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puppymagic 11-15-2010 10:57 AM

Pros and cons of Android phones, iPhones and Blackberry phones?
 
Thanks a lot, hardware handheld experts @ LQ!

acid_kewpie 11-15-2010 11:03 AM

You know you've not actually asked a question there have you....

Hmm...

Anyway, despite swearing I couldn't buy any made by Apple or Android, I did cave in and get a Galaxy S (Android) and it really is very good. For geeks it's the (apparent illusion of) openness compared to the iPhone you can do a hell of a lot of things that Steve Jobs would never let you do on an iPhone, like really hooking into the underlying system to create clever apps that are technically impossible on a standard iPhone (.e.g I use an app called Tasker to join up a lot of disparate inputs to give some useful outputs - send a text to my wife when I drive through a certain location, turn wireless on when I plug my phone in, all sorts...). The ads can suck, but then that's what you get for free apps, and any ad supported app is likely to have a paid "pro" version avilable too anyway, as opposed to the iPhone app store all being paid for or free for pointless crap (afaik)

salasi 11-15-2010 03:37 PM

Unlike acid, I've been looking at a cheap Android phone. while the expensive ones are better (camera, often), I don't feel that they are that much better than the cheap ones to justify the cost.

OK, on to your (non-)question: Apples and Androids have done something new in the 'phone world (and very traditional in the computer world); you buy the hardware, and after that you can upgrade the software for a nominal cost, until either your hardware wears out or things move on so much that you need better hardware.

To me, that is a much more appealing model than the traditional 'buy phone, throw when tired, or more up-to-date software is wanted' model..

Apples are always expensive; objects of beauty, but very expensive. I'm not interested in spending that much on a phone. Apple are also very controlling about what can and can not go on their app store. Sorry, but I'm the consumer and I'll decide what I want, not you.

Androids are available in a variety of prices; there is competition between manufacturers and you can get stuff like slide-out qwerty keyboards, if you want. The cheap ones tend to be low on megapixels and internal memory, but there are perfectly functional cheap smartphones out there. Not with Apple, or really with Blackberry (there are cheap-ish Blackberries, but they are desperately low spec phones by modern standards...maybe that's not important).

Blackberries get a lot of attention for their ability to fit into a corporate e-mail scheme; not a concern for me, but some IT departments standardise on them because they know that they can handle the problem of integrating Blackberries. You can see why they don't want the headache of having to cope with everything.

They are also relatively well-made devices. you don't see them looking tatty after a year of life.

PS; for the Galaxy S, I've seen poor reports from the US on GPS accuracy; the kind of figures that I've seen are attainable by triangulation, rather than true GPS. Any sign of that in the UK, Chris? Probably a firmware bug or slow start-up of GPS, rather completely non-functional GPS, I'd guess, but it would worry me slightly.

Slightly stupid point (alright, very stupid point)

Somehow, the fact that you can use a flash card formatted with ext4 (or ext3...what about BTRFS???) for an android is very appealing to me.I don't really know why that is in any sense a real advantage, but it just feels mega-cool, somehow.

enine 11-15-2010 07:24 PM

The only real downside for me was the data plan. I'd be fine with just wifi but the data plan per month compared to paying $550 up front kind of evens it out.I don't really need to be able to read facebook, twitter, etc all the time but needed a pda/calendar and those are almost non existent now a days so I ended up just getting a data plan and figure I may as well use what I'm paying for.
Now some smart phones you will sacrifice call quality, or suffer a sub par carrier but thats one of the reasons I didn't buy an Apple product, Motorola, Blackberry, etc all know how to make a smartphone without sacrificing the phone side.

salasi 11-16-2010 03:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160023)
The only real downside for me was the data plan..

Perhaps, but that depends very heavily on your location as the deals available vary very much, market by market (although Aplle is often the least flexible). If the OP wants more information, which takes this into account, it would probably best to disclose the relevant location.

acid_kewpie 11-16-2010 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by salasi (Post 4159782)
Unlike acid, I've been looking at a cheap Android phone. while the expensive ones are better (camera, often), I don't feel that they are that much better than the cheap ones to justify the cost.

