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October 1, 2012

I choose the iPhone over Android — by Paul Biba


Paul Biba was for years editor of TeleRead, a website devoted to eBooks et alia.

He now freelances and I was fortunate enough to land a world exclusive on how he came to Jesus — read iPhone — while on a solo motorcycle trip across the U.S.

Below, his story.


I choose the iPhone over Android

So — I'm on a solo cross-country motorcycle trip. This is my second one and I've learned the importance of communications in having a safe journey. For that reason I have switched all my equipment to Verizon (iPhone 4/new iPad/Galaxy Nexus) as my trip last year showed huge gaps in AT&T coverage when I was out of metropolitan areas. My contract is up in October and I decided to use the trip to make my final decision — Android or iOS? A while back I purchased — at full price — a Galaxy Nexus phone so I could see what the unadulterated Android experience was like.

However, I started out using the iPhone so Joe [Stirt] and I could fool with our gadgets on an equal basis.  When I broke down 60 miles outside of Roanoke, though, one of the huge deficiencies of the iPhone — the lack of multi-tasking — became evident. It was very hard to find hotels using the Marriott, Hilton, and Holiday Inn apps because they kept logging me out whenever I opened a different one. I later repeated the experience as a test with the Galaxy Nexus and it was a piece of cake. I switched to the Galaxy as my primary phone.

I really liked Android. The Android notification system puts iOS to shame — even after the latest upgrade. I also am a big video person and the larger screen makes watching movies a pleasure compared to the iPhone.  Also, the ability to change batteries meant I didn't have to have a suite of heavy external batteries like I need with the iPhone.  Multitasking was also a big plus.  Further, the Galaxy had LTE and the speed was incredible compared to the iPhone's 3G.  I was very happy and told Joe that I'd probably get one of the new Motorola Razrs when it came out.

Then came the bombshell.

I was in Clinton, OK. A small — very small — town with very poor reception.  One bar, and that flickered on and off.  It was about 5 p.m. and I plugged the Galaxy phone into the charger I usually use.  Suddenly the screen went blank and then a large Android figure appeared — along with a warning not to unplug the phone or disturb it in any other way. At the top and bottom of the screen were the typical callouts in black and white block letters that one sees when a system update is taking place.

Without asking me, the Galaxy had decided to do an operating system upgrade! And it decided to do it in an area with extremely poor signal strength and where the signal was actually fading in and out!

It took over 12 hours — overnight, thank goodness — for the upgrade to be downloaded and installed. During that time I was without phone service. Verizon makes it very easy to switch phones online but I didn't want to do this as I didn't know what that would do to the upgrade if I switched to the iPhone. I could have bricked the Galaxy! The next morning, after the upgrade was complete, I immediately switched to the iPhone and haven't activated the Galaxy since.

Doing a system upgrade without asking the user first is completely unforgivable!! What if the upgrade had started when my broke broke down? I would have been without any service at all. You can imagine the horrendous possibilities.

There are other reasons I will be getting the iPhone 5 [top, being examined by Gray Cat] instead of a newer Android phone but the prime one is that I may have to trust my life to my phone and I can no longer rely on Android to live up to that trust.

October 1, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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I am an iPod Touch 3g/iPad 3 user and very longtime Macintosh user (let's call it over 20 years by now).

Now that that is established, I'm here to say Android asks users before an update that sort. The story itself is not a viable point to consider on the merits of Android vs. iPhone. It's a fluke.

I stick to iOS because I write and record a lot of music and there is simply no comparison in the app ecosystem: iOS is vastly more impressive and useful in this area than Android. If I didn't have such requirements the playing field would be level.

Posted by: Miguel Marcos | Oct 2, 2012 3:37:58 AM

Both my Android Transformer TF101 (the first one) and my Sony Ericsson always ask me before updating. Check that auto update can't be disabled.

I would have thought baked in Google Maps, (which you can cache offline if you're worried about signal strength) would be a far more critical deciding factor for road tripping. It is for me. Well that and avoiding the overly restrictive and clunky Apple ecosystem. I won't deny that the actual interface of the Apples is much slicker though.

Posted by: D | Oct 2, 2012 2:59:06 AM

Oh my. What a great chance to reply with a snarky #iLost post.

Yeah, my Iphone works great but, but, where in the hell am I?

Posted by: Ray | Oct 1, 2012 3:21:16 PM

Heaven forfend treking by motorcycle [i]without phone service[/i]!

Posted by: jim` | Oct 1, 2012 1:12:07 PM

Updates are controlled by the carrier I believe, not Google it's self. I've always been asked to update because I checked the box in settings to "always ask" instead of "auto update".

With all the other pluses of the android it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to ditch it.

Posted by: echodawg | Oct 1, 2012 1:02:15 PM

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