the key metal key design at the bottom and the smooth curve lines. I have not seen any sluggish behavior out of my Hero yet i do have a lot of apps on here and bounce around from app to app multitasking. The thing i love about android and htc is how you can personalize it and how smooth it runs.

I dont know about the droid but you can sync the hero with outlook calendar and import other email accounts (besides gmail) without having to forward all your accounts to gmail
 

dane#AC

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1) Which device do I focus on? Let's face it, those Droid commercials called the iPhone a princess, but the white, touchy-feely Hero looks just a pretty. Is it powerful enough? And speaking of the Droid, is it all hype or does it live up to it? Aside from the quasi-keyboad, how do I decide which is the better Android for me?

I'd focus on the Droid. My first android device was the Hero, and while I loved the Sense UI, the device's hardware is dated, and HTC's take on Android isn't really the same thing as Google's (even if, in some respects, it's better). Sense UI (and all other lay overs) come at the cost of not being able to run the best Android OS until the hardware manufacturer goes through the time-consuming process of tailoring the UI to it. It's just one more layer between the end user and Android. Ultimately, I decided it was better to bet on Google's refinement than one manufacturer's. As for whether the Droid lives up to the hype, I've been nothing but pleased. It does everything I ask it to do without lag and without difficulty. When I want some additional functionality, I jump onto the Market and have never failed to find an application that provides the functionality I need. As for the better Android device, coming from an iPhone you may initially like the Hero better... there are some obvious similarities (including, perhaps most importantly, the superior virtual keyboard on the Hero and the refinement of the UI). I've had the Droid for 3 weeks, and I'm still getting used to the physical keyboard, so it's not exceptionally easy to use in my experience. That said, I'm getting pretty good on it, so it does come with time (albeit more time than I'd prefer and more time than should be required).

2) Do I need to be afraid of platform fracture? On my network, Rogers, the Dream and Magic may never get updates since they aren't "with Google" and don't use Sense UI. Do Android users need to be more careful about getting a device that's great now, rather than hoping for software update improvements later?

I worry about platform fracture. It's one of the reasons I decided to go with the unmodified Android OS experience. That said, one of the great things about open source is the ability to get under the hood and do things yourself. The ROM community for Android is substantial and growing, and it's all kosher with Google (unlike jailbreaking with Apple, where it's a constant arms race). It does require a bit of tech savvy, although modders like cyanogen is making it easy enough for a technophobe like me to do it if I'm so inclined. The only people who really need to worry are those not willing to install things that don't come from the Marketplace or from their carrier.

3) What if I don't want to use Google, can I still use an Android device? Let's say I don't like their privacy policy, or just think they're evil. Or I work for Bing or Yahoo! On every other platform, I can pick and choose my search, email, calendar, etc. solution, can I avoid Google and still enjoy the Android?

I can't help you there. I love my Google services, so I've never tried it without. From when I used my phone the first time, I'd guess you'd benefit to set up a Google account, but from there on out, you can probably ignore it in favor of other accounts. I don't think there is a way to change the default search program, but, as another response astutely pointed out, *why* would you want to?!?

4) If I do sell my soul to Google, I'll get Google Voice, Navigation, and Latitude, which Apple has stricken from my usual device. What else will I get that the iPhone could never give me?

Lots of things, although they may not be as important to you. First and foremost is freedom. You can choose between multiple carriers, multiple phones, and multiple UI overlays. You can choose how to personalize your phone and make it reflect your personality and what suits your style best, including how your home pages look, how your icons are arranged, whether you want a physical or virtual keyboard (heck, on the same device, even!). The freedom to hear whatever notification tone you want. The freedom to enjoy file formats that iTunes and Apple may not necessarily approve of. The freedom to multitask without your hardware provider paternalistically telling you that it's in your own best interests that they disallow you from doing it. The freedom to access applications that haven't gone through some obscure, arcane, and inconsistent approval process (some security and ease-of-use benefits do flow from this... just not enough to offset it in my mind... your priorities may legitimately vary). You also get higher screen resolutions, higher camera resolutions (although I like the iPhone's camera... a lot!), a flash on your camera. Did I mention game emulators? Oh, and that notification pull-down... that thing is just proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! A lot of this can be had on a jailbroken iPhone, but as I implicitly conceded above, there are some people who aren't willing to root their android device or jailbreak their iPhone (especially where, with the iPhone, the official word is that it's verboten and the official course of action is to make the jailbroken community rue each day a software update is available). I've tried to limit this list to those things that don't require rooting or jailbreaking.

5) Yeah, that iTunes thing. Right now I enjoy super-simple sync and on-device download for movies, TV shows, and podcasts and I *adore* it. The G1 wasn't great for media. Are the 2009 Android device better? Anything else I'll miss if I go from iPhone to Android?

iTunes is easy, and I've always liked iTunes myself. When I got an Android device, the dragging and dropping sucked. I found an application called double twist and I've really enjoyed using it (although my use has been very limited since I spilled water on my macbook and promptly killed it... damnation... so I haven't had a chance to work with it as I have with iTunes... I suspect that I'll find that it's not as good, but it's definitely been good enough for me so far for purposes of syncing my media... I don't do podcasts, so I have no idea how they stack up against each other). As for what you'll miss from the iPhone. The apps are certainly more plentiful and, I think, are more polished. The iPhone is incredibly intuitive to use. I haven't had problems figuring out the Droid, but the iPhone, like macs versus windows, seems to make the process a little more refined... a little more accessible. Android doesn't coddle you the same way (and I like to be coddled, so that's not a backhanded compliment). Still, with that refinement comes restriction. And, at the end of the day, I'd rather lose both. Oh, in the US, you'd also lose AT&T... but presumably you wanted a list of the things you'd lose that you'd also miss.

6) What's with this Nexus One? Seriously? Is it THE Google Phone, A Google Dev Phone, or just the next HTC we'll see in 2010?

Dunno... my guess is that it is a Google Dev phone, and that it will definitively replace my Droid as the flagship device.

7) Can someone please tell the Droid to stop yelling and me and just staring with that one, red, eye. Banta Poodoo!

If someone does, will you please share it with me, too? And while I know that's a bit tongue in cheek, I would point out that that minor restriction pales in comparison to all the things that the iPhone doesn't let you change. I have loved personalizing my Droid with wallpapers, notification tones, etc. I suspect Apple will open up the iPhone with the 4G on those issues (frankly, they already should have). If they do, and they go beyond AT&T, the iPhone would certainly be a contender for my next phone. Until then, it's a non-starter for me.
 
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