After many months of deliberation and research, I decided to get rid of my iPhone and go with an Android phone. The biggest reason for this decision was the fact that I cannot make a successful call from within my house on ATT. At one point I was dropping at least 5 calls a day, sometimes more, and that can make you look pretty clueless when trying to speak with customers. I got to the point where I had to use Skype when I was anywhere in my house. That is not so bad, but it make it difficult to roam around and talk which is what I like to do to get the brain moving.
I went to my local Sears and picked up a prepaid Verizon phone just to test the signal in my house. The phone was only $19 which included $10 worth of minutes so I figured that was a small price to pay to test out coverage. The signal was not amazing but at least I had a few bars and could make a call without it being dropped. That confirmed the voice portion and now I needed to test the data coverage.
Verizon offers a 30 day money back guarantee, less a $35 restocking fee and whatever minutes/data you use in the 30 day period. Since I needed to do a true test of data coverage before making the switch, this was an inexpensive way to make sure I was making the right decision.
I did my research and decided on the HTC Incredible running the Android 2.1 operating system. The phone had all the features I wanted and the specs seemed to be fairly future proof even thought there seems to be a new phone coming out every two or three weeks. I only plan on keeping the phone for 12 – 18 months and I don’t see the technology making huge leaps in that amount of time. There also comes a point where you just have to pull the trigger and not obsess if you made the right decision.
I went to one of the Verizon stores across the street from where my son works to purchase the Incredible. The employees were very nice and informative answering all the questions quickly and accurately on what the process would be to port my numbers and what the total costs would be to make the move. After about 10 minutes of discussion, we ordered the Incredible with a temporary number so I could test without having to port my existing number over to their service. Everything was done in about 15 minutes and I was out the door to return on Wednesday when the phone was scheduled to arrive. Now the fun starts.
The Incredible is an ‘incredibly’ popular phone. It sold out in stores in the first day or two it was available so I should have guesses that a 3 day turnaround for an order was way too aggressive. Sure enough when I called in Wednesday morning to check on the status of the phone I was told it would be 3 weeks before anymore would come in. That was going to throw off my timelines for testing and switching if all went well, so I called my rep and asked her if I could get a temporary phone. Now before I go on, if I had called AT&T and asked for a loaner, I would have been told they don’t do that. I say that with confidence because I have asked that before when one of my phone broke and was quickly turned down. Being an AT&T (Cingular) for more than 15 years you would think I would be treated as a valued customer. Not so much.
My Verizon rep called to check on the status of the phone and said it would not be 3 weeks but could be up to two weeks before I got the phone. She apologized many times for the misunderstanding and said that yes, I could come in today and pickup a temporary Motorola DROID to do my testing with. She would arrange it so I could just switch phones when the Incredible came in and she would waive the restocking fee for my trouble. Now she did not have to do this but she saw the value in making sure I was satisfied when the company (not her) made a mistake. I stopped in, cancelled the original order and phone number, purchased the brand new DRIOD with a new number and was out the door within 45 minutes. I even got to say hi to Jim Thome who was in the store exchanging his phone.
I have had the phone for five days and I love it. I can make calls in the house without dropping, the data connection is good over 3G and Wi-Fi, and I love turn by turn directions and the Gmail/Calendar integration. I am not doing extensive testing as this will not be a permanent phone, but I feel comfortable with my choice of the Android operating system as my platform of the future. My AT&T billing cycle ends on the 20th of the month, so I decided to pull the trigger and port my number over to Verizon. It was a fairly painless process that was totally automated via phone voice prompts. I was done in about 35 minutes and the number was active on my new phone 10 minutes after that.
The title of this post said I am giving up on the iPhone as well. In dropping AT&T the iPhone is collateral damage, but even if Verizon was to offer the iPhone I would still be moving to an Android based phone as I am kind of sick of the whole locked down, oppressive Apple eco system. Being a tech geek, I want the freedom to put whatever I want on my phone even if I screw it up and have to restore it. I know the risks of doing something non standard and get great satisfaction in learning how to push the boundaries of a device and repair that device if necessary. The iPhone and iPad are great if you just want a simple device and you want to depend on someone else to create the content and the experience for you. I need more control over my device, what I put on it and how I use it. If I want to brick it I should be allowed to do that. If I want to put and ‘unauthorized’ app on it, I want to be able to do that. With the Android OS, I can do all that. It’s funny, Apple is turning into the big brother they claimed to fight in their 1984 commercial.
I am a very happy camper with Verizon. I know I am still in the honeymoon stage and things could change very quickly if hoards of other migrate away from the ‘iDon’tPhone’ and stress the Verizon data network. I will be watching this closely as I move forward but until such a time comes, I think I made the right choice.