Recently, my wife of 16 years accused me of cheating. She's right. I'm in a new relationship. Not with a new woman, but a new phone. After five years with various models of iPhone, I've switched to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Moto X handset.
Tuesday morning, I would have told you I'd never go back. But then the device simply stopped working during Sony's keynote at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. And I do mean stopped: the Moto logo appeared, then a few prancing animals (mocking my misfortune?), and then a black screen. What was once a smartphone -- and my go-to device for recording events like this -- had become a brick.
The good news? Google's own services helped fix the problem. See, I use a Verizon (NYSE:VZ) hotspot when working away from my desk and on trips. This time, I used portable Wi-Fi to dial Verizon customer care from my Mac using Google Hangouts and a pair of earbuds to make the call.
My first attempt dropped after a few minutes of software tests. But the second ended with a Verizon rep routing me to a tech support agent who documented the failure and recommended an in-store replacement. A few hours and $120 in cab fare later -- this is Vegas, remember -- I had a new Moto X, which is updating to Android 4.4 as I type this.
Why I'm giving Google a second chance
I'll admit I was tempted to ask Verizon to credit my Moto X purchase toward a new iPhone, especially since the device is less than a month old. Why didn't I do it? Gmail is my go-to email service. I write in Google Docs and track data in Sheets. Drive holds my article drafts, photos, art, research reports, and recorded interviews.
Moto X is also built on Android, which is optimized for handling Google services in ways that their iOS counterparts aren't. For example, Google Now automatically offers to render the route to my next meeting in Maps. No need to enter an address. Google just does the work for me, which I appreciate.
And that's not all. Here are three other ways the Moto X has changed my perspective.
1. The viewing experience is better. I've long argued that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs something closer to a phablet in order to cater to consumers who want a better smartphone viewing experience. Moto X's 4.7-inch display isn't so large as to fit in the phablet category, but it's more generous than what I had with the iPhone 4S and much easier to read as a result. I'm also happy with the brightness and clarity of the X's AMOLED screen -- though if you look at Apple's share of the domestic smartphone market and the estimates for what come from the new deal with China Mobile, it's fair to say I'm in the minority.
2. Cheaper isn't always worse. I'd be remiss if I didn't also point out that I got a deal. Verizon's holiday sale offered a $50 rebate on the 16 gig X, making the effective take-home price $99 versus $299 if I'd chosen to upgrade to the 5S, as my wife did. Most of the apps I use frequently are either available on Android or are easily replaced with native substitutes. Any.do's Cal is a good example, as is Contacts+, which I use in place of Cobook for contacts management.
3. My carrier experience is better. For at least a year, we'd been paying AT&T (NYSE: T) for LTE service that was so spotty we'd turned it off in order to avoid dropped calls and frustrating delays in data downloads. We've yet to experience this problem with Verizon, and that's true even when I'm getting one or two bars of service in my basement office. Verizon's expansive LTE build-out -- effectively finished at this point -- seems to be paying off.
So, for now, I'm in this affair for the long haul. Do you think I'm wrong? Have you switched from an iPhone to Moto X or another Android device? If so, what was the experience like? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.