October 28 2009|12.32 PM UTC

Erik Chang

Droid vs iPhone vs Palm Pre vs MyTouch 3G: Total Cost of Ownership

Category: WirelessTags: , , , , , ,


After months and months of blogger buzz and a heavy veil of secrecy, the new Motorola Droid by Verizon Wireless is set to launch within days, just in time for the holiday season.

The Droid enters into a smartphone marketplace dominated by the Palm Pre with Sprint and the ever-popular iPhone 3GS with AT&T. But how are consumers supposed to compare the offerings?

BillShrink is here to help! While sticker prices are roughly comparable between smartphones, each offers its own particularly generous features. Below is an apples-to-apples comparison graphic that examines the true cost of ownership, select features, and cell phone plans of each phone.

Find the best cell phone plan for your Motorola Droid

Find the best cell phone plan for your Apple iPhone 4

And, without further ado, we bring you the Droid vs. iPhone vs. Palm Pre vs. MyTouch 3G… (now that’s a lot of smartphones)

(click image to enlarge)

Droid vs iPhone

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Check out previous graphics comparing:
myTouch 3G vs. iPhone 3GS vs. Palm Pre
Android G1 vs. iPhone 3GS vs. Palm Pre

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{ 229 comments… read them below or add one }

jones October 31, 2009 at 5:50 am

droid is gonna be amazing, a better camera than the iphone, it has a removable battery (the main drawback of iphones), verizon has better coverage, android kills apples OS (if youve tried it then you know), the memory is better (removable mem means endless amounts of memory), even the UI is better, plus, on top of all that, the apps are better and free, the idea of paying for every app is just ridiculous, even apple has considered going open source, so if ur gonna put the droid down cuz of your brand loyalty or maybe one or two down sides of the droid, please consider not only all of the downsides listed on the droid comm. but also the ones you have experienced yourself in having an iphone

iphones lost the the whole “omg” initial shock that it had on release, now we’re down to the reality of it….

iphones just arent that great

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PhoneFan October 31, 2009 at 6:29 am

Matt: Tmobile doesn’t offer myfaves anymore. Nor do discounts apply to those latest Even More plans. Most people griping about how the plan prices above are inaccurate probably didnt bother checking the latest available offering to new customers (and they probably dont read fine print about how much data they really get for their ‘unlimited’ plans either). Although thats a moot point, hitting 5 GB on any network’s “blazing fast” 3G is pretty difficult heh.

Its pretty clear that they were just trying to pick matching plans, obviously you can save a bundle more by going for cheaper plans or forgo some other services such as unlimited text etc. Many of these phones are very nice but I think I’ll just stick with my el cheapo Straight Talk phone and its slightly more reasonable monthly rate…

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DeadlyDad October 31, 2009 at 11:55 am

***WARNING*** This only applies in the US. Data rates in Canada are absolutely ridiculous. Case in point: I just received my first bill from Bell with the ‘Unlimited Browser’ plan. It’s a darned good thing that I didn’t use my browser much, as they are charging me $51.20 per MEGABYTE! I talked to a dealer and he told me of a guy whose first bill topped $30,000!!! Apparently, ‘Unlimited Browser’ means just that; they aren’t charging me to use it. What they don’t mention anywhere that I could find is that that doesn’t include data transfer. Needless to say, I’m cancelling my contract and am going to go with a company that isn’t going to be so blatant in ripping off its customers.

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bempey October 31, 2009 at 6:02 pm

RE: RIM, AutoPC/WinCE/WinMobile/WhateverTheyCallItNext those are “also rans” with dwindling market share.

RE: Droid vs. iPhone … this is not the final battle. The Droid is just a sample of what’s coming down the pipe. Samsung, LG & Motorola combined are releasing between 4 and 5 new Android models per month!

Jax: The Andoid phones will not be obsolete within 2 years, anymore than a computer with Ubuntu installed now will be obsolete in 2 years. Its Linux, meaning FREE upgrades forever.

It will take time, but the number of OS developers on Android will exceed the combined staff of RIM & Microsoft & Apple combined. By that time, none of the proprietary vendors will be able to compete with open-source.
And the number of APPs on Android will be an order of magnitude greater than all competitors.

