Getting back to a single smartphone

I’m determined to get back to using a single smartphone. I was there with the introduction of the iPhone back in 2007. However, once the iPhone 3G came out, I started having the infamous dropped call problem. Since then, I’ve signed up with Google Voice, pointed my Google Voice number at my iPhone, bought a Nokia phone from AT&T, pointed Google Voice at that for taking and making calls, dropped the Nokia and bought the Droid android phone from Motorola on Verizon and pointed Google Voice at that too. I’ve been between worlds for over a year now and it is really painful dealing with two devices.

The Droid just works. I’ve said this many times, and I have most of the apps I need for work. Its user experience is nowhere close to that of the iPhone, and it does not have all of the other consumer app benefits that I get from my iPhone. Plus, I am an Apple nut and really want to stick with my iPhone.

The iPhone is awesome in all regards except for the dropped calls. The basic thing I need is the confidence that my calls will hold and not drop multiple times per conversation.

Here are the options I believe I’m facing for how I can solve this. I hope this may be useful for others facing a similar dilemma.

1. Stick with two devices so that I can keep my iPhone. If I want to manage my costs, I would go to one network and get a simple reliable phone (Nokia bar phone) with a very long battery life. To really manage costs, turn the iPhone into a iTouch and use it with Wifi. I do subscribe to Verizon’s MiFi product which gives me cellular based internet access for 5 devices and use this for my iPad, so I could connect my iPhone there in a WiFi only mode. I doubt I would do this.

2. Ditch the iPhone and get the Droid X. I could also brick the iPhone and connect it via WiFi and MiFi, but it’s unlikely I’d carry around the iPhone and Droid a lot together. The downside is that the user experience degrades with the Droid only approach, as does my app experience on the consumer side – photos, videos, games, etc.

3. Modify my usage of the iPhone to optimize for phone calls. When at home or in the office, turn off the 3G service and use the far more reliable Edge network on AT&T (I do not drop calls on Edge) & turn on WiFi for high speed data access for my apps and web browsing. When mobile, before a long drive where my only use case is to make calls, turn on the Edge network. When mobile and I do not expect a lot of long calls or to be in a car, keep on 3G for high speed data and take a risk that I may drop a call or two if I’m taking or making short calls.

I’m going to “pilot” option #3 above and leave my Droid off for a week and see how it goes. The switching on and off of 3G/Edge is a pain, but less of a pain and less costly than two devices and gives me more of what I want than option #2 above.

I’ll report back on the final decision on #3 and if I will pilot #2.