I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

Mat Newman  July 12 2010 21:30:00
I get a lot of questions from customers regarding mobile devices, which are summarised nicely by this question I received through Twitter recently:
Image:I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4 johnstockbridge @matnewman Am looking to change from Nokia. What do you recommend, Droid or iPhone4? If Droid, which model do you like?
Jul 9, 2010 2:34:18 PM from
Twitter - Tweets60

CAVEAT - these thoughts and impressions are my own, you should evaluate and consider your own requirements before selecting a mobile device.

That being said, I have some pretty strong opinions on Mobile devices and what tasks they should be capable of performing. You should also consider the perspective from which I write these recommendations:
  • First: I am a Notes Zealot.  Whatever device I run HAS to work with Notes.
  • Second: I am a Nokia fan-boy, have been since my first Nokia in 1998.  I currently carry an N97.
  • Third: I am a country boy.  I grew up in an environment that necessitates that the things you buy do their job first, and look pretty second.  If you have ever seen Deadliest Catch you will know that those fishermen don't look like they have stepped off a fashion run-way or use tools that look pretty!
  • Fourth: I spend a LOT of time on 'planes and working at remote sites with poor or no network connectivity.

So when iPhone 4 was announced I was slightly bemused.  It just catches up with my 12 month old device on Storage, Camera and multi-tasking (!? hmmm) but still lags behind on battery, capabilities and core functionality.

Having played with iPhone extensively (I bought one for my wife) I - along with everyone else - was amazed at the display, touch, navigation and simplicity of the device.  Add in the myriad of applications available and it's easy to see why iPhone has been a winner.

Then you go a step beyond first impressions and try to do some functional things.  That's where I lost interest in the Apple device.

I could not create a meeting, or accept an invitation (that's been fixed) I could not view my To-Do's, I could not reorganise or file the images taken on the device, I could not drag files directly to the device and then use them (think presentation or off-line study/review), there were no video calling capabilities, every time you switch to another application - and then switch back - you return to the other applications start screen (no true multi-tasking) and many of the web-sites I access didn't quite work on the iPhone (I've written about the number of sites that now specifically cater to the iThing's restrictions via dedicated mini-sites as perfect Notes side-bar apps).

Compare all of those items listed above with what I have in the N97, and I personally will stick with my current phone over the outstanding touch interface and great screen on the iThing.

Yes ... Ok ... I hear you: You've got an app that....

But for me those things still don't overcome the limitations I indicated above, along with the fact that many of the apps are simply a local front-end for a web-site somewhere with no off-line functionality.  As a business user a device needs to cater for ALL of my business requirements.  As someone who subscribes to the GTD methodology, living without my To-do list on my device would create a huge hole in my personal productivity.

So what makes a great device?

This is where the caveat I mentioned above comes into play, YOUR device needs to cater to YOUR requirements.

Here's a check-list for you:
My Device
First - How important is call quality, network support and carrier availability (you are buying a phone ... right!)?
Do you travel frequently, and do the destinations you visit use frequencies/bands available on your device?
What is the Talk/Standby duration?
What happens to the battery when Wi-Fi or extended network synch is on?
Operating System:
Do you have a device operating system preference?
Is the ability to customise, modify or tweak your operating system important to you?
Is it possible that the operating system on the device is tied to your carrier, and therefore up to your carrier to pass on updates available from the manufacturer (one carrier here in Australia has only just provisioned an N97 update Nokia released in October last year)?
Does the device have Network/WiFi/Bluetooth support for data and peripherals?
Do you need to synchronise your PC mail, calendar, contacts, to-do's with those on your device?
Do you need off-line access to the content available to your device?
Do you frequently access web-sites that do not specifically cater to you device's restrictions (eg: Javascript and Flash on the iThing)?
Do you need advanced functionality in the core applications on the device that make transitioning between your PC and your mobile device more or less seamless?
Do you need to use the memory on your device for portable storage?
Additional Features (are the add-on's that are now available on most devices important to you:):
Do you care about the quality of the Camera?
If the device has a Camera, does it have a flash for those low-light moments?
Do you need a second camera for video calling (either device specific, eg; FaceTime , carrier/network capable or even Internet video calls to anyone, eg: Skype)?
Do you need A-GPS?
Do you need access to maps when there is no network available?
Do you need to listen to FM radio on the device?
Do you need to broadcast music/podcasts through an FM transmitter?
Do you need to project images/videos/presentations from your device?

No I didn't write the above checklist to highlight the deficiencies of the iPhone, that's just how MY check-list pans out for ME.

