Wednesday, December 26, 2007

iPhone? We don't need no stinkin' iPhone!

Since one notable blogger received his long-awaited iPhone for Christmas, and I'm sure many other people did as well, I thought I'd post something about an alternative to Apple's overpriced, under performing (but highly attractive) piece of crap.

I've had a Samsung Blackjack "Smartphone" for about nine or ten months, and aside from a few minor annoyances, it's an awesome phone. In the interests of objectivity, let's get the minor annoyances out of the way first.

First among them is the SMS/MMS client...it's truly a piece of crap. The client that comes on the Palm Treo running the Palm OS is one to be emulated by all. Before the Blackjack, I had a Palm Treo 650, from which I could easily and painlessly post to this blog by sending an SMS message (or MMS with pictures) to go-at-blogger dot com. Not so with the Blackjack. It simply won't let me send MMS messages to an e-mail address, although I can send SMS to one. Further, the Treo's client stored text message conversations by sender/recipient making it easy to carry on text conversations with multiple people.

Next is the keyboard. I had hopes that the Blackjack's keyboard would be a great leap forward from that of the Treo, but that wasn't the case.

The last minor nuisance is the lack of a standard audio jack. Samsung makes headsets that fit into the proprietary USB/power port, but that's just annoying. Of course, being a Bluetooth-capable device, one generally would use a Bluetooth headset for the phone anyway, but what about listening to music? Since the Blackjack runs Windows Mobile, it includes Windows Media Player. Fortunately, Jabra makes a stereo Bluetooth headset which can also be used for phone conversations. In fact, the Jabra BT620s (which I got for Christmas) will automatically pause music playback when a call comes in, then resume once you hang up.

The shortcomings of the iPhone are much more serious:
  1. It's not a "3G" cell phone. This limits data throughput speed for applications like e-mail and web browsing. The built-in Wi-Fi does little to make up for this, unless you're in a free Wi-Fi "hotspot" or on your own wireless network at home.
  2. Outrageous price. At four or five hundred bucks, it's simply not worth the cost.
  3. Non-removable battery. When the battery starts getting tired and will no longer hold a charge, you've got to send the entire unit in for service. What's up with that?
  4. No memory card slot. Who's the genius at Apple who made that design decision?
  5. No real keyboard. You get a virtual "floating keyboard" on the touch-screen.
What gets people all fired up about the iPhone is the admittedly nice user interface. But everybody knows that nice UIs are for sissies, so who cares?

While the screen on the Blackjack is nowhere near the enviable size of the iPhone's, it's large enough. There's nothing one can do on the iPhone that can't be done with the Blackjack, and the Blackjack can do more. For example, if I find myself in an area with no wired or wireless Interent access, my Blackjack can double as a broadband cellular modem. When I'm in an area with 3G coverage, which is most urban areas these days, the performance is great. But even with EDGE-only coverage, the performance is more than adequate.

And being a Windows Mobile device, I can get third party software for it just about anywhere...I'm not beholden to Apple to provide me what I need.

iPhone? Feh.

1 comment:

darkpixel said...

So the sister-unit acquired an iPhone recently. I played with it - no doubt it is way cool.

But it's first and foremost supposed to be a phone. It, or at least hers, seems to suck as a phone. She called me on it, and I had to ask her if she was on a train.... no, she was in our parents' living room...