Should I get an iPad with 3G or an iPhone 4?

I’ve spent the past 18 months with my Android phone (this is not an Android/iPhone debate) and didn’t really make use of the mobile Internet or its various apps. I own an iPod Touch (1st gen) and use that for music every day in my car and in my bedside clockradio.

I also use my iPod Touch a lot for quick browsing, gaming and a bit of youtube viewing and find its small screen really irritating. It’s useful though being able to pick it up, prod a button and discover if I have any new email without having to wait for my laptop or netbook to wake up. Or I’ll be watching telly and want to look something up.

See, I don’t really use my mobile phone and am quite happy with a cheapo one on pay-as-you-go. If i had an iPhone it’d combine my current iPod Touch with a phone in one unit which is convenient. If I had an iPad it’d be like a giant iPod Touch which is useful but wouldn’t fit in the dock connector on my clockradio and might look a bit strange in my car. I do also own a Macbook and a small netbook – although they tend to stay plugged in as their battery lives are pretty awful. The battery life on my Android phone was equally crap – what’s the point of a phone with fancy stuff that drains the battery within a few hours?

I am quite happy to own a cheap 10 quid mobile phone, but do find mobile Internet useful at random times.

The T-Mobile G1, because I didn’t need a second iPod

Well after leaving my old Orange contract and going on Pay-as-you-go because I was getting sick of crappy smartphones that ate batteries and did a really poor approximation of the Internet, I have done a spectacular governmental-sized U-turn and obtained a T-Mobile G1 with a hefty 18 month contract that costs me a mere £30 a month.

For this expensive privilege I get a large brick-like phone and a permanent 3G Internet connection. It’s certainly no iPhone, that’s for sure, the styling being somewhere between a plastic swimming-pool brick and an old Nokia Communicator. No idea what the bent bit on the end is for either, and the less said about the plastic slider hinge, the better.

However, it has many good points that I will list in a handy bulleted list

  1. 3G Internet is actually pretty good
  2. So is having a real keyboard to type on
  3. Being actively encouraged to develop applications is a bonus
  4. Finding out all the applications in the Android Marketplace are free is also quite good
  5. So is discovering that currently they’re not all crap
  6. And applications are allowed to continue running in the background
  7. The phone comes free with the contract, and the contract gives an insane amount of free calls and texts

So it’s kind of like an iPhone, but the apps are free and you get a glowy feeling by knowing that you’re supporting something open, rather than closed and sealed behind magic Apple NDAs and threats of DMCA violations if you so much as try to look through the headphone jack’s hole. And it can actually multitask… which turns out to be more useful than it first seemed.

It does eat batteries though, and I’m quite obviously playing “beta tester” for Google and HTC by owning this device. However I’m on a contract, and contracts offer upgrades 🙂

I do like the G1 though, it’s a great device for the Internet obsessed people out there, mine bleeps when there’s Twitter updates and email to be read, and with a little bit of effort I can take a photo and upload it to PicasaWeb or Twitter for some instant photo blogging. I really like having a permanent (subject to network coverage and battery life) Internet connection. I listened to music from my Last.FM account last night over 3G, which was a novelty. A really cool, futuristic novelty that I’ve wanted to do since I decided carting tapes of music to college was a hassle.

And the Google integration is really good too. From the minute I turned it on first it asked for my Google login details, then began sucking down my contacts, calendar and GoogleTalk data. I then went into GMail and created a special ‘phonebook’ category and told my phone to only sync that one, my GMail contacts list having several hundred addresses in, most of which don’t need to live on my phone. I now own a portable device that is designed to sync with my Google Calendar and addressbook. I tried to make my N810 do that, but gave up. I can also read Facebook on it and log into my server at home via SSH while at work – something I can’t normally do due to work’s restricted Internet connection 🙂

With my iPod Touch, the lack of multitasking isn’t that much of a big deal; if I’m browsing the web and want to go and check my Twitter account it doesn’t matter if things close off and stop working behind the scenes. However with a phone it’d get a bit irritating, and being able to leave an SSH session running while I go and read an SMS is very handy.

Oh yeah, the SSH client is better than the one on the iPod, the keyboard being the main thing that makes it better. Real keyboards are great, I like them 🙂

It’s definitely a ‘public release’ bit of hardware though. There’s nothing actually wrong with the device in any way, but there’s a feeling that they’re still working the system out. And owning weird hardware is just what I like to do 🙂

Am I in Some Strange Parallell Universe?

OK, I’m fairly sure the world is still working properly but…

1. I’ve had a few cans of beer to drink

2. It’s snowing

3. … in October

4. We just heard The Internet is for Porn on Radio 1 (that’s the national, BBC radio station…)

5. I’ve watched HD videos on a screen so large, HD video looks as small as YouTube does on a 19″ monitor.

6. Using Google Earth on my iPod Touch I’ve managed to locate myself exactly using nothing more than WiFi access points. And I crashed an iPhone within two minutes of touching it – despite having owned an iPod Touch for around 2 months with no problems.

Mad 🙂