iPhone or Droid Incredible? In other words, is AT&T really so bad?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Cameron Yee, May 1, 2010.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    If you prefer the EVO, that's fine. I've got no stake in the game; I don't own stock in Apple or Google. I take issue with the false statements that Apple's iPhone 4 is technologically behind the game at launch. That's simply wrong. You may prefer a 4" 200 ppi screen over a 3.5" 300ppi screen. (which is odd, since you say you'd rather have a higher res TV over a lower res TV, which is opposite your initial argument.)

    It will be surpassed soon enough. But let's not make stuff up :) (By the by: the ideal display will a resolution that exceeds what you can visually discern. That way, you don't see pixels. The iPhone 4 achieves that. Or do you prefer the output of the dot-matrix printers of 30 years ago to the laser printers of today?)
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Not to sidetrack the conversation, but what app is that, may I ask? I would be interested in that for my Droid Eris.
     
  3. Shane D

    Shane D Supporting Actor

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    i picked up a droid incredible this weekend and i love it.


    i do have a ipod touch also and so i know what most of the apple system is like, and by that i just mean how itunes and the app store and the interface works on the touch.


    saying that, im really glad i took the plunge into droid. granted i had no choice for iphone, but im glad i didnt because i wouldnt have tried something new. Most of the same apps i have on my touch i can get for my droid (except games i know) but the experience has been nice. i love motion wall papers and i love the widgets and love how i can put the icons on the page where i want, just not in grid order that its place on the page.


    now battery. yeah it drains pretty fast, but im still in new mode and just playing with it all the time. and i know motion wall papers are huge drains, but there is just something cool about turning my phone on and seeing the matrix flow down my screen.


    i do have complaints though. I've yet to see a mail app as good as apples. you take for granted the ability to have multiple accounts and all you folders right there and easily accessed. i've not looked hard core yet for a e mail replacement, but the base mail client on the droid seems lacking.
     
  4. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    I realized that due to a typo (and some shitty proofreading skills), the last line came off as opposite of what I was trying to say.

    "Isn't it fishy that Apple's big thing to to tell you they have a screen with resolution you can see? "


    That should read, "Isn't it fishy that Apple's big thing to to tell you they have a screen with resolution you can't see?"


    Otherwise, I think I was clear that I consider the difference between the EVO and iPhone resolutions analogous to the difference between a 1080p 40" TV and a 720p 58" TV -- I much rather have the larger set, and the difference in perceived resolution is somewhere between minimal and "all in your head".


    And while we're on the subject of "making stuff up", find yourself an EVO display and seriously tell me that you can see the pixels without the aid of a magnifying glass. Dot matrix vs laser printer? That analogy is a exaggeration to the point of absurdity.


    But you hang on to dpi alone as the great equalizer. I am trying to explain doesn't make that big of a difference since it's the disparity in displays lies more in default brightness than resolution. Whereas 4G does put the EVO ahead of the iPhone. If you want to discount 4G due to its lack of ubiquity, then the extensive 3G Sprint network gives the EVO an advantage over the iPhone since AT&T's 3G network is underdeveloped in kind. If you want purely meaningless specs and numbers, I can pull out 8MP rear and 1.3MP front facing cameras (vs 5MP and VGA for the iPhone) and HDMI port.



    Of course! There's a guy in my office that stood in line on release day to get it, and I've played around with it every time I see him. When I get my EVO, I can do some real side by side comparisons, but yes Sam, I have actually seen an iPhone 4. And yes, I went a bit overboard WRT the jailbreaking, but I thought I was responding in kind to Tony, who had just made a typo after all.
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Jb probably does void the warranty at last at Apple stores.

    If you have a warranty through others I doubt it voids anything.
     
  6. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    BTW, here's an interesting article about dpi on smartphones:


    http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/06/do-you-really-need-300-ppi-on-a-3-5-inch-phone/
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Let me preface: If Sprint 4G was available in my area, and the EVO got adequate battery life using it (two "no's" so far, in my reading), I would have been very tempted to get the EVO over the iPhone 4. But I buy based on what is, not what might be. And "4G" is still sci-fi in upstate NY.




    Do you want photos printed where you can see the pixels? Do you miss 24-pin dot-matrix

    printers where you can see the pixels of the type? Do you run your 24" monitor at 800x600 so you can see every pixel?


    No. You *want* pixel density that exceeds your visual resolution for best results. At 330-ish ppi, that's right for most people, at typical viewing distance. If the device doesn't exceed your visual acuity, you see the pixels, the aliasing, etc.


    Your TV analogy is relevant, but flawed. In either case of a 720 50" or 1080 40", you're choosing a TV whose resolution is, I presume, beyond what you can discern. Crucially, you're not choosing a 50" SD set where you can see the individual pixels from 12 feet away.