My take was that the Galaxy S will be able to do whatever is asked of it in a year, whereas other phones which are lower powered will not, despite being fine now.

Quote:

OK, on to your (non-)question: Apples and Androids have done something new in the 'phone world (and very traditional in the computer world); you buy the hardware, and after that you can upgrade the software for a nominal cost, until either your hardware wears out or things move on so much that you need better hardware.

To me, that is a much more appealing model than the traditional 'buy phone, throw when tired, or more up-to-date software is wanted' model..

Apples are always expensive; objects of beauty, but very expensive. I'm not interested in spending that much on a phone. Apple are also very controlling about what can and can not go on their app store. Sorry, but I'm the consumer and I'll decide what I want, not you.

Androids are available in a variety of prices; there is competition between manufacturers and you can get stuff like slide-out qwerty keyboards, if you want. The cheap ones tend to be low on megapixels and internal memory, but there are perfectly functional cheap smartphones out there. Not with Apple, or really with Blackberry (there are cheap-ish Blackberries, but they are desperately low spec phones by modern standards...maybe that's not important).

Blackberries get a lot of attention for their ability to fit into a corporate e-mail scheme; not a concern for me, but some IT departments standardise on them because they know that they can handle the problem of integrating Blackberries. You can see why they don't want the headache of having to cope with everything.

They are also relatively well-made devices. you don't see them looking tatty after a year of life.
I read an article the other day that says that 56% of Blackberry users would want a different OS next time, vs something like 20% for Android and 7% for iPhone. They were also happy to discount the iPhone / Android differences as fanboi stuff.
Quote:

PS; for the Galaxy S, I've seen poor reports from the US on GPS accuracy; the kind of figures that I've seen are attainable by triangulation, rather than true GPS. Any sign of that in the UK, Chris? Probably a firmware bug or slow start-up of GPS, rather completely non-functional GPS, I'd guess, but it would worry me slightly.
I'd never expect the GPS to be perfect, but it does work as hardware. Google Navigation has me magically hopping on to side roads and the likes on certain days (and it does actaully seem to have good and bad times, reboots seem to affect its accuracy) but these annoyances I think are mainly in the coding of the app, and the GPS chip, even if not as good as it could be, is giving good enough data for a better nav algorithm to keep you on the right road etc.

mjolnir 11-16-2010 06:56 AM

My current smartphone is a Droid and overall performance including gps is good. I am thinking of switching to Blackberry because I am also intrigued with the QNX powered PlayBook and may get one when they are released.

enine 11-16-2010 07:20 AM

Blackberries are nicely built but are just lacking in features and software and just kind of boring. They are great if you need the microsoft exchange functionality but don't have anything other reason to choose them over another phone os.

lupusarcanus 11-16-2010 11:06 AM

The iPhone is the undisputed king and clearly the best value for the money, as well as the most intuitive, useful and easiest to use device. Hell, jailbreaking it (which is legal, but it voids you warranty... however resetting the device to factory settings makes the warranty good again, lol) makes the device a full-fledged UNIX compliant computer. I use awk, sed, a terminal, and Debian's APT on my phone!! They've even got nano and other utilities us Linux users have come to know and love available. Remarkable indeed! Unfortunately, you NEED to jailbreak it to make it work with Linux so you can use SSH. I don't know if gtkpod supports the iPhone 4 yet. it might...! After jailbreaking it, Linux support is workable. You can back it up, and put new stuff on there... That's all iTunes does anyway. Not to mention that it's a plain sexy device and fun to use.
Think: It's an MP3 Player + Free GPS + Smartphone + PDA + Portable Game Console, Remote Desktop, E-reader, IDE...
It's crazy good. Totally worth it 100%.


Blackberries on the other hand, well they SUCK. They have had SOOOO many problems in the past with their network and stuff, and their phones themselves are LAME-O. Not fun, not even useful. Might as well get a Nokia and a netbook for the price of one of those POS. Bad experiences all around for me. They don't even LOOK nice, and they are slow and dull... Well subjective of course but I hate crackberries.

