If I like Android and hate my new carrier, Sprint, I can switch to Verizon and get the Incredible. If I have an aneurysm and love AT&T, I can get the Aria. If I want a small screen, I can do that. If I want a physical keyboard, I can find a device that does that. But for iPhone, I simply would have to take whatever Apple offers and believe that their choices are right for me. I’ve chosen Apple many times and will again in the future, but I don’t think I should buy into a system that restricts my choices when another one is out there that enables my choices.
The article is a long and honest assessment of one man’s reason for switching to Android from iPhone. By “honest”, I mean it doesn’t appear to be a page-hit or iPhone-bashing piece, but rather a sincere opinion. Still, that doesn’t mean the opinion isn’t misguided, and even a little bit misleading.
A lot of the article hinges on Android’s “momentum” and how it may soon be as good as the iPhone, but that makes no sense. If being “best” and having momentum matter the iPhone leads right now. By that criteria he should be using an iPhone and, in a couple years when his contract expires, he can survey the landscape for what’s “best” again.
The “best” argument isn’t what rankles me, however, it’s the so-called choice. Proponents of this line of reasoning—and the article adheres to it strongly—tout it as the iPhone against a mythical phone with features from who-knows-how-many handsets. No matter what feature you want, the argument goes, you have that “choice” (though it seems to ignore that the iPhone is a choice as well).
But what if you want several features? Maybe the Nexus One appeals to you, but you want a hardware keyboard. Oops. Or maybe you want the Evo, but also want AT&T. Oops again. Or maybe you want the Droid but with Apple’s App Store. Blasphemy! The point is, “choice” does not mean you get the phone of your dreams. There will be compromise. Period. At the end of the day, after the “choice” you still end up with just one phone for two years. Will that one phone—not a device imagined from features of others—be better than the iPhone (also a choice)? Will it be more or less of a compromise? In the end that’s all that matters.
Somewhat misleading is the flippant way the author suggests that if he doesn’t like a phone he can just switch. But that’s hardly true. As a subsidized phone, once you buy it you’re in for (on average) two years. So, no, if you hate your new carrier, you can’t just switch to Verizon. Not without a hefty Early Termination Fee. Or is money supposed to be no object? Sure, you can switch after two years, maybe 18 months, but does that matter if you’ve made the wrong compromise to begin with?