Its inevitable. But for now, Apple will cash-in while it can still compete, the lawyers will embrace their Crack-berries, and Windows users will wander like zombies, oblivious to any options (better or otherwise).

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Brian November 1, 2009 at 10:09 am

STILL no GSM option from Verizon? I was getting excited about getting DROID until I saw this. VERY disappointing. :( Even if Verizon doesn’t have a GSM network in the USA, it would be nice to have the option to switch over when I go overseas. When will Verizon catch up to the rest of the world?

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CaptainLove November 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm

This makes me ridiculously happy to live in Europe. I got my G1 for free on a one-year contract with unlimited data, unlimited texts, and 300 minutes a month. This is all for 20 euros (about 28 dollars) a month. So for the entire thing I’ve payed about 300 dollars at the end of this year.

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josh November 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Yeah European, you have a crappy G1 for $20 / month, but what about that 60% socialist tax haircut on your paycheck, plus having to live in a 200 sq ft (18 m2) studio with no A/C, and a collective bathroom in the hall? Europe is soooo overrated. Danish, Latvian, and Swedish girls are soo hot, though. I’m glad lots of Swedish and Eastern European girls are moving to Miami Beach, where I live. It’s always refreshing to see them topless in front of my condo.

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zubair November 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

the graph ignores the fact hat droid has a keyboard while others dont. i do not know about you but i find it essential due to emails. i cant stand on screen keyboards.

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Too Lazy to read the rest of the comments November 2, 2009 at 8:37 am

For everyone saying you cannot load apps on the microSD card on the Droid, you are incorrect.

As of Android 2.0, you can load applications onto the SD card.

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I'monDroids November 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

This is to clear some previous Verizon misconceptions:
Verizon’s Premium and Connect Plans allow some smartphones known as Enhanced Multimedia Phones. For the Blackberries, Palms and Smartphones you need a Basic or Select requiring the Unlimited Data plan for $30/month (basically a $1 a day).
Verizon’s Global devices do carry pre-installed SIM so when you do go overseas, you’ll have BOTH GSM and CDMA.
Verizon also has an employye discount plan for its customers. They network with alot of companies. You can get anywhere up to 50% depending on your company employer.
I’m an Alltel customer so I’m grandfathered into the network but at competitive pricing. I’m glad I get the best of both worlds. Anticipating the Droid’s release!!

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Sprdave32 November 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

@ those of you who are obviously very confused about the difference between RAM and Memory in smartphone lingo:

First:
The iPhone 3gs has 16GB of built in Memory
The Droid has 16GB of removable Memory (micro SD I believe)
This means that the Droids memory can be upgraded to whatever the latest flavor of Micro SD is available, be it 32GB or larger.

Secondly:
The iPhone has 256MB of system memory aka RAM
The Droid has 512Mb of system memory aka RAM
This should need no further explanation.

I would also like to join in the laughter at the iPhone’s “over 100,000 apps” …really, all that useless crap impresses you? Words fail me when adult professionals giggle as they make fart noises, gunshots, and various slurping noises emit from their “smart” phones.
I think I’ll be toting a Droid by this time next week.

@ the Palm Pre users. I really am glad that you seem to be having a positive experience with a Palm product. I simply cannot force myself to own another Palm after suffering with an employer provided Treo 755p for the last 1.5 years. I’m just not opening myself up to that kind of abuse again ;)

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James D November 3, 2009 at 12:21 am

This is a no good comparison. Why would you put up the Palm Pre for Sprint when the Hero is their best phone and the strongest iPhone competitor on the market? Also, Sprint’s everything data plan is $70 a month for unlimited calls to ANY cell phone provider, unl internet, email, and text. You can’t beat that, period. The Hero is better than the iPhone and I actually HAD the option for either and chose the Hero. Which I could still take back but won’t be, because despite what the kids think. The Hero is better, browser is on par, upgradeable memory, open source OS, customizable, cheaper rates, better service, and since these are supposed to be PHONES first and foremost…then the Hero wins since it has better call quality on a better network. Sorry kids, but Apple’s on its’ way out because that’s who iPhone’s are for……kids ;-)

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James D November 3, 2009 at 12:27 am

Oh yeah, and I get 22% off of my monthly bill with sprint and the htc hero. better phone on a better network for cheaper? damn. that’s a real hard decision

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Bobby November 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm

My only problem with the Iphone Apps is that yeah they have 100,000 but most of them are stupid and useless. Some are great, don’t get me wrong but 99,000 or so are useless. I want something with substance to it.

