Uncategorized - 28 February 2011
Author: Dr. Jim Taylor

motorola-Atrix-4GThis post is the third (and hopefully final) in an unplanned series on helping my wife choose a smartphone to replace her Palm Centro (with no data plan). As the family CTO, I must strike a delicate balance between making sure my wife is comfortable with her new phone and “informing” and “encouraging” her about what phone will best meet her mobile technology needs.

Not surprisingly, the first phone I bought for her was the iPhone 4, which is supposed to be the non-tech wife’s ideal phone. But, as I noted in my first post in the series, I hated it and my wife found it very restrictive. Here’s a summary of our issues with the iPhone 4:

  • Probably out dated in June with the release of the iPhone 5;
  • Not 4G capable;
  • Main keyboard has no punctuation (huh?);
  • No removable battery;
  • Proprietary plug;
  • Mostly paid apps;
  • Only one button;
  • Weak UI;
  • It’s an Apple product!

The second in the series focused on our test driving the new HTC Inspire. I was able to use the iPhone 4’s micro SIM card (Why does everything Apple makes have to be proprietary? That question is rhetorical, BTW) with these nifty adapters that you can find on amazon and ebay. In any event, we both liked the Inspire, but two issues: it was too big for my wife and, for me, it just wasn’t very forward looking in terms of its technology (basically just a very large Aria).

Which brings me to my final post in this series and an announcement of the apparent winner (with the caveat that we have 30 days to return the latest phone). Drum roll please….The winner is: the Motorola Atrix!!! (band plays, streamers fly, fireworks explode!).

Yes, I returned the iPhone to our local AT&T store (for a $20 restocking fee; what a rip-off; there is none if you order by phone or on line) and bought the Atrix. Over all, both my wife and I are happy with the phone. She likes the size and the greater information she can garner with less effort (that’s what a real UI can do as opposed to the lame-o app launcher of the iPhone). She also likes that, as the CTO, I spent the time to set up the Atrix to meet her needs (which I couldn’t do adequately with the iPhone), plus she has 24-hour tech support from me to help her find her way around the phone or if problems arise.

I like the Atrix because it ‘s cutting edge in its technology, very customizable, and, well, it’s not an Apple product. I will admit that I’m not 100% into the Atrix (I probably wouldn’t buy it for myself) because I really like HTC products and the Sense UI (I’ll probably trade in my Aria when HTC comes out with a similar phone in the next few months).

So, the saga of the search for the ideal smartphone for my wife has come to a satisfying conclusion. My wife is happy (especially since I transferred her email, contacts, and calendar into Google, so great integration), I’m happy (and finally able to get a good night’s sleep because I won’t be obsessing about a piece of technology for a while), and the Taylor family has has been able to avoid being consumed by that sour round fruit.

P.S. I’m sure that many will disagree with the decision we made. and will express their opinions in no uncertain terms. I welcome all feedback of a substantial nature, but, please, no Apple fanboys going personal on me.









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(10) Readers Comments

  1. Good decision! While HTC’s Sense was absolutely essential on Windows Mobile, I’m not sure it adds that much to Android, especially with alternatives like LauncherPro about.

  2. Congratulations to the wife! Now you need to start slipping her more education so she can do things herself. ;)

  3. @MartiM: My wife and I have a good division of labor where I have certain competencies (technology, dishes, fix-it) and she has others (cooking, spreadsheets, child rearing), so I don’t think that crossing competencies is the most efficient way to run our family (or a business, for that matter). In any event, with degrees from Cornell and Princeton, I think she’s educated enough! :->

  4. Why do you bother asking what us what you should get for your wife when you don’t listen? BTW, you bought the phone YOU want NOT what your wife want. You just coaxed her to buy it.

  5. @Brianna: hehe I’ve learned a long time ago that the right device for myself and my wife are very different. In fact, I expect to have an iPhone 5 in my house. it’s going to take every bit of energy in my being to refrain from attacking it though;) But it’s shiny, has those ‘apps’ everyone is into and even though I have no tolerance for it, she does.
    Ultimately, I’m not in the sales business…happy wife, happy life

  6. i just got the atrix yesterday and i must say, going from the aria to windows phone was incredible, huge difference in speed. but going from windows phone to the atrix… this feels even faster. and ive got smart dialing back, plus motorola didnt completely screw the UI by forcing motoblur on top of , they actually have it living pretty seemless with android this time… i think im already having withdrawals from not having my xboxlive games anymore though… why cant they just make a phone that does everything already

  7. Thanks, Sm0k3y, for your Atrix feedback. To be honest, I don’t even know what Motoblur is. Sense has obvious clocks, weather, etc., but I don’t see anything that appears to be Motoblur.

  8. the “messaging” icon is a universal inbox, thats mostly all the motoblur they put into it…. if you ever pick up a backflip, flipout, flipside, or whatever other crap moto “smartphone” it is horribly obvious that there is something different about those phones, emails texts updates, everything gets dumped right onto your homescreen, at least they keep the core UI fairly untampered with on this. if youve never noticed motoblur, be thankful :)

  9. oh, go to motoblur.com and you can see the main drive behind it is the back end syncing and location stuff that you can do from the website. check it out, they let you remotely wipe data on the phone, find its last known location, couple of other things that make it worthwhile if you ever lose your phone.

  10. Thanks for the details!