Almost to the Future
It seems many of my friends keep making the mistake of buying non-Android phones. For many it seems to be Blackberry vs the iPhone, which is interesting because of the prestige and power of the apple line has to offer. Blackberry RIM OS was groundbreaking when it was first implemented, I remember there was a time that I wanted one when I was aware that it had tethering and at the time there was no definitive cap on how much you could download, however at the same time there was no 3G at the time either so it was all '2G'.
However now there is soo much benefit to Android's OS over iOS and RIM, that for what some people want to do with their phone you would basically be shooting yourself in the foot by not getting an Android. I say this having used all of these phones for a pretty decent amount of time, and tried to customize each. I'll go thru the liberty of pointing a few things out, that for me are pretty big deal breakers when it comes to the appeal the other OS have...
*iPhone : The simple and clean interface allow for quick access to your most required applications, and the ease of use of one button is pretty straight forward... However this runs us into our problem, since there is only one button... the menu interfaces are instantly convoluted. This forces the iOS settings to be it's own application, and each application you install after that to be truncated into that settings app. What that means is you can never open an menu, while in the application, which is pretty annoying. Also not every application will have settings because of this, except for those few which have great genius interfaces and their own settings.
*Blackberry : The RIM software is built on the functionality of being a phone first which is great, since thats what it is. Also most of the hardware designs put most of the internal applications at one button push away. This is very nice, but the Os doesn't support as many applications and they're not as easy to use, so chances are you're stuck with what you started with on this phone. Unless you want to spend hours researching your particular phone's capabilities then getting the right programs for it to compete with it's counterparts. The menus are a bit older in structure, but everything is in place where you would expect, and since it has multiple buttons, the ability to customize is very ample.
*Android : Now Android is hard to put a finger on, because each manufacturer has it's own 'Launcher' which change drastically change the look and feel of your system. You're also able to update your rom entirely to change your phone's look and feel to match another look and feel. But with the 'default' launcher which is rare because your carrier really likes to inhibit the vanilla power, you still have a very simple and clean interface. The menus are all in the right place, and it's up to the application developer to decide whether to use the functionality. I'm using a custom Launcher atm "Launcher Pro" on the custom rom "Cyanogen 7" to get more functionality and fresh appeal.
*iPhone : Unforgivably if you have an iPhone, you are now burdened with iTunes. You are unable to safely do anything to your phone without this program an to be honest, I don't like using it or even have it installed. I only have it on my Mac, because if you own a Mac, you're using iTunes... but other than that, won't put it on my windows machine. Not to mention even once you have it installed, you must then convert all your files and break them down so they are supported on your device, and then you have to have apple 'let' you put them on your phone, which takes all ease out of it.
*Blackberry : Fortunately you'll be able to plug your device in, and drag and drop wanted files into the correct folders... however you must also convert your files to be compatible with your device. Each firmware supports different codecs and quality so you'll have to doctor the file for your particular device.
*Android : Piece of cake, crumb cake. Put the file in any folder on the device without having to convert anything. It's up to the application however to fine and be able to support the file. Go ahead, use your lossless OGG. That's naively supported.
*iPhone : The market is quite nice, and with the power of the phone... there are a good selection of things to choose from. However this is the only method of putting applications on your phone without jailbreaking it.
*Blackberry : The capability of the Blackberry devices are much less than most iPhone and android device bash ups. However you do get all the mainstream applications, and also have a decent market. The redemption comes with being able to install apps you downloaded onto your computer, and you're not strictly stuck with using things from the market.
*Android : There are several Markets some with the same applications. You are also able to install custom and homebrew apps just as easy as official apps. So this opens doors for all kinds of things without having to root (jailbreak) your device... which is great for most people.
While there are other factors that go into choosing the right phone, one thing native to android that is very noteworthy is wireless tethering... you have no idea how useful it is to be able to give internet to someone else who needs it, or even yourself. Apple does have a nice thing going, but I hate being restricted with the files I want to use, and RIM does allow you to use your files more or less in an easy way, but doesn't have such a wide application base... Hopefully Apple will soon make a phone that isn't behind it's times when it's released, and RIM will make use of more touchscreen and less funny profile buttons. However I wouldn't hold your breath, breath easy. I recommend an Android device...