One year with Google Android G1 compared to 6 months with an iPhone 3GS

I’ve had my Google Android G1 phone for over a year now, and I have a lot of good and bad things to say about it. I’ve had my iPhone 3GS for just over 6 months now and have come to a number of conclusions why I don’t like the iPhone and prefer Android.

In a nutshell, G1 hardware sucks, Android OS and applications rock. iPhone hardware is rock solid, iPhone OS, though easy to use, is very limited and applications do not seem to be as innovative, most likely a result of the limited OS. Lucky for Android users, there are now more than a 1/2 dozen better Android phones to pick from with more available in the coming months.

I got the Android G1 phone back in October of 2008, about a week after it came out. The first 24 hours with the phone was frustrating. Once I read the manual that came with the phone and watched a couple videos, I quickly understood how the phone worked and went from frustrated to enlightened. I’ve met a number of other folks who had a G1 for a few days and then quickly returned them. I suspect if they just spent the time to read the manual their experience would have been a better one.

I got the iPhone 3G S this past summer, essentially a week after the 3G S phone was released. The 3G S is provided by work. Being in the podcasting and new media business, it was important that I have and use a iPhone because it makes up such a large portion of the podcasting market share. It was easy for me to start using the iPhone, I never had to refer to a manual to get started. Coming from Android though, I quickly came to the realization how limited the iPhone is. I will get more into that shortly.

My Analogy of iPhone vs Android: An iPhone is like a desk, it can handle lots of work, but the only way the work gets done is if you do it. An Android phone is like having two desks with a secretary; one for you and another with a secretary working 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You still have to do your work, but it is nice to have your secretary tell you when you get new email, future appointments, Facebook reply, Tweet message or if there’s a flood warning.

This is my biggest frustration with the iPhone. I’ve been told by some iPhone users that the phone can be hacked to do what I can do with my Android phone. But that’s not quite how things work in Android. Not only can multiple applications run at the same time on Android, but all push type notification for things like Twitter, Facebook, Weather alerts, etc.. all funnel into a single stream of notifications that are easily accessible at the top of the screen. Even with a hacked iPhone, the user has to load the specific app to see if anything has changed.

I’m indifferent in opinion if the iPhone should evolve to be a multi-tasking push notifying device like Android. Referring back to my original frustration with the G1, I think there will always be a market for a simple one task at a time, only work when I tell you to work phone. I have a feeling that Apple did this on purpose so users can start using the phone quickly without frustration. Keep it simple works for most.

Unfortunately for Apple, I’m not most people. I have a lot of work to do all the time. Android, though it is initially more complicated than the iPhone, simply does more.

Hardware wise, the iPhone is definitely a well built phone. I am not at all worried that something will break or fail on the phone. I cannot same the say about my HTC G1, after 1 year of use it feels aged.

Some specific features missing in the iPhone found in Android:

  • Multi-color LED light: Applications in Android take advantage of this. I setup my twitter app to blink cyan when I have new tweets for example.
  • Desktop Widgets: I never have to load the calendar or weather applications, I can see what my next appointment is and the weather simply by looking at my home screen.
  • Micro SD card: Comes in handy, I’ve actually downloaded documents on my G1 then plugged the SD card into my laptop.
  • Notifications Bar: Applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Weather Bug, system updates, etc.. add little notifications in an easy to access list available by pulling down the top of my screen with my finger like a curtain.
  • Google Voice: iPhone doesn’t have this functionality, not because it can’t, but because they didn’t allow it. Sad because Android has 2 applications for Google Voice, one made by Google and another called GV made by Evan Charlton which is even better than the Google version.

Some things about the Android G1 phone I don’t like:

  • Hardware on the G1 seems weak. I’ve seen other G1’s where the sliding mechanism feels very sloppy. Since I’ve seen that I’ve been very careful when I open/close my G1. The plastic clear cover over my camera lens has cracked and I find the plastic used on the phone to be of a poor quality.
  • Camera is slow – I thought this was a problem with Android, but I’ve seen the Hero take pictures faster and they’re much more crisp compared to my phone.
  • Touch keyboard in Android sucks – It can be improved, the only thing I do like is the short vibrate on button touch feature. I haven’t seen Android 2.0, reportedly the touch keyboard is much better on it.
  • No 3.5mm audio jack – I have to use a Mini USB to 3.5mm adapter in order to plug headphones into the phone.