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Daedalia November 4, 2009 at 4:46 am

The iPhone does do multitasking silly, it just isnt available to 3rd party developers. You can make a phone call and browse the web quite easily at the same time.

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Ken November 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

I was with Touch Air prior to ATT and total time was 8 years. I switched to Verizon and have never been happier, no more dropped calls and awesome customer service. I like the Iphone and was hoping they would come to verizon but, it doesn’t look like it. I’m not willing to trade great service for the iphone, so I will probably try the droid. atleast I won’t have dropped calls.

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dfrano November 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

240 wpm? No freakin way! I’ve entered typing contests and the fastest I typed was 120wpm.

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jcock November 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm

is anyone considering the fact that all you need to do is purchase verizons cheapest monthly plan with 5 favorite numbers, then just purchase a data plan, at 29.99 + 49.99…..

this would allow you to make unlimited calls, and texts for 90/month……

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Carlos November 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

I find it funny how people are mixing things up. I have an iPhone works good i’m happy with it even though it has crashed on me several times and deleted all my data in it once.

The big mistake i see people making is not that what phone is better or not, the main concern for most people is “AT&T” bad network (dropped calls, no reception) what good is a phone that cant be used to make calls? if you cant make calls or anything you would be just better off with the iTouch and enjoy the wifi, no monthly payments on it.

I’m still in contract, after that or sooner i will change phones and provider, and my iPhone will become an iTouch for me. If Apple expands to Verizon or other companies their sales will go up faster cus the draw back is the AT&T not the phone itself.

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SG November 6, 2009 at 8:51 am

You forgot one of the most important expenses. APPS!

They’re free on the Droid, unlike the Apple store. Big difference.

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Nicey November 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

Users are saying that pictures in the dark come out murky. Wasn’t this the major selling point? The much better camera? Apparently the camera software is subpar.

Unfortunately, I refuse to get these phones until Verizon and AT&T compete on price with T-mobile and Sprint.

AT&T and Verizon have the better networks and better phones, but they have sternly refuse to lower their prices even in the face of Sprint and T-mobiles truly unlimited plans (no faux unlimited like AT&T and Verizon).

I’m not getting these until service plan is lowered. Period. I can get unlimited for 49.99 somewhere else, why would I pay 100?

I don’t get why this is so hard for them to understand. AT&T and Verizon would all but eliminate Sprint and T-mobile if they simply cut their prices.

I don’t even need unlimited voice because I never go over the base because of my roll over, and unlimited nights and weekends. Just unlimited data (including texts, which should be part of the data plan, not seperate, it’s BS)

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web surfer November 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for the nice comparison. For me, the main feature is the web browser — and I prefer those web browsers that are standards compliant. I want to see websites properly rendered, with full JavaScript support. Windows Mobile and Blackberry are not in that category (though you can, theoretically, use Opera on the Blackberry — right?). Thank you for not including those “smartphones” in your comparison.

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Dreadnutz November 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Wow My Iphone 3GS has 32GB of storage yet your list says 16gb why use the lesser model Iphone against the best of the others? Kind of makes one wonder about the fairness when the first thing on the list is not really fair

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Anonymous November 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

No insurance for the iphone… How about the Droid? Thats a huge issue if you break the iphone

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rockon dave November 6, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I read thru these posts and I rarely see those who separate phone vs network arguments.Although I recognize they are related,one must consider them separate when arguing capability features. Initial price is negligable when compared to service, which I believe is the most important aspect of any phone smart or not.As to service,well allow me to say that I have had cell service for 16 years-9 with contel/gte/verizon,2 with att and 5 with nextel/sprint back and forth for the last ten yrs playing the new phone best deal game. During that time I have never been happier with quality of service with verizon-hands down. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. I’m not saying they’re not all crooks,of course they are. Like why do they have phone proprietary to each of their networks: profitability rules. But until people demand universal services and products: it still beats two cans and string

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AC November 7, 2009 at 2:32 am

I’m surprised that many people are saying that iPhone is better than Droid. I own an iTouch – and I really like it, but the iPhone as a smart phone has too many limitations (eg. no multi-tasking, low res screen, low res camera, no pluggable memory).

