Why I'm not getting an Android phone

I'm mad at Apple right now. I'm tired of their creepy corporate behavior and the way they ignore me. Now would be a perfect time for me to stick a fork in Apple's eye and go buy an Android phone, right?

But I'm not doing it. I've been sucked in by the Apple gravitational field again. I ordered an iPhone 4 yesterday.

Curse you, Apple, with your passive-aggressive corporate culture and your seductive, wonderful products!

Comparing specs

I've been thinking hard about switching to Android. That platform is starting to look pretty sweet -- particularly the HTC EVO 4G, available from Sprint. The specs look roughly equivalent to the iPhone 4, and in the few spots they're different, the EVO wins. Compare the iPhone 4 specs with EVO specs:

The EVO has a bigger display, 4.3 inches compared with the iPhone 4's 3.5" display.

You can set the EVO up as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is particularly attractive to me as the owner of an iPad Wi-Fi, but not the Wi-Fi+3G model. With the EVO, I could get a wireless connection on my iPad anywhere I can find a 3G or 4G signal.

Corporate Culture

Another vote for EVO: I like Google's corporate culture better.

Early this month, I asked whether Apple is evil. I concluded they're not -- but the company is definitely creepy. People who deal with Apple seem to commit suicide, they get their doors knocked down by the cops, they get arrested, and Apple censors its App Store.

Apple hardly ever responds to my inquiries, and when they do, it's almost always with useless information, delivered too late. It's a universal complaint of the journalists and bloggers who write about Apple.

Google is a much more attractive company. It has its own problems, most notably ongoing privacy concerns. But on the whole, they're trustworthy and ethical. And they also get back to me.

So now would be a perfect time to switch to Android, right?

Not for me. I ordered an iPhone 4 yesterday. Here's why:

Why I didn't switch

It's smaller. Especially now that I have the iPad, I like a smaller phone, one that takes up less space in my front pants pocket. The EVO is 4.8" x 2.6" x .5". The iPhone is 4.5" x 2.31" x 0.37". The Android weighs 6 ounces, the iPhone 4 weighs 4.8 ounces. The bigger display on the Android is nice, but now that I have the iPad, it's not as important to me as it would have been a few months ago.

Style. I haven't held the iPhone 4 yet, but knowing Apple, and based on photos, I expect it will be a gorgeous piece of kit. Google doesn't do gorgeous, they do useful and powerful. Often, I prefer the Google way, but with a phone, I want a little style.

Inertia. I've been using the iPhone for three years, my hand knows it very well. I have a few apps I use often, including Lose It, which has helped me drop more than 50 pounds. I'd have to start over with Android. To make that kind of switch, the new device has to be not just better -- it has to be a lot better. And Android isn't looking a lot better, it's looking, at best, a little better. Or maybe about the same.

So I was one of the legions who ordered an iPhone 4 yesterday.

Things change

This isn't a lifelong commitment. In a year or two, it'll be time for me to upgrade my phone again, and I'll look around and see which device is best. I am not an Apple fanboy, I have no financial or emotional interest in whether Apple succeeds or fails, I just want the gear that's best for me at the time I buy it. And that's Apple. At least for now.

I may have an opportunity to regret my decision to upgrade. I've just agreed to do an assignment for Computerworld comparing the iPhone 4 with the Android EVO. While I research it, I'll be spending quality time with both devices. Could be I'll find out that I love Android after all, and I'll regret my decision to sign up for another two-year tour with AT&T and the iPhone.

My relationship with Apple is like a Tammy Wynette song: They keep treating me bad, and I keep coming back for more. Yesterday, Apple sold out of iPhone pre-orders early, after network problems blocked many users from ordering. I was one of the people who had problems; I wasn't able to order until after 11 pm, by which time it was too late for me to get my iPhone on the first day of availability next week. Instead, I have to three weeks.

Maybe I'll write a song about how Apple done me wrong. I'll write it on my iPad. There's gotta be an app for that, right?

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Mitch Wagner is a freelance technology journalist and social media strategist.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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