Top 10 ways the HTC Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

Top 10 ways the HTC Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

Summary: The Droid Incredible is the phone that I can finally call an "iPhone killer."

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Regular readers will know that I've been looking for a new smartphone for quite a while, honestly holding out for the iPhone to land in a Verizon Wireless store. But the wait is over. I have made my smartphone purchase and, quite frankly, I don't care if Apple and Verizon ever cut a deal.

The Droid Incredible by HTC is my iPhone killer.

In all fairness, I had pretty much talked myself out of the iPhone a few months ago. I had been using a loaner Motorola Droid, a device I liked from the software side but didn't really care for on the hardware side, largely because of the bulkiness from the slide-out keyboard. I wanted the iPhone-type experience and Google and HTC - first with the Nexus One and later with the Incredible - seemed to be reading my wish list.

Gallery: Screen shots of the Droid Incredible

So what makes it so great? Here's my short list of reasons why the Incredible is My iPhone:

Verizon Wireless: The voice service is excellent. The 3G service is great. Plus, I bought it through Verizon, not Google.

Tethering: Yes, I know the iPhone has unlocked that feature but last I heard AT&T still hadn't. With the ability to use my phone's 3G connection to surf the web on my laptop, I instantly save $35 a month by dumping the aircard.

Multi-tasking: Yup, Android already does that, too.

The Sense UI: The experience of the HTC's Sense UI on top of Google's Android software is a nice experience. It seems to understand what users want and need, down to a ".com" button in the keyboard when I'm typing an e-mail address.

The Google Integration: Want to know where search really rocks on Android? Within Google Maps. The search feature gives you results within the map itself of which pizza joints or ATMs or hardware stores are near where you are. And the GPS navigation means never needing to buy a TomTom. Likewise, Google's other products just seem to "fit" in the Android environment.

Google Voice: Apple may have rejected the app but Google has integrated the one-number-for-life service into the device beautifully. Now, for me, this phone has two numbers tied to it - the main number that Verizon Wireless provided and the GV number that I can manage as my work cell phone number, which means I can schedule it to not ring in the evenings or on weekends.

Voice input: In Android, if you can type it, you can speak it. A small microphone button appears in the on-screen keyboard that allows users to speak what they would normally type. This is not just for search but anywhere you can type - e-mail, SMS, maps, etc. No, it's not perfect - but it's pretty good most of the time and getting better.

Facebook contacts: The address book allows you to link your contacts to their Facebook profiles or Flickr accounts so that the information they share with friends on those profiles - maybe their birthday, home number or private e-mail address - gets wrapped into the contacts card.

Good apps: No, Android doesn't have the gigantic app store that Apple has. But I don't really need all of those apps, either. It's got Pandora. It's got Yelp. My bank has an Android app. I can do the Fandango movie ticket thing. Sure, maybe there's no iFart app like there is for the iPhone - but I don't really need that on my mobile device anyway.

Scenes vs. Folders: The new iPhone will include folders on the home screens to better organize apps. Android already does that - but the Sense UI also has "scenes," that allow you to customize your phone's home page to reflect your lifestyle of the moment. For example, when it's a work phone, the home screen has a generic wallpaper with icons for corporate mail, corporate calendar and other work-related apps. When I'm traveling, I can place the Tripit app next to my maps app and my "Find a Starbucks" app on the home screen along with that camera icon - because I'll be shooting a lot of pics while traveling. Finally, my "Weekends are fun" scene includes a fun picture of the Vegas weekend as a background, along with some gaming apps, my Yelp app and my Pandora app.

Yes, I've seen what iPhone OS 4.0 will offer - and now, thanks to Gizmodo and a careless Apple software engineer in a bar, I have also seen what the device itself will look like. It's nice - but it hasn't "evolved" in a way that Android has. I know the Incredible will likely be topped by something better next week or next month, something flashier or more user-friendly.

The good news is that the next big thing will probably be yet another Android device that has taken something good and made it even better. Seeing what I've seen from Apple (and AT&T), I know in my heart that the next big thing won't be an iPhone. And I won't have buyer's remorse.

Topics: iPhone, Android, Apple, Google, Hardware, HTC, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

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137 comments
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  • I hope Blackberries, iPhones & Androids all sell well

    I'm an Android fan, but I still hope that Blackberries & iPhones continue to sell well. The competition will lead to even better smartphones.
    linuser
    • Well said!

      nt
      athynz
      • <a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/f81.html">blackberry</a>

        @athynz They are the NOTwork and not all they are cracked up to be... I've had much better service with AT&T.
        frank dib
      • <a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/f82.html">iphone</a>

        @athynz AT&T locks in apps and restricts the phone in ways that contradict the design of the Android OS. Until that practice ends, AT&T smart phones will all be inferior to the rest.
        frank dib
    • Second that.

