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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Don’t be a not-so-early adopter

Mark Bridge writes:

So – you’re thinking about buying a new mobile phone. A smartphone. And yes, I mean a real smartphone, not just something with a touchscreen that looks nice.

I know, I know. You’re tempted by the iPhone. It’s all those apps, isn’t it?  100,000 and counting.

Yet Android is catching up. Admittedly it’s still got a long way to go to match that six-figure total… but the signs are certainly there.

You’re not sure about Symbian at the moment – you really wanted to like the N97 but Nokia hadn’t sprinkled enough magic dust on it – and Windows Mobile (or is it Windows Phone?) hasn’t done anything exciting for a bit. Even Nokia says its Maemo-powered N900 is a step away from perfection. So for you it’s Apple or Android. Android or Apple. Which one do you choose.

Neither, I say. Not yet. Wait for a bit.

Let’s start with Apple. The iPhone 3GS is undeniably clever. It’s also undeniably nigh-on six months old. That means we’re probably around six months away from the next model. I reckon you've missed your moment. Okay, there’s been no UK iPhone price war since Orange started selling it – but what’ll happen when Vodafone joins the party?  Even without a post-Christmas price battle, upgrading today doesn’t seem such a bright idea, does it?

Then there’s Android. Here we’re seeing different versions of the OS on different phones. The Motorola Droid (and its European sibling, the Motorola Milestone) run Android 2.0. Other devices run version 1.6. Can you upgrade from 1.6 to 2.0?  Not necessarily. It depends on your phone spec. That makes the v1.6 devices less appealing. And what about all those apps?  Well, as I said earlier, Android is catching up. Next year it looks as though it could be giving Apple a bit of a kicking. But not yet.

So whichever OS you fancy, there’s a good reason to wait. And the other big names are going to keep innovating as well. Which means 2010 could well be the year of the smartphone. As was 2009. And 2008.

Author: The Fonecast
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