Few notes on iPhone replacement

As many Flex developers waiting for release of Flex on iPhone for over a year, last 2 months were Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. The acceptance came in the form of the Android phone and new battlefields/pastures.

Apple and Google are in open war right now – over tv/media, virtual assistants, navigation and ads. Lately it became obvious that workspace and social networking are also becoming part of the battle – and that is the fields we specialize, so we need to adopt.

I picked up Nexus One recently to do some research work. N1 is a bit better as research device then particular carriers ones as you can share the same providers card with your iPhone (no extra contract). I am quite used of swapping AT&T cards from iPhone with other phones (50$ Samsung phone +iPhone account = better phone + bluetooth/usb network hotspot, etc). It also has no provider’s protection so updating software and rooting is a bit simpler.

Let’s make sure you have been warned: N1 is not a replacement for iPhone for consumer or either status seekers/heavy phone users. It has some significant pluses – better Navigation, voice integration and web experience are superb. Hardware spec beats 3GS easily, but the actual hardware quality is sub par:
– quality of the phone subsystem (signal reception, sound quality, integration with provider) is much lower
– quality of the screen is bad ( easily greased, bad touchscreen recognition, predictable typing is not working as expected)
– touchscreen and buttons do not always respond as expeced.

Once you accept that Google phone is development device and not your primary phone, you can appreciate really great features it provides for software enthusiasts:
– open development environment including AIR with reasonable debugging and diagnostics
– top of the line hardware stack including fast CPU
– standard open OS

The last few weeks spent with physical device were a lot of fun. The development cycle is much faster then with iPhone and the applications perform MUCH better. There are quite few adjustments you need to make to your development in order to deploy application on the phone, but I will talk about it in the next post. For now, grab your Android phone and experience new platform for yourself.

Anatole Tartakovsky