On the other hand, the Droid has done a great job of merging a phone and a computer. The screen resolution and camera resolution are a big selling point to me over iPhone.

Having said that, Motorola have had some of the worst quality control i’ve ever seen in my life (units going back time and time again) – so i’m waiting to see if Motorola have learned their lesson. If I knew that Motorola would produce a reliable product, I would have bought one already.

My crystal ball tells me that Apple is going to lose a big market slice to Android devices :)

AC

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Jon November 8, 2009 at 4:04 pm

There is no way you are going to shrink your bill by paying $2300-$2800 over two years. Never in the history of mankind have people paid so much just to talk to each other.

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Fredphoesh November 9, 2009 at 5:30 am

Hi Bill
Cool chart! For me, one of the things reviewers often miss WRT a disadvantage of the iPhone, is what for me is THE REASON I will never buy one.

MUSIC!
With the iPhone, you have to use quicktime, itunes, a proprietory cable. You cannot drag and drop folders of music to and from your phone.

I detest all of that (and I own two mac computers of my own). I like being able to plug in to a generic USB, on ANY computer anywhere, and just add or remove or copy music to and from the device as much as I want, no interference from a freak controlling Apple.

This would make iPhone (or an iPod for that matter) completely unacceptable to me.

Mark UK.

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Andre Richards November 9, 2009 at 9:30 am

Not to nitpick or sound like an Apple apologist, but tech writers keep getting the multitasking thing wrong. The iPhone multitasks just fine, just not with any third-party apps. You can debate the relative merits of this decision by Apple but it doesn’t change the fact that the iPhone can and does multitask with built-in functionality.

Frankly, from what I’ve seen, it was designed so well, pops in and out of apps so quickly (all of which save their state when quitting) that for most users, the experience is equivalent to multitasking anyway.

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Long haul trucker November 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

Left Verizon and bought two iphone 3gs two weeks ago at Best buy. Will go back tomorrow and return both. WHy,
Dropped calls. I am not a techie. I just want a phone that works. My apartment in Northern CA, just four blocks from ATT store and 1.4 mile from tower only works when standing out in parking lot. I see lots of blogs on ways to improve reception. SO many blogs I recognize that the problem is not unique. Phone calls to ATT technical were of no help. First person at ATT store said “NO, We know of no known reception problems in our local area. Second person a week later at same store said ” Yeah, we have a lot of reception problems in this area, despite it showing on our maps its a good area.
Point is: ATT stores are full of SALES PEOPLE, who probably came from used car field. Once you are off the lot, buyer beware. Compare features all you want, argue platforms and ecosystems till your ears turn blue, I just want a phone that works, and its painfully obvious I phone wont work for me. Leave it to the urban valley girls.

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Shawn November 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm

One question: Does the Droid’s web browser support Flash? And an addition: It would have been nice to see a comparison of weights, physical dimensions and display sizes. For example, the iPhone display is 320 x 480 pixels, while the Droid’s is a whopping 480 x 854. Huge difference.

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iPhone Fan November 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm

The iPhone beats all the phones apps. Let’s not forget the awesome customer service that you get from Apple! You can’t put a price on that.

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Andre Richards November 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

You didn’t compare screen size, display quality, weight, thickness, availability of multi-touch or maximum storage capacity all of which are important topics when it comes to smart phones and all of which would put the iPhone in a much better light compared to the others.

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Anonymous November 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm

iphone cant be beet

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dnice850 November 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm

the review needs to compare memory in addition to storage. they’re are two separate categories.

