In our last thrilling episode, this intrepid iSmashPhone.com correspondent was looking to upgrade his two-year-old Verizon Blackberry Curve. The question, of course, was: upgrade to what? My choices were:
- Get another Blackberry, either a Curve or a slightly snazzier model.
- Get the Verizon iPhone 4 that everyone and his mother knew was just over the horizon.
- Take a lateral step and get an Android phone, possibly the Moto Droid 2.
Here's how each option broke down, plus and minus:
Advantages: It's what I'm used to. It syncs seemlessly with my home and work MS Outlook contacts and appointments (the main reason I went to a smartphone in the first place). It has the physical keyboard which I like; having played a bit with iPhones, I wasn't 100% sold on the on-screen typing, plus my past (bad) experiences with Palm Pilots made me leery of an all-touchscreen interface. The phone itself could be as cheap as free, if I stayed with the Curve, or at most US$50.00 if I moved to a better Berry.
Disadvantages: Web browsing on that tiny screen was problematic at best. The native browser wasn't much better than text-and-pictures; Opera's mobile browser, while showing more of a web site's true look, required more horsepower than my little Curve could muster.
Advantages: It's an iPhone. (Duh.) Which meant, at the very least, more hands-on app reviews.
Disadvantages: I couldn't guarantee it would sync with Outlook. I knew I couldn't install iTunes at the day job. Plus I wasn't ready to drop US$200.00 on a phone.
Advantages: Lots of friends and acquaintences owned and loved their Android handsets. As a phone OS, it's not going away any time soon (yeah, Palm Pre, we're talking to you). Plus the Droid 2 had the slideout physical keyboard. And I really, really wanted a Droid phone.
Disadvantages: At US$150.00 after all of Verizon's "New Every Two" discounts kicked it, it was still a bit pricy. And the Outlook synching, at least at work, still wasn't a lock.
So I turned to this blog's founder and senior editor, who's not only an iPhone expert but also gave the Google Nexus One a thorough road test, and asked his advice. Here's what he told me:
- Stay away from Motorola and Samsung phones. If you're gonna go Droid, pick something made by HTC (the Nexus One, Sprint EVO, etc.).
- In two years, phones won't have a physical keyboard anyway. Suck it up and deal with a touch screen.
Okay. I went back to Verizon's list of available phones, and…
Hey, there's that Droid Incredible. It's made by HTC. It's only US$50.00 with another two years of Verizon service. And even if I couldn't install the synch-up software on my work PC, a co-worker (and original Droid owner) hipped me to a clever workaround: extract my Outlook contacts and calendar as .CSV files, import them to Google Calendar and Gmail, then do an over-the-air synch.
NEXT TIME: The new phone's here! Unpacking, initializing, setting up mail accounts, and — oh, yeah — cell carrier crapware. Stay tuned.