iDon't
October 20, 2009 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Verizon takes iPhone head-on. Will Android finally become something to people outside the nerd set? Will all those people still waiting for the iPhone to come to Verizon actually buy in? Personally, I'm not giving up my iPhone, but I was amused by the commercial.
posted by dame (154 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I recently switched from Verizon to an iPhone, and I've never been so happy. Both with my phone, and never having to deal with Verizon again.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Verizon is supposed to be carrying the next gen iphone next year on their 4G network, 10x faster than 3G.
posted by mert at 8:33 AM on October 20, 2009


Verizon's daring attack of the iPhone itself (rather than attacking AT&T's wireless coverage, etc.) dims the hopes I once had that Verizon would eventually carry an iPhone. I recently (and somewhat reluctantly) left my Verizon service for an iPhone with AT&T and share roomthreeseventeen's enthusiasm for the iPhone device. Verizon has no smartphone that comes anywhere near it.
posted by applemeat at 8:36 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mmm, I like the idea of competition and I hope it gains some marketshare, but I think, based on the commercial, they're hitting on stupid points that don't really matter to the majority of people. Most people don't care about the "closed" development of the iPhone, they just never see it, while being able to have multiple apps open would be nice, but is that really a concern if switching between apps feels instant? Not having a physical keyboard doesn't seem to have hurt iPhone popularity, nor does lack of a flash or 5 megpixel camera. And wtf is a widget? Apps and the app store is where it's at.

The only way i see the Droid getting really popular is if it had all those features listed in commercial, PLUS good battery life. If Verizon can do that, then they'll have a solid competitor for the iPhone, no question.

Had Verizon managed to get this out before the iPhone OS 3.0 release and iPhone Gs, they really would have made a splash.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 AM on October 20, 2009


The Droid looks nice. Not a fan of hardware keyboards, and I don't get Verizon at home, but I'm all for Android expansion. I myself am wetting my pants because the AMOLED-sporting Samsung Behold II might be coming out on November 18.
posted by Plutor at 8:37 AM on October 20, 2009


I was under the impression that these ads were not made by Verizon, but by Motorola (it just happens that Droid is exclusive to Verizon). I would imagine that Verizon doesn't object to the content now, but as soon as they get the iPhone, the tone of these ads will switch from "anti-iPhone" to "pro-Android."
posted by brand-gnu at 8:37 AM on October 20, 2009


iVealreadydrunkthekoolaidsry
posted by felix betachat at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2009


I saw a Comcast billboard that simply said "Three words: We're not Verizon", so I'm not entirely sure that this will be that much of a threat.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Verizon is a network, not a phone manufacturer. They should be selling phones based on how good their network is, not on what is wrong with the iPhone. They're going to look like idiots eventually when they sign a deal with Apple.

Not to mention the fact that most people don't care about the stuff Verizon is advertising. Nerds and geeks (like me) do, but your average consumer is looking for other things.

Anyways, I'll probably buy an unlocked GSM `droid (aka Motorola Sholes) and use it up here in Canada.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2009


If you have to attack your competitor before you're even available, and your best market differentiation is "we're not them!" you've already lost.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:40 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


So according to that commercial, Droid is for people who live in a Nine Inch Nails video?
posted by scrowdid at 8:41 AM on October 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


It's called Droid and the name is pronounced in a computer voice. That's two fails right there. iPhone isn't a success because it appeals to science fiction nerds who live in mom's basement. It a success despite that.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:41 AM on October 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sometime I'll tell you all about the time I spent 3 hours on hold with Verizon trying to cancel my DSL service when my phone line had already been canceled 2 months prior.

I paid my way out of my remaining Verizon accounts to get away. Verizon sucks.
posted by photoslob at 8:42 AM on October 20, 2009


Verizon is supposed to be carrying the next gen iphone next year on their 4G network, 10x faster than 3G.

Considering how hostile this marketing campaign is towards the iPhone, I'm thinking that's not the case.
posted by Mick at 8:42 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, is the the iPhone actually coming to Verizon? I'm not switching to AT&T due to terrible coverage in my area, but my Verizon contract is up. Should I get the Tour for $50 or wait for the iPhone?
posted by spaltavian at 8:42 AM on October 20, 2009


Who cares what their advertising is?
Like any other sensible person, I'll wait for the reviews and then decide if the phone is worth buying.

Verizon is not a fun company to deal with as a consumer, but you can say that about every single telecommunications company in the US.
posted by demiurge at 8:43 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Techcrunch has a nice round-up of all of the current and forthcoming Android phones. I've been a pretty happy Verizon customer for a long time but not very happy with their choices of phones and I'm thinking seriously about getting the Droid phone.
posted by octothorpe at 8:46 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate AT&T.

But if I were Verizon? I would really do as little as possible to draw attention to the fact that I am not authorized to offer the hottest phone on the planet.
posted by jefficator at 8:47 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is zero formal proof that Verizon's getting the iPhone next year, never mind ever. Yes, it's a reasonable road to walk down for conjecture because AT&T's been such an awful partner for Apple in the sense that Apple's all about customer experience and AT&T doesn't seem to care at all, and the AT&T exclusive contract will be expiring. Still, there are no press releases or even reliable rumors on a Verizon iPhone. A lot of the conjecture comes from the fact that Verizon's 4G network and AT&T's will be based on the same core technology, which would make it possible to produce a single phone that would work on both. But, again, this is pure conjecture and not a little bit of wishing by peeved iPhone owners (like myself) who would love to ditch their current network and go to someone who might, possibly, have a clue how to handle large-scale nontrivial data access, since that's the entire damn point of owning an iPhone.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:48 AM on October 20, 2009


I wonder if they've learned from all of the "iPod killers" that we've heard from in the past. Creative thought that they were going to put a hurting on Apple a couple of years ago and that never happened. The Zune was supposed to be an iPod killer, and, well, that hasn't exactly worked out. The iPhone is not successful because of spec-comparing nerds or slick salespeople at cell phone stores; it's successful because it delivers on what it promises and "just works," and its connection to the iPod ecosystem. If you want to steal significant marketshare from the iPhone, you're not going to overcome those advantages by saying "zOMG, lookit this phone that totally has more and better features than the iPhone!" Android is a platform that holds great promise for the future of smartphones, but when it's being marketed between a bunch of different carriers and a slew of manufacturers, it's going to be hard for anyone to outmarket Apple. And while competition is the biggest thing that Apple needs, the small incremental advances by the rest of the industry make it easy for Apple to keep up and stay a step ahead.
posted by azpenguin at 8:48 AM on October 20, 2009


Well, even though I'm an iPhone user, I'm glad someone is finally taking a page from Apple's playbook. Droid as a phone name is just right, and hopefully they manage to make it into a brand. (versus, say, T-Mobile myTouch 3G. That just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) My only concern is that since there are so many development targets, the Android app store will be a bit fractured, and we're only in the second generation of Android devices. But we're starting to see at least a degree of that in the iPhone store: targeting the 3GS and new iPod Touch's graphical capabilities, and whether or not you can assume a camera/gps/constant radio data connection.

But yeah, I agree with blue_beetle - most of the stuff they're pounding on about is a pretty thin wedge of the market. And while "actually rings when you get a call or message" might be a valid point for more users, it's not very punchy. (or is that just the wife and I? We get messages and our iPhones don't ring for whatever reason. That's probably my biggest device complaint.)

But I've heard that it's only about as thick as the iPhone, even while having a keyboard and slider, which is a huge step up from the G1, which always seemed so brick-like compared to other smartphones. So woo, things could get interesting, at least within the nerd-o-sphere.
posted by Kyol at 8:50 AM on October 20, 2009


A Verizon phone becomes a paperweight if you travel. But the iPhone is just another over-engineered, pretentious Apple product.
posted by Zambrano at 8:50 AM on October 20, 2009


A friend and I were watching TV the other day and one of those iDon't Droiddoes ads ran. The only impact it made on either of us was to remind us of those "Genesis does what Nintendon't ads." For the record though, neither one of us owns a phone that does anything more intelligent than ring when called (most of the time).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:52 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Gruber has a quick analysis of the commercial on Daring Fireball.

