I do want to preface this post with, I do not want this to turn into an apple vs xyz arguement that no one can really back up other than brand loyalty. (which seems to be all I can find on any other forum or even highly regarded PC/Tech magazine articles) The best phone is dependent on what you plan on using it for. I guess I'm looking more for the best carrier as opposed to the best phone, but give me your best wag over all things you would consider, and some things maybe I should consider. So here's my uses and and I would like some open minded discussion and advice:
I am in the military, so I tend to travel around the US quite a bit. The majority of my time is spent in the Oklahoma City area where I live. However on holidays, I travel to Detroit every year to visit my parents. In the past year I've been to Las Vegas, Reno, Pheonix, San Antonio, and a small city in Mississippi. I do travel out of the country on occasion, but international use is not really a "must have" for me and falls at the low end of my priorities.
My top priority is voice coverage. Its a phone first and I need it to act like one everywhere I go with the best coverage. Great, I can download at some crazy 3g speed, but if I'm in an emergency, I need to know I can actually talk to someone. I typically text about 400-500 msg's a month, but that varies up and down. (mostly up :-p) I figure if I have good voice coverage, my texting shouldn't be too far behind it. In this same category as far as the phone is concerned, I need good quality phone calls. Coverage in the most rural parts of the country dont mean anything if the call is broken up and full of static.
Next priority is internet/wi-fi/3g coverage. Moving maps/gps is my main focus for this one. I don't need a turn by turn like a garmin, but if i can get a dot of where I am and what roads are around me, thats good enough for me to figure out where I'm going. With that being said, since I do frequently travel in unfamiliar areas, the ability to find areas of interest such at resturants or entertainment establishments becomes invaluable.
Internet/wi-fi speed is semi-important, but coverage is more important to me than speed. Unless the speed of a droid or similar smartphone is significantly slower than an iphone i'm not really to worried about it. As long as I dont have to wait 5 minutes for a page to load.If one loads a page 5-10 seconds faster or slower than the other, we'll call that equal speed.
Battery life is another important feature. I need to the phone to live more than 2 or 3 hours on standby. Preferably at least 2 days with minimal use.
Apps are fun I guess. I do like to have a game or 2, but I don't imagine I would ever download more than that,so the more free apps, the better. The little bar code scanner to find the best deals when shopping and other "functional" apps I'd would probably take advantage of. Being able to flick open a zippo lighter or weild a lightsaber on my phone is not anywhere on my list of reasons to buy a new smartphone. Also, I have an mp3 player. I have no use to have one integrated with my phone.
So while I have no doubt that I would be happy with an iPhone; with my needs, if everyone agrees that the iPhone with AT&T is the way to go, then thats what I'll do. But if you guys think a Droid through Verizon or even T-mobile (my carrier now, which I really no complaints of) would better suit my needs, then I have no problem going against the masses. So what do you guys think?
O ya, one more question for the techies out there too. Open source vs Closed source. I get what it means when dealing with a computer, but does it really make a difference on a phone? Probably find a few more apps on an "open source" OS, but really, apple has done a pretty good job about "making an app for that"...