Last October I came pretty close to buying an iPhone. My two year contract with Verizon was up and I was thoroughly unimpressed with their selection of smart-phones. I hesitated though because I didn't know too much about AT&T's network. It's not that I'm all about Verizon... it's just that I've never had problems with Verizon's service: no dropped calls and more bars when my friends on other networks had fewer or none. If it ain't broke why fix it, right?
Anyway, I'm glad I hesitated. Here's why:
The Motorola Droid.
I hate iTunes. OK, that's not true, I just hate the iTunes Store. I'll explain. A few years ago, when iTunes was somewhat of a new thing, I downloaded a bunch of songs for my mom's birthday. Fast forward to Christmas 2009. My mom gets a new iPod for Christmas. Well, being the loving son I am, I offer to my help my mother load up her new iPod with the existing tunes on her computer, among which were the tracks that I had previously purchased for her. So I drag and drop onto the iPod but I'm greeted with an error message. I couldn't put these songs -- purchased from the iTunes Store -- on my mom's new iPod because they were not authorized to play on my mom's computer, nor could they be because these songs had reached the maximum amount of authorizations (five computers).
Stupid, right? Did I buy these songs or did I buy these songs? Anyway, it took me much longer than needed to put those songs on my mom's iPod. Thank you iTunes.
From what I understand -- I don't really know because I don't buy from the iTunes Store anymore -- Apple has ditched the DRM mess and they now allow their 'special' audio format to be played on non-Apple devices and softwares.
So nowadays, it's not so much that I refuse to buy from iTunes, it's more that it makes more sense to buy elsewhere, especially when it comes to price. Embryonic by the Flaming Lips on iTunes costs $10.99. Not bad for 18 tracks, right? Amazon.com for same mp3 album: $8.99 -- two bucks cheaper and it comes with a bonus track.
And you really can't beat Amazon.com's sick sales:
*Deal of the Day -- I bought Raditude (mp3) by Weezer for $3.99. A few weeks prior, FOTC's new album (mp3) sold for the same price.
*Black Friday week -- During the week of Thanksgiving they sold over 500 mp3 albums for $5.00 each.
*Every month they have 50 or more mp3 albums for $5.00. And it's legit stuff too.
*Currently they have over 800 mp3 albums for $5.00. In conjunction with this sale, if you buy an mp3 album priced at $7.99 or above you get a $5.00 album free. Again, legit stuff here; I took advantage of this sale and got OK Computer for free.
(Of course, more often than not I'll end up buying the physical copy; support your local record store.)
Don't get me wrong, Apple makes great products. I love my iPod and I wouldn't mind owning a Mac -- for photo editing and other creative projects -- and I did come pretty close to buying an iPhone. I just find their incompatibility (hence my rant about iTunes) and smugness (see any Mac or iPhone commercial) quite off-putting. Ultimately, I'm not anti-Apple, I'm anti-monopoly.
Now, let's get back to the Droid. Here's why I'm glad I didn't buy an iPhone:
*Verizon: Luke Wilson will tell you that AT&T has (1) a faster network and (2) allows for simultaneous data and voice service, i.e., Internet browsing during a phone call. (1) What is the point in having a faster network when your coverage is inferior? Also, if I'm using the Internet on my phone, it's for something that doesn't require a great amount of speed, like checking my bank balance or Facebook or sending a quick email. (2) I don't really care. I can see the advantage of simultaneous voice and data but I just don't see myself surfing the Internet and talking to a friend at the same time. So again, if it ain't broke why fix it?
*Android operating system: Since the advent of Gmail I've been in love with Google products, and so it is with the Droid's Google operating system. The way it juggles phone contacts with Facebook friends is pretty impressive.
*Its name: The word 'droid' -- short for android -- was coined by George Lucas. Verizon/Motorola is under special license from Lucasfilm for the name of this phone. It just makes sense for me to own a phone that draws its name from the Star Wars universe.