25 February 2011

Verizon version of the iPhone

Verizon version of the iPhone ; The widely anticipated arrival of the iPhone for the Verizon network came this month, and for many of us the month will end the way it began. You either wanted one or you didn't.

Apple Inc. has had a love-hate relationship with Verizon for years (remember the "you're holding it wrong" ads that Verizon ran against Apple and AT&T?), but they finally kissed and made up with the release of a version of the iPhone on the popular network.

The move is huge because it breaks AT&T's exclusive right to sell the phone. In some markets, AT&T iPhone users reportedly have suffered from disconnections, overloaded data circuits and bad coverage. AT&T, of course, disputes this. But now iPhone buyers can choose the network that offers them the best coverage.

I tested the new phone on Verizon for a few days and found it to be great. Because I'm accustomed to my iPad, I instantly was comfortable with the interface (it is identical).

In terms of making calls, the iPhone was rock-solid, even in areas where my Verizon coverage has been a little iffy. The phone is smaller than my DroidX, but feels stronger and more substantial. Say anything you want about Apple — it does make hardware well.

I loved the apps and the general excellence of the device. I had my music, my apps and even "Angry Birds" right there in my pocket.

Verizon does not release individual unit sales for its phones, so we may never know exactly how successful this device is. Naturally, bloggers have jumped in to fill the sales-data void. Many say the phone has not met expectations; other say it has. Either way, Verizon has a problem because it will have to wait for potential customers to be released from existing contracts for cellular hardware.

The company is likely to see steady sales of the product as people come out of their contracts and roll into an iPhone. That is, unless steady improvements to the Google Android line continue and cut into iPhone demand.

I am likely to keep my Droid because it's compatible with my corporate e-mail product, but even without that the Droid is a very good product and a close competitor to the iPhone.

The iPhone 4 has a few cool things going for it, including natively acting as an access point for other wireless devices, something Droids can do with a little fiddling. So you can use your PC or wireless-only iPad anywhere you can get a cellular signal.

In terms of cost, iPhones cost $200 for 16 gigs of storage or $300 for 32 gigs of space for your music and photos with a new two-year deal. I recommend you buy the insurance given the glass back of the phone, which looks ripe for a smash. The Android phones have a metal backing.

Overall, I was impressed with the device and probably eventually will get one. Remember, Apple is notorious for releasing a later version of its phones shortly after their introduction, so it may pay to wait a bit. Early adopters usually get burned.

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