I took the HTC One out on the town this weekend as my new primary smartphone. In one location I used the IR blaster to change the TV from the New York Rangers hockey game to SpongeBob Square Pants. It was a funny trick that caught the eye of more than a few people in the establishment, who immediately wanted to know what kind of phone I was carrying and how I was able to "hack" the TV.

I didn't hack anything, of course. When nobody was looking I just turned off one TV and ran HTC's TV setup program. I suddenly had control over the whole system, each TV at my disposal. But more than a half dozen people immediately wanted to know more about the phone and if it was "better than an iPhone."

"I think so," I replied. "Check out everything you can do with it." I showed off the 4-ultrapixel camera and its Zoe capabilities. Then I showed them a highlight reel of a puppy I had been playing with earlier in the morning. The response was always the same: "so, I need to replace this iPhone, do I buy that?" One person asked, referring to my HTC One. "I can't do any of these cool things with my iPhone, I'm so tired of this thing," another responded. "I guess the apps are cool, but I mostly just use apps on my iPad."

Here at TechnoBuffalo we've discussed an ongoing problem with the iPhone, which was reiterated in those interactions I had this weekend: the device is popular because it's so easy to use and has a ton of applications. It's a double-edged sword, though, because Apple might not be able to switch the software too much or add too many features if its userbase can't use them. The One and the Galaxy S4 have amazing new features that many might not use, but they are exciting options for people who want to "do more" with their smartphones. In a lot of ways, the iPhone is limiting and limited.

It's the entry-level smartphone; the choice I tell most people to buy if they don't want to deal with complicated software or are purchasing their first smartphone. I recommend it to my parents and the parents of my friends, but I recommend the new, more powerful smartphones to my friends. I know my buddies like to geek out with their phones. They want highlight reels and the odd ability to trick everyone into watching SpongeBob instead of a sports game. They want newer technology that makes a smartphone fun and exciting to use again.

I'm sure the iPhone 5S will pack tons of new features, hopefully NFC, a fingerprint scanner and wireless charging, but I wonder if Apple will add in these seemingly gimmicky features that, really, aren't gimmicks at all. I don't think Apple wants to go down that road, and that's part of the company's success. It sells millions and millions of smartphones because they're easy to use, it has a huge app store and, ultimately, the devices work perfectly well for a large user base.

Clearly HTC and Samsung are on to something, though. Both companies are pushing the boundaries of what we can do with our smartphone while Apple plays it safe.

I do worry about that approach, however. I remember when everyone carried a BlackBerry and they couldn't wait to upgrade to an iPhone. Now it seems like most of my friends carry iPhones and can't wait to try something else. Hopefully the iPhone 5S changes that, but I'm not so sure it will.

Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

It might be Prime Day, but this Instant Pot deal is available to everyone
Instant Pot 3-Quart Duo Mini Pressure Cooker
$39.95 $65.00 Save $25

This 3-quart multi-cooker is perfect for smaller households or serving sizes, and today's deal beats the others we've seen.

Unlock voice control with Echo device deals and $5 Amazon smart plugs
Amazon Echo devices bundled with $5 smart plugs

Amazon's Smart Plug lets you start voice controlling anything plugged into it by asking an Alexa-compatible device, and today's deal lets you snag one for only $5 with purchase of select Echo devices.

Be more productive with a year of Office 365 Home and a free $50 Amazon gift card
Office 365 Home 12-month subscription and $50 Amazon gift card
$99.99 $150.00 Save $50

The subscription works with up to six people, but that card can be all yours.

Amazon's Fire TV Cube is down to just $70 thanks to this Prime Day deal
Amazon Fire TV Cube
$69.99 $119.99 Save $50

Grab TCL's 32-inch 720p Roku TV for less than $100 in this Prime Day Lightning deal
TCL 32S325 32-inch 720p Roku TV
$99.99 $130.00 Save $30

Act fast while you can. These Lightning deals tend to sell out quick.

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

More Prime Day Deals