After years of speculation, Verizon announced today that they will be carrying the iPhone 4 starting on February 20. For the usual $200 and a 2-year contract, Verizon users can finally get their hands on Apple’s coveted device. But what if you already have an Android phone? Is the move over to iOS worth it? This blogger doesn’t really think so.
Looking at what I do with my Android phone and what’s available on an iPhone 4 right now, there are a few things that I think will be sorely missed if I switched to an iPhone 4 next month and here’s what they are.
1. Free 3G Tethering
Tethering is great in a pinch. Since I live in the city and don’t travel a lot, I don’t need it that often, but there are times when it really comes in handy. Untimely Internet outage when you need to finish a research paper? Tether! Stuck on a train that’s been delayed for several hours and need help killing time? Tether! Verizon is making a big deal out of their iPhone’s ability to act as a 3G hotspot, but there is no doubt that this will be an add-on service which adds money to your monthly bill. For those of us who might only tether once or twice a month, this isn’t a good solution. Android has a variety of WiFi and wired tethering apps available for free or cheap in the Market, and it would be hard to live without them on an iPhone.
2. An open app Market
Now that I’m used to Android’s Market, it would be hard to go back to the walled garden of the App Store. It’s comforting to know that if there’s ever any part of the Android OS that I don’t really like, there are at least a couple of suitable replacements on the Market that might be more what I’m looking for. Apple’s restrictions make those sorts of app replacements impossible, and their limitations on what App Store apps can interface with on your phone seriously limits creativity for developers. It took Google Voice years to come to the App Store due to Apple’s rejection, and I highly doubt you will see an app as powerful as Tasker on the App Store anytime soon, or a replacement keyboard as good as Swype and Swiftkey (or any replacement keyboards at all). Android’s abilities are much greater in this area.
3. Very frequent software updates
On the iPhone, you get one software update per year–that’s been Apple’s pattern at least so far. Google, on the other hand, has been rolling out two to three major Android releases every year, with plenty of minor software tweaks in between. An easy example is the Maps app. Maps in iOS has not seen a major update since the iPhone’s initial release, while Maps for Android is updates seemingly monthly. Google has added vector graphics, turn-by-turn navigation and lots of other features to the Android version, but these have never made it over to the iPhone. Updates to Android come at a fever pace, and that’s a good thing for consumers, a good thing for developers, and definitely a good reason to stick with your Android phone.