BACKGROUND Someone call a techie. I am having a technological crisis. On December 30, 2010, I will have officially had my 3G iPhone for 2 years! Surprisingly, it is in pretty good cosmetic condition. However the battery life is soon reaching its death. People told me that eventually my iPhone battery would die but I didn't want to believe it. The phone was a gift so my financial guilt about my phone battery being mortal one day was slim to none. I also thought to myself, it will take forever for this to die for good. Or will it? I must say I have loved my iPhone for many years; however recently my service has been particularly bad (little to no bars in big metro areas, dropped calls, etc). To top it off, the day of my battery dying for good is rapidly approaching. Today, I pretty much need it plugged in 24/7 to be able to take it out for a few hours. The worst is when I am driving and my Google maps fail me. Me with no GPS = lost in the woods. It is times like this that I say to myself 'I should upgrade to the 4G.'? Since my contract is approaching 2 years, I am definitely up for the $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB) upgrade (by signing another 2 year contract). This of course seems like the next logical answer. However, recently a little green alien caught my eye; my roommate has the Droid Incredible 3G. I will say I am attracted to its bigger screen, the weird vibrations it makes upon actions and the crazy alien-like alerts and ring tones it beeps out. I should note that these small superficial benefits may only be applicable to me so let me get a bit more into the technical components. For those of you who aren't concerned with alien noises, here is the breakdown: BREAKDOWN Similarities: Both have 1GHz Processors, Video Recording (720p), Noise cancelling, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Multi-tasking, WebKit and Tethering Plus for Droid X: Larger Screen (5.0 X 2.6 x .4 inches versus iPhone's 4.5 X 2.3 X .37 inches), Expandable Storage via microSD (16 GB included), 4.3 Display (versus the iPhone 3.5), 8 MP camera (versus iPhone 5MP), Dual LED Flash, Noise cancelling has 3 microphones (as opposed to 2), Talk time is 8 hours (as opposed to iPhone's 7 hours), Wi-Fi Hotspot, HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Plus for IPhone4: Lighter than the Droid (4.8 ounces versus Droid's 5.4 ounces), 16GB or 32GB on board storage (versus Droid's 8GB storage), Retina Display (640 x 960 pixels versus Droid's 480 x 854 pixels) Video Call Camera, App Store consisting of 225,000 plus apps (as opposed to Android Market with 100,000 apps) and to put it bluntly, more pleasing to the eye TESTIMONALS My roommate broke it down quite simply: She feels that major pros for her Droid are that there are multiple home screen interfaces (7 total), a good camera and the kicker ' it's Verizon so she generally has better service. She believes the major cons are: Not as many apps as the iPhone (yet), weak battery life, occasional freezing, iPhone has the classic interface, user-friendly look. An old colleague simply put it: 'We own both. I like iPhone as a gadget and droid as a phone. Voice search on droid is better than iPhone.'? I actually confirmed this tonight testing the word 'baseball'? into both Google voice applications. I can't help but remember all the articles that came out when the iPhone 4 launched stating that it was dropping calls and had bad service. When this all started happening, my iPhone service got worse. However, anyone I know who has a 4G now just continues to say positive things about it. iVerizon? Unfortunately, an article on Tech Crunch yesterday is making me considering putting off the purchase of either phone right now, perhaps until 2011. Steve Cheney writes, 'Last week we saw the carriers' growth numbers for Q3 2010, and AT&T completely blew away Verizon with new subscribers. Despite mass availability of Android phones, Verizon only added 1 million subscribers in Q3, its lowest total in years. AT&T added 2.6 million'? Although there have been Verizon/iPhone rumors floating around the tech world for years, Cheney seems to think the recent announcement of the Verizon/iPad partnership signifies a much bigger and albeit (brighter than AT&T) partnership. He is also baffled by the fact that AT&T subscribers strengthen in numbers while Verizon lags behind. Cheney avidly feels that an iPhone user on Verizon will not experience the same issues as an iPhone user on AT&T. 'If you don't believe me, this will become clear for everyone when the Verizon CDMA iPhone becomes available,'? he states. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is another cell phone service technology which competes against GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications). GSM is used by most of the world and is the more popular cell phone standard used by Sprint, Virgin Mobile and Verizon. On the flip side, GSM is used by carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T. The big difference between the two: GMA has better global coverage. Am I willing to sacrifice CDMA capability over GSM? Will I even be able to notice as a cell phone user/consumer? Can I wait until 2011 to get a new phone? You all will be the first to know where I land. Then I will judge my new gadget for myself and either be bashing/trashing it or absolutely loving it in no time. Fingers crossed for the latter of the two.
There has been an ongoing conversation on how to police a decentralized, borderless territory'the internet. Both our industry, and the public, has begun to question: who has the authority to govern the web? This week, we are continuing the discussion. Part II: Cable-ization The general public strives to avoid the cable-ization of the internet. Cable-ization? It's a term for following the traditional model for cable TV: offering premium content for a cost which creates tiers of viewers. Instead, most web users hope for net neutrality'an open and democratic Internet. (If you're looking for a more eloquent, yet slightly off-colored, definition, Jon Stewart should be consulted.) The battle to secure this utopia wages on. So, why does the public care so much about internet freedom? a) People are worried about stifling innovation. A large company with a large budget can more easily compromise the success of smaller competitors. For instance, you're a web user with a small budget who believes you're the next Mark Zuckerberg. But, you're discouraged in your entrepreneurial pursuits as your competitors fly by you in the internet express lane. b) People are worried about the effect on their daily lives. Some web users prophesize of applications slowing to a crawl, or of outrageous 'pay for speed'? schemes. Others talk about an internet where content is moderated by the whims of network providers. And still others hypothesize a time where bloggers are silenced, and web access becomes political. Despite this (sometimes eccentric) fear, no one can seem to agree on where the FCC holds jurisdiction and at what point legislators should step in. Recently, Google and Verizon decided that, being such behemoths on the web, they should intervene. Googizon's joint proposal promotes a 'healthy and growing internet that can continue to be a laboratory for innovation'?. They believe that the FCC should be the main enforcer and disciplinarian when it comes to net neutrality transgressions. In the past, the FCC has been outspoken about their desire to regulate broadband providers and has searched long and hard for legal standing. Many people have argued that their suggestions are out of self-interest and are a step in the wrong direction. The dispute revolves around mobile, a topic which the duo conveniently avoided while crafting this proposal. But the issue of mobile is still imperative, since, as we all know, the majority of people will be accessing the internet from their phones in the foreseeable future. Consumers have looked to the FCC to help put some of the fears to rest. The House has also recently become involved (ominously, they fell flat on their faces this week). So, what's the solution? A Point of View I fall somewhere in between the spectrum of crazies'a free-market could eventually have some severe consequences on our online experience, but so could full government involvement. Regardless of the outcome, the marketing industry should be made aware of the potential cost of losing net neutrality. Most apparently, what's the effect on SEO? If providers are free to moderate content, and you frequently advertise rich media, you are vulnerable to slowing load times, sinking SEO rankings, and increasing PPCs. On a macro level, competition is a prerequisite to advertising. The exception is if you are a well-established brand, than competition just demands more advertising dollars. A partitioned internet would be in your favor, deterring competition from easily entering your space. But, for everyone else, preserving this competition should be sacred. Ignoring our egoism for a moment, have we considered what precedents are being set by other countries; globally, how are we dealing with authority online? As the internet increasingly becomes a truly international space, we need to look beyond solving digital problems in a vacuum. Continue to follow our series on online authority over the next few weeks to tackle more of these issue and to participate in the conversation.