I'm tied into Verizon by contract and because a) they have good coverage in places where I spend time (especially rural southwest Virginia) and b) most of the people I talk with are also on Verizon, so I talk to them for free. I'm interested in an Android phone, so I've considered trying to change to T-Mobile... but if this phone is anywhere near as awesome as Boy Genius Report is making it seem that would be pretty fantastic, and very good for us sad Verizon people who have had to be content with shitty, shitty BlackBerries and WinMo pieces of crap.

As far as Verizon as a company goes, the only time I've ever even had to interact with anyone on their end is when I'm getting a new phone/reupping my contract. And in my hometown we have a really nice guy who owns a third-party Verizon dealership-type-thing, so the customer service has actually been really good. Other then the crappy phone selection, I'm generally pretty happy with them.

That said, iThink the commercial is pretty dumb. Verizon should be positioning itself as the superior network in terms of coverage (which it is doing in other ads), and attacking Apple is really not going to help all that much.
posted by malthas at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2009


Verizon's daring attack of the iPhone itself (rather than attacking AT&T's wireless coverage, etc.) dims the hopes I once had that Verizon would eventually carry an iPhone.

It's a bit annoying, but they are also running an ad comparing their 3G service map saying "There's a map for that" (playing off of iPhone's "there's an app for that" ad)

And the Droid will come with Buster Douglas Boxing free. You can't this on Nintendo!
posted by ALongDecember at 8:54 AM on October 20, 2009


I saw a Comcast billboard that simply said "Three words: We're not Verizon"

From my perspective as a Comcast user, I would be easily swayed by a billboard that said "We're not Comcast." It's too bad most of these providers suck so much.
posted by grouse at 8:55 AM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Verizon is a network, not a phone manufacturer. They should be selling phones based on how good their network is, not on what is wrong with the iPhone.

And, they are. Have you seen Verizon's "There's a map for that." ad? It points out how much more extensive their 3G network is compared to ATT's. It's a cute skewering of Apple's "There's an app for that" commercials. IMHO, it's a much more effective ad than this Droid ad.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:56 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Zambrano: "A Verizon phone becomes a paperweight if you travel. "

Only if you leave the US, which for at least for me isn't likely to happy anytime soon. I doubt that's a big consideration for the vast majority of customers.
posted by octothorpe at 8:56 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a bit annoying, but they are also running an ad comparing their 3G service map saying "There's a map for that" (playing off of iPhone's "there's an app for that" ad)

And that seems smart, since the single most common complaint I've heard from iPhone users is that AT&T coverage sucks. Especially in Manhattan.
posted by smackfu at 8:58 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is interesting is that LucasFilms owns the term "droid" and it is used under license in that ad to Verizon (not Moto). So this next "iPhone killer" phone than fails to even make a dent in iPhone sales is a coproduction of VZW and Moto. Clearly Motorola needs this way more than Verizon does. If it is a flop -- and the ad campaign is telling the analyst community this is a iPhone killer so anything short of a grand slam will not be taken as a success -- Motorola is still in a world of hurt and ultimately Verizon can keep adding other "iPhone killers" and/or write a big fat check to Apple and get the iPhone. That said, this is not the droid I'm looking for.

Okay, is the the iPhone actually coming to Verizon?

Only Apple knows that for sure and they're not talking. We've seen Apple ad second carriers in other countries so it could happen in the US soon too. But I think an LTE powered iPhone in the US next year is a little too soon since Verizon's 4G network won't be ready. So it would have to run on Verizon's 3G network simultaneously or the backlash would be worse than the ATT hate when the iPhone 3G came out. I don't know enough about the technology to know if they could make a energy efficient radio that can run LTE 4G, CDMA 3G, and GSM 3G at the same time.
posted by birdherder at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2009


Have you seen Verizon's "There's a map for that." ad?

No, but the problem with parody ads, which this sounds like it might be, is that it reminds me of the original ad, and reminds me of the original product.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2009


Those commericals are horribe, by the way. The font they write "Droid" in is almost illegible; I didn't know hte product's name until the second ad I saw. It's basically a boring bit of text with 5 seconds of Cloverfield tacked on. The first time I saw it was while watching football; I wasn't paying close attention to the TV, but rather my beer, and had no idea what it was about.
posted by spaltavian at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2009


blue_beetle: "Verizon is a network, not a phone manufacturer. They should be selling phones based on how good their network is, not on what is wrong with the iPhone."

Verizon is also a phone reseller, so they should and can and do sell phones based on how good those specific phones are compared to the competitors' phones. The network quality would only become the primary concern if all phones were interchangeable on all networks (which is far from true in the US).

blue_beetle: "They're going to look like idiots eventually when they sign a deal with Apple."

No, they really aren't. Can you tell me off the top of your head what advertising campaign Verizon used last fall? No, and neither can anyone else. The huge majority of advertising campaigns come and go in a manner of a month or so, and consumers move on.
posted by Plutor at 9:02 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


And that seems smart, since the single most common complaint I've heard...

Exactly. Focusing on its strengths as a network is Verizon's strongest hand and one that doesn't burn its bridges with Apple.
posted by applemeat at 9:02 AM on October 20, 2009


The only thing I can focus on with this ad are the apostrophes. Most of the "iDon't" lines have a neutral (straight up and down) apostrophe, but two or three of them have an angled apostrophe. This lack of attention to detail only makes me think about what other details they're not paying attention to.
posted by splatta at 9:08 AM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


splatta: "The only thing I can focus on with this ad are the apostrophes"

That's really hilarious, but the marketing guys probably aren't also programming. And I wouldn't be surprised if this whole iDon't thing is actually just one marketing intern. The whole thing is really crudely done (not to mention web-only as far as I've seen so far).
posted by Plutor at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a bit annoying, but they are also running an ad comparing their 3G service map saying "There's a map for that" (playing off of iPhone's "there's an app for that" ad)

And that seems smart, since the single most common complaint I've heard from iPhone users is that AT&T coverage sucks. Especially in Manhattan.


Although I find the 'there's a map for that' ads clever, they do gloss over the actual problem. It isn't iPhone users screaming they can't get 3G coverage in North Dakota (where that map in the Verizon ad seems to cover like a blanket). It is iPhone users screaming the phone drops to 2G or is at complete capacity in NYC and SFO. Places on AT&T's map where there is coverage. AT&T's problem is with capacity in those cities (and other markets). I would think that Verizon is going to be the same way. If Droid and other bandwidth hogging phones are successful they will hit capacity in places like NYC and SFO, too. A cell tower can only handle a finite number of simultaneous users whether that tower is Verizon or AT&T.
posted by birdherder at 9:15 AM on October 20, 2009


In London, Subway has storefront ads that read:

Whatever your mood, There's a sub for that!

posted by jefficator at 9:15 AM on October 20, 2009


And that seems smart, since the single most common complaint I've heard from iPhone users is that AT&T coverage sucks. Especially in Manhattan.

The same is true of AT&T in Washington, DC. Calls were dropped constantly (outdoors in the middle of town, I had one ten minute call dropped twice), and routinely I would get notice of voicemails hours after they were left, when the phone never rang. Their customer service is also lousy: for example, they falsely accused me of lying.

I ditched AT&T and the iPhone for a Palm Centro on Verizon and it's worked out great. With the better network, not only does the phone work many times better as an actual phone, but the Palm's core apps of the contact manager and calendar are much better than the corresponding apps on iPhone. Plus I don't have to use MS Outlook to manage them on my PC.

I picked up a cheap iPod Touch for the fun stuff, though when its away from wifi I do miss being on a network for stuff like the maps (even AT&T's shitty network). If only someone would make an app so the Touch could access the internet on my good phone over bluetooth.


And I wouldn't be surprised if this whole iDon't thing is actually just one marketing intern. The whole thing is really crudely done (not to mention web-only as far as I've seen so far).

Actually they've been airing during the ALCS baseball games, at least in DC. Those spots have got to be pretty pricey.
posted by exogenous at 9:17 AM on October 20, 2009


(not to mention web-only as far as I've seen so far).

