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The Soul of the New Machines: Apple, Google, and Blackberry RIM

Like many of you, I’m struggling with my next smartphone move (one look at my phone would have you roaring with laughter about my indecision).  After dissecting feature by feature, I go into a phone feature haze.  So, instead, I decided to “grok” the souls of each machine.

From my perch I see Blackberry’s

First Generation SmartPhone Grows OOOOLLLLDD

First Generation Smartphone Grows OOOOLLLLDD

interest waning; its major strengths are pushed email and a wide variety of phones with keyboards.  If you’d rather type than touch it’s the way to go.

Apple’s iPhone has matured as a fabulous media/entertainment device.  Apple’s own website touts iTunes, HD video capabilities, and millions of apps on its own list of accomplishments.  Yes, it also searches the Internet and well, but…

Google Android’s got search, navigation, and mail at the soul of its machine. Androids ships with strong connections to Google’s apps and services, including App Pack Gmail, Google Talk, Messaging, Voice Mail, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube.  Apple’s iPhone can certainly handle the same tasks, but the emphasis is on media–my photos, music, video.

With this logic, my clear choice was the Google Nexus One, but yours might be very different.  (And after Apple’s news that it would go after the Nexus One and other Android phones for violation of patents, I’m getting that cold feeling back in my feet.)

Other reasons I find Google phones appealing:

Less Is More: Apple passed the 150,000 mark for apps developed for iTunes. It could take the better part of a day to sort through crossword puzzle choices.  Android has only 20,000, Blackberry less still. Me, I’d rather have an edited list of best of breed apps than a free for all. I find iTunes offers hundreds of apps for each of my interests, but a large number of them turn out to be underwhelming.

googledocsGoogle Docs: As someone who knows how to get things done in Microsoft Office that even Microsoft can’t do, change does not come easy to me. I find many aspects of Google Docs inscrutable, but as sharing docs amongst devices and collaborators is becoming increasingly important, Google’s got the lead.

Though I expect Google will push its way into the content market (e-books from the Google store, for example, will be able to be read on most computers, phones, or e-book readers), I’m not going the single device route quite yet. My iPod Touch is still the best way to enjoy music, podcasts, photos, and videos.  And my Amazon Kindle is still the best screen format for e-books. But, when it comes to business, my soul is going to Google (at least this year).