I joined the dark side on Wednesday. After going through three different generations of the iPhone since 2008, I went Android.
This doesn't mean I've soured on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as an investment. This certainly doesn't mean that my next three phones will be Android devices. I just came to the conclusion that it's in my best interest to be mobile operating system-agnostic.
AT&T (NYSE:T) lets me upgrade my phone every 20 months. Other carriers let folks swap out their devices between 20 and 24 months after purchase. The carrier's hefty monthly bill -- steep because AT&T is subsidizing more than $300 off the price of a smartphone on contract -- makes me a sap if I wait.
I paid the stupid tax before. I would wait until the next iPhone would roll out, forgoing months of upgrade eligibility before that. All this did was the start the clock later on my next upgrade.
My upgrade window opened earlier this month, and I went with the smartphone that seemed to best suit my needs. Right now, that's the Samsung Galaxy S4. I'm too early in the learning curve to give it a ringing endorsement, but I don't regret my decision.
I spend more time computing on my smartphone than using it as a phone, and the larger-sized phone appealed to me. I take more snapshots than I make phone calls. Nearly everything I used to do on my iPhone I can on Android. I never invested heavily in paid apps, and the bad news for both Apple and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in the future is that I'm likely to start now that I've embraced the "best available smartphone" approach. Get wooed too deep into an ecosystem, and you wind up paying that dumb tax where you can wait as long as 15 months between iPhone releases.
I could've waited for Apple to make a phone with a 5-inch screen. Surely Apple would match if not surpass the S4's 13-megapixel camera in its update later this year. A rumor indicates that even Samsung is about to outdo itself with a 16-megapixel camera an an optical zoom lens in an upcoming S4 model. It certainly would've been easier to keep my few App Store purchases going instead of buying them again through Google Play.
I choose not to wait. If Apple's iPhone that rolls out in early 2015 is the best device on the market, that's where I'll go.
I don't think I would've strayed from the iOS and Android universe that commands the lion's share of the smartphone and tablet markets. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) has some pretty slick cameras in its Lumia phones, but I don't have faith in the long-term survival of Windows Phone as a mobile platform. I was initially impressed with some of the BlackBerry 10 features, but I have even more doubts about the long-term viability of BlackBerry (NYSE:BB). The developer support isn't there.
I have no problem giving up iTunes, but I use Spotify -- paired up to my car via Bluetooth -- for most of my musical consumption. There seems to be no indication that Spotify will offer a BlackBerry 10 app.
What does this all mean for investors? Well, I know I'm not the only one embracing agnosticism when it comes to mobile operating systems. AT&T and its wireless carrier peers charge too much to not play the field, and the learning curves get easier, one would imagine, as you hop from platform to platform.
I'm sorry we're breaking up, Apple, but it's not you. Let's blame this on a twisted wireless carrier system that encourages smartphone owners to play the field.