The two reasons I avoided Android and finally upgraded to the relatively boring iPhone 4S

Summary:Would you take the easy path and go with a workable, if uninspiring iPhone 4GS? Or, would you take a chance on the wild world of malware and go with Android?

As many of you know, I've been rocking an ancient, decrepit, wholly craptastic iPhone 3G (not even the 3GS!) for more than three years. That's like half a century in smartphone dog years.

I bought the iPhone 3G a month after the app store opened up, specifically to develop iPhone apps. I created 40 spectacularly unspectacular apps in a month (I was unwilling to put much investment into them, given the lack of certainty of Apple approval), and I've been carrying the 3G ever since.

My 2-year commitment gave out before the iPhone 4 came out, but my old 3G still worked well enough that I decided to push it for as long as possible. It started to reach completely annoying about a year ago, but by then, I knew the iPhone 5 (yeah, I know) would be out shortly. So I settled down for a long wait, which got worse as my 3G started to die. One of the last things to give out was my WiFi, which required a reconnect every five minutes or so.

In the meantime, Android started to get good. Real good. And fast. Real fast.

Once it became apparent that there would be no iPhone 5 (although the 4S seemed nice enough), I decided I was going to get an Android phone instead. Specifically, I was going to get either the Droid Razr or the Galaxy Nexus. Both were 4G/LTE machines and both could be had on Verizon, which does 4G/LTE quite well.

Reason #1 I didn't go with Android: No LTE for me

I want LTE. Let me be clear here. I want LTE real bad. But I don't want it just for use while traveling to the Bay Area or to the Big Apple. I want it here, in the middle of Podunkville, Florida. I want it in case my cable modem goes out, or if I want to work from a local restaurant or coffee house (we have one, it's not very good, but the caffeine works).

As nice as the Android environment is, the single most compelling reason for me to go there is LTE. Local, in-my-neighborhood LTE.

Therein, Dear Reader, lies the problem. There is no 4G/LTE here in Podunkville. Not from Verizon, and not from any of the other guys. It just doesn't exist. In fact, 3G only barely works. And, as far out as Verizon publicly forecasts, it doesn't plan to put LTE here.

Aside: you would think, on the Space Coast, right near where NASA launches its rockets, that you might be able to get good communications service. You'd think. You'd be wrong. 'Course, that could be because NASA's not quite what it once was, sadly enough.

So there's Reason #1 against Android. The single most compelling reason -- in fact, the completely unassailable reason for my moving to Android -- doesn't work here. Quite obviously, this isn't the fault of Android or the Android ecosystem, but that doesn't matter. No LTE, no compelling reason for Android. Bummer.

Reason #2 I didn't go with Android: Toxic apps

The second reason I didn't go with Android is that it's inherently more insecure, at least in terms of the consumer models. ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes talks at length about how Bloatware installed by the handset manufacturers is making Android insecure.

In November, CNET's Lance Whitney reported that Android-based malware had jumped by 472 percent. And just yesterday, CNET's Elinor Mills reported that the number of malware-laden Android apps doubled in the last six months.

I may not like Apple's app store or it's draconian approval processes, but we're not hearing staggering numbers like this from the iOS world. In fact, I may not really like iOS (I don't, not really), but I just don't have the time to fight massive malware onslaughts in my pocket.

So I bought an iPhone 4S

The other reason I bought the iPhone 4S is that we have a lot of existing stuff here in Camp David that works with it. All my old iPhone cables work, as do a bunch of the docks and other random add-on flotsam and jetsam that's accumulated over the years. I have a library of apps -- admittedly, most of them don't work or pretty much suck, but I do own them. Plus, I'm supporting my wife, neighbors, and other family members, who all use iOS devices, not Android.

So, from an "it's easier" point of view, it was just easier to get another iPhone. Honestly, that's a bit of a shame, but the big, compelling reason to switch, a faster network, wasn't available to me.

Stay tuned. In coming articles I'll tell you my impressions, and point out two gaping security flaws I've already found with the iPhone 4S, including one that bypasses your security code, and one that nukes your entire local area network. True stories.

See also:

For me, I'd accept the malware risk if it meant I had 4G/LTE speed. You know, that's pretty much how it's always been. I love speed, so I'd be willing to take more of a risk for the rush of speed, for the rush of 0 to 80mph in six seconds, for the rush of 4G/LTE on my phone. But without the speed rush, why take the risk?

So what do you think? Would you take the easy path and go with a workable, if uninspiring iPhone 4S? Or, would you take a chance on the wild world of malware and go with Android? TalkBack below.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Malware, Networking, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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