Since the Motorola RAZR, no phone has generated so much buzz as the iPhone. Congratulations to Steve Jobs & Co. for once again showing off their marketing skills and generating so much hype. Ordinarily, when one thinks of a two-year data plan contract with a cellular carrier, they are not willing to spend much on the phone itself. Not only does the iPhone aka Jesusphone cost an arm and a leg, but you would have to sell your kidney to pay 2 years worth of AT&T subscription fees. If you travel a lot internationally, add roaming fees to that and you’re not left with much.
So, why did people spend so much on the iPhone? I guess it’s the cool factor. The phone has an attractive user interface (credit must be given where due – iPhone probably has one of the best interfaces I’ve seen on a mobile device), and consumers seem to like things which look good, irrespective of whether there is a better alternative or not. OK, so the iPhone has touch-navigation and during Steve Jobs’ demo of the phone, the sliding of his finger over the display of the phone to unlock it generated so many ooh’s and aah’s. Come on people, you can do better than that.
In my opinion, this is a phone only for the youth. However, most of the youth can’t really afford this phone. Only the corporate folks can afford the phone (and the AT&T special plan), which is an irony because the iPhone is not very effective in a corporate setting. You can’t sync with Microsoft Exchange (used by majority of companies). You can’t create or edit documents, presentations and charts. You can’t install custom 3rd party applications. (If you attempt to, Apple’s next software update will simply disable your phone and brick it … if you ask me, this is unethical and someone should sue Apple for tampering with their property (phone)). That is why I prefer Windows Mobile phones. Even the Open Handset Alliance initiative is good for the industry. Apple and Steve Jobs, on the other hand, still remains a very closed group of people – not good for industry.
So much for exclusivity – so many people own iPhones these days. I have a T-mobile Dash (aka HTC Excalibur aka HTC S620), which probably has fewer units sold. That makes my phone more exclusive than the iPhone, doesn’t it? And I have my kidneys intact. iPhone doesn’t support 3G (which is basically speeds of 1Mbps over the cellular network). You are stuck with crappy EDGE speeds – 200 Kbps. Why bother with YouTube at such speeds? The iPhone keyboard isn’t as accurate as advertised. There are always jumbled characted. Also, the portrait to landscape auto conversion happens only with the browser and YouTube – and it doesn’t work if the iPhone is placed flat on a table (go figure).
Here is another fact – the iPhone is not the first touch phone. The HTC Touch is the first touch phone. I particularly like their cube feature. The iPhone is limited to a single screen menu. HTC Touch’s menu is a cube. You can flip its sides to view each face of the cube (like rotating a cube with your thumb). Today, HTC touch officially announced the HTC Touch Cruise – http://www.htc.com/product/03-product_htctouch_cruise.htm
This phone is bound to be much, much better than the iPhone. It has a 400MHz processor, with 256MB/128MB ROM/RAM with a microSD card expansion slot. It is interesting that the iPhone’s processor speed and memory details are not published (other than the 4GB/8GB flash memory). This phone supports HSDPA, a 3G protocol (upto 3.6Mbps download speeds). Oh, and if that didn’t capture your attention, this will – the phone has an inbuilt GPS. This phone is definitely on my radar.
Read the full HTC Touch Cruise press release at http://www.europe.htc.com/z/pdf/press/HTCTouchCruise_PressRelease_071112a.pdf (Note: PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Here is a small video showing a couple of features: