iPhone or Android? Maemo.
The handset battle royale of the present day has put a heavy spotlight on the brainchildren of Silicon Valley: iPhone OS and Android, both of which have enjoyed a fervent American following that includes no shortage of my own circle of friends, some of whom were a bit surprised to hear that I would fall into neither camp and grab a Nokia phone, a brand which they have associated with the cheap plastic free-with-a-two-year-contract phones we used in college. There are aspects to iPhone OS and Android that I like, but too many that I don’t to choose one or the other.
- iPhone OS: The iPhone is the hot, sexy handset that everyone lusts after even if they won’t admit it publicly. Its also perfectly aware of this and leverages the fact to the fullest capacity, being a ruthless, controlling psycho who treats its users and developers like purse dogs on a short leash. The list of restrictions this OS and the only phone allowed to run the OS are long and infamous with no need to repeat them, so knowing that and also the fact that I like watching Flash episodes of Caprica (for free) and my principled loathing of AT&T, it just wasn’t an option.
- Android: Android handsets are the less attractive iPhone wannabes willing to do some of the tricks iPhone OS is too prissy to do to gain popularity. Android advertises itself as an open platform, promising at least some amount of freedom in its app development process while keeping root access to itself unless you trick it into giving it up. The OS is designed to lead to serious commitments that will make mother Google a part of your life forever. Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Docs, and the prominent search box on the splash screen that you log your desires to are all in the hands of its friendly, but frighteningly snoopy mother, with no convenient way to get around her with non-Google services. I’ll pass.
- Maemo: After a long line of lackluster phones N series phones and tablets, Nokia bred a smartphone fit for royalty: The N900. Aside from its majestic power and nobility, the phone features a full and rooted Linux system with Firefox and flash support, welcoming you to have its way with it in ways Android and iPhone OS are too puritan to. Its not only a replacement for a phone, but also for a netbook, music player, and portable game console. It lets you distribute apps through a very non-fascistic Ovi store, and by virtually any means outside Ovi. Apps can be written in a wide range of programming languages, whether by hand or code generator, beyond just Java and C/C++. You can even theoretically write, test, and distribute apps from the phone over the air without connecting to a PC, which may end up being a bigger deal than it sounds. Overall, it can do a lot of things and is more than willing to go all the way doing them. We have a winrar.
But David, what about $remainingPlatform? Didn’t you have a Blackberry for the longest time?
I become bored with Blackberry and we had to part ways; It happens. I came close to converting to Palm’s webOS via the Palm Pixi, but due to the terrible name and battery life, that idea died fast. I blacklisted Symbian for its old-but-not-quite-vintage-hip antiquity and lack of modern anything and Windows Mobile for its less than seamless Linux and OS X support. I did once consider a Neo Freerunner running the heavily open source OpenMoko platform in 2008. As time went on, however, the Neo Freerunner became far too old and the OpenMoko family failed to produce a hotter younger phone.