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Deciding on a Replacement Mobile Phone

As a result of being a victim of crime last week, I am now thrust in the unenviable position of having to purchase a new cell phone.  While I could gladly get an inexpensive phone to replace the one I had, the unfortunate gadget lust I have is a bit too much to resist.

My current contract with Verizon Wireless expires in June 2009.  If I wait until that time, I am eligible for the “New Every 2” promotional offer.  I spoke with Verizon while reconnecting my old phone to make sure that this had no impact on my current contract status given that I am effectively forced to reactivate.  I was assured that my reactivation should have no impact on my contract status.  So, if I stay with Verizon and wait until my contract expires, I can get a substantial discount towards the purchase of a new phone.

I am also pondering a change of carriers.  While keeping my old number is not an issue, I am looking for a way to avoid paying a potentially substantial early termination fee.  I am also a off-put by the vast difference in network quality between Verizon and the alternatives.  For all of Verizon’s faults, their cellular network is pretty good.  Additionally, it is a pretty good 3G network as well.  I rarely have issues with calls and messages.

I have also come to the decision that I really want a smartphone.  My time with my work CrackBerry has been illuminating.  I like having my calendar and my contacts on my device, and it is unparalleled when it comes to email.  Thus, my first pass on potential replacements have come down to the following three choices:

  • Apple iPhone
  • BlackBerry Storm
  • HTC G1 (The Android/Google Phone)

Phone

Pros

Cons

iPhone 3G  image

- Integrated WiFi connectivity

– Useful Applications

– Full-featured browser

– Actually recommended by a friend

– All the cool kids are doing it

– JailBreak makes this attractive

– Touchscreen

– GPS

- Apple makes it

– Requires iTunes

– Browser is Safari

– Pricing for the phone and plan still suck

– AT&T 3G Network sucks

– No cut and paste

– No MMS messages

– on-screen keyboard does not work in landscape mode

– Navigation between apps is a kludge

– Touchscreen has no tactile feedback

HTC G1
image
- Integrated WiFi connectivity
– Google integration
– Touchscreen and hidden QWERTY keyboard
– Least expensive of the three phones
– Open-source OS
– Extremely hackable
– GPS

– Cut and paste

– MMS Messaging

- T-Mobile network makes AT&T network look awesome
– Odd form-factor
– Largest phone of the three
– Swing-out keyboard/display is kind of dated
BlackBerry Storm
image
- Familiar BlackBerry OS
– Touchscreen with tactile feedback
– Verizon Network
– GPS
– Pretty decent browser by BlackBerry standards
– Decent application availability
– Touchscreen keyboard in both landscape and portrait modes

– Cut and paste

– MMS Messaging

- No WiFi
– Reported slow responsiveness
– Yet another BlackBerry to carry
– Slightly less-expensive than the iPhone (after a mail-in rebate)

I am leaning in the direction of the Storm.  I have gotten some feedback from friends who are new BlackBerry users, and they like it.  I have also used the Storm, and I like the way it feels.  I do feel its lack of WiFi is a severe weakness when compared to the G1 and the iPhone.  I have played with the G1, thanks to a coworker.  It’s form factor is a bit odd, as it kind of bends at the end where the mouthpiece is.  I like the G1 because, well, it’s open-source.  The problem: T-Mobile.  Finally, the only reason the iPhone makes the list is so that I can hack it via JailBreak.

I will probably make a decision in the next week.  The Storm, though, is a strong contender.

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4 Responses

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  1. Paul says

    Given the 3 choices I’d get the G1. Why? Well simply because T-Mobile has been good to me and I can’t complain about their coverage where I tend to travel. Also I choose to not give money to either Verizon or AT&T if I can help it.

    That being said if the iPhone was available either unlocked or on T-Mobile I would own one.

    If you do get a storm (which I’ll lay odds that you will) can you get your employer to contribute to the cost (of the plan) and limit yourself to 1 blackberry?

  2. Baiken Matters says

    I suggest doing more research on the storm. The wifey has one and while she loved it the first month, she has become frustrated with it recently — biggest factor, she pretty much has to charge the phone twice a day. The battery sucks dangle.

  3. JJT says

    @Paul: Given this economic climate, I would rather have my own phone for other reasons (given the way that I have seen RIFs occur at my employer for IT staff). Still, I really want to see other G1/Android phones, mainly to see what improvements the OS has and the hopefully better phones.

    @Baiken: I was reading some posts where the Storm battery was bad. I will have to talk to my sources. I know the BB–even the EDGE one I have for work–tends to burn battery power quickly when you have multiple applications polling the Internet for new stuff. Also, EVDO/3G sucks down battery life when you are doing any bit of push email.

  4. Paul says

    I understand no tying your phone or email address to an employer. But my suggestion was more to see if your current employer might contribute to you personal phone bill that you also happen to use for work. :-)

    I also look forward to future Android phones that are compelling enough to entice me enough to buy one.



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