A friend of mine brought a hacked iPhone over to my house this week. A buddy of his is buying them in the States, hacking them, and selling them in El Salvador at $700.00 a pop. I wonder if he’s going to sell any at that price… there’s always suckers… but the price difference is pretty steep.
As for me, it’s the first time I’ve held an iPhone in my hands, and I must agree, it’s a thing of beauty! The interface works as advertised, and the phone itself is actually a lot smaller than I’d imagined.
I made a couple of phone calls, took a few pictures, and used Safari to visit a few websites using my home’s WiFi. All in all the product is pretty fantastic… but… I will not buy any of these phones yet… and my answer has nothing to do with the price difference, but rather with text-input. You see, I use my out-dated Treo 650 like crazy every day; and not just for phone calls, but for e-mail and SMS messaging.
The Treo 650 is the first phone I’ve had that has a functional thumb keyboard that you can actually be proficient at. I will not write the Great Central American Novel there, but for quick e-mails, short blog posts, and SMS text and/or SMS picture messages, the Treo is a godsend (although a bit large and clunky).
Because of this, one of the first things I wanted to try out on the iPhone was the text entry. Although the mechanics of it seem to work well, I mean there is no tactile feedback, and it took me a while to figure out how to type correctly (with my thumbs, like I type on the Treo… for some reason when you hold the iPhone you instinctively want to use the interface with your index fingers only) there is one very important feature that is the deal-breaker for me and that is: spell checking.
The iPhone has a built-in spell checker that, I guess, was designed to overcome the lack of tactile feedback and the fact that the screen is mostly obscured when typing and thus you can’t really see or feel which keys you are pressing. The idea behind this is quite good… the execution, terrible. Why terrible? Because you can’t seem to turn it off, and it’s only in English. When I try to type something in Spanish, it changes my words into what it thinks is the right word. Even when I erase its suggestion, and start to type my word again, the darned thing insists that I’m out of my mind, and that what I really want to say is: (his approved Apple word).
Basically this renders the iPhone useless for me. Most of my work is in Spanish, and at it’s current iteration, the phone won’t do any other languages other than English. So… the wait for a localized iPhone goes on here in El Salvador. IÄºl keep you posted on the latest rumors… of which , the most believable is that the iPhone will be available in El Salvador in November with Telecom (Carlos Slim’s phone company).
Powered by ScribeFire.