As a first-time smartphone buyer, I really didn’t know what I was looking for when I picked up my Motorola Q9c a couple of years ago. All of my research centered around the checkbox features of the phone delivered at the price it was offered for. To be fair, getting a smartphone with a keyboard, camera, Bluetooth, and tethering for $150 was a good deal at the time. Not really knowing any better, I thought Windows Mobile would be a fine choice. So, with much enthusiasm, I went home with a phone that did more than any phone I previous had could ever do.
Gradually, though, it became painfully obvious that Windows Mobile was getting a bit dated. The number of apps available for it was limited at best, mainly because many required a touchscreen. I also found that many mobile websites didn’t much care for the shoddy browser that came with the phone. Alternatives like Skyfire, while functional, would often disconnect for no reason and prove only useful in absolute emergencies. While I was initially excited about all of the things I could now do that I couldn’t do before, I was now running into the frustrating wall of hardware and software limitations. It was time to swap out for something a bit more functional.
Being soured on Windows Mobile, I needed to look elsewhere. I already knew that Blackberries were right out. I had one about six years ago and didn’t much care for the way it worked at all. It also seemed like the application selection was running into the same limitations as Windows Mobile despite a very large user base. And the iPhone? As exciting as the initial announcement was, Apple has earned my ire over the years. I don’t want to deal with their insane application rejection behaviors (I would say policies, but that would imply consistency), I don’t want to deal with AT&T’s crappy and oversaturated data network, and I don’t want to suffer through an on-screen keyboard. Palm was also off of my list since it appears that company may not have long left in this world. WebOS is a pretty darn amazing platform, but the lagging sales make me think that Palm’s offering is too little, too late. I didn’t want to be bitten the same way we were by investing in Sandisk Sansa MP3 players.
Enter Google and Android. For those that don’t know, Android is what’s powering hot phones like the G1 and Motorola Droid. The open app store and easy-to-use SDK has lead to a lot of apps being available for it. The phones are also reasonably powerful and come with a lot of useful features. Once Sprint announced the Samsung Moment, I knew I had to have one. It had all of the hardware features of my old Q9c, but it also added WiFi and a large touchscreen. Once I heard it would be updated from Android 1.5 (Cupcake) to 2.1 (Elcair), I was sold.
Oddly enough, Shauna got kind of excited about the idea of a new phone too. Yes, my wife Shauna. No, she was not abducted by aliens, brainwashed by a cult in the jungles of South America, or the recipient of any blunt force trauma to the head. (For those of you not in on the joke, Shauna has used her phone so infrequently over the last several years that it often would have a dead battery for months at a go.) So two weeks ago, we jumped in the car and drove on down to the Sprint store to check this phone out. A few days later, we had them in our hot little hands and were excitedly grapping apps left and right and playing around with them to our heart’s content. Funny enough, the new plan we got on actually gives us triple the minutes of our old plan, adds unlimited texting, and gives Shauna unlimited data, yet we’re now paying less than we used to. Go figure.
Both of us love these things. I’m very excited to see Elcair rolled out sometime next month to unlock even more features. If you like Sprint’s data network (which, FYI, is the best as far as I’m concerned) and want an awesome smartphone, this is the way to go.
(I’ll be writing up my own review of the phone and what apps I think are must-haves later on. I’ve already rambled on enough.)