Heatseekers, please help me out

I’ve come to the conclusion that my Bah Humbug attitude toward (and attendant resistance to adopting) smart phones has gone on too long. Not that I think I have a compelling need for a smart phone for my own personal use, but rather because as someone who develops websites professionally, I’m convinced that my skill set is careening toward obsolescence (if it hasn’t already arrived there and set up a lawn chair). Obviously this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We’ve been moving to a mobile world for a while now. The fact that no cell carrier offers decent service in my neighborhood isn’t a sufficient excuse anymore. Duh.

If I’m going to develop for one or more mobile platforms, I need to be a user. So I need to get a smart phone. Proposed Step One in this process is to acquire a Verizon Network Extender, so that a smart phone might actually be smart while it’s in my Epicenter.

Question #1: Do you have experience with the Verizon Network Extender? Good/bad/other? Got a clever way to get one? I was thinking eBay, but if there’s some way to compel Verizon to just give me a new one, that would be groovy.

The next issue is which phone to get. It’s either iPhone or an Android handset. Right? Is there some version of one or the other that is particularly worthwhile?

Question #2: If you have experience with or expert knowledge of both platforms, which way should I go? Is there a particular version to get or wait for? Please note that I’m not asking whether you like your phone. Everyone likes their phone. I’m asking how to choose what to buy.

Finally, and perhaps more complicatedly (not to mention grammatically awkwardly), I’m concerned that my current setup for email, contacts, and calendaring is oh so 20th century. I run everything from Outlook on my PC, syncing to the web and my dumb phone with Airset. Is that awful? Should the phone be the master device? Is SMTP email an irrelevant saurian artifact?

Question #3: What’s the best way to manage email, contacts, and calendar? Gmail? Something else?

Any guidance you can offer on any of these questions will be much appreciated.

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2 Responses to Heatseekers, please help me out

  1. Will Ware says:

    I’ve written apps for both Android (a few) and iPhone (just one). I personally carry an Android because (a) I’ve written Java on cellphones for a couple of jobs, (b) I’m a Google fan boy, and (c) I like that it syncs with my GMail and GCalendar. It’s great not to go anywhere near Outlook. Android code is reasonably organized as Java code generally is. What’s interesting the iPhone (from a Java programmer’s pov) is that first you miss all the conveniences of libraries and garbage collection and things being where you expect them, and then a little later you realize that it’s probably a better way to program a mobile device because everything is native code, not run thru a VM, and that with the absence of GC gives you a lot better performance, and that gives better battery life. So I can’t say one’s clearly better than the other, their strengths lie in different directions.

  2. WFNYCraig says:

    I went Android with my Verizon phone. I upgraded from a Blackberry, and boy was it an upgrade.

    If I was going to go iPhone (which is possible) I would wait until whatever the next iteration of iPhone is. The Mac Buyer’s Guide on Macrumors.com (http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#iPhone) usually has an idea when you are about to buy an obsolete device. Right now, they say you should wait because the iPhone 5 is inevitable. Maybe in August?

    I have an iPod touch in addition to my Android phone so I feel like I have a good user’s handle on the two operating systems. I love both devices for different reasons. Like the other commenter, I am a Google fanboy when it comes to GMail and Google Calendar. I also keep all my contacts using Gmail. Android is obviously great handling all things Google. I use the Apple mail client on occasion. The Gmail client on Android is much better than the Apple Mail client on iOS in my opinion.

    Also, on Android you can use alternate browser, Dolphin Browser which is far and away better than either Safari mobile or the native Android browser as far as I am concerned.

    On the downside, like a PC, the Android is a little more volatile. I run a program that keeps unnecessary programs from running in the background to manage battery life. Probably my fault for having too many apps installed.

    I will have a tough decision when the iPhone 5 comes out whether I stick with Android or move over to iPhone, but given the options today with the iPhone 4 and my HTC Incredible, I am happy that I haven’t made the switch yet. Also, keep in mind that my HTC Incredible isn’t the newest Android device out there either.

    Also, based on feedback from friends, the iPhone handles pictures and movies MUCH better than Android. I am relatively happy with both those features on the Android, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was better on the iPhone.

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