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Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...

By Andrew Pollack on 12/12/2007 at 09:11 PM EST

I know there are a ton of you people using crack-berries. I also know some prefer the Windows CE devices. The CE has an advantage to me in that writing apps for it will be a trivial change for me given that I'm already pretty comfortable in vs.NET. Still, crackberries are all the rage. Let me tell you what I currently have and what my goals are -- then you tell me what to look at.

Right now, I have a Motorola e815. Its your basic clamshell phone, but a good one. It has the "Get it Now" from Verizon and with that I have an IMAP mail reader, so I can easily pick up my mail from my Domino Servers pretty much at will. I can't respond without the most painstakingly annoying keyboard interface imaginable though, so I don't. Its also a "pull" device not a "push" one.

What I need:

#1 - It has to be a good telephone. That means good reception, comfortable to hold, clear and reliable voice audio.
#2 - Small enough to fit in my pocket.
#3 - Reasonably durable.
#4 - SOME KIND of email capability (IMAP is ok, better would be cool)

What I'd like:

#1 - A good web browser, and screen that lets me actually see the web pages in reasonable fidelity. That means flash etc. needs to work.
#2 - Better fidelity email in. Even a good IMAP which handles more kinds of mime data would be good.

What I don't need or want:

# -1) A Camera. Cameras on phones are terrible. I hate them.
# -2) A touch screen. Who cares?
# -3) Music. I have my zen player.

What else can you do?

What kinds of APPLICATIONS are you using on your Blackberries and Windows CE devices that make them so compelling for you? What am I really missing? If I go with that new small Blackberry 8130 -- which has two letters per key instead of a full keyboard -- is it too small to use as a blackberry? Do I miss the cool applications (if there are any)?

You all are so proud of your smart phones -- sell me. How will my life be better?


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By Mitch Cohen on 12/12/2007 at 09:53 PM EST
I personally love the blackberry, but I don't think it meets your needs,
especially from a phone point of view. While my Blackberry 8830 (Verizon world
edition) is definitely an improvement over previous models, it is not
comfortable to hold as a phone. I use my blackberry for e-mail (Notes through
BES Server, and other accounts via Blackberry service), IM (sametime and
public), and some web browsing. Other then the occasional google maps, I don't
do much else on it. I don't like the smaller blackbery I prefer the full
keyboard.

If you go with Windows Mobile, early next year you can upgrade to Domino 8.0.1
and use Lotus Notes Traveler for mobile mail. While I don't like the Windows
devices, Traveler has been working great in Beta testing, if you are OK with
IMAP, you would be fine with Traveler.
re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By David Leedy on 12/13/2007 at 07:20 AM EST
I wouldn't totally discount the iPhone in your thinking...
Forget about the music and video part of it... (Heck I use that the least some
times).. but it's nice to have some tv shows or movies on a plane flight....

It has a stellar browsing experience... I don't see how another phone can beat
it for that... (It does NOT support Flash though...)

The e-mail client (imap/pop3) has high fidelity... html rendering, etc...

The touchscreen keyboard isn't bad once you get used to it. I've done many
long e-mails with it.. You have to get to the stage will you trust it...

The telephone is probably the best part to me... since the screen is big the
buttons for keypad dialing are very large and easy to hit... and it's nice to
quickly "flip" through your contacts, put your favorites on a seperate screen,
visual voicemail is cool...... Also you can easily put a call on hold if
another one comes in or even merge the calls for a conference..

What it doesn't have yet is a way to do local applications... Supposedly
that's coming.. you can always write an app in a webpage and use that. It
doesn't have any kind of "local file access" unless you hack it... There's no
local word/excel editor....

I know you said your not a big mac fan... but the iPhone does meet what you
need and would like.... Coverage will vary of course... In My town, Lebanon
Pa I get better coverage with AT&T then Verizon... In philly or Baltimore I've
not had coverage issues...

I've dropped it a couple of times and not had a problem so I feel it's at least
somewhat durable...

The downside is the closed nature of an Apple product... but again there's some
kind of SDK on the way.. It's also a new product... winCE and Palm are a lot
more mature... No removable battery... I don't think the speaker phone is
great.. so it's not perfect by a long shot...

