Yes, it has happened! Over the past two years I’ve converted to a completely Mac household. In March 2010 I bought my 17″ MacBook Pro. In March I bought my iPad2 (followed up by another iPad 2 purchase after leaving first one on an airplane in August). And most recently, October 16 I made that leap I said I would NEVER make. Yes, the iPhone now resides in my pocket, on my bedside table and next to me at work.
For those who don’t know my history AGAINST everything iPhone, it’s been a long hard-fought battle. First putting the iPhone up against my far superior BlackBerry for so many years. Then in 2010 I started in the Android craiz.
Here is the SmartPhone history of Richard Wood: 2005 – BlackBerry 7100 (AT&T), 2006 – 7130 (Verizon), 2007 – BlackBerry 8830(Verizon), 2008 – BlackBerry 9530 (Verizon), 2009 – BlackBerry 9550(Verizon), June 2010 – HTC EVO 4G WiMax (Sprint), April 2011 – HTC Thunderbolt 4G LTE (Verizon), September 2011 Motorola Bionic 4G LTE (Verizon), October 16, 2011 32gig White iPhone (AT&T).
As you can see from the above, I’m a device junky. I don’t dare attempt to tally up how much dough I’ve dropped on SmartPhones over the past 6 years, but I suspect we’re pushing $10k.
I’m going to layout likes/dislikes of each device and why the change from the previous device.
- AT&T BlackBerry 7100 – This was a love/hate relationship from the start. At the time I received this device it was issued to me by my company and it was supposedly the most advanced BlackBerry on the market at that time. AND since my firm issued ONLY BlackBerry devices my hands were a bit tied on selection. I hadn’t owned a SmartPhone before this one so I was actually thrilled to get it!
- Verizon BlackBerry 7130 – I recall this creating an amazing amount of termoil in my homelife. I had convinced my partner that when I received my 7100 (above) that he should convert from Verizon to AT&T so we could talk for free. Well, I couldn’t handle staying with AT&T. At that time he and I both had terrible call quality and phone calls dropped left and right. That was the primary reason for jumping to the 7130 on Verizon. I knew the call quality and dropped calls would essentially go away! And they did. It was a very solid device. Still small like my 7100, but much more reliable.
- Verizon BlackBerry 8830 – I was now going to be playing with the big boys! This thing was HUGE. And in my mind it was the bee’s knees! Big beautiful color screen, high(er) speed data network and the OS was leaps and bounds more advanced than the 7130. The ONLY thing this baby was missing was a camera and I didn’t feel like waiting for the 8330 to be released. I needed it and needed it NOW! This was a “World Phone” and even made a trip to Mexico with me. One disadvantage of this phone was the keypad. I never fell in love with the VERY flat difficult keys. It was also VERY difficult to see the silver keypad in any sort of dark(ish) environment. I remedied this problem by swapping out the keypad from an AT&T 8800 (black). Worked pretty slick even though it looked like crap.
- Verizon BlackBerry 9530 – The infamous “Storm”. Eeesh, where do I start. I had to love it! It was my first phone without a physical keyboard, which means there was screen real estate to do ALL sorts of things with. Unfortunately, this phone was fraught with problems, although I rarely had the significant issues most people had with it. For starters in order to select an icon or type the letter “A” (or any letter) you had to physically depress the glass screen until it clicked. It seemed like an ingenious idea at first. But it was really annoying when you figured out that it was not Multi-Touch and thus you couldn’t easy or quickly transition from one letter to the next while rambling in an email. I saw this “bright spot” being that I would have to be more concise in my emails (everyone always wishes that I would have adopted that years ago). Never happened. I eventually learned to type like a champ on there.
- Verizon BlackBerry 9550 “The Storm 2″ – the physical form factor of this device was very similar to the origanal 9530 Storm. But they did make some significant improvements, the biggest one I recall was the glass actually went to the edge of the case! Because both of these devices had depressable glass screens they needed to be able to move. However on the original Storm there was a lot of play with the glass in that it would often shift side to side and up and down. No longer on the Storm 2. Second major improvement was the multi-touch capabilities. You could finally touch two different parts of the glass and have them recognized as individual touches. This wasn’t so helpful in typing (after all, you still only had one piece of glass you were pressing on), but instead it was helpful in highlighting text. You could place one finger at the beginning of what you wanted to highlight, then your other finger at the end of the desired text. Pretty slick! Processor speeds and a Rev. A CDMA chip also helped process information and data faster over their network. I loved plugging this baby in on the train ride to work everyday and tethering my laptop, logging into work an hour before I even got there. She was a work horse!
