I’m a creature of [obsessive compulsive] habit; the idea of change tends to freak me out somewhat. As such, when the time came for me to upgrade my mobile phone, I was struck by two feelings: excitement at getting my hands on some new tech and an exorable, deep rooted apprehension. I had been able to get an upgrade for some months, in fact, but hadn’t found the time to seriously consider it until recently. Thus began my long journey of indecision (and one that still continues to this day).
My “old” phone was an iPhone 3G. It was my first smart phone and also the first phone I’d got on a contract; until then all I had had was a series of pay as you go hand me downs (not that I’m complaining as they served me well for what they were). I certainly wasn’t (and still am not) an Apple fan, having never even owned an MP3 player let alone an iPod. However, I was reliably informed that the 3G was the best smart phone available at that time, so took the plunge (although in hindsight I probably should have waited a little as the 3GS came out not long afterwards; curse my lack of brand awareness).
It took me a little while to adjust having come from a Samsung D500, but what with Apple’s [in]famously simplistic operating system I was soon right at home. Although I shied away from buying any music from iTunes (because I wanted to be free to put and play my music where I wanted and, let’s face it, iTunes is never going to work reliably on a Windows PC), I went through my fair share of app purchases; ports of old video games were my particular vice (fyeah Beneath a Steel Sky). My iPhone had its hiccups but by and large behaved itself, and overall worked pretty damn well at doing what I needed from it.
The months passed, my minimum contract period came and went, and eventually it was time to choose once and for all (especially as my 3G was doing the Apple product thing of slowly but surely dying so that I’d be forced to buy a new one).
I had decided some time ago that I wanted to get away from Apple’s shiny phone-shaped fashion statement (plus the 4 didn’t really do it for me and was ridiculously expensive; if I had to choose, I would go for a 3GS), and thus spent a foolishly long time agonising over what to pick before finally whittling my choices down to two: an HTC Mozart (running Windows Phone 7) or a Desire S (Android). I’d been apprehensive about the former for a while due to Windows Mobile’s rather poor reputation, but after messing around with a couple of handsets realised that it wasn’t all that bad (if a little unfinished). Android, on the other hand, appeared to be offering some kind of mobile OS utopia, all open source and almost infinitely customisable (albeit as firmly under Google’s boot as iPhone owners were under Apple’s).
I eventually chose the Desire S, and thus began the long and arduous adjustment process. I like to consider myself somewhat technically adept, but going from iOS’s simplistic sleekness to Android’s world of possibilities was somewhat of a culture shock to say the least. The Wi-Fi refused to work initially, leaving me feeling crippled, and everything syncing with everything else made me fear for my data allowance. I disliked the keyboard immensely, and almost all the phone’s apps and features seemed to need extensive adjustment before I could get them to function as I wanted. Additionally the call quality – and speakerphone – proved to be incredibly poor (something that is currently being looked into as a possible handset fault); what good was it if the thing didn’t work as a phone?
In a few of my darker moments I found myself ruefully wishing for an iPhone, then feeling shame for wanting to crawl back to the company I’d striven to escape from. Perhaps I could get one, cover it in a shiny GelaSkin, pick up some cheap accessories from a place like Nationwide Vehicle Contracts then pretend it wasn’t an iPhone at all (so pondered my traitorous mind)…
However, things soon started to come together. Apps filled gaps I did and didn’t know existed, and as both a gadget and a mini PC I grew to love the Desire S and Android. However, due to the aforementioned reasons as a phone I still find it lacking, and do I really need another gadget to distract me when I could go with the simplicity (however rigid) that has served me so well in the past?
Watch this space…