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Free at Last… Thank you iPhone!

Goodbye and good riddens Windows Mobile

Technology trends and news by Mike Fruchter
July 14, 2009 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/95b

 
 
 
My mobile device for the past two years was an HTC Kaiser running on Windows Mobile. When I purchased that smartphone back in late 2007, the first generation iPhone had been on the market for just a few months. Having heard the horror stories about the first generation iPhones running on the edge network, coupled with the lack of a physical keyboard, I decided not to purchase one. I sat idle for two years locked into a two year contract with a sub par phone, while everyone around me had the “cool” phone. It’s been on my radar ever since I watched my friend Louis Gray win an iPhone 3G, and religiously praise how it was such a game changer, after that, I knew I wanted one.
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I have always been a loyal MS brand enthusiast, and saw no reason to switch, even with my mobile device. Windows is a great PC OS, but a terrible OS for a smartphone. I would not even know where to begin and where to end on this subject, so there is no need to go on about that. I’m finally liberated, goodbye and good riddens Windows Mobile once and for all, you will not be missed.
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The anticipation builds: Countdown to June 19
Finally on June 8, Apple announced and unveiled at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference the new iPhone 3GS. It was to hit the stores on June 19, I was filled with anxiety and anticipation, the months of waiting turned into days, the countdown begun. For the next 10 days all I thought about was the iPhone. Friday, June 19 rolls around and I was at work, expecting a sell out in every AT&T store, I frantically started calling stores to see if they have any in stock, I knew by the time I left work, which was at 3:30, that I would be out of luck. I called two local stores in my area, they both tell me they have 15 32gig models in stock and they had no idea if they would sell out. I asked them to hold one for me over the phone with a credit card, and they refused. I left work like a bat out of hell and made it to the store at about 4PM. I arrived at the store and it was busy but not packed, I waited about 30 mins and left with a 32gig black iPhone 3GS. FREE AT LAST!
Three weeks in and not a single complaint:
Having the iPhone for three weeks now, I have gotten accustomed to it. I don’t have any complaints thus far. I can’t compare it to the iPhone 3G because I never owned it. The battery life is fair, and I can get through an entire day on a full charge. The phone is lightweight, sleek and looks like a piece of art. It just works, and it works extremely well. While others complain about the AT&T network, I rave about it. In my neck of the woods, West Palm Beach, FL there is sufficient 3G network coverage and cell towers. I always have five bars on the phone, and have yet to experience any dropped calls, compared to my previous HTC phone, which almost always never had five bars, and would constantly suffer from dropped calls depending on which side of the house I was in. I have yet to travel out of state with it, so my opinion of the AT&T network might change based on the horror stories I have heard, but its been good to me thus far.
Protecting my investment:
Having shelled out $300.00 dollars for this phone, the last thing I want to do is damage it. I’m not one to ever not have a case for my phone. While I love admiring the beauty of this phone, and it looks best in its natural state, I will not take any chances. I want to keep this phone as close to new and pristine as possible. I’m not one to carry my phone in my pocket, as I have always been a belt clip carrier. Having bought and tried out two cases, I was still not happy. Both of these cases were made of cheap plastic and rubber and just didn’t cut it. Finally I found the armor I was looking for, the OtterBox Defender. It’s basically a bullet proof vest for your iPhone with 3 layers of solid protection, though a little costly at $49.95, it’s well worth it and its gotten my seal of approval hands down. This case is a tank, and if your going into battle you want this thing on your side.
Did he just call the phone an investment?
To some a phone is a phone. It’s an investment to me because it’s a productivity tool, second to my laptop. The phone is just an added feature of this powerful pocket pc, and the one feature I use the least. The main reason I bought the iPhone is to have a synced mobile office with me at all times. Windows Mobile achieved only half of what the iPhone achieves, and I was never a BlackBerry fan. The solution was simple. The only thing that I hesitated about was the lack of a physical keyboard. Two weeks in and I have grown to love the on-screen keyboard, sure it takes some time getting used to, but with daily usage you’ll overcome the lack of a hard keys in no time, I did. I actually enjoy using the on screen keyboard and have trained my self to become rather quick with it. I wouldn’t use it to type excessively long emails or blog posts, but for short bursts of text, it works just fine and gets the job done with relative ease. The iPhone for me is an extension of my computer, but I never would consider it a replacement.
How I have been using my iPhone:
1) Email is first and foremost of most importance. My iPhone is configured for work and personal email accounts. It handles this task perfectly, the mail application is fast, and handles sending and receiving very efficiently. I can very easily reply to an email no matter where I am, and I don’t need to be dependent on being near a computer. The iPhone mail app is almost comparable and just as good as the mobile based version of Gmail. That is something I would use regularly on my old Windows Mobile phone, as the Win Mobile application for email was beyond horrible.
