face off: The Smartphone Debate


, and February 21, 2014

Pro Blackberry

Marty Whitford • Publisher & Editorial Director

I’m a seasoned scrapper. The eighth born in an Irish Catholic clan of 10, I learned debating tactics early on. We believed we needed such maneuvers to fight for our “fair share” of talk time … and food. As evidenced by my mugshot above, it’s clear I won my fair share of
at least the potatoes. The top three debating tactics we Whitfords regularly deployed are:

  • First Up — Beat the competition to the side door so you can tell your story first. (That’s why my face-off perspectives are always placed on the far left.)
  • Whit Wit — Humor can buy talk time.
  • Half Wit — If an opponent or “loved one” has buried you in a face-off, change the battlefield: Practice the art of digression.

It’s taken me 47 years to realize this tactical trio only works in specific situations, with certain debaters, audiences and topics. Still, when facing an uphill battle, I regress sometimes. Case in point: Everything you’ve just read embodies my First Up, Whit Wit and Half Wit debating tactics. Why?

Let’s face it: It’s not easy making a case for BlackBerry.

During the past six months, I have faced off against young gun Will Nepper four times. But several of those were softball pitches. It’s much easier to state the pros of marriage and parenting (unless you’re my wife or parents) than defend BlackBerry. Even I, an old-timer who’s no stranger to denial, knows my beloved CrackBerry is shipping off to The Island of Misfit Tech Toys, to join outdated tech sibs such as Pong, and eight-track, beta, VHS and cassette tapes.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit my wife and in-laws recently gifted me a mini iPad. Now I have a new addiction: applications (aka apps), something we BlackBerry users often hear about but aren’t convinced exist — much like a competitive Cleveland Browns team.
I realize the mini iPad is my gateway drug. Now that Miscrosoft Office apps have advanced for the iPhone and iPad, there remains but one arrow in my denial quiver: I have sausage fingers and a familial tremor, so touchscreens aren’t my friend.

What’s that? Typo Products just introduced a case that snaps onto iPhone 5 and 5s devices and extends them by a half inch — adding a condensed, raised, old school QWERTY keyboard, marrying the best of the two smartphone worlds? Hmmm … How ’bout ’dem Browns?

Another year, another losing season and another head-coach search.

You can reach Whitford at mwhitford@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3766.

Pro Android

Steve Galperin • VP of Finance, IT & Operations for PMP’s parent company, North Coast Media

Those of you who have been brainwashed by The Apple Cult, put down your fancy-looking paperweights and listen up.

Those of you trying to view this on your BlackBerry devices — good luck. You’ll never be able to read this. You are lost adrift in the 2000s, along with your AOL email addresses, still convinced your BlackBerries are a great replacement for yourtwo-way pagers.

The Android platform is the only sane way to go for business professionals. Android is the most popular smartphone operating system — holding 75% marketshare, according to a recent International Data Corporation study — and for many good reasons.

With Android smartphones, you can open up spreadsheets instantly without multiple complicated workarounds. You also can attach and store files on your phone for quick and easy reference. The storage space accommodates many more files than just the pictures you took of your cat or the music you want to listen to while working out. Alternately, when you max out the storage on your iPhone (as you surely will), you’re out of luck. With an Android, you can pop in a new SD card and have plenty of extra storage to play with. You also can swap out a spare battery or upgrade to an extended-life one, again kicking Apple’s and BlackBerry’s apps.

Apple wants you to think they are “forward thinking,” but the only options you really have are device color and storage capacity. Android is open-source technology that allows multiple hardware manufacturers to make products to run their operating systems. You can pick the Android phone that best fits your needs. When it’s time for a software  upgrade, you won’t have to worry about your older Android running properly with the update. You are not forced into buying newer phones, along with new chargers, cases, etc.

Don’t hitch your cart to any one brand. Instead, experience Android’s unparalleled world of smartphone and app options. Make the switch to Android today.

You can reach Galperin at sgalperin@northcoastmedia.net, or 216-706-3705.

Pro iPhone

Will Nepper • Managing Editor

A good place to start, when shopping for a smartphone, is deciding which model of your chosen platform is the best for your personal and professional needs. There are many ways to narrow the list of contenders: Compare features and pricing, ask around, and tug on the sleeve of a Best Buy Geek Squad member. (I offer this suggestion even though one of my two face-off opponents this month, Steve Galperin, was a Geek Squad guru years ago.)

You want the best Android? OK, but who makes it now. Samsung? Motorola? Sony? Did you already buy your Android? That’s too bad because while you were signing your contract three new models came out with better this, superior that … But no matter. In only two years your contract will be up and you can start this same hoedown all over again.

Or you could just go straight for the iPhone. There’s only one way to choose the best iPhone: Buy the newest model. Apple releases its iPhones on a regular schedule. When your contract expires, simply upgrade to the newest iPhone — faster than you can say, “What’s a BlackBerry?”

Does updating your smartphone’s operating system (OS) usually leave you scratching your head? iPhones make it easy: Apple releases it, you go to “settings,” click “install,” and then — Oh, right. …  There is no “and then.” You’re done. It’s that simple and fast.

When Google introduces a new OS for Androids, things get complicated. Google doesn’t just release a new OS . First, it has to go through your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc.), and the smartphone manufacturer probably will want to take a look before you, too.

The OS will pass through countless corporate hands before reaching yours. Expect some “bloatware” and third-party garbage to be included “for free.” (In case you’re not sure, that’s a bad thing.)

Alternately, what do you get with the latest iPhone OS? Only the most up-to-date applications with the latest features, and you get them first, also for free. (In case you’re not sure, that’s a good thing.)

Androids might allow you to download apps from almost any source, which is great — assuming you know how to determine if the apps you’re installing contain spyware or viruses. While Apple has a notoriously heavy hand in the approval process of what apps make it to the Apple App Store, this walled garden of technology means less time spent worrying about bad-egg apps infecting your device.

Finally, ease of use is the iPhone’s crowning achievement. Everything is intuitive — so simple that if your grandmother suddenly decides to dive into 21st century technology, an iPhone is a no-brainer.  On the other hand, if you want to drive over to grandma’s every day to deliver a tech tutorial, buy her an Android or BlackBerry. The daily visits will go a long way toward making up for your misdirecting her to an outdated, unsafe, confusing OS.  (cough Android … cough BlackBerry). pmp

You can reach Nepper at wnepper@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3775.


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