Over the years after having gotten a new WinMo phone, starting with the Cingular 8125 (my first cell phone) to the 8525, I’d bequeath my old phone to my mom. Now having finally seen the promised land with Google and Android, I have developed a pronounced sense of guilt not just for giving my own mother hand-me-downs (that just ain’t right) but for giving her Microsoft phones, the two things compounded together yielding a chronic breaching of the Fifth Commandment on my part.

My mother’s very shell shocked by Microsoft’s software (she loves Linux, by the way) and I don’t think I have her full mobility trust anymore but it’s time to make amends. She wants something reliable that will let her email and make the occasional call — which would put her in line for a Blackberry except she also likes to check her stock portfolio, and as she’s diversified the list on the page is pretty big. So she needs a touch screen, the bigger the better, and a good browser riding on a chip chassis with a little rendering horsepower. Among the shares on that portfolio is the big T and to keep her hanging onto that precious 212 area code I scored for her (that wasn’t easy, you know) sticking with AT&T makes the most sense. Also I kind of tucked myself into my parents’ family plan so I don’t want to disrupt that…

I’ve narrowed it down to the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Captivate. Right now she’s got my Tilt 2 and by this point has developed what I’d characterize as a mobility battered wives’ syndrome with some odd allegiance to Microsoft still lingering, but not strongly enough that I couldn’t talk her into either of these directions.

The Samsung phone is Android, four inch screen (vs 3.5″ on the iPhone). It’s got a slightly larger battery (1500mAh vs 1420mAh), it’s about as thin and it weighs 14% less. Being able to change the battery is a strong plus as she’s not always on point in recharging and turning it off when not using it for a long time and she gets paranoid before going on trips that something will go wrong, which historically happens over 50% of the time. The resolution edge of the iPhone isn’t a deal sweetener as she’s in her late sixties. She’s not a lefty, so antennagate is not an issue. Google’s superior cloud-based voice recognition is a plus because she’ll have a tough soft keyboard assimilation period, and also Google in general is a plus because I said so. Running Linux on her laptop makes iTunes reliance a fairly strong negative.

As for the names, her friends speak highly of their iPhones, so in her mind that’s the safe bet. But the crew she rolls with, I just don’t picture them having given Google a shot yet. My parents own two Samsung televisions and I made their wireless network SSID “Buy some Google shares, Mom!” So placebotically speaking, the brands are not that much of an issue and I understand they cost the same. Both phones would get the job done quite well, given how low Microsoft has set the bar. So I suppose what it mostly comes down to is which phone might she fall in love with quicker in order for me to achieve redemption efficiently. Help me out here.

And no, I don’t still live with my mom.

Doug Simmons
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  1. That I have nothing else to write about and there still being a debate here aren’t mutually exclusive.

  2. Just want to note, by the way, that the Samsung Captivate has been successfully rooted for side loading and other rooting activities which may soon include firing up Froyo, though apparently not just yet. That’s noteworthy in case the hand-me-down table turns and I inherit this phone from her or if I just sort of borrow it to “configure” for a while or “run some important battery tests” …

  3. captivates screen realty is a big plus for someone 60 plus, plus google… plus no itunes…plus no inadvertent deathgripping (its not like the problem is ONLY from lefties) is there really a debate here or did you just have nothing to write about again… interesting thought… if iphone4’s deathgrip problem really was only affecting lefties do you think instead of a rubber bumper it would have been leftie erradication? job’s seems like the type.

  4. usually for someone of her age (no offense) i’d recommend the iPhone just for it’s ridiculous ease of use. however, in your mommy’s case, where she has been using windows mobile she is obviously not your average 60-something cell phone user. get her the captivate.

    tip: you can save like $25 if you order it through amazon.

  5. Doug,

    I too am searching for a few phone for my mother. She is on Sprint, but I feel that the Android powered EVO will suit her. She has to use her glasses to see her smaller screen’ed phone currently, so the much larger screen is welcomed. She will only use it for phone, text and maybe personal email. The thing I like about the android phones, is that I can customize it EXACTLY how I want so that its idiotproof for her to use. Have a clock, message and mail icon on the home screen and thats it.

    Its a shame to think that all that technology is going to be used for nothing, but I think it will serve her well. I say Captivate for you sir!

  6. If you’re going to get an android phone, why not Sense UI? HTC android is much easier for moms to use!

  7. I have been a WM user for 4 years, but yesterday I upgraded from a Fuze to the Captivate. I decided early that Microsoft’s WP7 strategy is to (a) abandon loyal users and (b) copy Apple. My upgrade decision was between the iPhone and the Captivate. I did test the new iPhone for a while, but could not go there for many reasons — closed, iTunes requirement, recent problems, etc. The Captivate is a beast, but easy to use. It took me about an hour to find complements of all of my WM favorite apps in the Android Market. Syncing my Google calendar and contacts occurred before I even knew it. I am a big fan of HTC’s Sense, but the Samsung Touchwiz is pretty good. Touchwiz is sophisticated enough for a power user, but can be tailored for daily use by a noob.

    Get your mom a Captivate.

  8. Doug, you don’t want your mother complaining about not having reception on her new iPhone 4… go with the Captivate.

  9. Hi Doug,
    I’m 56 and somebody’s mom (since you’re buying, I could adopt you? :} ) Please don’t put her in an iSteve comrade phone.
    PS, She sounds like a gal I’d like to get to know. Obviously tech runs in the family.

  10. […] mid July I asked you guys whether I should buy my ol’ lady, who had been suffering  from WinMo hell, the Samsung […]

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