2) Internet would rank second on the list. I have never really had a great experience with mobile browsing until I got the iPhone. My gateway to the web was Internet Explorer Mobile, and then finally Skyfire. The iPhone paired with the Safari browser is what mobile browsing should be, far more superior than the others I mentioned. Who knew the mobile web was this good?
3) Contacts and Calendar management is another essential function that I use quite frequently. The contact management system for the iPhone is simple and gets the job done. The ability to sync with my Gmail contacts is an added plus. I also rely heavily on Google Calendar, which syncs perfectly on the Iphone using an application called Informant.
4) Project management is something I use on my phone daily. I use a few apps for this, Evernote is constantly being used for quick thoughts. Informant is used most often for to-do lists and daily tasks, it’s the work horse on my phone because I plan everything on Google Calendar, and as I had mentioned it syncs perfectly with my Google Calendar.
5) GPS courtesy of Google Maps is another necessity, I’m glad it’s a core feature built into the phone. There is now no need to buy a separate GPS unit for my car, the maps application works flawless. The iPhones location-aware features integrates with applications pinpointing your location. If I’m looking for a restaurant, gas station, or nearby bank, the phone already knows where I am and it suggest locations in my proximity. This is game changing in so many aspects, its unbelievable.
6) Photos and more specifically video is a crucial capability. The iPhone takes decent pictures, the camera has been upgraded compared to its predecessor, and also has auto focus. I have been impressed with the camera. For a camera phone, it gets the job done, but is in no way a replacement for a digital camera. The ability to shoot and edit video is the real winner here. The quality of the video recording is very good, again for a phone it’s pretty impressive, add in the ability to send the videos directly to YouTube and you have a winner. With my previous smartphones they all had cameras, but I never used it or felt the urge to. The iPhone actually encourages me to use the camera/video every chance I get. I no longer carry a digital camera with me, I may sacrifice in picture quality, but the convenience factor of having these abilities on my smartphone prevails.
7) Google, Google, and Google. I use the Google app as my gateway to all things Google. Gmail and Google Calendar is the only thing I don’t use Google’s mobile site for. Google Reader and Google Docs gets a lot of mileage on my phone. It would be nice if we could edit Google Doc files on the iPhone. On a daily basis I get excel and word documents emailed to me. Being able to make quick edits on the go is essential. The solution for that is a paid app I use called Quick Office.
8 ) Streaming audio and podcasts has become something I use on a regular basis. I have always been a fan of NPR news, so I was delighted to see an NPR news app in the iTunes app store, which BTW is free. Combine that with the Last.fm and AOL radio application, I have a constant source of audio. While at lunch or dinner I’ll often stream audio using these apps in the background. Then there is iTunes, I have never thought or used my smartphone as a walkman, but I do now. I’ll admit I usually would download music off torrent sites, I now find myself buying music off iTunes. The convenience factor wins me over, though I have yet to buy full albums off iTunes, that I still use torrent sites for. Apple has the science of milking you for money at every corner down to a fine art.
9) The vibrant application ecosystem is what truly makes the iPhone a winner. There is an app for just about everything and anything, it’s application nauseum. It’s also what makes the iPhone a lot of fun, and an extremely powerful communications tool. I find myself like many of you constantly looking for and trying out the latest applications. It’s an addiction that I constantly must feed, sort of a like drug addict who needs his next fix.
10) Perhaps the best time waster is the games. I have 6 games on my iPhone and for the time being that’s enough. I have never been a big gamer, but that also changed with the iPhone. I now find myself spending at least an hour a night fixated on Slugger or iShoot.
My essential applications:
All things Google:
  • Google Maps
  • Google Docs
  • Google Reader
  • Google App

Social Media:

  • Tweetie
  • Facebook

Productivity:

  • Evernote
  • RTM
  • Informant
  • Quickoffice

News:

  • NY Times
  • NPR Addict
  • Fluent News
Reference:
  • Dictionary
  • Wikipanion
  • Urbanspoon

Streaming audio/video:

  • Last.fm
  • AOL Radio
  • TED
  • YouTube

Tools:

  • Shazam

Photography:

  • AutoStich
  • Pixelpipe
  • Picoli
  • Lifecasting

Games:

  • Arcade Bowl
  • Flick Fishing
  • iFighter
  • iShoot
  • Slugger

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If you are looking for a smartphone that does just about everything other than cook you breakfast, the iPhone is undoubtedly the way to go. Nothing on the market even comes close to it. Most of you already have the 3G iPhones and maybe the “newness” enamor has worn off, but for me, being a first time iPhone owner, I’m still in shock and awe at this remarkable piece of technology. I have never been an Apple fan boi, but I certainly have become one now. The line is drawn with the iPhone though, as I’ll alway be a windows user when it comes to my desktop computing :)

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