Verizon is releasing the iPhone and many people here in Pensacola are getting ready to jump on the bandwagon, but it always pays to do a bit of research, and also it might be a good idea to wait to see what the first crop of adopters have to say about it. Some things to consider:
While Verizon rocks when it comes to coverage areas and voice service quality mostly, it’s data speeds are not quite as good as ATT in most areas, and much slower in some areas. Plus, there are some hardware/network differences between ATT and Verizon, such as the fact that you can’t talk and do web on Verizon’s network (I personally never cared about this feature, but some people do). Not that I am a fan of ATT, I personally think their service and customer service leaves much to be desired. If you have an iPhone on ATT and use it mostly for phone calls, then Verizon might be a better choice, but then again, if you use it mostly for phone calls, why have an iPhone?
If you use your iPhone on ATT for what an iPhone is for mostly (data, web, etc) then you will more than likely be disappointed on Verizon. If you are currently on Verizon and are getting an iPhone because you want to do the things an iPhone can do, then you really might want to take a look at some of the new Android based phones which have really improved in this past year. In my opinion, you can get a lot more better free apps on Android than on iPhone. Sure there are more iPhone apps, but a lot of them are crap and way overpriced. Plus remember that every iPhone app you buy, 30% of the profit goes right to Steve Jobs and Apple, whereas Android software developers profit much more from the hard work they put into their apps. Another consideration is that it is so much easier to customize and tweak an Android phone and benefit from the huge community of open source software people who are constantly developing custom ROM’s and tweaks for Android phones (for free). With Android it is also much easier to do things like tether your laptop/tablet without having to fork out additional monthly fees
Another big consideration, it won’t be too much longer until the next iPhone comes out, if you buy one now, you will be basically stuck with it for the next 2 years which would be a drag considering the iPhone 5 is supposed to be released in a few months. If you absolutely must have an iPhone for whatever reason it would be prudent to wait until the next generation on Verizon, or better yet, get an Android phone today and see what you can do on it
If you do get an iPhone on Verizon, be sure to read all the fine print as they have been changing their plans and offerings in regards to data and such a lot lately!
This past year has seen a huge explosion in the mobile phone market with the newest crop of Android phones jumping past the iPhone and Blackberry’s as the most popular – and for good reason: Android is a much more open platform, allowing developers to make applications freely while also not being subjected to the draconian Apple apps rules and fees. While both the Blackberry devices and the iPhone offer some pretty good features (the Blackberry still being the best for Enterprise business users), there are things that have contributed to their losing market share, such as the crappy ATT service (Pensacola ATT service is spotty at best in many places).
So if you are looking for a new phone, the question comes, what to buy? One of the biggest factors is what you need your phone to do, as well as how much you want to pay for it – the initial cost of the phone is usually not as much of a factor as the continuing cost of the service. Smart-phone costs can add up quite quickly, especially with the added services such as tethering or mobile hot spots and high usage data plans (ATT has stopped their unlimited data plans and now requires you to pay in blocks which can be very expensive if you use just a little bit too much in a month.). Personally I have found that Verizon coverage is some of the best -Pensacola Verizon service is pretty good, and it definitely is one of the best when travelling across the US, however their pricing is not the cheapest so it is a trade-off between cost and benefits.
I currently am using a Droid (the original, although I plan on moving to a newer Android device in the near future). One of the things that I love about the current crop of Android phones is their ability to view Flash websites and play Flash games, something that the iPhone will never be able to do thanks to Steve (wanna be god) Jobs. In addition, I do like the easy integration with Google apps (gmail, google maps, etc). Also, with the soon to be released Android and Windows based tablets (like the Samsung Galaxy), the wireless hotspot capabilities may come in handy (while I currently have an iPad, I hate being hampered with its shortcomings such as the lack of flash, no usb ports, no camera, etc).
In the end, it comes down to a dizzying array of choices when it comes to phones, so be sure to take some time and do a bit of research before taking the plunge, and look carefully at all the associated costs.
While I have personally had an iPad since right after they were released, I still stick to my opinion that although it does have its uses and pluses, it is definitely not worth the money as its shortcomings (such as no Flash support, no USB, no camera, and ATT suck service) make it frustrating to use. Apple did beat a lot of companies to the punch by delivering a working (somewhat) model to market that has been embraced by many, however it was in no way Apple’s idea (look at the Pads in Star Trek for a clue), and there are now many new tablets about to hit the market which promise to deliver things that the iPad just can’t do.
Archos has had tablets out for a while now, and while not receiving the attention of the iPad (mostly due to lack of 3G connectivity), their Android based wifi tablets are pretty cool and are packed with all kinds of cool features such as true HD support, and the ability to use many of the apps from the Android store (in my opinion, a much better option than the overcontrolled and rip-off Apple apps market). RIM (the makers of Blackberry’s) is now entering the fray, and their PlayBook tablet promises to be much more business and enterprise useable – the iPad is just not secure and that is a deal breaker when it comes to being able to really use it in a business setting. The Samsung Galaxy is another new tablet that really shines in terms of features. With 3G, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Android 2.2 OS, front and rear facing cameras, Flash support, HD video support, the Galaxy has many of the things that the iPad currently lacks.
Tablet computers are really designed as consumption devices – they are great for viewing web content, videos, listening to music, etc. They are not the greatest for creating content as it is not very efficient to type on them, nor do they have the precise control which many computer applications need. That being said, I think that tablet devices are certainly going to explode across the market as people WANT consumption devices. They will not replace computers as creation devices, but they will certainly find a place in many people’s technology device arsenal as consumption devices.
My advice for those thinking about a Tablet is to wait a bit to see the what the upcoming crop of tablets will bring – iPads are just too overpriced and limited, and the non 3G tablets are likewise limited in the sense that you can only use them in wi-fi areas. There are sure to be tablets that will use Verizon here in Pensacola, or another wireless 3G or 4G provider other than ATT which has some serious issues in Pensacola (I hate the constant dropped 3G signals on the iPad).
Pensacola cell phone users who have service with Verizon and ATT will need to check with their carriers starting next week to see if there is a better and cheaper plan available. Starting Monday, Verizon is dropping the prices on many of its popular service packages, some with a significant savings! According to Verizon, switching plans will be free and there is no requirement to extend your current contract. AT&T, faced with so much bad press lately, responded with their own price cuts after the Verizon announcement
This is great news for cell phone users, but of course there is a catch. There will soon be mandatory data fees for all phones capable of internet accesss (all the smart phones like the new Droid already have these fees). That coupled with the fact that you still have to ask for the switch in plans is sure to bring Verizon some increased revenues. In a time when the cell phone carriers are battling, Verizon has taken the first swing which has forced the faltering AT&T to step up with a price cut of their own. AT&T has been recently battling a wave of negative publicity due to their poorly rated customer service and 3G coverage areas, not to mention all the bad press with Apple, and the iPhone (with Apple being sued by many huge companies for technology theft/patent infringement there is a good chance that they are either going to be paying a lot, or losing the ability to sell their current products).
For those with cell phone plans with Verizon or AT&T, be sure to check with them in the next week or so to see if you can save some money by switching to one of their new plans!!