Apple iPhone v Helio Ocean My birthday is next month and my family offered to get me an iPhone. It’s interesting to see how good Apple’s PR machine is at penetrating into the mainstream and reaching even those who don’t follow “tech gadgets” but know that the Apple iPhone is the “ultimate thing” to get. (I guess being on the home page of all major US newspapers on launch day is effective).

I’ve tried to ignore most iphone coverage a few weeks back when that was the only thing anyone talked about. Now that all the ridiculousness and fanboism have subsided, I’m trying to decide whether or not I want the iphone, or whether there’s a better option to replace my 2 year old Verizon Pocket PC. Someone suggested checking out the Helio Ocean. Their website has the following chart to compare the iphone to helio (click thumbnail for full chart):

ipod helio comparison chart

Obviously the features are a bit cherry-picked, but there are a few notable advantages to the Helio Ocean

  • GPS positioning. I use the mobile version of Google Maps all the time and I don’t like having to enter an address (which I often don’t have) to find business around me. Having the phone automatically tell you where you are would make life easier.
  • Faster Speed. The 3G Helio Network (which is basically Sprint’s, I think) is much faster than AT&T (and therefore iPhone’s) EDGE, which is notoriously slow in comparison.
  • Double Slide-out Keyboard. Sometimes I just want to dial a regular numeric keypad – you know, like a phone is supposed to have.
  • Removable Battery. The iPhone’s battery is built-in meaning once it dies (it will eventually) the iPhone turns into a brick. I just had to replace my Pocket PC’s battery, so I like having the option to replace it myself.

However, there are some areas where the iPhone outshines the Helio

  • The iPhone is SEXY. The design is far sexier than any other smarphone, and that includes the Helio. And that’s “kind of a big deal”.
  • Web Browsing. Even though it’s slower, navigating the web with the iPhone’s browser is far easier than a traditional smartphone’s browser. They UI is unmatched.
  • Size and weight. The screen resolution on the iPhone is significantly bigger and the device itself is smaller. Since I always carry my phone in my pocket I like having a sleeker form factor.
  • Touchscreen. This is related to the first two items, but navigating the phone with a touchscreen makes the whole process more fun and intuitive.

If you want to make your head spin even more and see “what else competes with the iPhone” check out these posts: Michael is thinking about 3G; Vanessa throws the Pocket PC 8525 into the mix; Scoble blogs about the Nokia N95. For some reason I’ve never been a fan of Blackberries or Treo’s – the keyboards were never as easy to use as my Pocket PC’s. The T-Mobile @Home Hotspot phone is not here yet and the open source openmoko phone is not yet practical.

So at the moment it’s between the Ocean Helio and Apple Iphone for me. Anyone have any suggestions?