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Jimmy November 9, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I wish Apple drones will identify themselves before they put any comments. If you are an Apple Drone you will buy an iPhone no matter if it is $1000 can only be used on Tuesdays from 1Am to 2AM standing at the cell tower in freezing weather. They will always think Apple products are great no matter what.

NO the iPhone does not multitask. PERIOD.
the iPhone does NOT have a physical keyboard
the iPhone does NOT have a flash
Apps for the iPhone need permission from Apple to be developed.

All created by the most controlling company in the universe.

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cb3620 November 12, 2009 at 8:25 am

why does Verizon continue to brag about having more high speed data in rural areas?

is this because that’s all they really have over at&t?

even when most rural iphones users have wifi connection, so not having 3g in those areas is a non issue…

You cant access the internet and talk on the phone at the same time in rural areas without 3g…. BUT YOU CANT EVEN DO THAT WITH VERIZON. PERIOD

the droid looks like a glorified instinct!!

says my friend Rob

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marcello November 12, 2009 at 8:34 am

I am pretty techie as I work with videography and Photography. Most of you guys are missing the big picture here. NO ONE complains about the iPhone (with the exception of the service. Read ATT, not Apple).

Is Apple controlling? You betcha. They control hackers that could develop the best trojan horse fart app. (by the way they have fart apps on the Droid too.) They check the apps that they put in the app store.

Most phone customers don’t even know that their phone has a micro SD card in it. I see this every week. They have no clue about getting the pics off their phones. Most think Blue Tooth is the thing that They stick in their ear and not the ability to send files etc.

Many of us here like to spend hours figuring out how our devices work. Most just want to swipe tap and be doing things. Also they just want to plug in and hit synch and have all their latest podcasts, apps, music and contacts updated on their computer. That is the real benefit to the iPhone. Saving time, and having the web at your fingertips.

As for me the question is a Droid now or wait until next summer when verizon gets it. Maybe with 4g lte built in? If that is the case I will snatch up an iPhone and wait until Big Red rolls out the fat wireless pipe in my area.

Note that Moto’s comercials are the Droid Does ones. While Verizon’s are the ones that state there’s a map for that. A map for that with an app for that… I can hardly wait.

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kazimir November 12, 2009 at 9:09 am

Gadget drones, carrier cheerleaders, and the IT press’ feature list magisterium are giddy about Android, and even more so, oddly, about Flash. Yes* (correct answer, with an asterisk) iPhone OS multi-tasks. AAPL sells experiences first, and the market world-wide has confirmed iPhone’s design wisdom. Apple decided not to enable an open conduit for malware on the iPhone, another win for its customers. Who is Google’s customer?

Also, if you support an open Internet, you’ll be wary of Flash.

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Andre Richards November 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm

@Jimmy

“I wish Apple drones will identify themselves before they put any comments.”

I wish the Apple haters would do the same.

“NO the iPhone does not multitask. PERIOD.”

Yes it does, just not for all applications. I can make a phone call and browse the web, look up contacts and email simultaneously. What do you call that? Know what you’re talking about before posting next time. It would be less embarrassing for you.

“Apps for the iPhone need permission from Apple to be developed.”

There’s no permission involved. The SDK is free to download, as are all of Apple’s dev tools. Apple puts all applications through a quality control process before posting to the App Store. That’s not asking permission. That’s maintaining a level of quality. If you’re a lazy developer who can’t meet some simple guidelines from Apple (and I know what those guidelines… they’re not nearly as draconian as some believe) you should probably go elsewhere.

BTW, Apple has stated their reasoning for doing this and they are right. Maintaining that level of quality control has ensured that there is no malware for the iPhone. Look at the jailbroken iPhones… already there are viruses circulating. Hard to make a silly argument like yours stick when the reality of the situation is staring you right in the face.

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Steve Jobs November 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I switched BACK to verizon from owning an iPhone for two months. Too many dropped calls. However the iphone is a slick and elegant OS. But verizon’s win back department will give you lots of $$$ incentives to come back. And iphones are selling like hot cakes on ebay. I actually made a good bit of cabbage switching back. AND I don’t drop calls anymore. woot!