To answer the question John - unless Nokia come out with something amazing in the next few months I will be in the same boat as you, and looking to change.

iPhone or Droid?

Knowing you as a technical person who is also into Notes: now that I know Traveler 8.5.2 supports Android; that it works as perfectly as it has on Windows, iThing and Symbian; and will be available SOON, I would go the 'Droid.

Having played with the Nexus, HTC and Samsung over the last couple of weeks - I would recommend the Samsung Galaxy S.

Hope this helps.

1Adam Brown   07/12/2010 23:44:16  
I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

I think I just saw a pig fly by, got a chill as hell freezed over, and Mat consider moving off nokia. Nokia must be in trouble if even the most loyal customers are considering moving.

2Oliver  07/13/2010 1:53:04  
I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

If you consider the voice+data plan over a period of 2 years, and it turn out that the iPhone is not too much expensive than the Droid, I will recommend the iPhone.

The iOS4 is much much debugged and consistent than Android. Android is open source, but since phones are not as computers where you can install any opensource distro and get a supported OS, it means Google is just cashing out the concept of "open".

Also, consider 200US$ for every year upgrade to the next iPhone, it is worthy



3Michael  07/13/2010 12:44:22  
I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

Hi Mat, I'm contemplating the same thing at the moment. My Nokia E71 is getting a little worn and the HTC Desire is top on the list over the iPhone...

4John Stockbridge  07/13/2010 13:06:21  
I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

Mat, thanks for the reply.

Like you, everything I do is Notes based and I travel extensively. I currently run a Nokia E71 which is by far and away the best business phone I have ever owned (and like any good geek I have owned them all from the first "brick" which cost $4700, through Nokia, Samsung, Microsoft on HTC etc etc).

Nokia also provides Voice Guidance Sat Nav free which I also use when I hire cars in Sydney and Melbourne. It works really well and doesn't suck the battery dry.

I am very much into functional, rather than pretty, so the phone has to be good at phone calls, then run Traveler with syncing of my ToDo lists as well. I also use the phone as an MP3 player on trips. If I'm watching movies, then I do that on a netbook.

I'll have a good look at the Galaxy.



5Mat Newman

07/13/2010 13:30:10  I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

No problem John,

Adam's comment @1 should be an indication of how much I love the N97 (and E61, and N80 and 7650 and 6210 and 7110 and ....), the office here consider me the "Nokia guy". I have to admit that my N97 crashed a couple of times at first and I did have the "camera scratch" issue - which Nokia Care sorted out under warranty - but it has been a brilliant device, and I'm still very happy with it. I don't feel any "device envy" when someone talks about their latest app, but I would dearly love that brilliant touch interaction that's available on the Samsung and iThing, the latest update to Firmware v22 is getting closer, but it's still not the same...

Yes the Maps thing is one feature I KNOW I will miss, since nothing else out that has off-line maps, and I know that I'll have to hire cars with GPS's from now on to compensate for not having OVI Maps and turn-by-turn.

Unless, of course, Nokia announce something brilliant by the time my contract runs out again in June next year :-)

Mat Newman IBM Champion

6Dag Kvello  07/14/2010 20:08:57  
I am looking to change from Nokia, what do you recommend Droid or iPhone 4

Nokia will of course deliver something brilliant by June 2011 :-)

Running a Nokia N900 myself at the moment and except for lacking Traveler support it does more (and/or better) than any other phone/minipc I've ever used.

Of Course, the N900 is for those extra geeky people.

The N9 (or whatever their first MeeGo 1.1/2.x will be named) would be my next phone/minipc.

As for apps, OVI Maps is a killer app.

Free (as in free beer), uppgradable off-line maps for the whole world... Just consider the continous costs mantaining TomTom/Garmin/In-Car GPS DVDs etc.

One thing I use a lot is the TV/AUDIO out.

800*480 on a bigscreen/Projector with Bluetooth Mouse/Keyboard (DiNovo Mini) connected is perfect for running RDP sessions (VPN included) against Windows machines. Then there's nothing I can't do.

7Mat Newman

07/14/2010 22:33:11  I’ll wait...

@6, Dag - Yes I hold out hope that Nokia will release something that surpasses the current N and E series in the next 11 months :-)

The more I thought about it today, the only reason I would give up the off-line maps, built in FM transmitter and composite output (TV and Projector) that I use frequently at the moment would be for a device that is more functional and has more features than the one I have now.

The question was pretty straight forward - if you were going to switch, what would you choose. Having written on that, it's time to write about what I use now - and why the love affair just got better...

Mat Newman IBM Champion

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetHCLNotes

Mat Newman

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