Applications noted with an asterisk* are applications I highly recommend.

Applications I use on iPhone (besides what comes with the phone):

  • NPR News* – If you like NPR, this is a pretty good app.
  • WordPress 2.0* – App made by Automattic.com for working with your WordPress blog. Prefer the wpToGo but moderating comments with this app is superior.
  • Bump* – Exchanging contacts by bumping phones
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • PogoPlug – Works with your pogoplug account.
  • Pandora – Streaming radio
  • NASA – Keep track with NASA missions
  • WeatherBug

Applications I use on Android (besides what comes with the phone):

  • KeePassDroid – Android version of KeePass
  • ShopSavvy* – scan bar codes while at the store and get both regional store and online compared pricing
  • TasKiller (Free/Pro) lets you kill tasks that run in the background, useful if you want to extend battery life
  • AndroZip File Manager – Handle/create Zip files on the phone.
  • Bluetooth File Transfer – Exchange files with other Android phones
  • AndFTP – FTP client
  • Wifi Analyzer* – Analyze all the Wifi signals so you can determine the best channel for your wireless access point.
  • Key Ring Reward Cards* – Scan all your grocery store and box store cards into your phone. More abou this app below.
  • wpToGo* – similar to WordPress 2.0, works better for writing posts, but the WordPress app for the iPhone moderates comments better.
  • Listen* – Podcatcher (audio only at present) that runs in the background and downloads any size media. I’ll write more about this app near the bottom of this post.
  • T-Mobile Visual Voicemail – just like visual voicemail on iPhone. I prefer the interface better tahn the Voicemail on iPhone actually.
  • Pandora – Streaming radio
  • WeatherBug* – Way better than WeatherBug on the iPhone becuase it has a desktop widget and adds notifications to my notifications bar in Android. Other than that, it’s similar to the WeatherBug app on iPhone.
  • httpmon HTTP Server Monitor – Monitors web sites.
  • Barcode Scanner – Alternative to Bump, all your contacts have square barcodes you can use this to scan in or give out your contact information easily.
  • Voice Recorder – Simple application for recording.
  • FxCamera – Camera app that lets you add effects
  • Tuner – gStrings – lets you tune your instruments with the phone
  • Qik* – Stream video from your phone’s camera live on 3g or Wifi (unlike the iPhone)
  • Snap Photo Pro* – Camera app with a lot of options (default camera doesn’t have that many), it is worth buying this application.
  • PogoPlug – Works with your pogoplug account.
  • T-Mobile My Account – Get account usage and also monitors battery life
  • Facebook for Android
  • Scoreboard – Follow sports teams
  • ConnectBot – SSH client
  • GV* – Google Voice application, works better than the one by Google
  • Bubble – Level application
  • iTweet* – Twitter application, more about it below
  • ToggleWifi– Toggle on-off Wifi from a desktop icon.
  • ToggleBlu – Toggle on-off bluetooth from a desktop icon.
  • Rings Extended – Use any audio on your phone as an audio setting for any application that uses notifications.

Key Ring Reward Cards

This has to be one of my favorite applications on Android. I used to have a half dozen of those cards on my key chain. Sometimes I would go to the grocery store with my other keys and not even have my reward card on me. Now both of my sets of keys are free of these stupid cards. There is also a cool factor when the person behind you sees you using a phone rather than your keys to scan in your rewards.

