My first Android and the problem with Choice
A couple months back I got the idea in my head that I should buy an Android phone. Since the only smartphones I’ve ever owned were iPhones (first a 3G, now a 4) I wanted to check it out, plus I’m involved with a couple projects that have a mobile aspect to them, it’s always good to be checking things out on the platforms your users are using (just like today any website should be checked out on Chrome, Firefox, and IE).
That was a couple months ago and I finally a pulled the trigger today. What took me so long? The long and short of it was, all the choice! When I bought my first iPhone there was one, and exactly one, choice: iPhone 3G Black. When I got my second phone there was really only one choice too, iPhone 4 Black (I’ve never waited around for the release of the white version). Even today, there is only 6 choices in iPhones, the 3GS, the 4, and the 4S, each available in black or white. The price point is very different between the 3 models and is most likely the deciding factor for most people.
On the other hand, the options in the Android world are endless, and frankly, overwhelming. It’s funny because what finally made me go out and get a new phone was I’m travelling a lot for the next couple years for school and I wanted to get an unlocked phone. One of the course I am taking right now is Leadership and Organizational Change taught by the guru of choice, Shenna Iyengar. I’m just finishing up her book, the Art of Choosing and her research goes a long way into showing why I was so overwhelmed by my Android experience and why I always feel so good about my Apple purchases. Apple offers choices, but not too many, and that’s yet another part of their genius. Not only is each of those products so high quality, but people walking into an Apple store feel better about their purchase decisions because they have choice, but not too much choice.
Of course, not only did I have to choose an Android phone, but I also had to pick a provider. Thankfully, the fact that I recently decided I wanted an unlocked phone made that easier. I’m trying out Simple Mobile. $40 for all you can eat phone, text, and data ($60 for 4G, but I didn’t get a phone that supports 4G). They resell T-Mobile’s network which I like, why have both of my phones on AT&T (but I still needed a GSM phone for Europe and Hong Kong)?
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with my Android so far, but it’s no iPhone. I’m really impressed with $40/month, I’m kinda surprised more people don’t go the path of unlocked phones and SIM cards from someone like Simple Mobile or Straight Talk (which resells AT&T). Sure, the initial investment in the phone is more expensive, but I figure I’ll be a little ahead after one year and way ahead if I stick through two years, the typical contract required to get discounted equipment.