I can't believe I recommended an iPhone

When my mom said she was ready to get a smartphone and wanted a recommendation, I thought for about 20 seconds and then said "Just get an iPhone."
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

I'm an Android guy. Not just because I generally prefer the look and feel of the mobile OS but because I like choice and variety and Swiftkey (among other things). I'm not thrilled about the performance of Ice Cream Sandwich on my Droid Razr (in fact, it stinks), but Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7 and Motorola Xoom rocks. And yes, iOS 6 on my third-gen iPad also rocks. But if I was stuck on a desert island with just one mobile device, it would be running Android.

So when my mom recently mentioned that she was ready to finally make the leap into the land of smartphones, she didn't just ask what kind of smartphone she should get. She reads my blogs. She asked me what kind of Android to get. And then it hit me. The best, easiest choice for her wasn't an Android phone at all. It was an iPhone.

I wouldn't make this recommendation to everyone and I don't think that the iPhone is the smartphone to end all smartphones. It's not. And for many people, I'd recommend some sort of Android. Of course, that's because I hang around with people who like to fiddle with technology and make their devices behave in precisely the ways they want them to. That level of customization isn't something that's available on the iPhone. The Apple faithful would argue that it doesn't need to be - iOS just works. And that's completely true. It just doesn't work exactly the way I'd like it to or the way many of my Android-loving brethren would like it to. So we stick with Android.

For my mom, though, customization, tweaking, and hacking aren't the name of the game. She can find her way around a computer, but the "just works" proposition is most definitely the better choice for her. Besides, if I were to recommend an Android phone, what features would matter to her? A giant screen? Stylus input? Near-term upgrades to Jelly Bean? The woman sells Jelly Beans in her store and she likes to eat Ice Cream Sandwiches, but this sort of geeky goodness means nothing to her.

She needs to get her email, surf the web, and track her calendar. She only has one email account. Facebook will be her big foray into the world of apps. And, as we all know, the Android Facebook app is despicably awful. The phone needs to fit in her hand easily and stand up to hyperactive dogs and sticky-handed grandkids. It needs to take great pictures. And it needs to work simply and without any fuss. Some of us relish the fuss. She wouldn't.

So I recommended an iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is more than she needs and larger than she wants. She doesn't spend enough time online for LTE to matter. And she has a GPS.

I'm almost due for an upgrade myself and I can't wait. I've genuinely grown to hate my Razr and its miserable battery life and barely stable Motorola customizations. It's so giant and thin that I needed to add a case to be able to get a grip on it. And the screen, though big, has sad resolution. The question is, what will I replace it with? It won't be an iPhone. I'm too wedded to the Google ecosystem and Siri, despite being my new favorite mistress who lives in my iPad (nobody tell my wife), isn't enough to make me switch. But the speediest Android phones are generally 4.5+" beasts. I have a Nexus 7 if I want a big portable screen.

Maybe I'll just get a Blackberry.

Just kidding. I guess we'll just have to see what the holiday season brings to the land of Android when my contract is up. But I have to hand it to Apple. They've nailed several markets, a couple of which include my mom.

Editorial standards