Now droid users must unite and build a strong following to spur on this great brand.

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carl November 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Quality control to get apps into the app store is still approval. Apple routinely rejects apps that are too similar to features they plan to release on upcoming phones. Or they limit your access to those apis. It’s a semantic argument. But it’s control anyway you slice it.

Owned an iphone, now I own a droid. I can write an app and install it tonight, and sell it tomorrow. And nobody will take 30%.

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IdiotSavantePhone November 14, 2009 at 9:10 pm

The droid? As a smartphone? You mean those new “smartphones” made mostly by the junk-phone-maker motorola, the ones that don’t have free turn-by-turn nav, the ones that keep loosing their battery covers, the keyboard peels off, the camera constantly crashes, the UI looks and acts like Windows 3.1, the ones that don’t even have pinch zoom & multi-touch, and so on? Those droids?
Yeah, no, these droids are not the smartphones you seek.

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Stephanie November 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I personally own a Droid, and I love it!! Coupling that with the coverage i get from Verizon, I’m pretty happy. I have owned an Iphone, and it would be much better if it wasn’t on such a shitty ass network. The question really is, how much multitasking can you do on that Iphone, plus if anything goes wrong including the battery, it has to be serviced. For me it was more along the lines of small inconveninces, consistently dropped calls, servicng (I don’t feel like having to drive all the way to the apple store to have a technician do little things I can easily do myself in my own home), I can’t put insurance on it (so if it break I’m f&*^ed), I can name many more. What I really like is that if I just happen to lose my DROID, and I activate a new one, everything from my old phone minus my apps transfers to it instantaneously. I’m sorry, but I’m a stickler for convenience.

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Bruce Wagner November 16, 2009 at 7:29 am

My partner and I were about to buy new iPhones… Then, when we were in Best Buy the other day… We were able to play with a new Motorola/Verizon/Google Droid. We played with the Droid — especially the web-browsing — for like an hour… WOW! The Droid is awesome! We will be buying two new Droids instead, for sure! It seems like they have fixed all the problems that everyone complains about with the iPhone…. starting with AT&T’s horrible service…. and removable battery, better flash camera, flash video,

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Donny November 17, 2009 at 7:47 pm

My opinion is to get the droid. If i wanted to, in a year or something the iphone is going to be available for every network. so really, i go with verizon.

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linux.is.skynet November 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I’m buying a Droid tomorrow. The guy at the wal-mart verizon/at&t desk owns both the iphone and the droid. He’s pissed because he paid 3.99 for alot of apps on the iphone that he could get for free on the Droid. I’ve ran Linux for seven years and it’s NOT ready for the desktop. But the Droid (Android) is the best use of it yet other than servers. Google’s Chrome OS could be interesting to see next year as well. I almost got an iPhone recently. Glad I waited. Apple has always been good quality but over priced. Apple’s crowning mistake….??? PUT YOUR @^#%$? OS out for PC’s as well as these new PC/MACs. Hackintoshes don’t could. Apple just killed alot of them with a new update. They need to sell OSX for PC’s if they wan’t market share ( which they need). Microsoft doesn’t build PC’s (thank god). But neither should apple as long as their OS is exclusive on them. Apple is stupid. Linux has far more potential IF some devs do as Google and work on being more user friendly and PLEASE talk to developers about commercial apps like games… enough of doom 3 and Rage. Bottom line, open source is clearly better with help from Google. Apple is just too closed. Anyhow, I’m going crazy waiting for tomorrow to come to get my Droid. Sorry about the Open Source lecture. But Apple does need to get serious.

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linux.is.skynet November 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

* hackintoshes don’t count

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linux.is.skynet November 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Got my Droid on Friday. I’ve been having too much fun to do anything else. I’m so glad I didn”t get that iPhone a while back when I was actually thinking about it. Apple’s new anti-droid commercials are a joke lol. With Android being open source, yes my droid can do that, it’s only a matter of when it (the devs)) will do that

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your momma! November 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Dont forget to read the fine print in the comparison chart for memory storage capacity. The Droid is expandable to 32GB,thats
double the iphones capability!

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