Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Mobile Phone Change Time, iPhone or Android or Windows Phone?

I placed a question on LinkedIn 24 hours ago asking people in the telecommunications sector to share their advice.  This is a very cool feature of LinkedIn by the way.  Within the 9 answers I've received, I've received answers from NYC, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Austrailia, Canada, India, UAE, Netherlands and the UK in 24 hours.

I currently have a Windows desktop machine that runs my life through Outlook.  I don't travel that much so I'm usually at my desk and Outlook schedules my world just fine. 
My Blackberry phone used to talk to my desktop machine through a direct USB connection.   Something went wrong and that relationship and communication isn't good any longer.  Not to mention that I can’t stand the little tiny keys at the bottom of my Blackberry.
About a year ago, I stepped into the Apple world for the first time when I purchased an iPad.  The idea was to use this device when traveling rather than carrying the much heavier laptop.  Not only has the device been outstanding as a travel companion but I’ve found many other business uses for this device.

For example, when I started doing public speaking, a friend showed me the Keynote iPad application and I was off and running with a tool to create presentations.  I’ve delivered a couple of presentations now and all I have to do is to show up with the iPad in hand.
My iPad is configured to receive the same email that comes in on my desktop machine.  An IT friend came over one night to set up iCloud for me.  He promised that in 15 minutes, he’d have my Windows desktop, my Apple iPad and my Blackberry telephone all getting along nicely through Apple’s iCloud. 

An hour into his visit, he admitted that there was a problem and he wouldn’t be able to make Apple’s iCloud work in my universe.
In less than 48 hours, Verizon will graciously allow me to sign another 2 year contract with a telephone upgrade.  I’m looking for a phone that will integrate with my Outlook calendar.  Ideally, this phone would integrate nicely with my iPad as well. 

Though I’m appreciative of the 9 people who invested their time to provide answers on LinkedIn, the answers add up to a variety of opinions and no clear answer.  I don’t play games on my telephone.  In fact, since I make a living on the phone, my phone to me is like a hammer would be to a carpenter.  Here are a few of the comments that were shared on LinkedIn:
“I can't speak to how any of them interact with Outlook and Windows. I can tell you that you should NOT get a Droid X2 (Motorola). I have two phones, an iPhone, which I love, and the Droid. There are things I like about the Android system and my hatred of the phone has nothing to do with it not being Apple. It is a horrid phone and the phone "app" crashes all the time, often while I'm trying to make a call. Ugh.” Amy

“Let me guess... You're retiring a Blackberry?  With your requirements, I'd say you'll be sorely disappointed with whatever you try.  These days, phones don't "play nicely with Outlook on a Windows Desktop" anymore; that's what Blackberry used to do. Instead, they hook into the same Exchange Server (or generic IMAP and CalDAV servers, as the case may be) your Outlook is hooked into. So if you keep your mail and calendar locally and want to sync them via USB or Bluetooth, you'll need to play around with third-party apps, which may or may not work to your liking...” Nick
“Either work well with outlook, but maybe you should look at a windows device if you want nice” Tim

“First, *not* iPhone since you're a security professional, and Apple's "trust us, we've made all the decisions for you, don't bother your little head about security, just enjoy the pretty colors" stance generally doesn't sit well with those. Your clients deserve better (IMHO). Also, while it's possible that your desires exactly match what Apple provides (3.7" screen, can't replace battery, no physical keyboard, no removable storage, etc), it's also unlikely; and at some point, there are so many compromises it's not worth it. 

Windows Phone is basically the same thing, just not overpriced.  Not sure what you mean "play nice with an iPad". If basic file transfer, anything should be fine. 

Which Android? Decide what screen size you want, whether you require a physical keyboard, whether it'll see use as a global phone, whether you might wish to use an extended battery sometime. If you're the impatient type, be sure to get one with zero lag time when responding to commands (dental work ain't cheap). If you want to reduce attack surface, choose one that can be easily rooted (so then you can remove/disable useless cruft). Quad-core, 4G etc, are all technologies to enable game-playing, soap-opera streaming, and other wastes of time; since you don't plan to engage in those, why pay the cost of higher power consumption?” from K
“Look no further, and go for the IPhone, it will automatically sync with your Ipad and Outlook with all your updates, on Contacts, calendar, notes, documents, and media if you want, over icloud.  For official emails, you can use Microsoft Exchange, and for personal email you can use, the IPhone email app, which will sync with your email account, are intervals chosen by you.  Please click the following link to know more http://www.apple.com/ae/iphone/#icloud 

The best thing about an IPhone is the user friendliness of the applications, I have been using an IPhone 4 for more than a year, and it has never crashed, not even once. 
While the Android devices are cheaper, and they promise you free applications on the Android market, but these applications are not even half as good as the applications available on the iTunes / app store.  I have used both the Android and the Apple OS devices, and I personally feel that the IPhone is far ahead of rest of the lot.” Damodhar

“Your entire setup looks seriously outdated. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are that going forward, you will only see more frustration. The technology has evolved in a way that sort of left your needs unattended. It seems to me (rightly or not -- you tell me) that you have become a part of a small "desktop-centric" minority. 

The idea that things are going to revolve around the desktop was very popular a decade or so ago, but things have changed since. The prevailing thinking today is that your content is going to be stored server-side (on premises or "in the cloud", but on a server nevertheless), and you can use multiple client devices (desktops, laptops, phones, tablets) to view it and add to it. Mainstream vendors are no longer concerned with things talking to desktops or Outlook; instead, they make things that talk to servers. Incidentally, the desktop itself is increasingly used to access server-based content, too... 

I don't know how comfortable you are with this, pardon the management-speak, "new connectivity paradigm", but that's where the mainstream is. Whether you want to rejoin it is entirely up to you. 

As to the iCloud, I am skeptical. Apple is not known for being able to make scalable online applications, so I thought it best to stay away from iCloud. If you're interested, here's the setup I came up with for myself. My mail (with my own domain name) and calendar are hosted on Yahoo! Small Business (before you ask, I settled on it back in 2004, before there ever were such things as Gmail and Google Calendar; plus, unlike Gmail, Yahoo! Small Business doesn't have a cap on storage space). I use a small army of devices (currently, two Windows desktops, three Windows laptops, one Linux desktop and an iPhone) to access it all. If I wanted to add a Mac or a tablet into the mix, it can be done in minutes. 

I don't know if you're comfortable with this sort of "server-centric" setup, but in my opinion ("opinion" being the operative word), this is the only way to make your content accessible to multiple devices running on multiple platforms. Reliance on the desktop just isn't going to get you there... “ Nick

I’m open to suggestions.  It seems to me that although I was asking for advice around a mobile phone decision, what Nick is suggesting that I should move my calendar system to a cloud platform such as Google or Yahoo or something similar.  This makes sense to me.  It just sounds like work I don’t particularly want to do when I have jobs to fill with clients who are screaming for great security talent.
Any thoughts you’d like to share?

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