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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Verizon, Android, and the iPhone

Today, Verizon and Apple announced the CDMA version of the iPhone 4. So, what does this mean? The inclusion of such a popular phone can't be ignored. Let's take a look at the possible impact of the Apple and Verizon iPhone.

First of all, this isn't a Verizon exclusive deal. Verizon never said that there isn't going to be a Sprint or T-Mobile iPhone. Keep this in mind if you are on another carrier. The iPhone isn't going to be announced on another carrier tomorrow, that would steal the thunder from Verizon, but I wouldn't be shocked to see the iPhone on another carrier or two in six months or so.

The good:

Verizon boasts the larget 3G network in America. There are more hole-in-the-wall towns blessed with Verizon 3G than any other network. Verizon also has a large rollout of 4G LTE markets. (Basically if the city has an NFL team, look for LTE.) Also, most people say that Verizon handles large crowds of people better than AT&T does, for example at a football game or convention hall. This is an advantage of the CDMA network, routing voice and data separately. Verizon also has outstanding customer service.

The bad:

The iPhone doesn't support 4G LTE, and you can't browse the internet and talk at the same time. It is just a limitation of the network that Verizon uses. Never had a smartphone on AT&T, so I can't say that I miss it. The flood of incoming messages after talking on the phone for an hour can be annoying though. Verizon also recently took away the 30 window to return/exchange a new phone (down to 15 days) and also took away the new phone at 13 months and extended it to 21 months. Did Apple ask Verizon to change these policies? I bet they did.

Apple and Android

Android is open-sourced. I sport a rooted, overclocked Droid X. I love this phone. Android phones can be rooted, which means the user can gain access to the whole phone. Don't like how the icons on your screen look? Think the phone is too slow? Don't like looking at the Blockbuster app that Verizon installed on your phone and can't delete? Root your phone, download an app and do what you want to your phone. For instance, when my phone is on a charger or on a full battery I have a small overclock going on. In other words, I am pushing the processor in the phone to go faster than Verizon wants it to go. When the battery gets low, I have it set to actually slow down the processor to 60% of its regualar speed. This saves the battery. Kinda neat huh?

Well the iPhone is the opposite of Android. IOS is closed. Apple controls not only the software on the iPhone, but what phones use the IOS. Apple controls the software, and the hardware. Jobs controls the apps that go on the iPhone, and this can come off as tyrannical. So why do it?

Apple products work, and here is why. They only have to program for a couple of different platforms. Where Android is installed from anything from my blazingly-fast Droid X to a Sony Nook, (Yes that is an e-reader. Not to mention TV's, cars and fridges. Yeah really.) there is the iPhone, which is made to Apple's specs.

So it comes down to the open, but fragmented Android to the closed, but functional Apple iOS.

There is demand for the Verizon iPhone. I predict masses of people defecting from AT&T, and also Verizon customers getting the iPhone.

This is exactly what both Apple and Vierzon want. Don't do it, here is why:

1. You are getting locked into a 2 year contract.

  • Verizon doesn't allow upgrades at the 13 month mark anymore once you sign a new contract. Your old contract is in effect, and you can upgrade at 13 months if your current contract states that, but once you sign a new contract, you are subject to the new rules.


2. This is a new phone on a new network.

  • Apple and Big Red say that the only thing that changed from the Big Blue iPhone 4 is the new antenna. I don't buy it. I don't buy it at all. Even if a problem is identified in the first week, it takes weeks to get a fix from Apple and more time to test the fix by Verizon. You could be looking at 3 months to fix a problem which will piss you off when you realize that:


3. There will be a newer, much improved iPhone released in only six months.

  • This is why Verizon and Apple timed things out like they did. The iPhone gets an update every 12 months. We are 6 months into that cycle. Apple sells more iPhones, Verizon locks a ton of customers into 2 year contracts, LOCKED INTO PHONES THAT ARE OBSOLETE .


Keep your money. Smile as your friends get the Verizon iPhone. Play with it, and then get the new one in 6 months. Who will be envious then?