Why I Ditched My iPhone 3GS For a Droid X
I’ve had nearly a week to get fully acquainted with my Droid X, so I thought I’d write a little about why I switched.
As most of you know, AT&T doesn’t have the best coverage in the country. Years ago, it was better in my area than Verizon was, but they seem to have gotten complacent with their current infrastructure.
Now, before you jump all over me about it, I know the iPhone is coming to Verizon. My next point will begin to clarify why I went with a Droid X rather than the iPhone as far as the device itself in relation to the carrier.
I tried hard to love my iPhone on AT&T. I had convinced myself that it was of huge importance that I be able to browse the web and talk at the same time on one device. However, that specific scenario rarely ever came up, if at all. Not to mention, you had to be in AT&T’s 3G coverage for that to work. Their older Edge coverage would only do voice or data – not both. And guess where I live? Yep, right smack-dab in the middle of their Edge network.
Alas, AT&T offers this handy little device called a MicroCell that will solve everyone’s coverage problems. It’s actually a neat concept – you plug the device into your existing Internet router, enter your AT&T numbers, along with those of friends and family (up to 10 numbers total) and you have an instant 5-bar full 3G coverage in your house. Reception quality was great, but there was this nasty 2-3 second delay between what one party said and the other party hearing it.
While that was somewhat bearable, it only worked if I was inside my house. If I walked down the road to a neighbor’s house, my coverage went back to nil. Where I live isn’t the only issue. The place I work has poor coverage as well. We even put in one of those repeaters, and my signal at my desk was rarely more than 1 bar.
So, in the two places I spend the most time, I had poor coverage with AT&T.
New iPhones in the US with a new contract cost $199 and $299 for a 16 GB and 32 GB model respectively. Granted, if I go to Verizon’s website, a Droid X will cost me $199 on a new contract, but only after a $100 mail-in rebate. I hate those…
In a nice tip I received, I found out about amazonwireless.com. This isn’t a plug for them, but I had to point them out. I bought two phones from them – the Droid X for myself, and the HTC Incredible for my wife. On a new contract, the combined price for those two phones was $30. Apple won’t make their iPhones available to resellers at a discount that big. This played a huge part in me making the switch early and canceling my existing AT&T contracts. My wife’s contract had 5 months left, and mine had 15 months to go.
Including the discount I get via my employer, the Verizon monthly bill will come out to be a little more expensive than AT&T’s bill. The coverage I get, however, more than makes up for the cost difference.
I’m an Apple fan. The people who know me know this. My wife and I both own MacBooks. We have Apple TVs on both our TVs, and we also own an iPad. We even have the Apple sticker on the back of our car. Apple hardware and software is hard to beat. It all works seamlessly together.
However, the openness of Android made the final case for me to switch. Long before I was an Apple fan, I was a Linux fan. Linux is by nature open, and Google built on that. The idea is that using Linux, you can do pretty much anything you want, and usually for free. (Before I get too far, I realize that the ‘free’ in Linux usually refers to ‘speech’, but the reality is you can still do most anything you want in Linux for free, as in my wallet loves it.)
So for Android, Google kept the platform open. There are a few cases where ‘rooting’ an Android phone will give you extra functionality you couldn’t otherwise get, but the actual need for that is pretty much non-existent when compared to the need to jailbreak an iPhone to get the same functionality as a non-rooted Android phone.
On iPhone, you can change the background/wallpaper, and you can change the order of your icons on your screen. You can pick from a handful of alerts for incoming texts, and you can customize your ringtone, but everything else, you’re stuck with. That’s pretty much the extent of customization on iPhone.
On Android, you can customize everything. You get useful, functional widgets that you can place on any of several home screens, along with folders, icons, shortcuts, and just about anything else you want to put there. You can customize alerts for everything, using any sound you want. Notifications are also much more flexible. Rather than seeing only the latest notification, as on iPhone, you get a list of notifications so you don’t miss anything.
The Android platform is different, and requires some getting used to. But it’s not so convoluted that it’s hard to use. It’s intuitive enough that it makes sense and won’t cause any issues for those wanting to switch.
To some, these may not be very good reasons to make a switch in carriers and device platform, but it all made complete sense to me and I haven’t been sorry, and doubt I will be.
Thanks for reading!