Let's face it, I'm unfaithful -- to my technology, that is. I have two cell phones and normally whenever my contract is up I'll go out and buy the latest one.
My work cell phone is an Audiovox PPC-6700 from Sprint. This is a Swiss army knife of a phone -- or to be more accurate, it's a Microsoft Mobile PDA that lets you make phone calls and take pictures. It has a great web browser, its synchronization with Outlook is terrific, and as an email machine it's decent keyboard makes it above average. When I'm traveling, I use it as a radio to listen to the two radio services that I manage back home. Sprint's great EV-DO Rev. 3 network makes that a pleasure. The camera is pretty lame and doesn't really work with scanR, which I use as a substitute fax machine and to make documents from various presentation slides I see -- so I have to carry a small real camera for that. Most everything is a two-handed operation requiring that darn little stylus to do stuff. They're easy to uses and Sprint stores don't stock them so you're forced to order replacements online. Like me, it could stand to lose some bulk.
My personal phone is a T-Mobile BlackBerry 8700g, by far the best-designed phone-and-email-handheld I've ever used -- and that's a lot of them. What I mean is, for telephone and email functionality, it's terrific. But it doesn't have a camera, it can't play media, it runs on the not-so-speedy EDGE network, and its web browser is only adequate. Except for the Pearl, no one has ever accused a BlackBerry of being good-looking. I've had five email accounts, including my work account, merrily pushing mail to me since I got it about 16 months ago, but only this week did I get my IT guy to make it work with the Exchange server at the university where I work. He wishes he'd never seen it. But this, too, works great, and now all my Outlook stuff is syncing with it. It's sort of like one of those second weddings that some couples do as a recommitment.
But that renewed relationship with my BlackBerry comes at a time when I'm thinking, wow, I've only got eight months to go on this contract. What else is out there? There is the iPhone, of course, but my reading and talking to a few users has led me to believe that it's fabulous industrial design but its only fair in the functionality department. Beautiful, but not real bright. I need bright.
The phone that threatens my BlackBerry fidelity the most is the Nokia N95, which just came out with a U.S. version that solves most of the minuses noted about the original European version. No U.S. carrier is offering it, so you currently have to buy it unlocked and pay full price. The new one has shed her shutter skirt to make room for a larger battery. She has more memory and operates on the AT&T 3G network, so she's much speedier than the iPhone operating on the old slow network. She has a 5-megapixel camera -- so you don't have to carry a "real" one -- and she seems to do everything as well as both my current phones do. Oh, and she has VOIP software, WiFi and a built-in GPS.