Need a new phone - iPhone vs. Blackberry vs. Android

2009-05-18 Personal Mobile Tips & Tricks

Last year I went hill-walking with Andrew and Adrian in Kerry. By now everybody knows the story: I drowned my iPhone in Adrian's backpack. The backpack was 100% water-proof, means it did not let any water out and at the end of a 4 1/2 hour (irish) survival tour with heavy, "horizontal" rain the iPhone did not pass the "can-your-iPhone-also-work-under-water" test.

I decided to look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to also "test" one of the last mobile devices I never had before: A Blackberry (Curve).

Unfortunately I have to admit it never really worked for me. The Blackberry is a good mobile email reader, but that's it. The iPhone is a mobile computing platform, that will also allow you to read your email, if you wish to do so. In the last 12 month I really missed my beloved iPhone :(.

Fortunately two weeks ago live-changing events opened up the opportunity for me to look at getting a new phone for myself. The first step was to look at my requirements:

  • Needs to be a mobile computing platform (not just a phone and an email reader).
  • Needs to allow me to write applications for it. If possible in JAVA. If possible using an OSGi container.
  • Needs to work in multiple countries (e.g. Germany, Ireland, Greece, ...) without killing me on the voice- and data-roaming charges. Means, if possible it should not be SIM-locked.
  • Needs to be affordable (both in terms of buying it and using it)
The list of options turned out to be kind of small. I first looked at the iPhone, but was not to happy with the plans and the prices that I can get for the iPhone (if you look for an iPhone without a SIM-lock it gets even worse). And the iPhone has no JVM (and will probably never have/get one).

I then looked at the Blackberry (Bold and Storm), but was not able to convince myself that these devices are the right platform for my software engineering ambitions in the next couple of weeks.

At the end I stumbled over an interesting alternative. The Android Platform! Exactly what I was looking for from a technical point of view (e.g. ability to run JAVA), but how about the rest of my requirements? It turns out that there is an Android Dev Phone that you can order (USD 399,- + VAT, one per developer), when you register yourself as an Android Developer (and the phone is SIM- and hardware-unlocked :)). Happy days!!!

My new toy will arrive in the next couple of days. Stay tuned. Will send out an update as soon as I am able to deploy the first bundles :).