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8/31/2007
03:44 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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iPhone Impresses Europeans. Almost.

Not all of them, obviously, but during my tip to London this week anyone within sight of my iPhone sidled up next to me quickly for a demonstration of how it worked. There were lots of oohs and aahs, quickly followed by bahs.

Not all of them, obviously, but during my tip to London this week anyone within sight of my iPhone sidled up next to me quickly for a demonstration of how it worked. There were lots of oohs and aahs, quickly followed by bahs.Quite honestly, I was trying to be as secretive with it as possible. I didn't want to create a mob scene or anything. But people are eagle-eyed, and anytime I retrieved it from my pocket, someone was quick to notice and ask what it was. Many thought it was the LG Prada at first. When I told them it was an iPhone, they nearly all asked to take a look. I obliged.

While the Nokia staffers at the Go Play event gave it the cold shoulder, most others I ran into were quite impressed with the UI. They enjoyed seeing the coverflow method of selecting songs, the camera gallery application and some of the other widgets. But once they saw how slow the data speeds were on it, many said something along the lines of, "That's a shame it's so slow."

And boy was it ever slow. I was roaming on the Vodafone, Orange UK and O2 UK networks while over there. On all three, data speeds were downright horrendous. Browsing the web was so painfully slow as to be pointless. Syncing my email was also an act of futility. Many times, it couldn't download any of it at all. I checked and the iPhone said it was connected to an EDGE data network, same as AT&T's.

Just for comparison's sake, I pulled out the SIM and stuck it in a Nokia E61i I happened to have with me. The E61i has a 2100 MHz WCDMA radio in it, and I was able to browse at blazing fast 3G speeds over the Vodafone network. The difference was striking.

So to return to a point I brought up several months ago, will Apple really sell that many iPhones in Europe when there are so many faster handsets available?

I guess we'll find out soon enough, as it appears Apple and several European carriers are set to announce its availability.

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