New Android, BlackBerry Smartphones Show Old Problems
Much of today's review of T-Mobile's myTouch 3G and Verizon Wireless's BlackBerry Tour 9630 may look familiar. It should: The myTouch shares many of the virtues and flaws of last year's T-Mobile G1 (in addition to being saddled with one of the dumber product names around), and most of my critiques of the Tour also applied to last year's BlackBerry Bold.
I was afraid that was going to happen, even though there were many reasons it shouldn't have.
"Android" should not equal "T-Mobile," and yet Google's promising smartphone software has now spent most of a year handcuffed to the carrier with the worst broadband coverage in America. Likewise, BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion has had plenty of time to see other companies do smartphone interfaces right, and yet it seems to think prettier icons and cleaner fonts will keep it in the game against the likes of Apple's iPhone and the Palm Pre--while Verizon, in turn, should have recognized long ago that its bland lineup of phones needs something a little more exciting than RIM's latest incremental advance.
The myTouch (have I mentioned how much I hate that name, and all the other "my-something" Fisher-Price monikers?) and the Tour also suffer from some unexpected defects. I cover most of those in the column, but a few didn't make the paper:
* Real phones have real headphone jacks, but G1 and myTouch manufacturer HTC only includes a USB port on each phone. On the G1, that limits you to using the special headphones in the box. The myTouch includes a USB dongle with a standard headphone jack as well as a set of headphones with a regulation plug; daisy-chaining those parts together makes the myTouch look like a cobbled-together electronics project.
* The myTouch, unlike the Tour and the Pre (but like the iPhone), doesn't include a flash for its camera. Shouldn't that be standard equipment by now?
* Consistency matters, and so one BlackBerry should offer the same core functions as another. The Tour breaks that rule; not only does its browser fail to perform as well as the one on the BlackBerry Storm, it doesn't let you install system-software updates over the air.
* Verizon has noticed that people hate having to listen to voicemail messages one at a time, but charges for the privilege of opting out of that. The Tour includes a separate Visual Voicemail application that lets you play and delete voicemail messages from an onscreen menu--for an extra $2.99 a month.
Have you tried or bought either phone? Share your observations in the comments below. Then talk to me about your new gadget--or any other tech topics you have in mind--during this afternoon's Web chat, starting at noon Eastern.
Posted by: catester | August 7, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bryant_k | August 7, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: emacee1701 | August 8, 2009 3:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: technophilia | August 8, 2009 5:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ezome | August 8, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheYoungBuddha | August 8, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: IdlerBill | August 8, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cbmuzik | August 8, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: technophilia | August 9, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jojokimmo | August 10, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Cricketw | August 10, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hpmoon | August 12, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.