I wasn’t sold on smartphones until the iPhone came out. Even then, I waited a full year, until the rise of the app store and the release of the iPhone 3G, to ditch my RAZR and step into the new world. I loved it. My iPhone 3G was an amazing device, and while I was initially impressed with things like visual voicemail and having a real web browser, the real fun came as the app store really took off. I felt like I never had an excuse to be bored again, so amazing this device was. And then two years passed and I sold it to my friend on the cheap so I could get an iPhone 4.
I lined up to get an iPhone 4 on launch day, back before we knew about the weird antenna problems and that the white version wouldn’t be available for like six months. I didn’t even tell anybody about my plan, which made for an exciting moment when I had to get my dad’s consent to upgrade (since we’re on a family plan). That 7 a.m. call was pretty terrifying, since if no one had answered, all of it would have been a waste. Fortunately, he picked up, I got the phone, and I have used it every day for the past two and a half years. It’s a great little computer.
With most tech, the best advice on buying is “wait until you need it.” Yes, that new MacBook may be a lot better than your old one, but do you need it? Of course, my definition of need is a bit skewed compared to the average person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in this rule. Phones are an exception to this rule, though. Most providers give you an opportunity to upgrade after a certain amount of time, and I say take it. If it’s something you’re going to use everyday, and in an industry with so much innovation, treat yourself. My iPhone 4 will still be here, as a testing ground for iOS apps and as my MP3 player of choice.
So I began trying to decide what phone to get. The obvious first choice is the iPhone 5, but there was also the Samsung Galaxy S III, an Android phone, and the Nokia Lumia 920, the flagship Windows Phone 8 cell. I look at the iPhone 5, and I’m just not that excited. What has changed in the two iterations between my iPhone and the new one? Well, there’s Siri now, but I don’t understand why I would ever use that. And the iPhone 5 is longer, it looks like it got stretched out. On the software side, iOS is basically the same as it’s always been, except the Maps app is apparently way worse (don’t really use it myself). Apple’s products are so popular and industry-standard, I feel like they are afraid to do anything new and exciting. Now the iPhone is the safe bet, the easy choice. The boring choice.
On the other hand, the Lumia 920. Nokia, always a great phone manufacturer, has been struggling in recent years. They made a big bet on the Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8, the stakes are actually high. With Android and iOS dominating the smartphone market, Microsoft is desperate to carve out a share for themselves and this Windows Phone 8 is the harbinger of that movement. As someone who cares about UI, I’ve always been a big fan of Microsoft’s Modern (formerly Metro) style, and I think it is way more exciting and intuitive than iOS.
I’ve been using Windows 8 since the weekend it came out, and I don’t get why so many people are complaining about it. Most people claim to have a problem with the Start Screen, but find it fine as a neat Start Menu replacement. I spend most of my time on the desktop, which feels a lot like Windows 8, maybe a little better. There certainly are problems, like weird redundancies and inconsistencies between the two environments, and ultimately it feels like a half measure between a brand new approach to Windows and a desire not to alienate anyone. But at least it feels new. I got Mac OS X Mountain Lion when it came out and at this point I’ve forgotten what it changed. Yet everyone loves Mountain Lion and hates Windows 8.
Well, I’m tired of this new Apple that’s afraid to change anything. While Microsoft is out here changing everything, Apple is introducing an iPad that’s slightly smaller than the real iPad and slightly bigger than an iPod Touch. I’m going to go with Microsoft on this one. Now, sure I admit that this is me being a crazy person. And if anyone asked me what smartphone to get, I’d tell them to get the iPhone 5. I’m pretty sure the iPhone 5 is the best phone in the world right now.
But I’m going with something that gets me excited about my phone again. I preordered the Lumia 920 last week and my shipment got delayed, it’s supposed to show up tomorrow. I’m pumped, can’t wait for the weekend to be over. It’s something wholly new, and it sounds like it’s one hell of a phone, too. I hope I like it, cause I’m going to be stuck with it for a while. And if I don’t, at least I’ll have another post to write. And I can’t wait for how excited I’ll be to upgrade to an iPhone 6 in two years.
Now if you’re asking why I didn’t pick the Galaxy S III, well… I don’t like Android. For no reason.