Android is pretty darn cool though. It's not QUITE on the level the iPhone is, but boy is Android getting good. It's also based on Linux, which is awesome because File System support and the whole blah blah is easy to setup whereas the iPhone takes some work in Linux. I don't have any personal experience with Androids, however they seem competitive with the all mighty iPhone and offer many of the same features. Some of the Android phones from HTC look pretty awesome.

Android is cool but...

The iPhone: always imitated, never duplicated.


One more thing to look at is the Palm phones. Before I got the iPhone (which is THE BEST!!) I had used Palm's phones before, and you know what? They are really nice. They have the business aura about them too, so if you're an executive Palm is a nice one to get. They are probably the best supported on Linux IIRC... Ubuntu has a syncing program included with the distro especially for it. Palm is nice and very underrated.


Basically to sum it up:

iPhone is the best all-around and the funnest to use. It's been seasoned and fine-tuned for a couple of years now, and it really is flawless IMHO.
Android is cool with stand-out style, and it's based on Linux and distributed by good old Google. With Google around, you have piece of mind that this device is backed by a company committed to excellence. Alas, it is a duplication of the iPhone, but it has the POTENTIAL (it isn't yet though, long way to go) to overtake the iPhone. Huge pros here include open-source OS (always great!), open app store (whereas iPhone app store is much more controlled), cheaper prices (especially if you are buying the iPhone without a contract, OMG :O), and more carriers.
Blackberry, don't get one. 'Nuff said.
Palm, nice support for Linux, very business like, and very stable, mature OS. Cheap.

It's Android vs. iPhone here. If you love FOSS and hate proprietary software, Android is the way to go. If you don't mind proprietary software, get the iPhone, especially if you have a Windows or Mac partition laying around somewhere (for redsn0w or equivalent, and for iTunes). Either way, you will be happy, and will have a do-it-all smartphone to show off off to your friends, co-workers and family.

That's how I see it. Subjective and opinionated of course.

Best of luck!!

enine 11-16-2010 11:23 AM

Quote:

The iPhone is the undisputed king and clearly the best value for the money,
That I can dispute. For one thing I can run all kinds of unix/linux tools on android without needing to jailbreak/root it.
No need to crap software like itunes with android, no need to stick with a crappy carrier like AT&T, easy to swap the battery without tools, etc.
Remember too that other phones don't have the antenna, call, and other problems that iphones have.
Don't forget that the iphone is mostly a copy of the old palms, just alm didn't patent a lot of the ideas but apple did.

lupusarcanus 11-16-2010 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
That I can dispute. For one thing I can run all kinds of unix/linux tools on android without needing to jailbreak/root it

So can I. Jailbreaking takes 2 minutes. Look up redsn0w. It's 2 clicks through a GUI and you're done. Pretty much irrelevant.
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
No need to crap software like itunes with android

iTunes is great software. You can use SSH, which is literally NO SOFTWARE AT ALL, or gtkpod (not sure for the 4 though).
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
no need to stick with a crappy carrier like AT&T

You can unlock it. iPhone coming to Verizon soon anyway.
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
easy to swap the battery without tools

Not on all the models.
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
etc.

Articulate the et cetera.
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
Remember too that other phones don't have the antenna, call, and other problems that iphones have.

3GS doesn't have any. iPhone 4 problems are anecdotal. As Steve said, just 'don't hold it that way'.
Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4160808)
Don't forget that the iphone is mostly a copy of the old palms, just alm didn't patent a lot of the ideas but apple did.

Not really. I had a lot Palms. Big difference. Huge difference. Monumental difference.

enine 11-16-2010 02:34 PM

Remember, as steve said "all smart phones have reception issues" which isn't true as well as a lot of other things he has said which isn't true. I had/user/supported a lot of palms over the years as well as Windows CE through pocket pc, etc, the iphone didn't have much new and inovative, a lot of it was copied and then patented and claimed to be new when it wasn't, lots of marketing and untruths out of the mouth of Jobs.

salasi 11-16-2010 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acid_kewpie (Post 4160398)
My take was that the Galaxy S will be able to do whatever is asked of it in a year, whereas other phones which are lower powered will not, despite being fine now.

