Saturday, 22 August 2009

Iphone.. or not to Iphone

So, it is that time of year again.... well actually that time of the 24
month O2 contract that I have, in which I now ponder the future of said

Do I, get all unfaithful and skip ship to another network... some of 3's
offers do look rather juicy.... or do I stick it out with my friends at
O2 and see what they can come up with to reward me for being such a
loving loyal customer....

The phones that are tempting me at the moment, are The Blackberry Bold , Curve , Nokia N97 , or an Iphone 3G (like I really needed
to post a link for that one). At the moment, I was thinking about not
getting the 3GS as... well, the refurbished 3G on the O2 upgrade site
seemed tempting enough.

What's a geek to do ?

How important to me is the 5 megapixel camera on my existing Nokia N95 ?
Would I be able to survive with just a 3 or even 2 meg camera ?
Photography isn't that serious to me, or otherwise, I would, well, buy a
camera. Sometimes it's just nice to be able to take a reasonably good
shot of something you see without thinking 'damn, if only I'd brought my

So I guess the things that I'm looking for are.. functionality and
device convergence. Back in the old days when I used to own a Windows
Mobile PDA (I went through several - XDA, XDAIIs) by far the best was
the SPV on Orange. The choice of network didn't make a difference, but
the fact that it had a normal phone's keyboard made it infinitely more
usable than the touch-screen versions. The screen was smaller, the
camera was a pile of poo (but expectations from a phone camera back then
were MUCH MUCH less) but it just... well... worked.

I think it is this, more than any side issues with a camera that bothers
me. (I do note that none of the phones I have listed have a 'normal'
phone keypad. It's just that the Blackberry's have at least a tactile
keypad/board interface). My experiences with touch-screen phones was
that they were slow to respond, looked fantastic, were brilliant for
other things, (like playing some quirky games) but were absolutely
useless as a phone, when you needed them to work like a phone they would
hang, or freeze and the speed at which you wished to 'tap' was always
about three operations ahead of what the phone was thinking about at the

I am assured by my Iphone loving friends that this is no longer the
case. I am not convinced. There is something very satisfying about
pressing a button, that you just don't get from tapping your finger or
thumb against a screen.. that being feedback, and depth of key travel on
a 'real' keyboard.

This is probably another reason why the N97 made it into my wish list,
because is has a touch sensitive screen, but also has a slide out Qwerty
keyboard. Hopefully more useful than the one on the XDAIIs all those
years ago. (I still have mine, as it's handy sometimes to use, just to
link to the wifi at home and read something. Even my lovely Acer Aspire
One is too big for the times when I just want to sit and read something
in portrait).

Iphones have another thing going for them.. they are from Apple, and
they will work much much better with syncing with my Mac Mini (my first
foray via Ebay into the superior world of all things Macintosh). It was
the 'all in one' and 'syncing to PC' that made me put up with the PDAs
all those handsets ago. The sheer ability to have everything in well,
two places, but be able to act like it was in one place. Maybe that's
not so important these days either, with always on internet and
calendars being held in the 'cloud' and the such like..

Just makes the decision harder and harder.

My contract ends in November, so I have a month or two to think about
which course of action I would like to take. There is the impulsive part
of me that wants to say 'oh to hell with it', and just order the
upgrade. My friends have, so far, sent me a couple of comments, ranging
from 'get an Iphone and you'll never look back' to 'don't get a Nokia
N97, they're shit'. Helpful, you'd think ?

In the meantime, there is of course the danger that the Palm Pre will
launch onto our shores, and that will just complicate things further,
because that has a normal phone keypad.

Do I do the boring thing and go with a 'pro vs cons' list... perhaps
that staple of decision making, the coin toss... or do I call O2 and ask
them which offer they can tempt me with more ? 3 do not, of course do
the Iphone, but they do the Blackberry Bold (sorry Curve, you didn't
make the first round, on account of your 2g-ness) for £30 per month on
an 18 month contract, free phone, unlimited internet, unlimited texts,
500 minutes... this includes the Blackberry service. On O2 their best
Bold package is £34.26 per month, for 18 months, 1000 texts, 600
minutes, this with the Blackberry service. There is a one off charge for
the phone of £97.86. (This is as a new customer, so I can see like for
like). The same package over 24 months with O2 comes in at £29.38 per

Just to see what my custom is worth to O2, an upgrade to Blackberry 1000
texts, 600 minutes, including the Blackberry service, comes in at £29.38
per month, but with me still needing to pay £97.86 for the phone. (so no
better off than new customers).

The upgrade to an Iphone 3g - refurbished I might add - 3g, 16GB version
is £34.26 per month, 500 texts, 600 minutes, unlimited data & wifi.
Iphone is free.

For a snip at £87.11 I can then get the brand spanking new Iphone 3Gs
with 600 minutes, 500 texts, unlimited internet, all for £34.26 per

Is it just me or do O2 not really seem to attach any value to being a
long term customer of theirs ?

3 also do the Nokia N97 for £98 (with change) upfront, and then £35 per
month, unlimited internets, unlimited texts, 700 minutes.

At this point, from a cost point of view, the Blackberry seems to be
winning... my current package gives me no internet, but 400 minutes, 150
texts, for £25 per month. Feels like I'm being done over.

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