    I can't stress this enough: You always want the pixel density to exceed your visual resolution. For the first time, we have this on a mobile device.


    And without a doubt, Android devices will mimic this as soon as they can. And they should. What's impressive to me about Apple's Retina Display is how unimpressive it is. It simply looks right. How else would you make a display than this? The thing is, after using it, you realize how every other display is inferior.


    The new issue that arises, then, is, 'how much is too much?' 300 ppi is baseline for nominally invisible pixels. But even still, I can see the aliasing around high-contrast curves. This is not surprising. Laser Printers jumped from 300 dpi to 600 dpi about 20 years ago, because the difference can be seen. So eventually, we'll have 600 ppi digital displays. But that improvement is much less important or apparent than getting from ~150 to ~300 ppi. That's a BIG DEAL. (And compared to the EVO, which is about 200 ppi, the iPhone 4 is 50% higher resolution, and that would be apparent side-by-side to many people.)


    As for doubling: that's simply smart on Apple's part. It means all existing apps will look fine with simple (and computationally inexpensive) pixel doubling. It also means new apps will degrade gracefully for old displays with simple (and computationally inexpensive) pixel subsampling. To have done anything else would have been a lesser engineering choice, I think. It's one of those great engineering decisions that works well for Apple, for developers, for users, and for marketing purposes. (The lesser compromise is seen on the iPad pixel doubling, but not filling the screen for iPhone apps.)


    (Don't hear me as saying pixel count is the end all of display quality. I can imagine a lower resolution display with better contrast ratio, grayscale linearity, and color accuracy that looks better. And some say the better AMOLED displays have that balance, at least viewed indoors, compared to iPhone's LCD. That's another discussion.)


    As for Apple's weaknesses: I think all this talk about display density and megapixels and RAM is unimportant. Hardware will increase year by year. Apple will be better for a while, and then be trumped by some other device (be it Android or Windows or WebOS), and then take the lead again.


    What matters are the big-picture strategies. Read p6 of Ars's Froyo 2.2 review. Cloud computing matters. If Apple can't figure this out -- if they don't have "cloud" in their DNA, the way Google doesn't have "usability" in its -- they will suffer. Not having a coherent, unified, wireless sync and backup system could be their undoing, IMO. Not having a solid online system for mail, calendar, and other services will eventually be a major problem. This isn't critical yet, Android gets lots of basic things wrong that Apple gets right. And Android's killer cloud stuff is still upcoming. But if Android gets the easy things sorted out and Apple doesn't figure out "cloud", that could be the sea-change.
     
  8. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    What I am trying to explain, and which the above linked article explains, is that ppi is not the be all end all (which you acknowledge but you seem to put way too much import in the ppi number regardless). And again, how much more resolution do you need after you can't see pixels? Once you can't see the pixels, there isn't a magical force that will allow you to eke out any greater resolution than that. I am not looking at an EVO display and discerning pixels. The resolution can quadruple for all I care, but after the point where I can't see pixels, everything else is overkill. I can't stress this enough: I already have the pixel density to exceed my visual resolution at 216 ppi. We've had this capability since the advent of 800 X 480 screens.

    I'm looking at my 19" 1440 X 900 LCD monitor, and within 12", I can see every single pixel (but then again, that's 87 ppi, so your above comparison about running 800 X 600 desktop is moot). But what I am repeating to you that you seem to not understand, is that seeing visible pixels is not the experience I get from the EVO screen. You seem to assume it is simply because it is 216 ppi. If that ppi were 50% higher, I still wouldn't get anything from it because if I can't see pixels at 216 ppi, my viewing will not improve no matter how many more pixels I add. That's why the Retina screen, while based on practicality, is more marketing hype than real world advantage. The reason the Retina screen looks so nice is that it runs at a high contrast moreso than the ppi.


    And the comments by the author in the aforementioned article explain why comparing dpi/ppi of printed materials to a phone screen is really an apples to oranges comparison, so to speak.


    Scott, I read about that 3G to wifi switching app in one of the reviews, but I don't remember which one. I keep looking since I'll eventually need it anyway.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Interesting replies Hanson, thanks. And thanks for fessing up to the troll =) I'll do my best to check out an EVO sometime soon for comparison sake.


    Taking it away from the specs race, I will simply say this about the iPhone 4 display. It is simply the best display I use. Not the best mobile display but the bar none display. It destroys my 20" Cinema Display, iPad, iPhone3gs and Dell ultrasharp LCDs. If I can afford to get a display this good on my iPad and desktop within the next year I will be a very happy man.


    And it is perfectly usable in daylight, something I cannot say is totally true about the 3GS and completely untrue regarding the Droid X that I've played with.
     