I saw it on FOX last Sunday during the Packers/Lions game.
posted by applemeat at 9:17 AM on October 20, 2009


The iPhone has always been a great overall device with a flew obvious shortcomings of features you would simply expect an advanced phone to have (decent camera, high-intensity light for taking pictures in the dark, cut-and-paste). Competitors can play up their features in light of iPhone's shortcomings, but that only lasts for a year or so until the iPhone simply incorporates that feature (eg, cut-and-paste). Outside of what's probably a better development platform, the Android doesn't offer anything that the iPhone couldn't offer with a wave of Steve Job's hand, and none of the features are enough to make me give up the iPhone in favor of another platform.

Can you tell me off the top of your head what advertising campaign Verizon used last fall?

Yes. "You've got people," which is an extension of their "Can you hear me now?" campaign. Verizon has always sold itself based on its supposed wide coverage area.
posted by deanc at 9:18 AM on October 20, 2009


Personally, I'm not giving up my iPhone, but I was amused by the commercial.

Thanks for sharing.
posted by Big_B at 9:18 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty sad, in that parents-trying-to-be-cool way. This is Mitt Romney talking about bling-bling.

Dear marketing geniuses: Verizon can't be cool. Google can't be elite. You can't force this. That's a double advertising fail, because you're competing with a phone that's half slick technology but also half fashion item.
posted by rokusan at 9:19 AM on October 20, 2009


The answer to the question about whether an android phone can challenge the iPhone?

No.

I'm a big android fan. Hell, I love the Palm Pre. However, I ended up switching to an iPhone 3gs. And you know what? There's no comparison. It's not a perfect device, but it's head and shoulders above anything else out there.

The Pre comes close, but the hardware design (flimsy), and Palm stigma sorta fuck it. Plus they don't have a HUGE app store.

Android, be it from Motorola, HTC, whoever else.. Non-starters for normal people. They have the linux cred. They have the "I hate apple" cred. They might get blackberry spillover. But as far as mainstream success? No way.

Between the Cell Manufacturers and American Cell Providers, the amount of "I don't getitness" is just incredible. Trying to go back to a half-assed attitude of embracing change after the horses have fled the barn, hopped on a plane to the far corners of the earth is too little too late.

It's classical reactive bullshit. Looking at the current state of things and emulating it poorly. "WE have a keyboard, we have a . Nyah Nyah iPhone".

People don't give a shit. They want sleek, sexy, and aspirational.

All of these other devices, while impressive to a technically savvy user just amount to the Gobots of Mobile Phones, just like the Transformers, but not quite.

posted by Lord_Pall at 9:20 AM on October 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it was on Monday Night Football; not cheap airtime.
posted by spaltavian at 9:23 AM on October 20, 2009


For everyone who is hating Verizon but curious about Android phones; my wife has been using the T-Mobile G1 for a couple of months and has come to like it quite a bit and by all account the new Android MyTouch is supposed to be pretty nice as well (though I'm not sure it has WiFi enabled calling (UMA) and if so, that is dumb...) I'm in the Blackberry camp, so I don't see myself trading, but if I did, I'd probably go for one of those.

From a customer service standpoint, T-Mobile has always been spectacular. Pretty much the exact opposite of every experience I've had dealing with any other phone company.
posted by quin at 9:24 AM on October 20, 2009


Windows Mobile has had every iPhone feature for years and years. And look where's that's going. It's not quantity, it's quality.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:24 AM on October 20, 2009


If The Designer's Republic hadn't closed up shop, I would have sworn they were involved in this. The font and the morphing geometric shape are very tDR.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:26 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You Should See the Other Guy, I'm sure you're a nice person and all, but every time I see someone equate liking SF and/or gaming with living in "mom's basement," it's like a giant fucking IGNORE ME button that I eagerly press.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:32 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I saw one of those Droid ads the other day. After the iDon't part, I thought the ad was over and that it had switched to a different ad. The only part that said "Droid" was in a totally different style, and appeared after a short beat. Seems like a concept that might have had a nice impact in the boardroom, but might not work so well on TV in a series of other commercials.
posted by statolith at 9:33 AM on October 20, 2009


My only concern is that since there are so many development targets, the Android app store will be a bit fractured

If there is no "walled garden" for apps, and as long as shops don't have exclusivity clauses or any such foolishness, developers could offer their wares anywhere, or multiple places, like there were (are?) for Palm PDA programs. Also, developers can sell the programs from their own sites, cutting out middle-folks.

It could well be like the current Apple vs. Others hardware market: official Apple products are from reliable sources, but are expensive and limited in options. 3rd party items are available, but you'll have to search, and quality can vary a lot. Other systems makers are sold everywhere, some stores limiting themselves to top-end, reliable parts, others carrying anything that will sell.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2009


I own an iPhone and while I have much respect for the Droid line and wish them every success, most of my software issues cited (backgrounding, customization, more) have been taken care of through Jailbreaking along with some others not even in the ad. Setting my iPhone to be a wireless hotspot for both my laptop and SO's iTouch has been both handy and, honestly, giggly-cool.

Hardwarewise, I would LOVE an integrated flash for the camera and I suppose being able to swap a battery would be nice. These things objectively "better". However speaking as a 2-year Blackberry veteran, a "real keyboard" is *not* automatically better and in fact, I do not find its absence in the iPhone to be a negative - particularly when I want to type in complete silence.
posted by Moonster at 9:37 AM on October 20, 2009


The Droid looks nice. This is an odd reaction, because the major fault in the ad is they don't show their product. Big problem. Same thing on the internet, just some bullshitty 3D graphics. And you know the first thought in the mind of would-be consumers? "They have nothing to offer."
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:41 AM on October 20, 2009


As an ad, it feels like two ads awkwardly glued together with spittle and twine, and the second ad isn't even an ad, so much as the unused bits left over from a bankrupted typography and design firm from Sheffield.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:42 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I so badly want to write cool software for smartphones, but I so hate the idea of smartphones.
posted by klanawa at 9:51 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief: I don't think that's what he's saying. The real fear is that the apps are all going to be made for the lowest-common denominator. Because there are different tech specs, developers will either have to jump through hoops to support with-keyboard without-keyboard with-landscape-keyboard, with-gps without-gps, etc etc etc. Or they'll just go to the effectively single-target iPhone.

The iPhone has really set the baseline here, and nobody's meeting it yet. Excelling in single areas, sure. The package? Nope. That's why all the reviews, even the most glowing, of competitors say things like "almost as fast as an iPhone!".

And when you're spending 3/4 of the time mentioning the competitor in an ad, you've already lost.
posted by fightorflight at 9:51 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Plutor: "That's really hilarious, but the marketing guys probably aren't also programming"

God I hope not. Insert Dilbert-style joke here.
posted by splatta at 9:52 AM on October 20, 2009


I also left Verizon to get an iPhone, though kind of accidentally. My cheap-o flip phone's hinge was breaking and I had a little bit of extra money, so I went in to buy a phone. I was going to pay retail for something reasonably "fancy," but they didn't have anything I even wanted to wipe my butt with. I did find one phone that looked alright, but it actually was more expensive than just getting an iPhone.

Which is what I did. And oh, oh, the joy.

I doubt the Droid would sync with my laptop, which is the biggest plus the iPhone has going for me since I carry the phone, but not my computer, to work. I still have access to my email/iCal/etc. even though I don't have the physical computer on me. Priceless. (Well, not actually, I paid the assthousand dollars for a MobileMe account, but y'know, ALMOST priceless.)

And yeah, AT&T's network blows. My parents would be thrilled if Verizon picked up the iPhone since they'd actually like to have them and Verizon is the only major carrier thus far with service in Vermont. (Unless someone else moved in last year and I don't know about it, but for a long time, that's been true.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:59 AM on October 20, 2009


There's no way this is going to work. The phone with the ads featuring SNL has-beens and the Cat Stevens song is CLEARLY the cool phone.
posted by snofoam at 10:01 AM on October 20, 2009


Agreed, the ad isn't going to attract anyone outside of uber-geeks and Chris Cunningham fans. The ending makes Droid look scary. Do I really want a Transformer robot in my pocket next to my testicular area? Yeesh.

