Phone Choices

It’s that time of year when Jenny and I are due a mobile phone handset upgrade. I have a few choices:

First thing is fuck the iPhone. DRM encumbered, no 3G access pile of arse. Secondly, fuck the Treo, Windows Mobile with Word and Excel pile of arse. I want a device that will be friendly to my other devices and don’t require you have all of your other hardware and software from the same manufactuer, like Windows, Outlook and iTunes. I run Linux, so anything with DRM or uses proprietary methods to do normal things, like sync with your PC or copy stuff to your phone etc is out. I want as many open or at least commoditised standards as possible, like SyncML, Bluetooth and no Windows only applications to do use your phone.

So my requirements are thus:

  • Decent camera.
  • Reasonable amount of storage and uses standardised external storage.
  • HSDPA connection, faster the better. Bonus point for being able to use this from Linux.
  • Doesn’t crash frequently.
  • Uses open or commoditised standards like SyncML, Bluetooth and plays nicely with other devices.
  • Good bluetooth handsfree support and voice activated dialling.
  • Free car charger would be nice.
  • Isn’t an endless siege of misery to migrate to.
  • Built in GPS would be nice.

I appreciate that I’m not going to get all of these.

A Blackberry sounds nice, but I don’t need push email and I want a decent camera. My last 3 phones have been Sony Ericsson and I’ve been very happy. Phone shows up as a mass storage device on Linux, bluetooth works and they didn’t crash very often. The C902 has 3.6Mb HSDPA modem built in. If I could use this as a net connection from Linux them I’m already sold, but I have seen a few people say that the C902 crashes and hangs a lot and the 5MP camera has a crap flash. I haven’t had a Nokia since before colour screens so I’m not familiar with the models these days. I was offered a few models, but Aq tells me the high end models which use Symbian S60 are crashy, though they do have a lot of third party apps and generally play nicely with other devices. Sony Ericsson on the other hand tend not to have that many third party apps and in Aq’s words, “Whenever you want your phone to do something it doesn’t already do, you hit this giant wall with Sony written on it.”

So, pending a fantastic Nokia model (people say the N-series are good?), I like the idea of the C902, mainly because it has the built in 3.6Mb HSDPA 3G modem. Most others don’t seem to. However, the major drawback with the C902 is that we are being offered refurb or returned handsets, which suggests to me that a lot of people are returning them, I would assume that this is because they crash a lot and I’m not sure a factory refurb is going to solve that problem. So I think maybe a Nokia N-series with Bluetooth, decent storage, a decent camera and built in 3G HSPDA modem that I can access from Linux and GPS would be nice. Failing that, the Sony Ericsson C902 unless you scream at me not to touch it. It would help if migrating from Sony Ericsson to Nokia and taking all of my contacts, photos and messages wasn’t an endless siege of pain also.

I lazily solicit your opinion and don’t go on about how I’m wrong about the iPhone.

7 thoughts on “Phone Choices

  1. Nokia N82 πŸ™‚

    * Decent camera.

    5MP with Xenon flash. Takes nice piccies even though I am a photo-dweeb. See my flickr stream for a few examples:- http://flickr.com/photos/71478182@N00/

    * Reasonable amount of storage and uses standardised external storage.

    2G mini SD card came with mine.

    * HSPDA connection, faster the better. Bonus point for being able to use this from Linux.

    Has 3G, has GPRS, has wifi πŸ™‚
    For 3G from Linux, sudo wvdial works for me πŸ™‚

    * Doesn’t crash frequently.

    Mine has crashed twice in the week since I had it. The first phone locked up completely, so Orange sent me a new one the next day (on a Sunday – nice). The new one has crashed once or twice.

    * Uses open or commoditised standards like SyncML, Bluetooth and plays nicely with other devices.

    Has bluetooth, is symbian so lots of apps for it. Not tried SyncML.

    * Good bluetooth handsfree support and voice activated dialling.

    Dunno. I don’t like looking like a twat talking into a bluetooth headset, YMMV πŸ™‚

    * Free car charger would be nice.

    No, but Wollies do multi-chargers for 5 quid. Don’t buy from Carphone whorehouse (17 quid!)

    * Isn’t an endless siege of misery to migrate to.

    If you already had a Nokia phone it has the “Switch” app which it sends to your old phone to migrate everything over. Very nice.

    * Built in GPS would be nice.

    Yup, has that.

    Also has an ok music player, podcast downloader built in. Some extra apps I have installed:- Nokia Sports Tracker for doing Open Street Map mapping, google maps, putty, Qik, gizmo, wellness diary, mobi reader…

    I like my N82 πŸ™‚

  2. I’d probably go with Sony Ericsson because the last couple of phones have been OK and Nokia’s patenting and license proliferation are about as annoying as Sony’s misdeeds. Until there’s a fully free software phone, better the devil I know.

  3. As far as I can tell Nokia+Symbian, HTC+Windows Mobile and Jailbroken iPhones are the best combinations for push-the-limits third party development.

    The iPhone 3G is HSDPA, but jailbreaking is still touch and go, the camera is average or worse, Apple defines expandable as ‘buy a new one’ & it comes with iTunes surgically attached.

    Today, your options are limited, If you’re willing to wait a few months for cake tomorrow, they expand.

    Google Android is expected to launch with an HTC handset some time this year, although it’ll be buggy like an first release software. The Sony Xperia X1, with a 480×800 screen & running WM, is expected in October.

    RIM have an iPhone-alike and a flip phone in the works, although I’ve not followed these closely.

    One of the achievements annouced by the Conduit author at LRL was that he’d pulled all the SynCE code together for experimental GnomeWM syncing.

    Check http://gsmarena.com for comparisons and news.

  4. Hey Adam, just a quick note while I’m on the train, if you do end up switching from one phone manufacturer to another, let me know, I should be able to help. Grab me (Eckrall) in #bitfolk for more details.

    PS. I would go with a nokia πŸ˜‰

  5. Just to point out that maybe you should have a look at the Neo Freerunner as an alternative to the iPhone.

  6. Pingback: Adam Sweet’s Blog » Phone Decisions

  7. I am probably one of the first to have a Sony Ericsson C902 in America as they’re not out here yet. Unfortunately as much as I want to love it, I am going to have to give it low marks simply because it hiccups and crashes a lot when playing music. The camera is decent and girls love the style but I can rarely get through a whole audio CD on mp3. My old P910 was much more reliable.

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