My 2 year-old iPhone is the cat’s meow. Qualities include a dizzying array of cool apps, a bright, easily readable display – even for over-forty eyes like mine, excellent calendar and email syncing with my office and home computers, elegant and refined touch interface, iTunes syncing and, by the way, it works as a decent phone, too. However, as cool as my iPhone is, it is crippled by AT&T’s abysmal high-speed “3G” coverage. 3G is not available anywhere in the Shoals area so we iPhone users can only use AT&T’s “Edge” network. Edge is extremely slow making my iPhone nearly useless for data outside my home and office.
When I purchased my iPhone in 2008, the salespeople at the local AT&T store promised me that 3G coverage would be here in the Fall. Then they promised it would be here in 2009. Then they promised it would be here “unofficially” on August 26th. They now lock their doors whenever they see me pull into the parking lot. I have not been able to corroborate that date with anyone within AT&T. I did come across an old press release stating that AT&T planned to roll out new towers in 2009 that should cover most of North Alabama from Birmingham all the way up. Here we are in the twilight of 2010 and no new towers.
For us in the backwaters of the Shoals, there are three choices for high speed service: Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Sprint and T-Mobile offer the cheapest data plans but their coverage, while good in the Shoals area and other metropolitan areas, is spotty in rural areas. Verizon is a little more expensive but their data coverage is nearly 100% across the nation.
So, with just days left on my contract, I’ve decided to sever my love affair with my iPhone and buy an Android-based Verizon phone. Android, released in 2007, is a phone operating system designed to compete with the iPhone. There are now a confusing number of Android-based phones. It took quite a bit of research to determine which phone came closest to the usability and quality of the iPhone but I think I found a winner.
Verizon offers a few nice Android phones but I focused on phones from Motorola (called “Droid X”) and HTC’s “Droid Incredible.” For the average user, there really isn’t much difference between the two. The Droid X costs about $50.00 more but sports a larger screen. The downside is that a larger screen means a larger phone and some people are put off by the larger size. It fits my hands and my weakening eyes nicely. The biggest reason to go with the Droid X is the battery life. You are lucky to get a full day of use out of the Incredible and similar models but the Droid X should last about 3 times longer.