Fair point, particularly in respect of memory capacity, which is going to be marginal, at best, for running Android 3.0. OTOH, for the straight purchase price of a Desire or a Galaxy S, you could buy a cheap Android today, and one next year and one the year after that and one the year after that. That final cheap android is going to be ~twice the spec (whatever that means) of today's high-end phone.

That's not a very environmentally sound way to proceed, and the numbers work out differently on a pay monthly plan, but you can see the basic point that I'm trying to make.

Quote:

I read an article the other day that says that 56% of Blackberry users would want a different OS next time, vs something like 20% for Android and 7% for iPhone.
Yeah, I saw that article, too, or at least the digest of it via an RSS feed. What it seems that they didn't ask was 'and are you happy with the price that you would have to pay for that decision' or 'is it worth xxx to you to get this other phone'. Without taking value into account, I'm not sure how much value there is in, for example, saying 'people like iPhones' (or whatever), if there is a silent addendum 'but they aren't prepared to but them, at that price'.

Quote:

I'd never expect the GPS to be perfect, but it does work as hardware. Google Navigation has me magically hopping on to side roads and the likes on certain days (and it does actaully seem to have good and bad times, reboots seem to affect its accuracy) but these annoyances I think are mainly in the coding of the app, and the GPS chip, even if not as good as it could be, is giving good enough data for a better nav algorithm to keep you on the right road etc.
A friend did some work for one of the networks using phone mast triangulation to give a location and his typical accuracy was about 75 yards (from rusty memory...maybe it was 75 feet).

The way A-GPS (assisted GPS) works is that a disadvantage of GPS is the receiver takes quite a time (depends on sig:noise ratio) to lock onto the signal from enough satellites, but if you have a rough initial estimate of position (your last position when GPS was active, in the case of a non-assisted GPS, which is all right unless you've moved since GPS signals were last available, or the triangulated-from-mast numbers, which is where the advantage of 'A' comes in) you know which satellites to look for and it takes you less time to lock on. Typically a warm start can take in the region of 5 to 10 secs and a cold start (without knowledge of which satellites are likely to be available) takes more like two minutes, with the usual conditions about sig strengths, RF front end noise factor and detection and correlation algorithms.

Now it strikes me that the numbers reported here and here would be the kind of numbers you might get if you used the triangulation numbers, and either never got the GPS numbers, or they only turned up rather late. It may be unique to US market phones, though, as I haven't seen anything similar reported from Europe (maybe the Europeans didn't do such a thorough job of reviewing it, I don't know).

enine 11-16-2010 07:55 PM

My droid seemed to prefer A-GPS over true GPS, it would show my location bouncing all over the place, I finally turned off the agps function (location via network in settings) and its much nicer now, sure it takes a whole three seconds to get a gps lock but I can live with that as opposed to being bounced around a block or two. I could be sitting at my desk at work and see my location moving around in my latitude history.

corbintechboy 11-16-2010 08:34 PM

Well I got the Blackberry Torch and love it!

I have used many smart phones over the last couple years. I have had the Samsung Captivate (Galaxy S) and took it back due to GPS issues. Iphone is just to non-geek for me (It is what STEVIE thinks a phone should be). I have had many Blackberries as well.

Blackberry 6 has changed the game for Blackberry. The older OS 5 devices always felt like I was using something from the stone age. OS 6 is very nice and in my own testing has the fastest browser of any device I have ever used.

Android would be the geek dream for me if I somehow did not see the evil of the maker of Android (we all know who) giving the illusion of being open to havng no openness at all. I just feel like they (above company) has a hand in everything to do with the net and does not need my contact numbers either.

BB is a great platform that has finally stepped out of the stone age and offers a device that is worthy of today's tech. Iphone is old news and on the way out. Android will take that sector soon enough and there is the growing BB market as well.

And I can change the battery on my device..... :D.... Had to say it.


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