Np, I dudnt grt ab iphpne. I got a Q.

Np, I dudnt grt ab iphpne. I got a Q.

I was fully prepared to wait an hour or more in line, and even to return on another day if necessary, to get an iPhone. The timing was right. My wife’s phone had just died and it was out of warranty. We were at the end of our contract with Verizon Wireless, and we were happy to go to AT&T instead, since VZW had a nasty habit of telling us we had voicemail waiting several hours after the fact.

So we drove out to the one Apple store in Massachusetts that allegedly had iPhones in stock, but by the time we got there (20 minutes before the store opened) there were already so many people in line that the sales clerks told us we had no chance of getting one that day.

Just as well.

There was an AT&T Wireless retail store in the same mall, but they didn’t have any iPhones either. And we needed to get something fast to replace my wife’s phone, even if it was just on a temporary basis until we could get the iPhone. So we drove all of three minutes to the nearest AT&T retail store. There I was able to get my hands on a demo unit, so I was finally able to see that … I hated it.

There is no question that the iPhone is pretty. Downright beautiful, to be honest. But usable? Not for me.

The on-screen keyboard was cute, in a way. I liked the little click it made when you hit a key, and I liked the way the key you were typing popped up from under your finger so you could see what key you had just hit. The problem was that quite often the key I hit was NOT the key I intended to hit. So if I wanted to type “No, I didn’t get an iPhone,” what I actually typed might resemble what you see in the title of this post. I could tell that composing e-mail on that thing was going to be really frustrating.

There were other drawbacks to the iPhone:

  • The Safari browser does indeed render web pages just like a regular browser. You can see the whole page at once. And it’s really, really, really small. So you have to use the two-fingered “un-pinch” motion to zoom in on what you want to see, and then scroll around to find what you’re actually looking for. Yuck.
  • Although it may be technically capable of acting like a modem so you can use it to connect your laptop to the Internet, AT&T and/or Apple won’t allow that, at least not right now.
  • Scrolling around the screen using finger wipes instead of keys is hip and fun and all that, but pretty imprecise. I hated flipping right by the icons I was trying to find and then having to go back.
  • Apple has clearly put a lot of energy into making the iPhone an awesome device for listening to music and watching video. But you know what? I don’t really need to listen to music or watch video on my PDA-phone. What I really need to do is make phone calls, read and write e-mail, and find stuff on the web.

So we said no to the iPhone, and both of us got the Motorola Q9h, a.k.a Motorola Q Global. I could describe it, but you might as well watch one of the reviews on YouTube, like this one.

So far, a little more than 24 hours after purchase, I’m quite pleased with it. The keyboard rivals any BlackBerry I’ve used, and having the keyboard always available is a big upgrade for me compared to the slide-out keyboard on my XV6700.

The Q is not without its own problems. Connection to the AT&T 3G network seems a bit spotty, with frequent switches over to the slower Edge network. And AT&T has still not released an upgrade from Windows Mobile 6.0 to WM 6.1, to the frustration of many Q users. But I don’t regret passing on the iPhone for a minute.

Posted in All, Hardware, Technology, Windows Mobile + PPC on Jul 21st, 2008, 7:51 pm by David Schrag   

2 Responses

  1. August 4th, 2008 | 2:46 pm

    Apple still insists that you’re not allowed to use the iPhone as a laptop modem:

  2. August 6th, 2008 | 1:22 pm

    I’ll admit I’ve drunk the Kool Aid (although maybe only half a glass), but a couple of your points merit a response.

    I had the same reaction after my first experience with the iPhone keyboard. But I spoke with people who owned the phone, and they all assured me that your accuracy improves significantly after a day or two with the phone. This turns out to be true. In addition, there’s a very nice typing suggestion feature which will suggest actual words in place of your gibberish (and will go ahead and replace them unless you tell it not to – this can be annoying in its own right, but on the balance corrects more errors than it causes.) So, in fact, if I type “Np, i dudnt grt ab iphpne” on my iPhone, the result is “No, I didn’t get an iPhone,” which is exactly what you wanted.

    Safari is also much more user-friendly than you were able to discover in your brief demo. A double-tap will magnify any given column/element to screen width. This is much more efficient than pinching and since you can often see at a glance where on the page your desired content will be, gets you there quickly. For the situations where that’s not practical, you get adept at a simultaneous pinch and scroll technique which speeds things up.

    I’m not saying the iPhone is without its annoyances, but I am glad that I spoke to current owners while I was demoing it so I didn’t form too quick a judgment. I was initially uncertain whether wanted one, I don’t for one minute regret my purchase.

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