Listen (Google Labs Podcatcher for Android)

The Google Listen podcatcher is way better than iTunes on the iPhone. It does not have the 10MB limit on 3g like the iPhone does. It also has a pretty easy to use listen queue that allows you to organize the podcast episodes you want to listen to into a simple list. Anything in your listen queue automatically gets downloaded in the background. The application has a lot of potential. The only major downfall of the application currently is its search. You would think anything having to do with Search and Google would be brilliant, but finding podcasts in the Listen app is nothing but brilliant. The trick I’ve found is to search for episodes based on the episodes show notes. Searching for a podcast program is futile at best, but by episode notes typically works every time. You can add podcasts manually by RSS feed as well.

i Tweet (Twitter app for Android)

Not to be confused with iTweet.net, the i (space) Tweet app on Android is the best phone interface designed Twitter application I’ve seen to date. I was using Twitroid for a while, but found its memory usage  and clunky interface got to be quite annoying. i Tweet works in the same way and can run in the background to make use of the notifications features built into Android. When my phone blinks cyan, I know I got tweets waiting for me.

UPDATE!

I noticed I missed some other Android applications that I am using. Here’s the remainder of the list:

  • Toddler Lock – Locks the screen so toddlers can play with the phone. makes sounds and displays color shapes.
  • BistroMath – Calculate tips when dining out.
  • Compass – What direction is north.
  • ASCII Chart – Displays the ascii chart and its numeric values (for programmers)
  • GPS Speedo – can detect yoru speed when GPS is enabled.
  • Where – Find dining, shopping, etc.. based on your current location
  • Pick a # – Lets you randomly get a number based on a range you specify.

Here are some more apps suggested from Matt Gunn:

  • Movies – Display currently playing movies at nearby Theaters
  • SportsTap – Sports portal like Scoreboard
  • Foursquare – Explore major cities
  • Robo Defense – game

Blog World and New Media Expo 2009 Wrap Up

I’m back from Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. What a weekend! At first I didn’t know what to think of the weekend but now that I’m home going through all the swag and business cards I gathered, I think the  Blog World and New Media Expo merger was a good thing.

The trip started early Wednesday morning for me. Without even leaving Columbus, I ran into Lewis Howes at the Airport. What a great guy too! I’ve seen him at other events including this year’s PodCamp Ohio but never actually had the opportunity to talk with him. It was awesome to connect, it’s not every day you meet a book author!

Once in Las Vegas, I met up with the Blubrry/RawVoice team. For the rest of the day we hung out at the pool, figured out our plan for the weekend, and then had dinner. That evening most of us were up till 1am networking at the Tempo lounge/bar. We ran into a lot of folks that evening including Average Betty, Kosso, and Geekazine. It was also great meeting with the rest of the team (Rob, Michael, Jenni, Cathy, Todd, Barry, Jeff, Brian).

Thursday morning Brian (Bj) and I walked down to the Peppermill for breakfast to check it out. Bj pointed out that the parking lot was nearly empty, but the inside was packed! Before we ate we checked out the lounge room where the Blubrry Party was going to take place. I was blown away by how cool it was. I’ll get into more detail later in this post! Bj and I then had breakfast, which I must say was awesome!

Later that morning we went to the convention center to setup our Blubrry exhibitor booth. Somehow I talked Rob and Brian into folding the t-shirts, which became T-ShirtFoldingCamp.  Below is a picture of our show notes pad (swag), Blubrry Party invite with drink tickets, Blubrry sticker, PowerPress handout and our new Blog Louder t-shirt. Oh, and Ty wanted to be in the picture too!

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Once we had the booth setup, we returned to the Peppermill with the entire team for lunch. After lunch we relaxed at the Hilton’s hot tub.

That evening the Blubrry/RawVoice team went out to dinner at the Les Artistes Steakhouse for dinner. This was our only real chance to get everyone together, so we made the best of it. I had an excellent steak and I can honestly say I did not need any Worcestershire sauce.

After dinner, most of the team went to the Tempo Louge to wind down. Unfortunately, I was dead tired and had to crash early.

Friday was the big day. I woke up early that morning to run through my slides for my session on Setting up WordPress for Podcasting at WordCamp Las Vegas held within the Blog World exhibit floor. We then headed over to the convention center pumped for the expo. Through the day traffic was heavy, I didn’t get to eat lunch until 2, and at that point all of the concessions were out of food. At 12:45 I had my session, which went ok except for the interruption by the exhibit hall speaker system. Promptly after my session I spoke with a number of interesting folks and exchanged business cards. Back at the booth traffic was still heavy. Unlike previous years, our podcast show note pads were not the most popular item folks were grabbing from our booth. Believe it or not, our hand outs were more popular than our swag. We handed out a lot of sheets about our podcasting communities, services and Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin for WordPress. The same was true for Saturday as well as Friday, folks were more interested in what we did than our t-shirts and show note pads.

