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Years ago, the iPhone came out…

I had an iPod, and the phone seemed pretty interesting, but it was touch screen, and the touch screens I had used sucked.

So then I used one, and fell in love with it. Things were responsive, typing on the touch screen worked, the mulit-touch gestures were intuitive and worked well, and apps from Apples App Store “just worked” as advertised.

One problem, Verizon treats my employer very well, and there was no option to jump ship unless I wanted to pay my own cell phone bill. I’m a geek, but not that much of a geek.

So I longed for an iPhone. I recommended them to everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I said “The iPhone is the best cell phone available on the market today, period”. This tidbit was handed out to everyone that asked my opinion of which smart phone to go buy, and it was valid. The Windows Mobile experience was failing on device after device, and Black Berries while available require a RIM product running in the background, which we did not have.

iPhones on the other hand had it all. Exchange email synced without issue, our security policies could be enforced, the phone worked well all the way around, the browser worked pretty well, there were plenty of apps to do all sorts of things, so on, and so forth.

Then the App Store model failed.

For one, unless I want to jailbreak my phone, I can only download apps from the App Store, and an app can only make it there if it’s approved by Apple. Apple however can deny apps access to the store if they are not secure, or if Steve doesn’t like them, or of they cut into Apples business model, or if a company on good terms with Apple doesn’t like them, or if the color of the buttons are wrong, or if the developer did kicked  Apple employees puppy 12 years ago in a neighborhood fight, or if it was written between 5:45 and 6:45 on the summer solstice… The list goes on and on, and even worse, the list often changes. A Google search for App Store Approval will garner plenty of examples.

Secondly, the walled garden security concept is gone. Apple is approving thousands of Apps a week, and at this frantic break neck pace to get apps out there, malicious apps area slipping through the cracks, so even though it may “Just Work”, it may also just steal my credit card, and kick my puppy.

The internet was also buzzing about being able to jailbreak your latest iOS 4 device from a web page. This is a great novel concept, but what everyone seemed to miss was what a problem this was. You were (and still are) able to open a PDF file which will remove all these restrictions from the device you bought and let you install what you want, despite apple not wanting you to be able to do so. Apple users seem to think this is a neat trick, maybe even a feature. The rest of the world call’s this an exploit. Someone with malicious intentions can use this same trick to compromise your iPhone, steal your credit card, and kick your puppy.

Finally, it won’t do flash. Love it, hate it, despise it, loathe it, whatever, a good chunk of the internet runs on flash. I’m not a web developer, so I can’t comment on the specifics of Flash vs. HTML5. All I know is that most of my favorite sites that have video play those video’s with flash, and the iPhone will never have flash. That’s why lots of popular sites have Apps. You think NASA really wants to replicate their web site into an iPhone app for shits and giggles? No, they just want you to be able to browse it, and you can’t just open a browser and do it, because they built their site with flash.

So all this is what I had to contend with for the privilege of (not) having an iPhone.

Then something else happened. Android showed up.

Motorola released the Droid, and I looked. It was neat. A different way of doing things, but it had a few limitations. The hardware felt a tad awkward, the OS was not all that polished, and most importantly for me, it didn’t support the full ActiveSync exchange protocol.

Guess what… They kept cranking on it, and now, Droid Does….

With Android Ver. 2.1 I can sync to my corporate email without issues, using the native email support, and the full complement of provisioning protocols arrives with Ver. 2.2, along with flash, so I really will be able to use all of the internet right from my handset. You really don’t need a half million apps when you can just open the page up in the browser like a big kid and enjoy the same functionality you get on your desktop PC. The apps that are left are for the most part, useful, and provide genuine functionality as opposed to replicating a web site.

Besides the software, the hardware is Sexy. My Droid X has a huge screen, a phenomenal camera, fits well in a pocket, and most importantly has one red button that makes it stand out in a crowd.

There’re also options. There’s a pile of devices available on whatever carrier I want to use. Verizon Sucks? Go to AT&T. Fed up with AT&T, go to sprint. Sprint sucks? Try Bob’s Wireless… You can use it wherever you want.

So now, this shiny device I have bought is mine to do with what I please. Yeah, there are people out there that want to write an app that will steal my credit card number, and kick my puppy, but at least I don’t have some guy telling me I can’t install what I want to protect me from these things.

It’s not that I hate Apple; I’m just not enamored with the iDevices anymore.

There’re other people out there making other devices, and they seem to be doing it better, with less big brother going on. I also think that if Apple doesn’t spend some time getting things together, more and more people are going to take a Kool-Aid break and see what else is out there, and then it might be time to worry.

And, on a final note, I had enough dignity to leave the antenna issue out of it.

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Author: Steve Norcup

Steve Norcup is a twenty something I.T. manager for a medium size company based in West Mifflin, PA.

His work is technology, his passion is photography, and his opinions are at times controversial but always thoughtful and genuine.

Tierone Photography is a budding photography company he is working on growing in his free time. Don’t forget to take a look at, or find them on Facebook