      @linuser Nt
      ZackCDLVI
  • RE: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

    I guess you just didn't want to buy the iPhone:) Otherwise I
    don't see much difference between the devices in the areas
    you highlight.
    Google maps search implemented must be a great feature
    and shame would be on Google if they did it wrong.
    And torpedoing App Store through iFart is too funny... I don't
    use it, I use DocScanner to scan my business flipcharts on the
    go and sync them over Evernote with my other devices. And
    yes, the Google voice search works great on iPhone.
    I still don't see much reason why I should switch to Droids.
    Ondrax
    • RE: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

      @Ondrax You shouldn't. I have both. There comparable. Getting around iOS is probably 2x easier. HTC sense is really pretty, and even though they technically have 1/3rd the apps, that appstore feels super small.

      I Jailbreak my iphone so on a feature level there at parity, apart from that my verizon phone costs an extra $20 to tether, ( i use jailbreak apps to tether my iphone because of at&t, not 100% legit, but nothing that's gotten me into trouble)

      The pictures are much much better on the iphone, when you a/b them. I guess 3mp =/= a better lense.

      Not impressed yet. the live wallpaper selection on my jailbroken iOS device (vwallpapers if your interested) had way nicer live desktop animations, and it lacks alot of first party app support, (think tom tom, webex, or retrospect)

      good phone though.
      jessedegenerate
  • RE: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

    There are some definite negatives on the iPhone side, especially when the only 2 Apple devices I own are a shuffle 3gen and an iPhone 3gs. However, that being said, most of the points made here are superficial (iFart app) don't really get to the heart of the matter.

    1. Closed vs. open architecture. This for me is the most crucial decision. Do you want an interface that is fully customizable or do you want the powers that be give you. When I purchased, nothing compared to the iPhone's user interface and I would argue that point even with the HTC's, but I have not used one so that is just an assumption.

    2. Last I checked, aircards ran in the $60 range for 5gb of data. As I don't use tethering, I haven't tried it. Will do so.

    3. AT&T vs. other cell networks. - ANY network that took on the iPhone would have had problems and as the market expands for smartphones I'd expect to see other networks having issues as well...including the one who says you can connect 5 people to a 3g cell.

    4. Apps - Droid will catch up in the app market, but saying that droid is better because the app store as a farting app is like saying that snail mail is better because you don't get spam. As long as there are men in this world, you will have farting in every aspect of life and technology.

    5. Google....Hello? The feature you're talking about has been incorporated on Google Maps across all platforms. What's better than that? Try Yahoo! Sketch....you can draw a circle around an area on a map and get the names off all things in that area....Heck you can draw a decahedron if you want to. Oh and while we're on the subject of Google Maps....I used the tracking interface in Google Maps on a Samsung Eternity. Don't want to pay $100 for the TomTom app....? Well plan on getting lost when you lose signal or wasting time when you could have had a shorter route. The maps on the net are at least 2 years out of date with road construction. The 414 extension was just put on the maps and I've been driving on it for nearly 2 years now.

    6. Google Voice? Ok...I'll give you that one, but I have a number and yet don't really see a need for it so I'm not really missing that...ya know?

    7. Multitasking.....much needed, but not missing it either. I had a windows smartphone that opened everything and closed nothing and next thing you know...out of memory.

    8. Facebook....if I really wanted all those "friends" (I use that term loosely) in my list, I would put them there and I have.

    9. Scenes vs. Folders - since 4.0 is out yet...your assumptions about what it will do are just that.

    10. Voice search....iPhone does that...with google, bing and others. Duh!

    Bottom line? Everyone who can't/won't get an iPhone drums up the non-iPhone phones as the best. I used to be one of them until I actually owned one. I have a mac owner that sits across from me and in one breath tells me how great the mac is and how crappy windows is and in the next tells me how much better the HTC Evo is than the iPhone when they currently own a Blackberry. What???

    If you're going to make the argument...base it on the bigger issues: open architecture, battery life, expandable memory, customization, flash compatibility. Those are much better arguments than what you put forth in this article.
    comhunter
    • You're funny

      "When I purchased [iPhone], nothing compared to
      the iPhone's user interface and I would argue
      that point even with the HTC's, but I have not
      used one so that is just an assumption."

      -You would argue that point even with HTC, yet
      you haven't used one?

