Beginning of the End of my iPhone

My lab colleague Andrew Garcia handed me one of his test mobile phones and as a result, on October 23 I’ll be saying goodbye to AT&T and my iPhone 3G in that order. I’ll likely being saying “hello” to Sprint and an HTC EVO. I’m fed up with four years of not being able to place or receive calls in downtown San Francisco and paying a hefty monthly service fee for the non-privilege.

The device Andrew lent me was actually a Motorola Droid X running on the Verizon network. This phone is a cousin of the EVO (and I guess in a way of the iPhone 3G I currently use.) I know the battery life on the EVO is purported to suck. Thankfully, I have an empty power strip on my desktop just waiting to power my new phone. Power is a problem that is easily solved. No signal is a problem that is not easily solved.

The straw that broke Cameron’s back was my foolish upgrade to Apple’s IOS 4.0.1 on my admittedly “older” iPhone 3G. Before the upgrade, I didn’t get service in my San Francisco office, but at least the phone was a peppy, WiFi connected device. Ever since the upgrade, I can’t make calls and my phone runs like an old, whipped dog.

There will be things I’ll miss about my iPhone. Like the App Store. My cursory look through the Android marketplace was littered with crap like “be sure and uninstall the previous version on this app...” and “this version crashed my phone!” The one thing I never held against Apple was its iron grip over application specifications. It was such a relief to have applications work, without fear that they were installing nefarious spyware, and that the developer would be held accountable to basic performance standards. I really liked the fact that a small, but measurable percentage of applications were barred from the Apple App Store. Why? Because they did crap things like crash the phone. That is until...

My Apple experience with fine Apps and fine operating systems turned rotten with the 4.0 upgrade. Apple basically betrayed my trust that things would “just work” when I updated. Now everything “just works s-l-o-w-l-y.” There’s nothing “magical” about IOS 4 on the iPhone 3. I almost considered getting the iPhone 4 except, hey, I still wouldn’t be able to make a call from my office in the heart of San Francisco.

There are some things I’ll miss. Apple’s choice of default sounds. One of the things I love about my iPhone is that it comes with beautiful and respectful ring and alarm tones. There’s nothing like “Glass” or “Harp” in the defaults on the Motorola Droid X. There was a simply hideous “dddrroridd” robot tone, that sounds, well, hideous. Sounds are a personal thing, so I’ll not make too big a fuss over that.

What I’m looking forward to (besides actual phone service) is the screen. The Droid X, like the EVO has a positively huge screen. I actually felt like I was reading the New York Times on the Droid, as opposed to wearing my thumb out stroking my iPhone while trying to get the day’s news. After five years with AT&T most of it using an iPhone, I’ll be switching carriers and phone brands.