My interest for mobile platforms is increasing exponentially. The more I read and learn about them the more I realize how important and what a huge impact a well designed, well executed mobile platform can do for my own living quality. I don't know what I'd do anymore without having the internet in my pocket, or not having my email with me at all times. I can't list the times I've been bored at an airport, waiting for someone or riding the bus where the fastest time passer is reading my favourite content on the net, or answering an email!
Let's start with the good ol' rock solid BlackBerry platform. It's established, has a vast market share and is loved by millions. The only downside, that's well known, is the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS). In recent years I have been tired of BlackBerry. The 8800 (apparently RIM's flagship) is a piece for users that want more than just calls and email. The 8300 "Curve" series is a very appealing phone on hardware side - sadly BlackBerry's too basic Operating System is a huge turn off for me (this has changed, but I'll get to that in a bit) for that series. The 8100 "Pearl" series is a huge hit with consumers. The newest revisions have all the features as its big "brother" the Curve and even has UMA. The same applies to the Pearl as it does to the Curve: Nice hardware - crap User Interface. The biggest drawback for me on all of these phones? The buttons. I have large thumbs and I can't type fast on the Curve or Pearl. Using iPhone on the other hand I can type fast and securely, because there is no physical typing just sleek finger flying.
Moving on to the most exciting line in BlackBerries in a long time. The Storm, Bold and Javelin. The Storm is RIM's response to Apple's iPhone released in 2007. From what I've seen sofar the Storm is the only serious iPhone competitor (when talking on a level of pure touch screen smart phones). I don't consider the Samsung Instinct a threat, simply because of my horrible track record with Samsung products. The quality of Samsung's products are poor, poor, poor. LG you say? Have you actually touched the LG Vu? The screen has a response time of an earth worm.
Anyhow, my friend Arlin just bought himself a BlackBerry Bold - while I find the front of the phone visually appealing, the back pleather stuff is - tacky? RIM has really stepped up their game, the operating system looks and feels like real people can use it. It's not dumbed down and over simplified anymore. It's visually appealing things make sense! Sadly the same applies, buttons. They're spaced too close for my thumbs to type efficiently! 3G is heaven, despite Rogers' wonky 3G coverage in Saskatoon - not enough tower density. Too many 3G users at once and you'll switch to EDGE. :(
I'll finish off the BlackBerry phone talk with the up coming Javelin. T-Mobile Germany briefly had a splash / info page for the Javelin on their site, but it seems to have been pulled. Gizmodo has the article! While find this phone visually appealing, the same goes for all the other buttoned phones. My fat thumbs. Or my laziness to hit buttons instead of just tapping a screen.
Finishing off BlackBerry software talk with RIM's announcement of an AppStore. I've not heard many details about it, though I'm surprised it's taken RIM this long to get their act together on this issue. Their official App Store already has a contender: BerryStore. We'll see what happens. :) I'm intrigued to see if there will be App screen as there is in Apple's AppStore. What prices and revenue sharing will be like? If there will be such a system at all, that is!
To conclude my BlackBerry portion I will say that I'm glad to see RIM jumping on the ball again and not riding on their success, ignoring new technologies completely. Once I know more about, especially, the Storm I'll write about it. Maybe the Storm will get me off my iPhone addiction. Don't hold your breath though. Storm, Bold, Javelin are very bold (no pun intended) responses of RIM to show its competitors where it's at. RIM has raised the bar once again!
Let's move on to Android. Ah yes, the Open Handset Alliance. Google's operating system that garantuees phone freedom and strengthens Google's stance of Big Brother. Gizmodo featured a sarcastic, yet true, article on how Android is just another piece in Google's world domination puzzle.
Back on topic, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of open platforms (open software yes, open computing platforms, no) - Having to optimize an Operating System to run on phones from different vendors just doesn't seem so great. Windows Mobile is a good example of that. Yuck. I would assume to make this job easier on Google developers the phones would share alot of hardware. Why the different vendors then?
In addition to the above Android's launch was tainted to me when their first release was on an HTC. Really? C'mon the phone is missing a headphone jack. Headphones! I didn't know they made phones without a jack anymore! The hardware in my eyes is this piece of crap phones with huge software gaps like "I don't have a media player, but let's wait and see what the community releases!"
Which brings me to Android's App Store. Freedom is nice and all, but no screening process on a store? Can't wait to see what some 14 year old is going to push into the store that's badly designed, doesn't conform to any visual standards.
Sorry to all you Android fans, but sofar I have nothing good to say about Android!
Call me fanboy all you like, but this mobile platform is rock solid. Despite some serious bugs in the 2.0 software that have been addressed in 2.1 and more to be fixed in 2.2, I find this mobile platform most appealing of all. It's easy to use, the hardware is great, the User Interface is an absolute dream and no, I don't miss buttons. In fact in direct comparison to my old BlackBerry Curve or Sony Ericsson K790i my typing speed has gone up drastically!
Apple's App Store, though hated in the developer's community, is the perfect strategy for Apple. The revenue sharing plan is fair with a 30% / 70% split for each App sold. (30% to Apple, 70% to the developer). The screen process, though mysterious, garantuees only well designed and conforming Apps are on the store. Sadly Apple is not allowing "iPhone feature duplicating" Apps in the store like Podcaster.
My only problem with this mobile platform, currently, is: Where to next? After Apple releases the 2.2 software (and hopefully PUSH notification) what's left? The phone's hardware has everything I desire, BlueTooth, AGPS, a camera that's half decent, head phone jack (take that G1) and 3G.
The only things I'd like is BlueTooth stereo headphone support, maybe a better camera and possibly GPS, not AGPS.
I'm very excited to see the above three mobile platforms evolve, and hopefully Android can catch up to be a worthy contender to RIM and Apple's mobile platforms.
Thoughts, Feelings, Rants? Leave them in the comments.