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Summary:

I take this mobile tech stuff seriously.  I review a lot of gadgets and smartphones certainly play a big role in that coverage.  I have voice and data plans on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile which I pay far too much for but I need them to […]

I take this mobile tech stuff seriously.  I review a lot of gadgets and smartphones certainly play a big role in that coverage.  I have voice and data plans on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile which I pay far too much for but I need them to be able to play with all the phones I get in my hands.  Right now in front of me I have what are undoubtedly the hottest smartphones available on all three of those networks.  Sitting on the table is the iPhone 3G, the T-Mobile G1 and the Blackberry Storm.  You have to agree those are the hottest smartphones in the US right now and I’m in the unusual position to compare the three for your edification.  OK, mainly it’s because I like to play with them.

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How do they compare?  That’s not really a fair question because at the basest level they are totally different phones that should appeal to different users.  What I find the most interesting about this comparison is that all three phones are smartphones that are aimed at the consumer.  This is a big change from the not so distant past when smartphones were almost exclusively the domain of the enterprise worker.  The phones such as these three have straddled the fence and shown the consumer that the benefits of good smartphones are not restricted to the enterprise.

Cimg1068The iPhone first demonstrated how effective a smartphone can be whenit provides a good web surfing solution.  It brought email to the handsof many who had not been exposed to it away from the desktop anddemonstrated how empowering that could be.  It quickly became thestandard against which all other consumer smartphones would be measuredand still is today.  I can attest to the fact that the competitors,especially the two phones I’m covering here, are getting closer to thatweb experience the iPhone offers.  Closer but not quite there yet.

Cimg1064The T-Mobile G1 web experience is getting very close to that of theiPhone.  For consumers who have thoroughly embraced the Google way oflife with GMail, Google Calendar and Contacts, the G1 actuallysurpasses the iPhone’s web experience.  The browser is not quite asgood as Mobile Safari on the iPhone but it’s darn close and is verysatisfying to use.  Google has ingrained their app integration sosolidly that it’s even more comfortable to use than the desktop, andthat’s the G1′s greatest strength.  Those wanting to leverage theirGoogle usage will do well with the G1, and with the Android Marketplacegetting its sea legs that can only get better. 

The Blackberry Storm on the Verizon network is RIM’s attempt tobring a consumer browsing machine to the Blackberry addict.  I can’tstress enough that the strongest feature of the Storm is that it is aBlackberry.  Consumers have been discovering the communication-relatedadvantages of the Blackberry for a couple of years now and RIM had leftthe boardroom prior to the launch of the Storm.

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The unusual tactic of removing the much ballyhooed Blackberrykeyboard is RIM’s move into the larger-screened web appliance spacelike the G1 and iPhone.  The touch screen with the unusual SurePresstechnology works for me better than the G1′s slider keyboard, mainlybecause it is an ingrained part of the interface on the Storm.  RIM made a serious error in omitting WiFi, the only one of these three that doesn’t offer that abilility.  TheG1′s lack of any on-screen keyboard makes the sliding one a requirementto run the phone and the inconsistent design of same on the G1 detractsfrom the experience.  This is not the case with the Storm.

So who are these three similar but distinct smartphones aimed at?  I suspect that the three carriers who sell them along with Apple, HTC and RIM would say that they are after anyone who will buy one.  That’s pretty hazy though, I think it’s fair to say that all three phones are aimed squarely at the consumer market.  The iPhone showed everyone how the "real Internet" looks on a handheld device and the race is on to provide that.  All three phones do a pretty good job in this area but the iPhone is still clearly ahead.  Most consumers will get a lot of benefit out of any of these phones no question, it comes down to exactly what you are looking for.  Heavy messaging requires a Blackberry.  Google users will do well with the G1 Android phone.  Pretty much anyone can do well with the iPhone, it’s an iPod too after all.

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  1. As another blogger said, the Storm isn’t even the best Blackberry. The Bold holds that honor and once it gets the Storm’s browser, it’s all over. For Verizon Blackberry fans, I’d suggest waiting for the CDMA Bold… you’ll thank me.

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  2. James, how do the screens hold up in sunlight? I was about three months into using my iPhone 3G before I noticed how visible my screen was in sunlight. It’s one of those features you don’t notice until you remember all your other devices that don’t have it (like my Tablet PCs, Pocket PC, old iPod, and old phone).

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  3. Dave, don’t overlook the larger screen of the Storm. It’s what makes the web browsing experience better on all three of these phones.

    Sumocat, I just took all three phones out in direct sunlight. The Storm and G1 are usable but not as bright as the iPhone. I could fully work with all three however.

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  4. I find the new HTC Touch Pro even more appealing, mainly due to the full VGA resolution.
    Will you be getting one of these for review?

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  5. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    I’m enjoying my Touch Pro as well. The VGA resolution makes for much sharper text and images. Although I find it less business-friendly since I no longer have immediate access to my task list or more than one calendar appointment on the main screen. Otherwise, it is a fantastic device.

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  6. Thanks for the comparisons. I have purchased and returned the iPhone 3G(lousey signals at work and home, even though AT&T said I should get good coverage and more expensive AT&T plan cost) and the G1 (clunky and disappointing screen). I have considered the Storm but it isn’t getting very good reviews, does not have wi-fi and has the more expensive AT&T plan.

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  7. James I thought I heard that the G1 does not have the great Google Read as a native application. Is that correct?

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  8. You forgot to mention the App store which is behind iPhone and Market behind G1 and Nothing behind Storm.

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  9. There is an Application Market on the Storm with a few apps in it so far.

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  10. Google Reader is web-based and has no special app for it.

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