Smartphone Love

I just came back from Telus, having purchased a replacement micro-SIM card so that I could continue to enjoy the rest of the phones I have in my arsenal. For those who know me: Yes, it was mostly for my BlackBerry.

I’m a cross-platform Mobile App Developer, so I may know a thing or two about ALL smartphones. My priorities are messaging, and some social media: Facebook and Twitter, mostly. It’s also important for me to edit Word and Excel documents on-the-go.

These are the devices I own, with my personal thoughts on each, sorted by most to least favorite:

BlackBerry Z10

It’s the all-touch BlackBerry, no keyboard. But the software keyboard is excellent, and learns to autocorrect my words in-context (rather than some random word). Nothing beats the BlackBerry Hub, I have all my sms, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and BBM messages in one place. Sure, not many quality apps, but I don’t think I’m missing much. My hopes are that the platform will eventually gain some traction in that respect. The dev tools are pretty okay — they are improving, but could probably afford to be better, as there are a lot of DUH moments that the dev team should have just taken care of, rather than writing vague work-arounds for the developers.

Google LG Nexus 4

All of the goodness of Android (and really, there is a lot to like), without the hassles of the extra cruft you get with a Samsung or HTC. Just the pure Android environment, update-able to the latest version of Android. Well, not to Android L, unfortunately — I need a Nexus 5 for that. But other than that, it is a good solid phone with hardly any annoyances beyond the typical Android “too-many-notifications.” Eclipse for Android Development is pretty good, except that my dev machine doesn’t do the Android Simulator all that well. But it’s also a great and fun platform to design for. There are a LOT of features that you can plug into.

Nokia Lumia 920

While Windows Phone suffers from the same lack of quality apps as BlackBerry does, I just really feel like gold when I use a Windows Phone. The OS is great, the start screen is wonderfully customizable, the good apps are great, and the People app especially is underrated. Closest thing to the Hub as you can get. The developer tools are pretty excellent – Microsoft has always produced quality dev tools. The app store validation process, however, is a nightmare, with obviously too many middle-men involved.

BlackBerry Q10

All of the great stuff above for the Z10, but with a physical keyboard, and half the screen height. Love the keyboard, hate that I have to sacrifice half my screen for it.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

I’m a firm believer that the future of communications are devices of this size and girth, that provide enough of a tablet-like visibility and screen size, while still being able to make phone calls and sms messages. The size of this beast is just right. I am NOT, however, a fan of the S-Pen. Apple has publically declared the death of the stylus, and I really don’t care what you can do with it. The samsung sdk is a poorly-documented set of engrish tutorials, and it’s obvious that there is more that Samsung is NOT permitting me to use then they are. Their Samsung app store does NOT feature Samsung-SDK specific apps, so I really feel that they are not very supportive to their developer community.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Sure, the underlying Android OS is embarrassingly old, but their SDK Kit is very fun, and as polished as the Fire OS that drives this tablet. This is as close as Android can come to the simplicity of an iPad. and the upcoming Amazon Fire Phone is going to be super super fun. I wouldn’t rush out to buy this tablet or its successors again, but it’s OS is very mature.

Apple iPad Mini

Yes, I’ve rated the iPad as far better than the iPhone. And the mini is just the perfect size for mobile workers, mobile gamers, and mobile casual users alike. All the best of a full size iPad, without the wrist strain. Lots of Xcode goodness involved with developing for this platform, too. Note: I’m not talking about the iPad Mini with Retina. I’ve seen that, used it, and felt that there was not enough to justify the extra cost. iPad mini is best size and price.

Apple iPhone 5

If it weren’t for the fact that Apple sells a gazillion of the older iPhone 4 and 4S models, those old phones should just DIE and be buried already. IPhone 5 is substantially lighter in weight, has a screen height that should be the new standard, and is way faster than its predecessors. Absolutely no slow down that I can speak of. The 5S, I hear, is even greater, but like comparing PlayStation2 titles introduced at the first year of its Lifecycle, to those in their last year of its Lifecycle, I believe much of what iPhone 5 can offer has yet to be realized. Save your Cell Contract Buy-Out money and wait for the successor to the 5S, or even carry your iPhone 4S another year. If you’re on iPhone4, I’m sorry… consider an Android at this point. Expand your horizons!

That about wraps this up. I’d love to discuss your thoughts!

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