Walt Mossberg

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The Atrix vs. iPhone

Q:

If you wanted a new phone, would you go with the Motorola Atrix or the iPhone 4? Also I heard that a new iPhone is due out this fall. Do you feel it is wise to wait or jump into one of the phones I just mentioned?

A:

It depends on your needs and preferences. Unless you dislike Apple’s iPhone operating system, called iOS; require a physical keyboard; or prefer Sprint or T-Mobile, I would wait if possible until the fall to see what the rumored new iPhone is like. That way, you will have a better basis for comparison.

However, if you wish to buy now, you should know that there are major differences between the two devices.

The iPhone 4 has roughly double the available third-party apps, and a somewhat higher resolution screen. But the Atrix, which is an Android phone, has a larger display, and can handle AT&T’s 4G network.

Most importantly, it was designed to power a laptop-like dock and, when connected to the dock, can run the full PC version of the Firefox Web browser. AT&T is currently selling the Atrix and dock together for $300, after a $100 rebate, with a two-year contract. The iPhone 4 starts at $199 with a two-year contract.

Q:

I have hundreds of MiniDV tapes from my camcorder that I’d like to transfer to a hard drive. The problem is that transferring them is incredibly tedious and time consuming. Is there a faster way of transferring this information to another format quickly?

A:

If you’re willing to transfer them to DVDs rather than to hard-disk files, I can recommend a service called Yes Video, which did a good job converting video tapes when I tested it some years ago. The service does business through the photo departments of several big retail chains, including Walgreens, CVS and Costco. More information is at yesvideo.com.

Q:

Much is being made of iCloud and it is clear it has advantages when using Apple devices, but can it be used to move apps such as contacts, calendar, etc. from an Apple desktop to an Android phone?

A:

Apple has said nothing about any such function, and I doubt it will be possible, not only for competitive reasons, but because apps that run on Macintosh computers and other Apple devices cannot run on Android phones.

Some functions of iCloud will, however, synchronize data between Apple devices and Windows PCs.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox and Walt Mossberg’s other columns at the All Things Digital website, http://walt.allthingsd.com. Write to him at mossberg@wsj.com.


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