It has been almost two years, and in about 4 months – it would have been 20 months since I had the first revision of the My Touch as my cellular phone. When I bought it, I wanted it for GPS, and 3G capabilities. At the time, it was the only smart phone that was such an option for me. Now a days, in comparison – it will seem as if my phone is more like a toy rather than a phone. And there are times I am frustrated with the CPU lag it gives to me. Of course with a 528Mhz CPU on an OS that should be using twice the CPU, I guess I can’t blame it. So, I already know I wish to upgrade, but exactly what, and would I settle for less? Well, first I don’t see a reason to settle for less, and if there is no phone I am comfortable with on my carrier, I simply would either consider another carrier, or not get a new phone.
I will go into each and every detail that I will consider as important to me, and would offer my thoughts to such. With that in mind, I would focus on what I would want, and expect for my needs. While I am sure that there are other features some may find as important, that would be on their interests, and not so much of mine. However, I would of course need a smart phone that would support Google Voice, and offer the ability to tether without paying extra.
There are some platforms that would be good, and some that aren’t. And even of the good platforms, they may simply not meet my needs, and therefore not qualify. First, I would look to Android, or RIM, with iOS as an alternative if Apple brought something to the table. Windows Phone is simply not worth it, and more flash than function. WebOS is a very nice and promising OS, but as of now – will not meet my needs. One of the features I want is Google Voice integration. Android integrates the best followed by RIM. iOS supports Google Voice, but can not be made as a default dialer. This will mean I will have to make the effort to dial the phone number through the dialer, and I am sure this will cause problems with numbers in SMS/pages. WebOS, and Windows Phone 7 does not have any such app.
Next, I will want a call manager, or at least something that can deal with private/unknown callers. RIM beats this hands down with an app in their arsenal that will not only do that, but silence rings on whole groups based on times. This pretty much makes up for Google Voice’s failings. Android however does not fair as well with the best I found being an application that can block privates, and a black list, but no custom groups. And from my knowledge – every other OS fails at this which is a surprise – especially in WebOS.
Now, I am not downloading massive amounts of data and watching movies while on the bus. However, I will like to be able to use my notebook PC without paying $40 extra for a data service I am already paying for. Really, $100+ isn’t enough. This is a carrier issue as well as a device issue. Most iOS devices do not support tethering. And those that do – is only dependent on the carrier. Sorry AT&T/Verizon, but +$25 per month for the privilege of doing something my phone is already capable of doing is too much. In addition, this is where CDMA is really bad at. If I am using the PC, and connected via my phone while a call comes in – I have to decide which is the more important task at hand. From my experience, an Android/T-Mobile, or RIM/T-Mobile combination seems to be the best option.
I never thought I would consider the screen as a big deal, but right now with the additional activity, and the virtual keyboard, the screen seems small nowadays. So, definitely a good size screen is important. Unfortunately, RIM has left themselves behind. The only phone they have with a good sized screen is the Storm/Storm 2 – which both were flops in the US, and only available on Verizon. This in turn leads me to either Android, or iOS. Until iPhone is available on T-Mobile USA, iPhone is simply not an option.
My phone is not my main media device. One, I have a computer, and would rather watch a movie on a 15” screen than a 3” screen. Yes, an occasional You Tube Video is fine, but never would hold as a replacement for the bigger screen. However, music is important. It is so important that I have seen the failings in all phones with the exception of iOS, and therefore carry an iPod Touch with my phone when I go out. The reason for this is I actually shuffle my 4,100+ songs around, so I don’t listen to the same thing over and over again. And while I can probably do this in Windows Media Player, iTunes simply has the better software/device cooperation where Windows Media Player has failed in having a standard where the number of plays on a device can be counted. However, if there was a real software/device alternative, it would go a long way to choosing that one. One device is better to carry than two devices.
In basic phones, or even feature phones – this is not so much of a big deal. However – smart phones, this is a big deal. And if anyone would know – I will. I had removed applications from my phone that I would have wanted simply because they demand too much from my phone. So, I will be looking to at least a 1Ghz CPU in my phone, and will want at least 512MB system memory. And of course, microSD for storage – which Android alone supports 32GB, so I should be able to expect that from other devices. And no, I am not a fan with the built in storage only option. You want to give me a S**t-load of storage, great! I still want to be able to use a microSD card. Now, keep in mind that there are dual core phones coming out probably before I buy a new one. There are also quad core expected to come out sometime late in the year, so having a single core 1Ghz is actually a bit reasonable. And of course, there is a need for 3G, Voice/Data at the same time, and GPS.
I will want a rear face, and a front face camera. Am I expecting to do a lot of video chatting on my phone? No, but I will still like the option. In addition, a front face camera will solve the need to use mirrors to take self portraits which plagues facebook profiles on epidemic rates. I do not need two cameras in the rear, and I don’t see a point of 3D on a phone. One camera on each side will suffice.
Updates on the OS is important. It fixes security flaws, and addresses bugs that are known in the previous OS. And with smart phones complimenting or even replacing PCs in some cases, it is important that the OS is updated when it becomes available to the phone. This is not always the case. First, the developer of the OS builds the new version, and provides it to the manufacturers who makes sure it will work on the device they created, and then they provide the updated version to the carrier who makes sure it works on the network. However, from personal experience – it has taken several of months to get 2.2 from 1.6 on my phone only to see devices coming out with 2.3 on the horizon. So, any flaw that 2.3 addresses where 2.2 is prevalent, will never be addressed on my phone in any reasonable time. A phone should be able to get updates for 30 months after they come out on market before the hardware excuse can be used. And since this will be my only phone – it makes sense how I would see this as something important.
Well, first – no CDMA. In Pittsburgh, this will mean no Boost, no Cricket, no Virgin, no Verizon, and only Wimax option on Sprint. Sprint has only a couple of options on their 4G phones, and I heard that their smart phones will not last a day on normal use. So, this keep Sprint out. AT&T, I am not fond of their customer service, nor pricing. And while they have iPhone, their Android phones only allows apps from the Android Marketplace, and not even all of them. This leaves me to either reconsider my priorities, or stay with T-Mobile. And T-Mobile has no problem with tethering, although you are restricted to any limits your plan has. Out of the OSes, only Android and RIM are options. This leaves me with just a few options.
- T-Mobile MyTouch 4G
- Samsung Galaxy S 4G
Hopefully, there would be more options for me when the time comes to upgrade (most likely July). If not, I would consider these two. And if I am not comfortable with these two, I simply won’t be likely to spend my $400+ on a new phone.