29 (32) days ago, I set out to determine if Google's Android was a better mobile operating than Apple’s iOS. I did this for me and for me alone. I have no quarrel with Apple, and I have no beef with Google. This decision basically boils down to what mobile OS better suits my needs; with one small caveat: cellular freedom.
I do my best not to preach, nor bore my friends & family with the mounds of useless information, but very few things bother more than the lack of cellular freedom customers have in this country (USA). I hate it. If I purchase a smartphone at its full retail price, I should be able to activate that device on any carrier I wish. However, here in the United States I do not have that luxury. Due to a lack of standards, phone contracts, two competing cellular technologies (CDAM & GSM), and greed, it is very difficult for U.S. customers to purchase a truly unlocked and unbranded smartphone that will work on 1 of our 4 major mobile carriers.
Yes, there are options; and hacks, and jailbreaks, etc. But none of these are easy solutions. This is exactly why I returned my HTC One X. I grew tired of the AT&T branding; the 2-year contracts; the outrageous unsubsidized prices; the lack of support; and the unwillingness to release a new version of Android once it becomes available. Nevermind the fact my One X broke twice while I was giving it a test drive. When Google releases Jelly Bean 4.1, move your ass, and push out the update to your loyal customers. (HTC & AT&T – I am talking to you).
So a simple question remains: Where do I go next? The answers: The Nexus 4; The iPhone 5; or the Lumia 920? I still feel the need to experience Android the way it was meant to be; I need a TRUE GOOGLE experience. No bloatware. No contracts. No branding. No bullshit. Stock Android with timely updates and a decent ecosystem. And at $300 U.S. dollars for an unlocked phone, I can forgive Google and LG for omitting LTE. I will miss LTE. It was blazing fast. However, HSPA+ is still better than EDGE, and with a true world phone that I can take anywhere, I felt compelled to give it a shot. There are several pre-paid local GSM carriers here in Austin, and I plan to try them all. I plan to try AT&T. I plan to experiment and have fun.
I absolutely loved the Google integration in Android. I think it’s what ultimately won me over. The apps are plentiful, the OS is sturdy, the phone is a beast. I still may end up on iOS, but I find myself moving further & further away from Apple. It’s nothing personal, I simply find myself gravitating towards an operating system that again, better suits my needs. I love Google, so Android seems like the obvious choice.
Windows Phone 8 still has a very limited app marketplace and the lack of a true notification center bothers me. iOS & The iPhone 5 would be the easy choice, but I am sick of renewing my contract with AT&T, and an unlocked iPhone 5 is about the same price as a ‘94 Toyota Camry. (Laugh if you want, but the Camry is a reliable automobile). I'm still tempted to pick one up once prices fall back to normal, but since the iPhone 5 is STILL sold out everywhere, even if I wanted one I’d still be up shit creek.
So, this leads me to the Nexus 4. The phone looks amazing. And like my women, I still want to hold one before I try it out, but the initial previews have me drooling over a powerful smartphone with wireless charging, a sleek design and amazing specs. The lack of LTE is disappointing, however I still feel compelled to give the Nexus 4 a chance. I definitely see the drawbacks of not having a device with the latest cellular technology, especially since it’s a common complaint iPhone detractors have been spouting off for years. However, sacrificing LTE for a smartphone that has no carrier bullshit welded to it OS is a worthy trade.
Will I stick it out? Who knows? Maybe Apple will wow me once more, and maybe I’ll come back like the prodigal son. But I hear Android calling, and it’s time to see what Jelly Bean 4.2 is all about. November 13th can’t get here soon enough.
*As a simple side note, I had 29 days to use the HTC One X before my AT&T return period expired. Hence, the title of the blog series.