Here’s what you need to know:
The HTC Droid Incredible is the best knock-off of an iPhone that has ever been released. I mean, it’s so good that a team of Apple attorneys should be suing the bejesus out of HTC for replicating most of the iPhone experience. Meanwhile, the Apple engineers should be taking note of all the innovations the HTC guys put into this product so they can ruthlessly copy those into the next-gen iPhone. At the end of the day, both consumers (and, in particular, the intellectual property attorneys) win. But hey, this is America. Did you really expect any different?
Certainly, the Droid Incredible will not win the hearts an minds of everyone – just the poor iPhone-owning slobs who actually want to make a phone call.
There, I’ve said it. And don’t you dare proffer that it’s AT&T’s fault that my iPhone couldn’t keep a connection going for more than five minutes in my house, my car, or my office. I grew so frustrated with the thing that when someone would call, I’d write down their phone number from the caller ID and phone them back using a land-line. I’ve had other phones on AT&T. Some of my associates have other phones (Nokia, et al) on the AT&T network. None of those devices exhibited the ridiculousness of the iPhone’s telecom “features”. I really think the Federal Trade Commission should sue Apple for false advertising and get them to change the name of the product to something more appropriate, like the “I-Drop” – pronounced “eye drop.” Kinda catchy, don’t you think?
Ok, so now that we’ve got that little rant out of the way, let’s talk about how the other features stack up.
Anyone who gets an HTC Incredible will be impressed by the sheer speed of the thing. It actually renders web pages FASTER than my laptop. I think the HTC engineers stole the web page browsing code from Area 51 or something. Plus, it has an embedded Flash-lite player. So I can actually view the Flash embedded in my corporate home page! And, for that matter, just about everyone else’s web pages as well.
The eight megapixel camera on the Incredible and it’s associated video recording capabilities far outshine the iPhone camera. I just wish that HTC would have added some image stabilization features as it’s a little too easy to take a blurry shot. You also get a few native image processing tools as well – which are quite welcome. The picture that I took of my big toe had far more definition and clarity than the one I took using the iPhone. I mean, you can see every last hair, pimple, and callus using the Incredible. Why did I take a picture of my big toe you ask? Because Steve Jobs can suck it.
I’ve downloaded a few apps from the Android store. So far, the results seem rather promising. I actually like the UrbanSpoon and Zillow apps better on Android. It’s like they used the iPhone version to test a beta, learned from their mistakes, and engineered a better version for Android. Also, GPS/mapping features on the Incredible outshine Apple’s rendition. Again, Steve Jobs can suck it.
The overall “feel” of the Incredible in my hands is better than the iPhone as well. I’m not sure what kind of polymer that HTC used on the back of their case, but the phone seems more balanced and comfortable to hold. And you can replace the battery. Steve Jobs can, well…you know.
The on screen keyboard is responsive and easy to use. There’s an HTC innovation where holding down a key for a period of time gives you access to it’s shift-equivalent, i.e. holding down the “5” key lets you enter a percent-sign. MUCH easier to use than the iPhone method. And with Android you can speak a phrase and have it converted to text – for any text field, in any program. VERY NICE….and, surprisingly, somewhat accurate as long as there’s not much background noise. The only thing I found annoying is that when speaking a URL, the system should have been smart enough to not include spaces in the URL output.
Facebook, Twitter, and GMail integration are all better than their iPhone counterparts.
You even get a built-in FM radio! And 3G tethering!
And you can put up to 32 GB of additional storage into the Incredible without having to pay the ridiculous fees associated with upgrading your iPhone’s storage capacity that would make even Shylock feel guilty.
But lets face facts. What really drives gadget innovation is Porn. I’ve heard from trusted third-parties that viewing unsafe-for-work web sites on the Incredible was indeed better than the iPhone er…experience. Steve Jobs was correct once again. Having a journalism background compelled me to verify this last point. Remember – you should always have at least two verifiable sources. In fact, the HTC Incredible porn viewing experience is so good, I predict that the SEC will throw out their Blackberrys and start issuing the HTC Droid Incredible to their staffers.
However, there are several deficiencies.
First and foremost is that there’s no integration with a music download service. Now, this is fine for the folks who want to convert their media to MP3 and file-sync it to the phone, but I’ll really miss the integration with iTunes. Wanna put a movie on the thing? Well, you’re going to have to rip it to MP4 format and send it over the USB cable. I’ll probably keep the iPhone and continue to use it as an MP3/video player instead of giving more money to “The Steve”
Also, I seem to be making a few more mistakes with the Incredible’s on-screen keyboard than I did with the iPhone. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but the iPhone does seem to be marginally superior in this regard.
The “feel” of the transitions as you rotate the screen and the overall animation and scrolling doesn’t feel quite as refined as its iPhone counterpart. Perfectly acceptable mind you, just slightly less…elegant.
The Android app store seemed slightly more difficult to use. For the first time, I found myself concerned about whether an app would run on my device..and my version of android. It’s the PC’s vs. Mac’s all over again!
Shocking…the more things change in I.T. the more they stay the same.
In closing, I’d like to thank Mr. Jobs for pioneering such a fantastic device in the iPhone. It really was (and continues to be) an incredible achievement. He showed other companies how to build a great multipurpose device, jump-started a whole new category of application development, and up-ended the music and publishing businesses. He changed our lives. Now I just wish he’d maximize the innovation while minimizing the litigation. Be a little less evil, Steve. And if the iPhone ever lives up to its name I’ll likely switch back.
But for now, I gotta go…I’ve got a call coming in.
P.S. My journalism background? I was news editor of my high school’s paper, single-handedly wrote its April 1 satire issue, AND I religiously watched the final season of The Wire. So there.