I'd expect to see some kind of updated version at MacWorld in January if you
can wait that long... At least there might be more details on the SDK.

Food for thought...
re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By Jim Knight on 12/13/2007 at 09:43 AM EST
I love BB pearl because of the size but has 2 letters per key which I don't
mind for typing but can be annoying for web addresses etc but the size rules
all for me. I put one of those silicon covers around to protect it and throw in
my pocket. Also, I installed opera which has some cool features as the mobile
browser like collapsing lists of links. Some people hate this phone because of
the letters. For me it's a nice trade-off that doesn't bother me and it is
impressive how good the typing is in email.
I had a treo before and liked that you could install all the cool apps but I
found that I was rarely even using them and it was too darn big.
Crackberry is good because of the simplicity of syncing mail,calendar,contacts.
No fuss, no muss.
re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By Greg Walrath on 12/13/2007 at 12:21 PM EST
While an iPhone would be pretty neat, esp. from the web browsing side, my
Blackberry is pretty useful as a Domino admin tool. I can do mobile
administration, Telnet/SSH and file management anywhere on the T-Mobile
network, no laptop required (though you do have to have good eyes).

Check out the tools at Rove Mobile (formerly idokorro). They do have some
support for non-Blackberry devices, but the broadest support is on that
platform.
re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By Craig Wiseman on 12/13/2007 at 08:59 PM EST
1st, What cell carrier are you using? That's (sadly, a req. question in the US).
2nd, If you have ATT, don't discount the iPhone, except it's not 3G, 3rd party
apps are scarce, and the phone part is not ... the best part. Plus it smudges
like crazy. This has been an issue for years. Can't they come up with a
non-smudge surface?! But I digress.
3rd, Do you need 3G? Do you want to be able to hook your notebook to it and use
it as a wireles modem? Do you want to write apps for it? Sounds like you're
most comfortable with .Net (rather than BB's Java). In email, what types of
attachments do you anticpate needed to view?
Good questions. Here's more info.By Andrew Pollack on 12/13/2007 at 10:27 PM EST
I'm with Verizon Wireless. Where I live, they're excellent. I don't use my
current phone for data access, but I have a card in my laptop that that is a
data access device with them. It's on the EV-DO Rev A network (which is
fantastic, and something I use almost every day). This gives me network access
very comparable to DSL from almost everywhere I go. (The exception is if I go
further than about 20 miles Northeast of here, as most national coverage pretty
much ends).

The most compelling thing I've heard yet is ssh access from the blackberry. I
live in an ssh terminal shell some days.
re: Ok, time for a new cell phone, so I'm going to solicit some e-pinions here...By Jim Knightight on 12/14/2007 at 08:51 AM EST
Try before you buy here:
http://www.tryphone.com
also include Symbian if you value stabilityBy Ken Yee on 12/19/2007 at 04:04 PM EST
I haven't posted my blog entry on switching to the t-mo wing yet (switched in
late Sept), but my old Nokia 6620 crashed wayyyy less. As in 1-2 times a year
vs every few weeks w/ the t-mo wing (it runs WM6 and has a slideout keyboard).

Both platforms have ssh. WM6 has a bit more apps and writing in asp.net is
easier for it. I went for it because it was a reasonable cost vs. feature
balance (roughly $250 used w/o a new plan). The battery lasts longer than my
old Nokia and I finally have wifi, but Nokias make better phones while WM6
makes a better PDA and a crappy phone app (try answering a phone call and
trying to kick it into speakerphone mode).

Symbian also multitasks wayyyy better than WM6. Try running the MP3 player at
the same time as a nav app. On WM6, the MP3 players (tried multiple) stutter
like crazy and the nav app can't get any sounds in. On Symbian, the MP3 player
plays fine, but the nav app has delayed sentence fragments (yeah, not perfect,
but not nearly as annoying :-)

If you carry a BB, don't put it in your pants if you still want kids. When I
developed for them, I was using a client's CRT monitor; every time it received
mail, you'd get a massive number of horizontal lines on the monitor. It was
pretty freaky ;-)

Drop me an email if you want some more WM6 observations. Maybe it's time for
me to put up that blog post...


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