Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, I was tempted by an Apple .. iPhone 3G that is. Unlike Adam, I did not succumb to temptation. But I was sorely tempted. The screen is so clear and so big (3.5″), important for my old eyes. Also, the device is very responsive to finger swipes, in contrast to the sluggishness of my Windows Mobile devices.
So why didn’t I get it? One reason is you can’t remove the battery when it runs low and just pop in a spare. This is particularly a problem since 3G, especially if you are also using Bluetooth, can drain the battery in less than a day. Being tethered to a charger is a PITA. The SIM isn’t easily removable either. Currently I can quickly switch my SIM among devices and my 3G ExrpessCard. The ability to tether (use the iPhone as a modem for a laptop) also is in question. Indeed, the iPhone generally is locked down, and actually has an application “kill switch.” The “Big Brother” overtones aside, the generally locked down nature of the iPhone, while perhaps not a problem for the average user, is a problem for a bleeding-edge geek like me.
Update: The Mobile Gadgeteer has posted Congratulations Apple, you made the iPhone less stable than Windows Mobile. Interesting reading.
Yet, I might have bought the iPhone 3G anyway if there weren’t alternatives. But there are — or at least soon will be.
The chief alternative is the HTC Touch Diamond (pictured). It actually has been available in Europe for a couple of months, and will be available soon at a Sprint or Verizon store near you. However, a US GSM 3G variant just was approved by the FCC on July 29.
The Diamond’s display is only 2.8″ compared to the iPhone’s 3.5″. However, the Diamond packs in 480 x 640 pixels as compared to the iPhone’s 320 x 480. The Diamond’s TouchFlo 3D technology also is supposed to be very responsive to finger input. The Diamond, like the iPhone, has an accelerometer. This enables you to flip between portrait and landscape modes. You also can zoom in on your images, though with a different (circular) motion than with an iPhone. The only negative (other than it’s not available yet) is the lack of an external memory slot, such as microSDHC.
The Touch Diamond, like the iPhone, doesn’t have a keyboard. If that bothers you, consider the HTC Touch Pro, which basically is a Diamond with a slide-out keyboard.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 is another WinMo GSM alternative. It’s 3″ screen is slightly larger than the Diamond’s 2.8″, and it packs 480 x 800 pixels. It also has a microSDHC expansion slot. It’s expected release date is November 2008, by when HTC (which does manufacture the Xperia) may have its first Android phone … but that’s a whole different story for another day. There’s also a Sony Ericsson W1 that I’ve heard little about but also looks interesting. The W1 has a 3″ screen, 480 x 640 VGA, and a whopping 32GB ROM, though no expansion slot. Then there’s the Samsung Omnia. It has a 3.2″ screen, though apparently not VGA (240 x 400), though it does have a 15.6GB ROM and a microSDHC expansion slot.
So with these better (IMO) alternatives, no iPhone for me! Yet, the iPhone 3G is an impressive device. Must be strong, must be strong …