Why I passed on the iPhone (again) and got the HTC Aria! (Android)

For any of you that read my post and follow me on Twitter probably can tell that the Mobile Phone Space is what I’m interested in and very excited about.

A little history:

I got my first cell phone back in 1997 and I went with AT&T because they were the only carrier that worked where I lived in west central Alabama.
I got my first Pocket PC (Windows CE, what became windows mobile) back in 1999.
In 1999 The internet was still something you had to use a dialup phone connection to access however broadband was starting to no longer be a luxury item for internet access.
Ever since then I knew it was a matter of time before we all had handheld computers with internet access everywhere.

1st iPhone pass:

Apple released this 1st iPhone in 2007 and it caused a lot of hype (or iHype as it was later referred).
I was never into Apple computers for no particular reason, it’s just my career lead me into windows development and business application development, you can’t really do any of that on Apple so I never considered them in a Phone purchase.
In 2007, I got my first Windows Mobile Phone with a data connection and loved it! It was the AT&T Tilt.
Just the idea of posting real time pictures and updates of stuff going on was just revolutionary shift in the way things were and where they were going.
So, for the next 2 years I got to see friends and family with their iPhones and I began to see the appeal of a nice user interface and how touch screens was really where phones were going. That’s what got me thinking that the iPhone would be my next phone purchase (windows mobile wasn’t keeping up).

Windows Mobile downfall:

Windows Mobile began to show it’s staleness by the end of 2009 (probably earlier by what I was reading online around this time). By that I mean they really never changed the UI in ten years. Most phones were still resistive screens instead of the new capacitive screens. But what was the final straw for me was that developers (my peers) where no longer creating/updating apps like Android and the iPhone were getting. Twitter clients were horrible. The one I found that i liked quit updating the program so it didn’t recieve the new retweet format (essentially you missed some updates). The facebook app was horrible as well. What’s a phone that can’t do Twitter and Facebook (LOL, can’t believe i just said that)?

A tough decision:

My contract for the Tilt ended in late 2009.
I could either get the iPhone 3GS which came out about 6mo’s earlier or wait another 6mo’s for them to release a new one (if at all). I decided to wait.
Android 2.0 was just picking up steam about this time, however AT&T had no Android phones.
Rumors of 5 Android phones the 1st half of 2010 was finally announced by AT&T.
In March, the Motorola Backflip was announced but it was still running an older version of Android and the design was just not what I was interested in (including the hardware specs).
Now, what is really interesting and perhaps ahead of it’s time, Google announces the Nexus One. A phone you can order online unlocked ($530) or subsidized through some carriers ($179 or so).
Several advantages to getting an unlocked phone include: no contract, no plan change, no AT&T software, android market freedom, and quick updates from google.
After being underwhelmed by the Backflip and not seeing any more Android announcements from AT&T, I seriously considered the Nexus One but just couldn’t justify the unlocked cost.
Again, I decide to wait.

Final decision:

After being in wait mode for over 8 months, Apple and AT&T announces the iPhone 4.
I had every intent to get this phone on the 24th but still said unless there is an HTC Android phone announced before the 24th.
1 week after the iPhone annoucnement came the HTC Aria announcement for the 20th. I still had a week to make up my mind between the 2 phones. I was disappointed that the Aria didn’t have a 1Ghz processor but other than that the phone looked great. I did a ton of online research on the Aria and by Friday my mind was made up.

Fathers Day Present:

After a lunch, with the family in Tuscaloosa, I went to the AT&T store and picked up the Aria and have been very pleased with it. While it doesn’t have a 1Ghz processor that 600Mhz does a fantastic job. If I didn’t know that’s what was in there I probably couldn’t tell. I also got a $50 loyalty credit, so I got the phone for under $100 plus I didn’t have to change my data plan. I grandfathered in a truly unlimited data plan from my old Tilt phone (no 5gb cap even). I wasn’t going to the iPhone and loose that!

A Quick Review:

AT&T has locked side loading apps from outside the android market as well as select apps in the market (namely Easy Tether). This is very BAD AT&T and against what Android stands for!! This will not allow you to beta test software and such.
I like The HTC Sense Software! I don’t run everything they offer because I do like the android version pretty well and I prefer to run apps like Twidroid and the Facebook App intead of using the HTC version that merges them both. While that is very cool you don’t get functiality like in the main apps.
The HTC Contacts are cool because you get a favorites widget and you can link you google contacts to facebook and get notifications when a contact you are looking at or a favorite updates.
Facebook Sync is cool because now my contacts have pictures without me having to add them manually.
The GPS locks on very fast, I haven’t played with it very much because the network location is usually all I need, but it was like under 30 seconds for a lock where as my old phone it was serveral minutes. (standing still).
Google! If you run many of the google services Android is the way to go. My particular favorite is the Google Voice app! You also get push gmail and push google apps email, google maps, googles, skymap, earth, reader via the browser, buzz, latitude, and the list goes on.
The Aria has an optical trackball which frankly is not useful to me and I wish it didn’t have it. I would have rather seen a larger screen than that. The trackball isn’t really needed with touch screens in my opinion.
I like that it does not have a slideout keyboard even though I can type faster on them.  Without, makes the device so much thinner and lightweight.  Since you have a landscape keyboard typing is pretty accurate.
7 home screens (no sure what i’ll do with all of them)!
Android 2.1.

So, I have 18 to 24 months before i have to do all this again will i get the iPhone then?Probably not but only time will tell.  I really like Android and I think it will be even better by then! The power of open source vs closed!!

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About KV4S

http://KV4S.com Amateur Radio Operator, Software Developer, Star Trek Online gamer. Game Handle: @Russell-KV4S
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