There have been a wide variety of opinions expressed to me since I wrote the first part — catch up on the story till now here: Buying A New Phone: iOS vs Android vs WP7
Most revolve around people recommending phones that they already have, or phones they wish they had bought. In the meanwhile, I started to focus on a single thought: how the would phone evolve over time.
Today, the phones we buy are a combination of hardware and software. Most features on the phone are dependent on the software. And with operating system upgrades, we have come to expect the phone’s behavior to change.
Here’s my dilemma: the Android operating system update path just isn’t clear. For one, the device manufacturer controls when a phone receives an update (if you don’t root the device). So, while the world may have moved on to Android 2.3, a number of HTC phones are stuck with 2.2 or earlier.
With Windows Phone 7, there is a major update on the horizon, called Mango. The problem here is also related to the software: while the OS is good from what I can figure out, not enough phones are selling for an app ecosystem to thrive. And that’s the other part of the puzzle: our phones evolve because of the apps we install on them.
The only people who seem to have got this right are Apple: a tightly controlled hardware-software combination has ensured that the evolution experience is the same for everybody. The number of phones they are selling has ensured the BEST app ecosystem possible.
The only problem is the cost. And I am torn between buying an iPhone 4, which launched today in India, for INR 34,500 or buying a cheaper Android phone and an iPad 2.
For the moment, I am swinging towards the iPhone 4. I’m going to wait till Sunday, when unlocked versions will be available on online stores like Flipkart.
I guess the iPad will have to wait.
So, Apple wins. More appropriately, iOS wins. It offers the best experience amongst all the phones available. Perhaps, only because I believe that whatever surprises await me will be pleasant.
And yes, Samsung Galaxy S2 has better hardware, more RAM etc … but Samsung is in the middle of a dispute with Apple over whether they’ve been copying the iPhone. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me: what if Samsung are forced to issue a UI update that completely changes the look and feel of the Galaxy S2? There’s no guarantee they’ll get it right — if they had the chops to build great UI, they wouldn’t copy Apple.
No story is over till the credits roll — and I still haven’t bought a phone. I doubt my experience, and my vacillation, is unique. I’m sure more phone buyers today are as conflicted as I am. I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see where I put my money.
Will post photos and an update as soon as I buy a (i?)phone.