But IMHO the number one thing these people always get wrong is presence. For instance, if you walk into an Apple store or an AT&T store even, they have WORKING iPhones there, connected to Wifi, that anyone can pick up and start messing with right away. But walk into T-Mobile or Sprint or Verizon? They have little plastic shells with fake screens that don't even feel like the actual phone. I mean, what are these people thinking? They expect me to buy a Pre or a G1 without even trying it out? I'm a geek, interested in what the Pre offers, but I have yet to give enough of a shit to bother the salespeople to dig up the real phone. This is stupid.
posted by fungible at 10:01 AM on October 20, 2009


There is an industry term for phones that drop calls frequently, don't ring and don't deliver voicemails in a timely manner. Fashion accessory.
posted by vapidave at 10:03 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I so badly want to write cool software for smartphones, but I so hate the idea of smartphones.
I hated the idea, too, until I realized that I want an mp3 player and a smart sub-netbook-size wireless internet device that just so happens, if I need it to, make phone calls. A smartphone makes sense once you lose interest in owning a phone.
posted by deanc at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm an iPhone/Apple fanboi, but I hope like hell the "Droid(tm)" takes off. Verizon (damn their souls) getting a smartphone anybody cares about might light a fire under AT&T's (damn their souls) collective ass.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:15 AM on October 20, 2009


The real fear is that the apps are all going to be made for the lowest-common denominator.

Ah, I can see that. But as a former Palm PDA user, most sites were pretty good about clarifying which make of the Palm was needed to run the app, though differences were a lot more clear when there is a clear delineation of models.

And when you're spending 3/4 of the time mentioning the competitor in an ad, you've already lost.

When the competition holds a near monopoly on the market and most people enjoy that product, it might be quicker to start with "we're like them, but better in these ways." Otherwise, people might not get past asking "why not buy an iPhone instead?"

I doubt the Droid would sync with my laptop

You don’t need to sync Android. Ever. (Assuming you use Gmail for email and contacts, Google calendar, and whatever else might synch from the Google camp). Not to be a shill for the product, but I imagine syncing is pretty important for any smartphone/PDA type product. I'm just waiting to hear the cost of the data plan.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:18 AM on October 20, 2009


Looks packed with power and features, but why oh why is Motorola incapable of making an aesthetically pleasing phone. From what I've seen in photos it looks like the cell phone equivalent of a 1987 buick skylark?

People want the iphone and they want better service than AT&T can give. Unfortunately Verizon is a loathsome corporation that as NYNEX and Bell Atlantic has robbed billions of dollars from consumers with the most ridiculous schemes imaginable. Alos they're arrogant and think they own the internets, which is another issue.

I have the Android OS, first on the functional badass G1, built like a Godd*amn tank, and now on the MyTouch, which is a beautiful device, no keyboard this time, but the screen keyboard is pretty good, also solid, but much lighter, symmetrical and thinner than its tough field tested older brother, and the OS is first class. Intuitive, blazing fast, adaptable, mult-taskable and being constantly upgraded what seems like every couple of months any complaints I have are already dealt with. There's nothing I can't do with it that an Iphone can do and actually I expect Android's going to out pace the iPhone and already has, with Flash for Android coming very soon and apps being put up at a ridiculous rate cos of the open source platform.

My recommendation is people check out the Android OS on the G1 or MyTouch, T-mobile service in NYC is excellent and I've never had a dropped call and the customer service is topnotch for now, but these things are changeable and thankfully better companies will hopefully come along. Also you can use Skype and Google voice with the Android on T-mobile, don't see that happening with Verizon.
posted by Skygazer at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Geeky amusement: decyphering the count-down code, and the follow-up verification. The first poster spent time trying to figure out a pattern, figuring out 10/30/09 at 1:00AM EST. The second poster verified it was 12am on 10/30/09, by setting their computer clock for 11:59pm 10/29/09 and watching the counter count down to 00:00:00:00.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2009


Assuming you use Gmail for email and contacts, Google calendar, and whatever else might synch from the Google camp

Assuming I don't, or assuming I don't trust Google not to vaporize my data at any given moment (either by choice or by mistake), I otherwise would assume that being able to sync with my computer is a pretty major deal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on October 20, 2009


deanc : A smartphone makes sense once you lose interest in owning a phone.

There is a great truth here. I hardly ever use my phone as a phone, and for years was content to carry around the most basic does-nothing-but-take-calls models available. I finally upgraded when smartphones reached a size that was in-line with some of the bigger non-smartphones, and I'm glad I did because now I use it all the time.

Not as a phone, mind you, but as a quick way to check my email, look up a map of where I am, or skim the blue, or, and this is most important; have Google in my pocket 24/7 for whatever strange question I might have while walking around doing day to day stuff.

Until I can get the web-search chip installed in my brain, this is as close as I can get to having instant access to information wherever I am.

Holy crap is it a liberating feeling.
posted by quin at 10:31 AM on October 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


Addendum to octothorpe's TechCrunch list: 50+ new Android phones expected in near future (via). It's just a list, which is paltry compared to TC's details on each model, but it's something more to chew on.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:36 AM on October 20, 2009


FilthyLightThiefYou don’t need to sync Android. Ever.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that. When I lost my G1, as much as that sucked, all my contact info, calendar stuff, email etc was available through my igoogle and gmail account and transferred over to the MyTouch (stupid name, I know), perfectly.

Also, one downside is that, although Google has been on the up and up and very respectful in every way, so far, I still expect them to turn to the dark side as they become more and more successful as all corporations do, regardless of their stated intentions to "not be evil." and sometimes the amount of personal info I uploading into their cloud banks to be mined and turned into harvestable profit makes me a bit uneasy at times. So heads up for anyone with that concern.
posted by Skygazer at 10:37 AM on October 20, 2009


The Pre comes close, but the hardware design (flimsy), and Palm stigma sorta fuck it.

It's kind of weird that people continuously refer to the Pre as having "flimsy hardware." I've had mine for a couple of weeks now and it's like a little river rock in my pocket. Everyone I know has an iPhone and the Pre feels... denser, somehow. Also the screen feels kind of like leaded glass to my finger - much more substantial than the iPhone. I put a screen protector on it but it's been banging around in my coat pocket for a while now and there's not a scratch on it. vs. my sister's iPhone that seems to explode if you frown at it.

Also, replaceable batteries and wireless charging. Freaking amazing. I have a couple of touchstones - one on my desk and one in my car - I just set my phone down and it's charging.

Also - webOS rocks my socks. You kind of give it all your info and it's constantly scrubbing your google accounts, facebook, everything for data and sorting it into one magnificent data pile on the screen. It constantly surprises me with shit it knows about my friends that it found off the internet. Birthdays and stuff. Random contact info. Very awesome.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:38 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It constantly surprises me with shit it knows about my friends that it found off the internet. Birthdays and stuff. Random contact info.

Heebie, meet jeebie.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


So the marketing is indeed questionable as it's never the best idea to position yourself in opposition.

Non-starters for normal people.

Absolutely not. The Android 2.0 phones will be every bit as slick as the iPhone and as accessible.

I shouldn't say this but what the heck: I'm staring at a Droid phone on my desk right now and it's great. Haters, if you played with this for five minutes you would absolutely come around. Would everyone who owns an iPhone give it up for this? Probably not. But it's a awesome device.
posted by GuyZero at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobody in the thread hates it, they're just not impressed by the linked Droid commercial. Who can blame them. If you have to license the name of your device from Lucas Arts, it better start with "Light" and end with "Saber" and be exactly that. Otherwise you look the hyped up, spazzed out, teenage boy on a sugar binge that the ad seems aimed at.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:46 AM on October 20, 2009


Firefox coming to Android
posted by octothorpe at 10:47 AM on October 20, 2009


The ads are definitely questionable. The Lucasfilm thing is a bit of a red herring though - Apple had to work out a deal with Cisco to use "iPhone". Most of the good names are gone these days.
posted by GuyZero at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I shouldn't say this but what the heck: I'm staring at a Droid phone on my desk right now and it's great.

*convulses with fits of envy*
posted by malthas at 10:51 AM on October 20, 2009


I might end up getting a smartphone because I'm also in the market for a GPS, and if I'm spending 50-100 dollars for a GPS, shouldn't I get one that does pretty much everything else as well?