      "ANY network that took on the iPhone would have
      had problems and as the market expands for
      smartphones I'd expect to see other networks
      having issues as well"

      - People claiming that the iPhone is what's
      wrong with AT&T need to read this:
      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/verizon-
      wireless-and-sprint-each-carried-over-16-
      billion-more-megabytes-of-mobile-network-data-
      than-att-in-2009-says-abi-research-2010-04-12

      "Multitasking.....much needed, but not missing
      it either. I had a windows smartphone that
      opened everything and closed nothing and next
      thing you know...out of memory"

      -So you're comparing the multi-tasking of out-
      dated WinMo phones to... what exactly?

      "If you're going to make the argument...base it
      on the bigger issues: open architecture,
      battery life, expandable memory, customization,
      flash compatibility"

      -Finally something I agree with
      SmAcKjAcK
    • How about he can base his argument on what he wants.

      People crack me up trying to TELL people what THEIR opinion should be. This is a blog where the author can speak his mind and base his arguments/opinions on whatever he pleases.

      All your points are already obvious. So you really just wasted a whole lot of typing and "work" time. LOL
      andrej770
    • Counterpoint

      <i>1. Closed vs. open architecture. This for me is the most crucial decision. Do you want an interface that is fully customizable or do you want the powers that be give you</i>

      You're actually suggesting the iPhone home screen is more customizable than an Android phone's...? Until recently you couldn't even change the background on your iPhone w/o going through unnecessary hoops!


      <i>6. Google Voice? Ok...I'll give you that one, but I have a number and yet don't really see a need for it so I'm not really missing that...ya know?</i>

      Google voice is MUCH more than just another number. For starters, you're using the data network for both SMS and phone calls. That translates into unlimited SMS out of the box, and potentially unlimited phone calls. GVoice is currently tied to your Verizon minutes, so by calling through it you do use minutes. But provided you have the 900 minute or better plan, by tying your GV number to one of your frequently called phone numbers you give yourself unlimited minutes. There are other ways of making this work for the 450 min plan, but you have to go through a few hoops. In addition, by using your GV phone # you can record phone calls, have transcripts of your voice mails, access your voice mail from any computer through the Google Voice website, as well as some other neat features.

      Google Voice rocks and no one else has anything like it.


      <i>4. Apps - Droid will catch up in the app market, but saying that droid is better because the app store as a farting app is like saying that snail mail is better because you don't get spam. As long as there are men in this world, you will have farting in every aspect of life and technology.</i>

      You missed the point. It's not about iFart itself. It's about Android having all the Apps Sam Diaz needs (along with a host of other people, myself included). Sure 200k apps is more than 50k apps, but when those 50k apps do everything I need, the 200k apps the other guy is touting mean nothing.


      <i>10. Voice search....iPhone does that...with google, bing and others. Duh!</i>

      Sam Diaz made a mistake by calling the feature Voice Search. It's not just voice search, it's voice INPUT on EVERYTHING. If you can type it, you can speak it. That means you can speak e-mails, SMS, and yes, search too. Anything.
      tikigawd
      • re: voice search

        yup, you're right. I should have been more clear on that. It's absolutely voice input on anything you can type. Over the weekend, I was showing a friend who is debating iPhone vs. Android how to speak her text message and she said that was the clincher for her. She loved it.

        Thanks for clarifying for the readers...
        SamDiaz
      • Commenting in your counter point

        [b][i]1. Closed vs. open architecture. This for me is the most crucial decision. Do you want an interface that is fully customizable or do you want the powers that be give you[/i]

        You're actually suggesting the iPhone home screen is more customizable than an Android phone's...? Until recently you couldn't even change the background on your iPhone w/o going through unnecessary hoops![/b]

        I didn't get that the OP was suggesting the iPhone interface is customizable because it is not! Which is one of many reasons I jailbroke mine - it interface is cool but it does get old after a while and even being able to apply a wallpaper to the background is good but not enough. I'll give y'all this one.[b][i]


        6. Google Voice? Ok...I'll give you that one, but I have a number and yet don't really see a need for it so I'm not really missing that...ya know?[/i]

        Google voice is MUCH more than just another number. For starters, you're using the data network for both SMS and phone calls. That translates into unlimited SMS out of the box, and potentially unlimited phone calls. GVoice is currently tied to your Verizon minutes, so by calling through it you do use minutes. But provided you have the 900 minute or better plan, by tying your GV number to one of your frequently called phone numbers you give yourself unlimited minutes. There are other ways of making this work for the 450 min plan, but you have to go through a few hoops. In addition, by using your GV phone # you can record phone calls, have transcripts of your voice mails, access your voice mail from any computer through the Google Voice website, as well as some other neat features.