- Sprint HTC EVO 4G WiMax – By the time 2010 rolled around BlackBerrys were quickly become obsolete to the elite in the tech community. BlackBerry was falling behind significantly with hardware AND software being rolled out. After meeting a Sprint Store Manager and District Manager at a Social Media Club social event I was curious about what else might be able to shift my attention from BlackBerry to an alternate and better device. This is where the EVO came in. Sprint was JUST rolling out their 4G WiMax network and I had the great fortune of living in one of the first cities who rolled out WiMax. I had just moved into a new condo and had EVERY intention of using this new AMAZING speed as my full-time home internet connection. It didn’t take long to figure out that (at least at that point) WiMax was a flawed network that had VERY difficult time penetrating buildings and even windows for that matter. So, you could easily get 10-15mbps downloads OUTSIDE, but the 4G would drop to about 0.2mbps once inside the condo (10 feet away, wooded structure). I suffered this for 9 months, complaining a lot and ended up dumping the WiMax (which for 98% of the time I owned the EVO I kept the 4G turned off because it sucked the battery dead within hours).
- Verizon – HTC Thunderbolt 4G LTE – In 2011 Verizon rolls out its first 4G LTE network (technically started in December 2010, but that was only for a data-only dongle). This network in and of itself was being sworn to promise 15+ mbps uploads with testing sometimes hitting in the 30mbps range (yes, I experienced this as well). This was HUGE. A giant leap forward in USA mobile networks! Better yet Built on a beautiful HTC platform I was already familiar with because of my EVO. This change did not come without its own issues however. Two days into having this new phone, the highly anticipated 4G LTE network had a three day data outage! Granted I could still use their 3G network, but these devices obviously favored the new LTE network because they did not work quite as reliably on 3G. My only other problem with the device happened to come when I was traveling to Orlando, FL in May 2011. I couldn’t get ANY service, 3G or 4G, at or around the hotel! PANIC! I was at a conference for a week! Verizon promptly overnighted me a new Thunderbolt (which the hotel charged me $10 to RECEIVE the package). Same issue! So, there must have been another outage of some sort, but “we” never did figure it out. All I know is that it was fine when I got back to Seattle.
- Verizon – Motorola Bionic 4G LTE – The hardware on this device was suppose to change “everything”. Duel core processor, 8mp camera, 1080p video shooting, weird dock thing that made it operate like a real computer, plus xGA display. This SHOULD have been a fantastic device. However, after a month of owning it, I had too many issues. Data connections being dropped several times per day, continued 4G data outages (not sure if it was phone or network, assumed phone), music would randomly start playing when it connected to my car’s bluetooth. Mostly I just couldn’t rely on the data… and that’s why I had a SmartPhone… DATA!
- AT&T – Apple iPhone 4S White 32gb – My roommate and I both had Thunderbolts at the same time. After a few months he started grumbling that he just “wanted it to work… just work… no fiddling with it, no reloading roms, no rooting… just WORK!” I thought this was kinda funny since I loved tinkering with the ROMs and software, but it wasn’t until I got my Bionic that I understood what “just work” means. Do what I want, when I want it. WOW, novel concept. So, in hearing all the hype about the new 4S I decided to cut my losses and pride. It was time to complete my metamorphosis into the next Apple Fanboy. I would be sacraficing LTE 4G speeds and I COULD have stayed on Verizon’s network, but here’s why I didn’t, a) 4G LTE had been pretty problematic from the start (albeit less problematic than WiMax), and b) Verizon’s 3G CDMA network for the iPhone was SUPER slow compared to AT&T. From what I read it was something like 0.75mbps on Verizon vs 7-10mbps on AT&T. And since I rarely ever talked on the phone my hangups about call quality and dropped calls were moot.
So, there’s my SmartPhone history. In the next segment I’ll review my iPhone 4S comparing some of its awesomeness to the awesomeness of my past devices.