Android certainly hasn't sold me on their product yet, I would never get a Blackberry after seeing my friends' experiences with them, but I've also heard terrible things about AT&T. Sort of a rock and hard place right now.
posted by codacorolla at 11:02 AM on October 20, 2009


I'm kind of underwhelmed by this ad; it seems like they're really stretching. "iDon't take pictures in the dark"--what does that mean, low-light conditions or pitch blackness? What do you take pictures of in the dark--raccoons in the garbage can? "iDon't customize"--huh? There are all sorts of things I can do with my iPhone; customize what, exactly? "iDon't allow open development"--what does that even mean to the average person, that they can't get an iPhone app that's just a picture of a dog turd that will crash your phone at random, the way that a lot of Palm homebrew apps did back in the day? It's meaningless to the average person, and anyone who's remotely acquainted with the iPhone or iPod touch will simply laugh.

I'm not surprised that they're not exactly broadcasting the Motorola connection, because Moto have gotten a reputation for putting out crap hardware.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:18 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well being that the ad is pretty much just a teaser, it seems to have done its job; its gotten you to talk about it. If it got you interested in the product, bonus for Droid. If it just pissed you off because its crapping on the iPhone, you probably wouldn't have bought the damn thing anyway. But you're still talking about it, so bonus for Droid again.

Personally, I'm thinking of picking it up when it comes out. I'm on Verizon and was looking for something iPhone-like, but until now they didn't really offer anything similar that didn't look like a bloated piece of shit. Droid looks nice and appears to have much of the same if not more functionality. I'm sure I'm not the only Verizon customer whos thinking this way either.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2009


Moto have gotten a reputation for putting out crap hardware

Well, considering that you argue that no one knows what "open development means" I don't know how many people are familiar with the ups and downs of Motorola's product development history, but they always actually had really great hardware (the RAZR, the StarTac back in the day) with mind-rendingly bad user interfaces. MOTO would screw up the UI for a toilet.
posted by GuyZero at 11:21 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I hate cellphones - they always end up in the corner somewhere, battery drained, all sad and alone. I don't like Apple products - too closed off, expensive and identifiable at a distance. But the Droid? Yeh, I'll be having that thanks. I like the basic design, it's on the same network as my husband, and it has Android. It's strange, being excited about a cellphone. That's never happened before.
posted by saturnine at 11:43 AM on October 20, 2009


But you're still talking about it, so bonus for Droid again.

If you have a product, having people talk about it just to generate buzz, even if the talk is negative doesn't work. If the talk is bad, no one wants to spend money on it.

We can talk trash about (insert media icon here) because their livelihood depends on that talk, not people actually buying something more than magazine or movie ticket.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on October 20, 2009


I am fanboy-level excited about this phone. I've been reading about it since it was the amazingly-badly-named Sholes, and now that it's about to be a reality, I'm entirely jazzed.

Verizon has a reputation of having crippled the functionality of its best phones in the past, but they really did this one right. It's an official Google Experience phone, so Google has been working with Verizon and Motorola from the start. As the first Android phone on the biggest US network, Google knows that this is where most people are going to see Android for the first time, so they've put together a decent package.

The only way this can get screwed up for me now is the pricing, both of the phone and the required plan, and there's no word on that so far.

It may not kill off the iPhone, but it's going to position Android as a significant competitor. And it's going to be a whole lot better than carrying around my dumb flip-phone and my Nokia N800.
posted by MrVisible at 12:01 PM on October 20, 2009


The ads are geared towards developers, in hopes that the Android app store will one day be thought of as on par with the iPhone app store. It's a smart way to position a product that they hope will become relevant in 2-3 years.

I'm excited to finally have a decent Android phone on Verizon. And although I like the iPhone, without a real keyboard it's just a toy to me. Great apps for off-time, useless phone for business. And yes, I've had one.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:02 PM on October 20, 2009


I've been reading about it since it was the amazingly-badly-named Sholes

Christopher Latham Sholes (February 14, 1819 - February 17, 1890) was an American inventor who invented the first practical typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard still in use today.

As far as code-names go at least it shows a little creativity.
posted by GuyZero at 12:06 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


"DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license."

so...you truncate an existing word and it becomes trademark-able? Wow.

on-topic: The ad appeals to the geeks out there, just as the Android OS does, methinks.
Apple's got the lock on sexy and shiny, and the people to whom that appeals probably don't care about the things being touted in the ad.
posted by I, Credulous at 12:11 PM on October 20, 2009


"iDon't customize"--huh? There are all sorts of things I can do with my iPhone; customize what, exactly?

This was actually the line that resonated the most with me. Then again, I like changing my desktop look every ten minutes, and switched to Linux mostly because I hated WinXP's available two themes.

I'd love to play with a Droid. I'd love an android smartphone. Heck, mostly I just want something that plays nice with my ubuntu. But I save money by having a line on my mom's phone plan, and she uses AT&T.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:11 PM on October 20, 2009



Christopher Latham Sholes (February 14, 1819 - February 17, 1890) was an American inventor who invented the first practical typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard still in use today.

As far as code-names go at least it shows a little creativity.


Huh. You don't say.

It all makes so much more sense now. Thanks!
posted by MrVisible at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2009


Isn't nice that we're discussing the merits of Apple vs. Google phones and the topic of Microsoft barely registers? Not that either Apple or Google are perfect companies but it's nice to see MS fail so miserably at penetrating a market that they've been gunning for for ages.
posted by octothorpe at 12:25 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


the topic of Microsoft barely registers?

It's amazing how dead WinMo is, even with the recent updates. They had many years of ahead start and managed to squander every advantage they had in the market. I bought an iPaq back in 2000 or so and while it was kinda big it did mostly all the same stuff my phones does now, minus the phone stuff. Heck, that iPaq still has a better bluetooth stack than Android (sigh). But yeah, someone's head should roll at MSFT for having given this market away.
posted by GuyZero at 12:29 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I left Verizon to get an AT&T iPhone here in San Francisco.
The iPhone as a computer is amazing.
The iPhone as a phone is a piece of shit.
It consistently drops calls and its network access it pitiful most of the time.
In one week I will drop more calls than I dropped on Verizon in a year, no joke.

If Android takes off (which I still have doubts, but less than last year) I may find myself back on Verizon.

It is impossible to have a business call while driving (which I probably shouldn't be doing anyway but...) on AT&T, on Verizon it is no problem.

The only thing that makes me feel okay is that Steve Jobs has the same crappy wireless service that I do (unless AT&T follows him around with a mobile hotspot)

Android is pretty compelling. Java-like programming is a big plus, background tasks, etc..
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:32 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with MrVisible- I've been waiting for this phone to come out since before it was official. The Windows Mobile phone I bought in March 2008 (using the advice of those at AskMe) has really gotten on my nerves, and Windows Mobile's decision to nuke my SD card randomly one day a few weeks ago was the last straw. I'm due for a New Every Two in mid November, and I'm excited to see that Verizon hasn't crippled the Droid. Android has to be better than Windows Mobile, and ATT's service is awful around here, so no iPhone for me.

I'm hoping that VoIP over WiFi will work on this phone so I can at least have some phone access when traveling internationally.
posted by JMOZ at 12:33 PM on October 20, 2009


Ah, I can see that. But as a former Palm PDA user, most sites were pretty good about clarifying which make of the Palm was needed to run the app, though differences were a lot more clear when there is a clear delineation of models.

As a long time Palm fan (seriously, from the Pilot 1000 on), that was something I actually sort of hated the most about the Palm software ecosystem. Same for j2me, to be honest. Apple's walled garden is sort of annoying, but it's nice to know I don't have to go hunting around to find out what's out there, it's all right there, in one (poorly searchable and increasingly polluted, admittedly) app store, with one payment card on file, and no serial codes to lose or anything. That said, I'm rooting for the Droid - I think Apple does their best when they have competition to cherry pick features from, and the smartphone world seems sort of barren right now. The Pre is admirable, but I don't know that it has enough traction to become a dominant platform. On the other hand, I never would have guessed that the iPhone would end up as wildly successful as it has, so my prognosticatory abilities are suspect.
posted by Kyol at 12:36 PM on October 20, 2009


The only thing that makes me feel okay is that Steve Jobs has the same crappy wireless service that I do (unless AT&T follows him around with a mobile hotspot)

Dude, Steve Jobs iPhone is so advanced it sends calls to voicemail before they're even made.
posted by Skygazer at 12:44 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The one thing that I'm surprised no one mention regarding this ad is that it is, in many ways, exactly like the "I'm a mac, I'm a PC" ads. it sets the product it's selling against the dominant product in the market by pointing out the shortcomings of the incumbent. So while it is still a fair assessment to say that these types of ads are questionable in general, there's a certainly irony in having the form used against the company that perfected and ran more attack/comparison ads than anyone ever.
posted by GuyZero at 12:59 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


so...you truncate an existing word and it becomes trademark-able? Wow.

tripod.
posted by smackfu at 1:01 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The ad would have been better if they let The Droids do the soundtrack.

