Monday, November 9, 2009

Living in the Cloud: You Gotta Trust Somebody

I've been rather vocal about "getting off Google" in the past, and it's a battle I've been winning with my email for a few years now. But today I got my Droid (more on that later), and I thought long and hard before even ordering one because I knew what this would entail.


Obviously the Droid is using the Andoird OS, which means (surprise!) it's Google-centric. Google offers a huge amount of convenience, and the Android OS itself is absolutely spectacular. Temptation rears its head.


I've been researching mobile phones like crazy over the last few months, and when it comes to "freedom" there really are no great choices. The Neo FreeRunner keeps showing promise, but ultimately you're still going to be at the mercy of a cellular carrier, and picking the least amongst evils there isn't easy.


The iPhone is a COMPLETE non-starter for me. AT&T coverage is horrendously bad, particularly where I live, and there is no way I'm diving into Apple's cesspool of control. No offense to iPhone owners; if you're happy with it, great! But it's absolutely not for me.


I've had Verizon for years and been nothing but happy for years, so I've been suffering the crappy phones until the Droid came along. But the Droid has the Google problem I've been avoiding for so long, so what to do?


Well, on the Google fight I give up. I'm keeping my mattwoodward.com email address, but I changed that domain over to Google Apps for Domains today. That way I can get this all working seamlessly with my phone, and I guess I just have to trust that Google isn't all THAT evil. I'll keep using Scroogle for my searches when I'm at my desk though.


I guess the bottom line of this post is if you want the benefit of living in the cloud, you gotta trust somebody. So I suggest doing your research and choosing an option that works for you on all levels. Just make sure to have an out if the solution you align yourself with turns up the evil dial at a later date.

8 comments:

Charlie Griefer said...

I'm an iPhone owner, and while I do like the device (like anything else, there's good and there's bad), I agree with you 100% on AT&T's coverage. It's not bad at home, but at work (San Fran in general), it's almost entirely useless.We left Verizon for Cingular (now AT&T) because it was cheaper and because of rollover minutes. I have regretted that move almost from day 1.

Matthew Woodward said...

Not sure what plan this guy was on, but I had a guy at my house giving me an estimate on new gutters the other day and he had an iPhone. He had ZERO coverage at my house (I mean he couldn't even make a phone call), and he said he was paying $180/mo for some "all you can eat" plan. Hopefully he was exaggerating. My Verizon plan is less than 1/2 that cost.Honestly I hope the iPhone makes it to Verizon. I firmly believe people should be able to choose whatever device they want on whatever network they want. At that point we'll all benefit from competition on both the hardware and network level.

Russ said...

I only pay $35/mo for unlimited calls, texts, and long distance on Cricket. No contract either. Not a bad deal. I'm sure I could get cheaper if I was on some group plan though.

Matthew Woodward said...

Yep the data plans are where they get you. ;)

Design903 said...

I also have an iPhone which I like for the most part. AT&T coverage is good where I live so no complaints there. As for pricing, we have two phones on the account and pay about $120 a month. That includes unlimited everything but text messages(200 per phone) and also includes roll over minutes. Not sure how many minutes we get per month, we never use them all.There are a ton of apps for the iPhone including a remote desktop application. I have used these several times to reboot windows servers in case of emergencies when I am not at my computer.

bcswartz said...

I have a friend with similar privacy concerns: he simply doesn't want his personal information in the cloud at all. I suggested that perhaps there were Android apps that would let you store your contacts or calendar info solely on the memory card (though I haven't seen any yet).You said earlier you were planning on getting the Palm Pre once it came to Verizon, but I wondered if you might opt to go the Android route instead. Was it specifically the Motorola Droid that changed your mind?I've had my Droid since Friday, and so far I'm very happy with it.

Matthew Woodward said...

I had a bit of a hard time at first deciding between the Pre and the Droid. Part of why I went with the Droid I'll attribute to impatience; it's on Verizon now and while they say the Pre is coming, there's enough murkiness there that I didn't want to wait. And I should have prefaced this by saying that there's no way I'm switching networks away from Verizon. I looked at the Pre. Very nice device, very cool OS, and it has a ton going for it. But in the end I decided that I see more of a robust application ecosystem developing around Android than I do around the Pre's WebOS. Don't get me wrong; WebOS is very slick. But it's kind of the "odd man out" with so many Android devices in the pipeline. So if developers have to choose between building an app for WebOS (now granted, the "web" in WebOS makes this hugely simple compared to native iPhone or Android development), I see more people making iPhone and Android versions of their apps available, with the Pre and future WebOS devices being probably a distant third. I'm no analyst, so I could be dead wrong on all of this, but that's my gut feeling at this point.So to answer your quesiton specifically, seeing how cool the Droid was did make me forget about the Pre. The Pre's great, but it's not worth waiting for in terms of whether or not it will come to Verizon. And now that I have my hands on the Droid I'm glad I went this route. The only minor complaint I had about the Pre is it's just a tad "cheap" feeling to me, whereas the Droid feels, looks, and works like a million bucks. If Palm comes out with a more solid Pre 2 device I think they'll still have a seriously nice thing going, and if it comes to Verizon then it'll actually be usable. ;-) After two days of playing around with the Droid how it works and how seamlessly everything integrates is still making me smile. Definitely made the right decision for me.

bcswartz said...

I agree with you about the application ecosystem: most developers will want to spend their time developing their apps for the iPhone or Android given the popularity of the platforms.And there are two development frameworks, PhoneGap and QuickConnect, that let you develop iPhone and Android apps using HTML and Javascript, so there may well be web developers (who might otherwise have built apps for WebOS) building mobile apps without learning Java or Objective-C.