Monday, September 28, 2009

To iPhone 3GS or not to iPhone 3GS

I somehow managed to lose my mobile phone while in Nepal so I’m not having to deal with something I had hoped to be able to avoid until early 2010: Having to get a new mobile phone.

While my previous phone, a Nokia 6120, was far from perfect it got the job done and combined with my iPod touch (1st gen) I was quite happy with my mobile communication devices. However a lot has happened since I bought the 6120 in early 2008 so now I can’t but consider buying an iPhone 3GS even though I’ve been known to rant against the iPhone, iTunes, Apple, closed systems, etc. in the past.

One thing that surprised me a bit is how limited the alternatives to the iPhone are when it comes to high-end phones. I do generally keep tabs on what’s happening in the mobile phone markets but had still expected to find some hidden germ that I hadn’t heard of before. So based on my requirements (with voice, text messages, e-mail, Web browsing and Twitter representing 99% of what I do with my mobile devices) I’m currently looking at the following options:

Apple iPhone 3GS (16GB): Can’t say much more than that this is my preferred choice at the moment even though most of my previously mentioned rant reasons still hold true. The 3GS is simply an amazing product even though there are some details that I’m not too fond of. One thing I’m really going to miss compared to my 6120 is that unlocking the screen will leave me looking at my app home screen whereas I’d much prefer to see upcoming appointments, to-dos, etc. and similar information as presented on more business orientated Symbian S60 and Blackberry phones. However at the price €150 I’d pay for the 3GS with 16GB might simply prove too hard to refuse.

Blackberry Bold: Had I lost my phone 6 months ago I wouldn’t have hesitated and gotten the Blackberry Bold. I really like it’s design and keyboard and the software seems solid enough. However now I can’t help but feel that it’s lacking the application infrastructure that make Android devices and iPhones such interesting platforms in the mid- to long-term.

Nokia E75: I hadn’t paid much attention to what Nokia was up to in the smartphone segment lately but did remember that I found the E75’s form factor to be quite enticing. After reading some reviews it seems to be a really solid smartphone that could probably fulfill 95% of my requirements with ease. The one thing that is a big letdown though is the small screen size.

Nokia N900: Now this one device that I’m seriously interested in, especially after reading these hands-on comments. While I haven’t used an N900 in person Nokia seems to have gotten a lot of things right with this device, both on the hardware and software side of things. While it remains to be seen how the software ecosystem evolves compared to the Apple and Android competition I’m confident that we’ll see many interesting Maemo applications appear in the next 6 to 12 months. The one thing that kills this choice for me is the price of >€500 and the fact that it’s not offered by any Austrian carriers at the moment (and I’m not holding my breath for that to happen anytime soon).

T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Hero): This is proving to be the hardest competitor for the iPhone 3GS and I’m quite tempted to go with the G2. I’m really impressed with what HTC did with the software and in many ways the G2 and related ecosystem contains less restrictions than fruitland. Subsequently I also believe that over the course of the next 6 to 12 months there’s a higher chance of seeing innovative apps (mostly thinking of Augmented Reality stuff here) on Android rather than the iPhone. With this and similar arguments the G2 appeals more to my geek side whereas the iPhone 3GS is better at pleasing the customer in me (who wants something that works). However after reading half a dozen reviews I can’t help but be afraid that the G2’s hardware is simply too underpowered to be a reliable platform 18 months down the road (which is the timeframe for my next mobile phone upgrade) which is quite a downside.

It’s with these thoughts in my head that I’ll make my way to the T-Mobile store in just a bit… I’ll of course keep you posted on my decision.


smeidu said...

go for the iPhone!! :-)

Martin Dengler said...

Have you considered the N97?