T-mobile and the G1 are a winning combo for me. I tried verizon for a little while, but they didn't have any coverage at my apartment, right next to the "can you hear me now" billboard. Then they "lost" my current address for the final bill, sending it to collections without once trying to call. Their phone could poop ice-cream, I wouldn't touch it.
posted by nomisxid at 1:04 PM on October 20, 2009


It's amazing how dead WinMo is, even with the recent updates.

Microsoft's device synchronization (ActiveSync) was and still is absolute garbage. If you have two different devices that require different versions of ActiveSync, the software is not backwards compatible and you can't have multiple ActiveSync installations on one computer. Microsoft totally fails for usability of mobile devices.

Assuming you can choose to work only with one device, ActiveSync can't even do a passably good job with that task, occasionally failing to synchronize with no explanation and with virtually no troubleshooting options, except to wipe Outlook and the device clean and start from scratch.

If Google can make a cell phone that can synchronize with a Mac out of the box, without requiring the exclusive use of Google services, without spending extra $$$, I might consider one of their phones for hobby development work.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on October 20, 2009


A functional browser in a phone would be great. If they ever make a good one, I might be interested one day.

The iPhone has no appeal whatsoever for me. I would like a camera on my phone, I guess, but that certainly wouldn't require an iPhone.

Droid sounds like a pretty good name for a phone built on Android. Maybe they should try to get some Blade Runner or Star Wars tie-in. I think it's a pretty good name.

My wife has an iPhone, and AT&T's coverage sure sucks. I mean, how many towers do you need, amirite?

Um...

What's this post about? Oh yeah. HORRIBLE.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:26 PM on October 20, 2009


Droid sounds like a pretty good name for a phone built on Android

The HTC phone that T-Mobile and Google brought to the States and rebranded the G1 was originally called the Dream; They had a product that they could have called the Android Dream and they opted for something else.

They could have done a commercial with some sort of electric robot sheep and made a sale to every geek on the planet. Just because.

They're lucky it's a damn nice product or I would have boycotted it out of principle.
posted by quin at 1:40 PM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


The ads are geared towards developers, in hopes that the Android app store will one day be thought of as on par with the iPhone app store. It's a smart way to position a product that they hope will become relevant in 2-3 years.

Spending big dollars on broadcast nets during primetime is not exactly the most efficient way to reach developers. You run ads on the broadcast nets during primetime to get to Joe & Jane Sixpack. All the Android developers already are aware of this product before Verizon and Moto spent a cent.

Verizon is on record as saying it wants its own App Store (which complicates both the Android and Apple app store concepts). Certainly, Verizon wants some of the heat off of Apple (if not only so it has more leverage to offer the phone itself). Verizon is getting the Pre soon. It will have a bazillian other Android phones and other phones. The Droid is really Motorola's game to win or lose. If it is a commercial flop then Moto might as well go back to making Zach Morris phones (unless the Shole does well outside the US).

Although I'm pleased with my iPhone as can be, I welcome Android devices to compete with Apple. I was hoping for a little more steam out of the Palm Pre, but perhaps that will come when it goes on Verizon early next year.
posted by birdherder at 1:41 PM on October 20, 2009


It looks like the announcement will happen on midnight of the 27th/28th now; the robot font on the announcement website has changed. Maybe it will be announced then, and then be on sale on the 30th?

Gah! Stop teasing me! WANT PHONE!
posted by MrVisible at 1:51 PM on October 20, 2009


If you have to license the name of your device from Lucas Arts, it better start with "Light" and end with "Saber" and be exactly that.

Yeah, but calling it a Droid allows the inevitable commercial where a stormtrooper finds it in the desert and says "Look, sir!"
posted by albrecht at 1:57 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You Should See the Other Guy, I'm sure you're a nice person and all, but every time I see someone equate liking SF and/or gaming with living in "mom's basement," it's like a giant fucking IGNORE ME button that I eagerly press.

Well, then not only was I correct in what I said, I was correcter in how I said it. Nothing worse than adoration from SF lovers and gamers. *shivers*
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:28 PM on October 20, 2009


The ads are geared towards developers

Ads that air during MLB playoffs and Monday Night Football are aimed at everyone, but especially 18 to 50 year-old men.
posted by spaltavian at 2:28 PM on October 20, 2009


The iPhone as a computer is amazing.
The iPhone as a phone is a piece of shit.


Hence my biannual purchases of the iPod Touch. I look forward to what 2011 will bring.
posted by mokuba at 2:34 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you have to attack your competitor before you're even available, and your best market differentiation is "we're not them!" you've already lost.

No, you haven't. Many successful political campaigns have been run on precisely that tactic. So have many successful advertising campaigns in various product industries, including food and beverages. From "Where's the Beef" to "The UnCola" to "Tastes Great, Less Filling" and even the political "Daisy," the American public has shown that not only do attack ads work, they garner huge returns if done in the "correct" tone.

Ask the average iPhone user about their phone and they will wax poetically for hours about how amazing the technology is. Then, ask them about their iPhone's AT&T service and be prepared for an earful. Most of my friends have iPhones, and every one of them *hates* the service.

Verizon (or Motorola) has identified a weakness and are attacking it. It's going to be hard for them to convince anyone that the iPhone isn't as cool as it seems, so they chose an alternate tactic. It should be interesting to see if it works out for them.
posted by zarq at 3:02 PM on October 20, 2009


Assuming you use Gmail for email and contacts, Google calendar, and whatever else might synch from the Google camp

Yeah, see, iDon't. The number of Tweets in my Twitterstream on any given week saying "ZOMG, WHY IS GMAIL DOWN/ACTING WEIRD/EATING MY BABY?!" is a good indication why. I mean, I've used gMail in the past, but I effin' hate iGoogle and Google Reader and prefer to use the Apple mail application to the web interface for gMail (an interface which hurts my soul). So, yeah, I wouldn't be syncing anything to Google ever. I really think that Google is awesome... in theory. But I kind of hate all of their actual products.

Also: my iPhone data is synced ON (that's physically ON) my computer. Which is backed up via Time Machine. So if the stupid thing crashes, I can retrieve every single app that I've downloaded, etc. I like knowing that the data actually physically exists somewhere.

(And the computer is backed up via Time Machine which is backed up on an external harddrive which is backed up to the cheese and the cheese stands alone.)

I never expected to be an iPhone fangirl (or even to own one at all), but here I am. The stupid device has totally changed my stupid life. But... and here's the but... BUT, if Verizon had the Droid four months ago when I was in the market for a new phone? I would have totally bought one to stick with Verizon and not pay cancellation fees. Also, to still be on the same network as my mom since I now have to use actual minutes for that shit, meaning I have to buy a bajillion minutes per month. So, yeah, I wouldn't go *back* to Verizon for the Droid, but I would have stuck with them if they'd had it before I bought the iPhone.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:13 PM on October 20, 2009


But the iPhone is just another over-engineered, pretentious Apple product.

When every working class teenager I encounter has an iPhone, and it's outselling any other phone, and everyone else is trying to chip away at its huge market share, it's time to rethink the applicability of the word "pretentious" (or the idea that "over engineered" is some kind of insult).

You're a snob if you DON'T want, have, or love the iPhone. A geek snob. But a snob.

Apple has marketed this think brilliantly.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:17 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth I use an iphone in Seattle and the coverage is great, I have literally zero problems.

Though the real issue is presumably urban congestion I was pretty surprised to get data coverage up near Exit 54 and pull up google maps while I was out trying to find my way through some forest service roads. It was a very nice futuristic moment, though I should probably invest in some paper maps of the backcountry.