        Google Voice rocks and no one else has anything like it.[/b]

        I'm like the OP where I have a Google Voice account - and had it before Google bought it out - and I even have it on my iPhone (not so much a reason for jailbreaking but it's a good perk really) and I very rarely use it... I've never seen the need for it. If you are a user of Google Voice, the iPhone is not for you. [b][i]


        4. Apps - Droid will catch up in the app market, but saying that droid is better because the app store as a farting app is like saying that snail mail is better because you don't get spam. As long as there are men in this world, you will have farting in every aspect of life and technology.[/i]

        You missed the point. It's not about iFart itself. It's about Android having all the Apps Sam Diaz needs (along with a host of other people, myself included). Sure 200k apps is more than 50k apps, but when those 50k apps do everything I need, the 200k apps the other guy is touting mean nothing.[/b]

        And the Apple App store does NOT have the apps Sam needs? To me this is really a non issue - when I have a phone that can access those 200k apps and someone starts bragging about 50K apps and then says the majority of those 200k apps are crap without any research... to me it's like a little yip dog yapping at a great dame or something...[b][i]


        10. Voice search....iPhone does that...with google, bing and others. Duh![/i]

        Sam Diaz made a mistake by calling the feature Voice Search. It's not just voice search, it's voice INPUT on EVERYTHING. If you can type it, you can speak it. That means you can speak e-mails, SMS, and yes, search too. Anything. [/b]

        That is one thing I wish was on the iPhone - I can't get that even with the jailbreak and it's the one thing I miss with my old WM device running Microsoft Voice Command. Steve and Co. dropped the ball on this one.
        athynz
        • Apps

          <i> And the Apple App store does NOT have the apps Sam needs? To me this is really a non issue - when I have a phone that can access those 200k apps and someone starts bragging about 50K apps and then says the majority of those 200k apps are crap without any research... to me it's like a little yip dog yapping at a great dame or something...
          </i>

          Well, according to Sam Diaz he's got the Apps he needs from the Android Market Place.

          Regardless, I didn't mean to say I was knocking the 200k applications in the Apple App Store. What I meant was that if I have the ones I need I don't really care if the store has 50k or 200k. Fifty-thousand or Two-hundred-thousand becomes neither good nor bad, it just is what it is, and is not really a selling point in my book. SAYING you have 200k while the competition only has 50k is good from a marketing perspective, since the general public might assume the guy with 200k has better apps, or at least more choice. But that is not necessarily true. So, if there are particular apps you definitely need I'd suggest you make sure they're available on the platform you're thinking about buying, and make your decision based on that.

          In my case I haven't been deprived of any apps that are on the App Store. All the ones I need are on the Google Market Place too.
          tikigawd
    • RE: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

      @comhunter

      Your wrong about basically every point. Especially the 'open' comment. With my "open" HTC incredible i can't delete "my verizon mobile" "vz navagator" etc.

      The battery life on the indrecdible is 2/3rd's the iphone 4. I own both.

      The iphone runs flash. Please look up frash.

      grats on being wrong on every talking point. Incredible is a freaking great phone tho, and my fav Android phone.
      jessedegenerate
  • I've chosen Android as well

    I'm about to dump my blackberry bold to Android. While I like the iPhone, it come down to which proprietary jail you want to go into - Apple jail or Android jail.

    Seems Android has a more open philosophy about applications and choice of service providers/
    Prognosticator
  • RE: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy

    I'm sorry to inform you but your article was horribly inaccurate. There are a HUNDRED of android fart apps. Do your research next time :-)

    Seriously, I think the app support on android has really grown over the last 6 months, where a lot of iPhone staples (both apps and games) are available for Android.

    Good Review.
    eric_lawson
  • Would be good NOT ON VERIZON

    They are the NOTwork and not all they are cracked up to be... I've had much better service with AT&T.

    Verizon has a good brainwashing department though!
    itguy08
    • Most Definately!

      Verizon has a great marketing/brainwashing department. I remember when they got a class action lawsuit slapped against them for the false/misleading advertising on the bluetooth capabilities on some of their phones. They omitted the fact that the bluetooth capabilities had been crippled, that you could only pair a bluetooth headset with the phones.

      Now they're at it again with their Skype app for their Blackberry and Android phones. Seems you cannot use the Skype app through your wireless connection. Interesting how this has been a feature of Skype as far back as I can remember. May be a glitch but I doubt it.

      The iPhone has it's niche and has come a long way but I'm not a fanboy. I will see what the GSM versions of the new iPhone HD, HTC Android and Windows 7 phones bring before making a move.
      csonera
      • That's Skype's fault.

        They don't have the iPhone over 3G version yet either despite saying they
        had it ready "months before" December last year, blaming Apple for "not
        letting them release it" and being given the green light by AT&T & Apple
        way back in February.

        Skype are pretty slack.
        hill60