  10. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Mind you, Sam, I am not saying that ppi doesn't mean anything, but that you have to take into account a ton of other factors including distance from your eyes. Here's a ppi calculator:


    http://members.ping.de/~sven/dpi.html


    All of your monitors and iPads have the double whammy of being significantly larger than the Retina screen with significantly lower ppi but are used at about the same distance. You can see the pixels on the 3G, but that's running at a 165 ppi, or roughly half that of the EVO. And the contrast and brightness have a huge impact on perception -- the iPhone 4 literally glows in comparison to the 3G, and that is not a function of resolution.


    BTW Sam, perhaps you weren't looking for it, but the Droid X has a slightly higher but comparable resolution to the EVO. Did you see the pixel structure like you would with, say, a 3G?
     
  11. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Dave,


    Actually, iPhone does have access to a perfectly acceptable "cloud system": It's called "MobileME". It's not free, but it is available. You should have received an offer for a 60 day free Trial of MobileME when you activated your iPhones.


    Google, ironically enough, has iPhone-optimized versions of most of its software available as well. Google Calendar, Events, Reader, iGoogle, Tasks and more are AJAX-enhanced HTML apps which act "pretty close" to native iPhone apps after they have been setup on the iPhone's desktop.
     
  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Quote:


    Wasn't looking for it. Mind you this was a few weeks ago, long before I got my iPhone 4 and the large and clunky nature was what really stopped my in my tracks, tho my buddy thought it was awesome.... I didn't look for either pixel structure or outdoor fading. It was really just a few minutes of play. His app selection was pretty weak too, despite him getting pretty much anything he wants for free... So I didn't get to really dig much past the UI itself.
     
  13. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Dave,


    I fully expect that "MobileME" will evolve over the next 12-18 months such that it will be able to provide all the services you just outlined. And I'm also sure that the price will go down as well over that period. Apple isn't known as an "innovator" for nothing. They have survived by thinking "outside of the box".

    As a footnote to this discussion: Steve Jobs recently stated that the traditional PC will soon be eclipsed by devices similar in function to iPads and iPhones. It's hard to do that if they are, in fact, accessories to the PC. So it's pretty clear by that statement where the company is headed. (And a reason why the Pixar movie "Up!" was playing on the first iPad demo!)
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My concern is that, as I look at Microsoft and think these guys simply don't get "design", I look at Apple and think, these guys don't get "cloud". And to date, they've not shown prowess with "online". Look at their bumbling around with iWork.com, compared to Google Docs. And the fact that they don't yet want "cloud" to be ubiquitous: they require a relatively large, recurring fee for a modicum of services.


    But I hope to be wrong. They they've been beefing up me.com with improved versions of their web apps. Reports are they're investing in major data center upgrades. I won't write them out.


    And I may be underplaying the strengths of the iTunes integration with regard to content. All the online syncing is pointless if there aren't good apps and content to use with it.
     
  15. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Speaking of Google apps that run great on iOS4 devices, check-out the new "Mobile YouTube" for iPhone and/or iPad which is supposedly a "pure" HTML5 app :


    http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/07/youtube-iphone-mobile-html5/


    I think this proves Steve Jobs point at the recent WWDC that iOS4 devices already support a completely open platform: HTML5


    To make the new Mobile YouTube look like a native iOS4 app on iPhone/iPad:

    1. Launch Safari

    2. Navigate to the Google Home Screen

    3. Select the "More" dropdown link at the top of the page.

    4. Select "YouTube"

    5. Press "+" on the Safari navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

    6. Select "Add to Home Screen"


    You now have what appears to be a new, native, YouTube app running on your iOS4 device which you did *not* acquire via the Apple app store!


    The fact that iPhone and other iOS4 devices have this flexibility *in addition* to the optimized closed environment digital media and apps available via iTunes is why I still favor iOS4 over Android.
     
  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I've already done this for google voices inbox and txt page and it does appear as a regular app but it's not, it still opens up to a web page in safari.
     
  17. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Well, yeah! These apps do run in Safari but they *act* more like native apps. And they navigate in a non-traditional browser fashion. Here, for example, is the new YouTube menu page :


    [​IMG]


    BTW, if Google wanted to they could actually hide the Safari status bars.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Do current Android phones support voice-dialing over Bluetooth?

    http://www.cnet.com/8301-19736_1-10402823-251.html
     
  19. Hanson

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    That's supported in 2.2. You can get hands free if you use a wired headphone.


    BTW, that's not speculation -- 2.2 is out and in the wild. It's not on the Droid X or EVO just yet.


    So in answer to your question, yes, the Nexus One has 2.2 and can support handsfree bluetooth.
     

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