I think the iphone is going to be hard to dethrone. Games and apps are, underneath the patina of (cr)apps getting substantially better. The relative lack of diversity is going to be a huge advantage for game developers in particular.
posted by Wood at 3:21 PM on October 20, 2009


ZOMG, WHY IS GMAIL DOWN/ACTING WEIRD/EATING MY BABY?!

Every major mobile phone has an ecosystem it operates in. The iPhone has iTunes and to a lesser extent, MobileMe (yeah, yeah, I know, no one uses it). The Blackberry has BES and Exchange. Nokia has, well, not much really and that's certainly part of their problem. WinMo phones have Exchange/ActiveSync. And Android phones have Google web services.

Every user makes choices towards something when they buy a modern smartphone and, implicitly, away from others. I haven't seen any BB sysadmins chime in yet saying how Android is doomed because it doesn't have a remote kill-switch like BBs and the iPhone. Even the magical iPhone had to license ActiveSync to compete with the BB. Everyone has their own use cases and magical must-have features.

The iPhone is an untouchable target and there's simply no point in trying to beat it in absolute numerical terms. Any single handset that can sell half of what the iPhone has sold is still a massive success. Android as a whole may someday soon begin to close in on the 30M+ iPhone handsets though.

From my perspective, syncing to my computer seems like a waste of time. I can sit down at any computer and I have all my emails, all my documents, all my contacts and now I have them magically available on my phone at all times as well.
posted by GuyZero at 3:27 PM on October 20, 2009


think=thing, fucking iPhone keyboard.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:27 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're a snob if you DON'T want, have, or love the iPhone. A geek snob. But a snob.

wow.
posted by NortonDC at 3:32 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth I use an iphone in Seattle and the coverage is great, I have literally zero problems.

Good! But I have a friend who lives near Ridgecrest/North City who's said she's had a lot of difficulty.

Hrm... now I'm wondering if she still has one of the first generation models.
posted by zarq at 3:54 PM on October 20, 2009


The only thing that makes me feel okay is that Steve Jobs has the same crappy wireless service that I do

He probably doesn't have crappy connectivity until he leaves the peninsula/south bay and visits SF. Heading north, AT&Ts 3G suckitude seems to start around Candlestick on 101 and at the 280/1 split; every time I go up there I'm amazed by the brick wall of bad signal.
posted by jamaro at 6:01 PM on October 20, 2009


Certain corporate campuses in the south bay have local microcell repeaters scattered around them to provide incredible local coverage for employees. No one on Apple campus loses a call because none of them are more than a few hundred feet from a tower.
posted by GuyZero at 6:06 PM on October 20, 2009


Also, all those people in one spot would kill the local towers without microcells.
posted by GuyZero at 6:07 PM on October 20, 2009


You're a snob if you DON'T want, have, or love the iPhone. A geek snob. But a snob.

And can you believe these homeless people? Don't they at least have apartments?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:09 PM on October 20, 2009


I don't see how preferring the Droid is more politically correct vis a vis the homeless.

My point is that the usual Apple bashing grooves laid down in the old days (basically accusing apple partisans of being snobs) don't make sense when Apple is the clear market leader, not an esoteric and arty option for the rich.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:38 PM on October 20, 2009


Apple isn't really the market leader, they only have 13% of the smart phone market as of this summer.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recently switched from Verizon to an iPhone, and I've never been so happy. Both with my phone, and never having to deal with Verizon again.
Because AT&T is so much better?
Most people don't care about the "closed" development of the iPhone, they just never see it, while being able to have multiple apps open would be nice, but is that really a concern if switching between apps feels instant?
I have a G1, running multiple apps is nice because you can run them in the background, so for example a program that monitors battery level and lowers the screen brightness if it gets to low, or you can have things on timers. You can do things like keep a log of your location using GPS while still using other programs on your phone.
I saw a Comcast billboard that simply said "Three words: We're not Verizon", so I'm not entirely sure that this will be that much of a threat.
Oh yes, people just love Comcast. All of these telecom monopolies treat their customers like dirt. So far I haven't been too pissed off at T-Mobile yet. Probably because they don't have a landline pedigree like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. I used to have U.S. Cellular and I hated them.
Those commericals are horribe, by the way. The font they write "Droid" in is almost illegible; I didn't know hte product's name until the second ad I saw. It's basically a boring bit of text with 5 seconds of Cloverfield tacked on. The first time I saw it was while watching football; I wasn't paying close attention to the TV, but rather my beer, and had no idea what it was about.
Jesus, is that a real ad on TV? I though it was just a cheap web ad someone did in 5 minutes.

Motorola sucks anyway. I had a "Cheap" phone from them and it died on me in 8 months. The Nokia I had before lasted three years, and so did the one I had after that. Their phones are crap. Plus I'm not going to buy anything that's not GSM.
I doubt the Droid would sync with my laptop, which is the biggest plus the iPhone has going for me since I carry the phone, but not my computer, to work. I still have access to my email/iCal/etc. even though I don't have the physical computer on me. Priceless. (Well, not actually, I paid the assthousand dollars for a MobileMe account, but y'know, ALMOST priceless.)
My GMail account cost $0 and works perfectly on my phone.

Also people are misunderstanding what Android is. There isn't going to be one phone that beats the iPhone. There are going to be tons of devices out there that use the OS. Anyone can download the source and put it on their device for free. There will be hundred of Android devices out there. There will probably be more android users then iPhone users in a few years.
You're a snob if you DON'T want, have, or love the iPhone. A geek snob. But a snob.
LOL, Okay.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on October 20, 2009


Delmoi: Also people are misunderstanding what Android is. There isn't going to be one phone that beats the iPhone. There are going to be tons of devices out there that use the OS. Anyone can download the source and put it on their device for free. There will be hundred of Android devices out there. There will probably be more android users then iPhone users in a few years.

That's right, dammit. And we have a plan.
posted by Skygazer at 8:11 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are going to be tons of devices out there that use the OS

For example, Barnes & Noble's new Kindle-killer Nook runs on Android.
posted by smackfu at 8:16 PM on October 20, 2009


Yeah, Google will prevail in Congress where it matters while the telecoms fight among themselves. Notice AT&T is starting to understand, too late though. The web is the app.

The Net interprets censorship any bottleneck as damage and routes around it.
posted by vapidave at 8:22 PM on October 20, 2009


Can I just chime in that I use an iPhone on Japan's SoftBank Mobile, and it's been awesome as a phone? Most anything involving dropped calls or whatever is almost certainly AT&T's fault, rather than Apple's.

That said, I do look forward to seeing/hearing about this new phone, terrible ad campaign or not. Cool tech is cool.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2009


think=thing, ducking iPhone keyboard.

FTFY.
posted by Talez at 9:32 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're a snob if you DON'T want, have, or love the iPhone. A geek snob. But a snob.

My huh?

I will love the iPhone when my lover the iPhone gets a hardware keyboard. Till then, it's my Android Dream of Sheep.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:16 AM on October 21, 2009


OFFS, look how easily offended some people are. Perhaps "snob" was a strong word, but my point was simple, and somewhat ironic in tone. I'm not really calling all you Linux/Android/AppleSux fanboys "snobs" in the sense of thinking you're better than the homeless, or whatever that retort was supposed to mean. I was playing on the usual slam against Apple products as "overpriced and over-engineered" (in direct response to someone whipping out that old saw above).

13 percent market share for a single device tethered to a single lame-ass carrier at a fairly high price is pretty amazing for a phone that's what, 4 years old now? I see iPhones in the hands of Dominican high school girls in Washington Heights, Eskimo teenagers in Alaska, and lots of other hands in between. So therefore, continuing to refer to the iPhone as an over-priced, over-engineered toy for rich folks would seem to be just plain wrong with respect to how popular this phone has gotten; ergo, it is not "over-engineered" or "over-priced" for the market, and the fact that everyone else is trying to play catch-up with Apple (once again) pretty much confirms that.

I know there are MeFites who wouldn't be seen in public with an iPhone, a Macbook, or even an iPod. They need their custom Droidfactor G-Phone running a custom hack of Ubuntu and connected by VPN to their database server in the lab (I actually do this on my iPod touch, come to think of it, and on my Nokia N800). They look down at the consumer idiots who fall for the hype of easy UI, beautiful design, massive ecosystem that just works, and tens of thousands of applications as fools for buying the hype.

