Friday, January 04, 2008

What Is The Best SmartPhone On The Market Today?

The answer to this question is really a personal one. Everyone's likes, wants, and needs will be different. Now... how do you decide which is right for YOU?

In all honesty there is no 'best" smartphone, just the best one currently available for your needs. For 5 different use cases, there will be 5 different "best" choices, so I can only guess as to your use case.

Is there a particular carrier you have to use?

Also, there are lots of different definitions of "smartphone". To me a smartphone means that I can load my own applications on it. It can get my e-mails, contacts, and appointments over air from a MS exchange server. And that it has a means for significant text entry, for responding to e-mails.

There are some great phones that don't meet my definition (IPhone doesn't yet have an official way to load your own applications, Sidekick doesn't let you load apps, Nokia N95 doesn't have a high volume text input method, etc...). There is lots of room for experienced users to disagree with me on this definition, so be warned.

The Windows Mobile OS (current version is 6) is used in the Motorola Q series, the Blackjack I/II, Palm treo 750 and many of the HTC phones.

The RIM OS is used in all Blackberries.

There are other OS out there (OSX for the IPhone, Palm for the Treo 755/Centro, Symbian for several of the Nokia phones, etc...). But only the MS OS has a universal way for syncing over air to a corporate exchange server. All the others require an additional piece of middleware. Of those solutions, the RIM Blackberry Enterprise Server is by far the most popular. So if I have to guess for you, I'd limit myself to those two OS's.

The RIM OS is pretty easy to use, reliable, and straight forward. It does what it's intended to use well. That's why for non technical users, I almost always recommend a RIM based phone. It may not have every bell and whistle but it's a workhorse for sending and receiving e-mail.

In Blackberries you basically have the choice of a full size keypad (Blackberry 8800 or "Curve" style), or you have a streamlined keyboard (8100 or "Pearl" style). The Curves are much better if you have to write a lot of e-mail. The Pearl's are better if you need a smaller form-factor, and are reading more e-mail than you are writting.

In the windows OS there are many different shapes and sizes. I prefer units with a full keyboard like the Motorola Qm or the Blackjack II. Slider phones like the Wave, Wing, etc... You'd need to try some to pick the form-factor you like, but they all will perform similarly since they are based on the same OS. In general the windows based phones can do more, but are more flaky and less reliable. It's not uncommon for some windows based phones to occasionally crash and the user needs to remove the battery to reboot the phone (insert your favorite anti-Microsoft joke here).

Once you've picked a carrier, OS, and form-factor, here's some final criteria to look at.....

A removable battery is a must (another deal break with the iPhone). Is there an option for a higher capacity battery if you don't mind a bit more bulk.

How does it charge? A standard mini USB port will make it way easy to charge in a variety of circumstances and save you money on chargers.

Does it support the latest/fastest wireless data for your carrier? EVDO Rev A for Sprint and Verizon, HSDPA for AT&T.

Does it have a removable media slot (micro SD, etc...).

Does it have an integrated GPS chip? Has the wireless carrier turned off that chip so you aren't allowed to use it? Is the chip the highly sensitive (a good thing) Sirf III chip?

Do you need a camera? 2 Meg is a nice bump over 1.3 as it gives you good enough resolution to actually take pictures of business cards and then have software convert the picture to contact data.

Do you need WiFi?

If I answer all of the above for me, no phone exisits that has it all.

If I had to guess for you with no more information... I'd go with a Blackberry 8800.

Whatever Smart Phone you're looking for .... here's a good place to find great deals: Smart Phone Deals

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No phone exisits that has it all". Really? The HTC Tytn II (aka AT&T Tilt) meets all these criteria. So why no mention of HTC phones in this article?

8:46 AM  

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