Yesterday, someone in my Facebook stream asked about SmartPhones. And it occurred to me that even with all the press coverage and expert opinions being tossed around in the aftermath of Google ‘s Nexus One release just last week, real people are tied in knots over their choice of SmartPhone.

I’m not talking about bleeding-edge, geeky gadget types, by the way; when real people decide to take the jump they agonize over the decision. It’s like business change; sooner or later you have to jump, but getting there . . . painful!

By now, there’s very little question about one thing: I don’t like the Apple iPhone. Let me be clear that I think iPhone is an absolutely amazing piece of technology, and that in the iPhone Apple has demonstrated yet again how terrific they are at making things that look great and act in a way that people understand without a lot of training. But my personal view is that always having to back out to “the top” when I want to do something different is not OK, and that I can’t use the iPhone on-screen keyboard.

In other words: Apple’s typical approach that “they know what’s best” is all over the iPhone, and if you don’t fit their vision, you’re better off elsewhere. And that’s fine; lots of people like being led around that way.

So along comes Google with Android. It’s infinitely customizable, and Google convinces phone manufacturers to use it as the software in the devices they sell to phone companies. They have only minor success until they get Verizon and Motorola to do Droid and market it heavily enough that the phrase “iPhone killer” starts getting tossed around. Droids fly off the shelf, Android gets instant credibility, Google becomes a serious player in the phone business, and . . . out comes the Nexus One. Yes, it’s manufactured by HTC, but nobody is saying that; this is the Google Nexus One, and it’s going to change the world.

I, of course, disagreed.

But there’s new momentum now. Real people are trying to decide which Kool-Aid to drink. And the question, in simple terms, was this:

one of my resolutions is to stop giving my kids all the good stuff and start getting some for myself so….a Nexus One or an iPhone? I need some input here…the Nexus one is the new Google phone. My son is pushing it over the iPhone for me to buy so I’m perplexed.

Most of the input that came back was from iPhone lovers. No surprise; there are a lot of you out there! But my answer was this:

Nexus One. Or better yet . . . Droid

As was my intent, it opened up the box of real questions that this real person had on her mind. Stuff like this:

I did look at the Droid today. And I am w/ Verizon now. Trying to make a good decision here.

I’m NOT concerned w/ storage AT all. I want a good phone and agree Verizon has best network especially where I live. But really like the sleekness of the nexus/iphone. (us women and our irrational decisions.)

Are you saying there is zero difference between Droid and Nexus for the most part and if I’m already with Verizon then go Droid?

And my favorite:

Maybe I’ll just master T-9 and stay w/ my old piece of crap!

So how Do I feel? Really?

Droid and Nexus One run the same software. Nexus One is lighter, but has no keyboard. It has a screen that will look better in bright sunlight, but Droid comes w/ 4 times the storage (16 GB vs. 4 GB). To me, I look at those stats, think “I don’t care”, realize the price is the same-ish regardless, and choose by picking the network. Verizon’s is superior, so if you’re jumping today, go Droid—The Nexus One will be on Verizon “soon”, if that already-done-deal doesn’t get undone before launch. <<update 26-April 2010 . . . it did get undone.

Assuming you don’t let the iPhone Army coerce you to the dark side <grin>, then it comes down mostly to weight, since the other Droid vs. Nexus One comparison point is the “better screen in extremely bright light vs. more memory” thing.

So with that said: the Droid feels substantial. Personally I like that, but it’s winter. When summer comes, I have no coat pockets, and being a dude I’ll be left no choice but hold it all the time because my pants pockets won’t do.  I could change my mind about liking the Droid’s weight when that happens.

The extra weight brings you a keyboard. I thought I would care about that, but the truth is I rarely do, except when typing something long. But with THAT said, I found the iPhone on-screen keyboard difficult and the Droid on-screen keyboard not difficult . . . and they’re very similarly-sized, as is Nexus One’s.

And as for T9 . . . listen, I know people who are really good at that, and while I’m not one of them I won’t argue.

Change is difficult. In the real world, for real people and real businesses, extraordinarily so. Ask real questions, demand real answers, and . . . the rest will work itself out.

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