One of my favorite exchanges in “The Simpsons” comes from “Treehouse of Horror III”, where Homer goes to buy a doll for Bart and has an exchange about the tradeoffs (doll is good, but cursed, but comes with a free frogurt, also cursed). It seems like the same good/bad tradeoffs exist in smartphones these days as well!
Don’t remember the episode? Here’s the important exchange:
Watch it on Hulu, and read the transcript courtesy of IMDB below:
Shopkeeper: [Homer has agreed to purchase a Krusty doll for Bart’s birthday] Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that’s bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That’s good.
Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That’s bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That’s good!
Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.
[Homer looks puzzled]
Shopkeeper: …That’s bad.
Homer: Can I go now?
How does this apply to real life? Pick your favorite smartphone platform. Let’s say it’s iOS. iOS has updates that arrive quickly directly from Apple. (That’s good!). But you have limited control over customizing and adjusting the OS, plus you have limited hardware choices (That’s bad!). On the other hand, you have something like Android. On Android, you have lots of hardware choices, customizations, and price points. (That’s good!) But you’re stuck waiting forever for updates on many models, and there’s a good shot you’ll end up abandoned quickly by the manufacturer. (That’s bad!). Windows Phone has a fresh new take on smartphones. (That’s good!) But there’s hardly any app support. (That’s bad!). See where this is going?
No matter what platform you choose, there’s a good part and a cursed part. Smartphone shopping used to be about cutting edge features, but when you can buy a Moto G for $200 that is nearly as capable as a $600 smartphone, it’s become a game of tradeoffs-big screen versus microSD slot versus operating system. Anything you choose is going to have a fair amount of power and probably a halfway decent camera, so it’s a matter of which cursed parts balance out the good parts. Just stay away from the toppings made with potassium benzoate.