Friday evening we had dinner at Casa Nicola. Company was great, but the food was awful. This was really the only bad meal I had all weekend.

Friday night was the Blubrry BlogLouder party! We arrived about 30 minutes early, which gave us time to figure out the place and down a couple drinks. Promptly at 9:00 pm, folks started making there way in and before I knew it the place was packed. Bj’s fiancee Aileen and Mat Luschek organized the party and they did an awesome job! For the first 2 hours they had 2 show girls greet guests as they came in and later in the evening Tiny Elvis and a Magician entertained guests. There was plenty of food and a live DJ as well. Here’s a link to Mat’s flickr page of party photos.

Saturday morning Brian, Rob and I had breakfast at the Paradise Cafe in the Hilton. I had really good buttermilk pancakes, another surprise as I was expecting mediocre breakfast.

After breakfast started day two of the Blubrry booth at Blog World. Traffic was lighter, even so we still did some networking and helped out a few Blubrry members. At noon they started setting up concessions with platters of different foods and a couple cash bars. I am not sure if that was planned or not, I had no idea they were going to do that. You would think they would have done that Friday as well as Saturday.

When the floor closed at 3:30, we spent the next hour and a half shipping all of the T-shirts, signage and swag. We carried all our packages to the The Fedex Kinkos on the north end of the convention center. We didn’t know there was a Kinko’s in the south end where we were. The Fedex Kinkos we went to refused to add insurance to our packages since they were being shipped ground rather than 1-2 day air. I can’t believe you can’t insure packages shipped FedEX unless it is air. Our main concern was our company signage, we just invested a lot of money into our banners, it would suck if they were damaged soon after the expo. FedEX, this is a real problem, you know you can ship ground packages with insurance with your main competitor UPS?

kinkos (Large)

Once the expo packages were sorted, everyone went back to their rooms to take power naps, showers, etc… I took the time to catch up on email and twitter.

That Saturday night Blog World hosted a BBQ poolside at the Hilton. At the last minute, we grabbed some stickers and t-shirts in case we wanted to do some networking. Once we got there we all came to a consensus that we should take a break and just hang out and have a little fun. I didn’t expect the BBQ to be any good, but I have to admit that the ribs were actually the best I’ve had in a while. I also had a Bud Light aluminum bottle, first time I seen them before. Following the BBQ was Tech Karaoke. A lot of the gang stayed later for that, unfortunately I was pretty tired and called it a night.

Some vendors that stood out this year were FatBurger, Ford, Healthy Choice, Adam Corolla and TechSmith. I never herd of FatBurger so it was great to hear about the company as well as sample some of their burgers. They gave all their burgers sizes similar to T-shirts except for their very large burger. Sizes are S, M, L, XL, and WTF. The WTF size is just that! Ford had a pretty cool booth actually, it was rather large and clean (not a lot of junk all over). It wasn’t until we stopped at the booth that we found out we could test drive some cars outside. So Bj test drove a Taurus SHO and I test drove a Mustang GT. Pretty neat cars, that Mustang was fast!  Healthy Choice was giving away samples of their food. I have to thank Healthy Choice actually, without their booth I would not have had any food on Friday. I’m a big Adam Corolla fan and was looking forward to the Top Gear TV show last year that unfortunately was canceled (stupid networks). I’m glad to see that he had a table at the expo. I think it was a smart move, it’s an indication that he is taking podcasting seriously. TechSmith also had a booth. They have a new mascot called Screennoms, which adds a more informal way for them to market their brand. Smart idea Betsy! Here’s a pic of some of the swag I got.

DSCF4281 (Large)

In my opinion, This year’s Blog World and New Media Expo was a success. I am rather baffled by how many podcasting companies were not present at the expo. Even if the attendance wasn’t what they expected, at least having a small booth would send a better message to the public that they support the industry. Either way, I can’t wait until next year and you better believe Blubrry will be there!