Why, they even say things like:

the iPhone is just another over-engineered, pretentious Apple product.

Calling people who like something popular stupid for liking it makes you a snob. Get it?
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:54 AM on October 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


The iPhone as a computer is amazing.
The iPhone as a phone is a piece of shit.


Yeah, that would be AT&T.

Go somewhere with great 3G coverage (or be lucky enough to be in the right six blocks of Manhattan) and it's almost perfect as a phone. Sound quality, messaging, the UI and the way it handles incoming and outgoing calls from any number you find on the web, even when you're in the middle of doing something else... all amazing.

(And I hate phones.)
posted by rokusan at 2:33 AM on October 21, 2009


or be lucky enough to be in the right six blocks of Manhattan

Or for that matter, the right 6 blocks in a small town on Alaska's north slope, where every teenager I know has an iPhone that works like a charm. (I personally use T-Mobile, which for whatever reason means I have free roaming on the ASTAC network that serves rural Alaska whereas my Verizon-using co-researcher has to pay a huge roaming charge to use her phone up there. Yay, T-Mobile! It may not work in more places than it does work, but in the two places that matter to me, it works fine -- New York City and rural Alaska -- and the customer service is miles better than ATT or Verizon. Oh, and cheaper by a lot.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:49 AM on October 21, 2009


Frontline is always excellent.
Me? Fuck Pepsi.
posted by vapidave at 3:18 AM on October 21, 2009


I see commercials showing iPhones in the hands of Dominican high school girls in Washington Heights, Eskimo teenagers in Alaska, and lots of other hands in between.

ftfy
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:39 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]




I left Verizon to get an AT&T iPhone here in San Francisco.
The iPhone as a computer is amazing.
The iPhone as a phone is a piece of shit.
It consistently drops calls and its network access it pitiful most of the time.


Logic fail: how is this the fault of the phone?
posted by grubi at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2009


Go somewhere with great 3G coverage (or be lucky enough to be in the right six blocks of Manhattan) and it's almost perfect as a phone.

Heh. The problem is not the iPhone. The problem is you, the user, for living in a place that does not please the iPhone.
posted by smackfu at 7:12 AM on October 21, 2009


I paid the assthousand dollars for a MobileMe account

You mean the $99/year? Which is less than $10/month?

Yes. Assthousand.
posted by grubi at 7:15 AM on October 21, 2009


The problem is you, the user, for living in a place that does not please the iPhone.

The problem is the network. Not the hardware.

But, y'know, you have a beef. So there's that.
posted by grubi at 7:17 AM on October 21, 2009


The problem is the network. Not the hardware.

Oh, totally agree. Just not sure that is a useful distinction since American iPhone users can't choose a different network.
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on October 21, 2009


Just not sure that is a useful distinction since American iPhone users can't choose a different network.

As opposed to every other phone on the market? If I use a particular Blackberry and get crappy service due to the network, is it fair for me to blame RIM? Or the device itself?

We're not talking about average users. We're all a bunch of above-average users who understand the distinction.
posted by grubi at 7:58 AM on October 21, 2009


It's fair to say "don't buy a Blackberry", right?
posted by smackfu at 8:08 AM on October 21, 2009


Anyways, I think it's just a semantic argument where people really mean "iPhone with AT&T" when they say "iPhone".
posted by smackfu at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2009


the way it handles incoming and outgoing calls from any number you find on the web, even when you're in the middle of doing something else

What exactly does this mean? Are you amazed that it can dial a number it finds on a webpage? I hate to tell you this but that's been available on any half decent phone since forever.
posted by kmz at 8:22 AM on October 21, 2009


It's fair to say "don't buy a Blackberry", right?

Not really. It's fair to say "Don't sign a contract with xxx."

The problem with the line of reasoning I hear you using is that people don't get that it's not the iPhone that's the problem; it's the AT&T network... and only in certain areas. I know several iPhone owners here in Tallahassee, and they insist that they don't have dropped calls. Of course Tallahassee's 175,000 citizens versus New York's 8,000,000 makes a difference when the infrastructure's practically identical.

AT&T failed, in certain markets, to accommodate massive increases in network access. They screwed up. But the myth is that the iPhone is to blame. When clearly it is not.
posted by grubi at 8:45 AM on October 21, 2009


Pope Guilty, I'm not sure what you mean. You don't believe me, and think I'm reporting what I know from commercials? Come with me to the North Slope someday. Every Eskimo kid over 15 has an iPhone, as do many adults. Ride the NYC subway with me, and see how many Latino working class kids have them. I've never seen any demographic representation of the iPhone in use in a commercial, actually.

They're selling millions of these things. People really like them, or Verizon and Google and Palm wouldn't be acting so aggressively to undermine the iPhone's raving success.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:59 AM on October 21, 2009


Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter, representing seven percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Total cumulative units shipped is something like 20-30M units.

I hear you using is that people don't get that it's not the iPhone that's the problem; it's the AT&T network...

This is actually pretty tough to determine. Years ago before phones were smart there were certainly some phones known for good RF performance versus others that dropes calls when you turned your head. The iPhone may simply have weak RF performance for voice calls. I'm not sure about AT&T but in some 3G networks the data channel is a different set of frequencies from the voice channel and it's possible in theory that an iPhone could be getting great data reception and lousy voice reception.
posted by GuyZero at 9:54 AM on October 21, 2009


Well, then not only was I correct in what I said, I was correcter in how I said it. Nothing worse than adoration from SF lovers and gamers. *shivers*

I am no longer sure that you're a nice person.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:55 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The iPhone may simply have weak RF performance for voice calls. I'm not sure about AT&T but in some 3G networks the data channel is a different set of frequencies from the voice channel and it's possible in theory that an iPhone could be getting great data reception and lousy voice reception.

From what I understand, it depends more on the location than the hardware. One gent I know said in NY his iPhone had problems staying 3G and maintaining calls. In Tallahassee, no problems.
posted by grubi at 10:00 AM on October 21, 2009


grubi are you related to John Gruber at all? :P
posted by Talez at 4:03 PM on October 21, 2009


So non iphone owners are snobs?

Well yeah but not purposely. I wanted something with amazing functionality that was different and open source,plus everything ive used by googlevhas been beautiful, usabilty wise. What i love is you can somuch in a flexibile way. Your not locked down. I loved my tank like G1 and my mytouch, inspite of the stupid name is gorgeous. Its like a porsche compared to the iphone which is like a nice Chevy. But also my T mobile service in bklyn and manhattan is superb. Ihave never ever had a dropped call.
posted by Skygazer at 10:35 PM on October 21, 2009


Aoh and this is all coming from a bar on my android mytouch while im blitzed celebrating CAPS LOCK DAY. WOOHOO.

YEAH ANY EXCUSE WILL DO...

(MY ANDROID MYTOUCH SMARTPHONE IS A PORSCHE. ITS MAROON. SUCKIT IPHONE PLEBS VROOOM...VROOOM....)
posted by Skygazer at 10:47 PM on October 21, 2009


So non iphone owners are snobs?

It's just so evidently awesome and perfect that not having or wanting one can have only one motivation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:21 PM on October 21, 2009


A non techie friend just saw the droid commercial and asked me, someone who is thought of as a techie, "What the hell was that?" She asked because she was really confused. First it seemed like an Apple commercial and she didn't understand the technical details, then it switched, in her words to a video game and then ended with the notice about licensing the word 'droid" from Lucas films, which made her wonder if there was movie tie in or some such.

When I explained the technical details about the "i don't" part she asked "Does it (the Droid) have an App that lets you drink a beer?" Evidently, playing with the App sparked several great conversations with her friend husband, making it cool, whereas she said, and I quote "who gives a shit about a 5 megapixel camera on your phone for god's sakes?! All I need is something half way decent to send to my mom or friends!"

She has seen the "Yeah, there's a Map for that" commercial and thought that was a good one, easy to understand and somewhat memorable in a good way.

So there you go, a data point of one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not that I know of, Talez. We do have a few things in common, though. Yankees fans from the Philly area who prefer Apple products.

(And yes, I know you were taking the piss. If you can prove it's the hardware and not the network, you let me know.)
posted by grubi at 9:12 AM on October 22, 2009


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