Saturday, 19 March 2011

Stalinist iPhone is Second Best

Recently, my old problem has returned. Actually, it turns out to be the same as Alan Coren's old problem. Those of you who are paying attention will remember that I'm re-reading his "Waiting for Jeffery". What is this problem of which I speak? It's the problem of what happens when someone you regard as a reliable source of information discusses something you actually know about. And they get it wrong!

The most recent example, for me, was a Gadget Show review of smart phones, which appeared to deliberately omit the best of the current Android crop. That's the HTC Desire HD, naturally! Even without the Desire HD in the test, they still had to arrange the tests carefully to avoid an embarrassing iPhone loss. As well as the criteria, carefully crafted to allow the iPhone to scrape a win, the order of the tests was very telling. For example, they had to arrange to remove the Windows 7 phone from the running before the test of applications from the phone's app store. For Windows 7, there aren't any!

So why would the Desire HD have carried off the crown? Because all the things that they criticised about the Nexus are fixed in HTC's superb Sense package. It's a winning combination because it has both useful applications and a great UI. The Jobsian Empire really does have some catching up to do! Not that that will stop the Fanbois queuing for the latest phones and fondle slabs, of course.

The iPhone has always been a non-starter for me. I can't take Apple's Stalinist approach to hardware and software. Their view is that you can do anything you like with your phone as long as they have decreed that its good for you. Of course, what they really mean is that it's good for Apple. It's very close to restraint of trade, though none of Apple's competitors have made that stick yet.

I've always preferred the more egalitarian approach typified by Android. Yes, it's a free for all, and yes, you do need to be a bit careful about what you download, but at least it treats me as a grown up. And by employing the 'wisdom of crowds', Android Market gives guidance about what others think, just like eBay does.

And as for my old problem? Well I'll be a bit more circumspect about anything that the Gadget Show tells me about products in future.

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