Even though 2009 was a difficult one for many in regards to finances, the mobile phone market continued to grow and manufacturers continued to roll out some excellent phones for the consumer. In this issue of the 2009 Holiday Gift Guide we will take a look at two selected mobile phones from each of the four major US wireless carriers. I know the lines between feature phones and smartphones are no longer clear cut, but we will have another Guide edition for smartphones that will include those devices running Windows Mobile, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, Symbian, and Palm WebOS.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
It seems everyone in business has a smartphone today to keep connected to the office and enjoy their time away from the office. Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, Wi
Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.
The T-Mobile G1 was the first Google Android device launched in the US. We also now see several other companies launching Android devices with the Samsung Moment, Motorola CLIQ, and Motorola DROID. All of these new devices from others have physical QWERTY keyboards while HTC only has the G1 with a keyboard and the rest, including the upcoming HTC Eris, all having only a touchscreen interface. I love the HTC Sense found on the HTC Hero, but no matter how hard I try to accept a touchscreen only device I keep going back to a physical keyboard. Where is the HTC Google Android device with QWERTY keyboard?
Most of the excitement in the mobile phone space this week focused on the announcement of the Motorola DROID on Verizon Wireless. Looking at the Verizon Wireless press release archive page you have to scroll down to the 6th or 7th story to find that the RIM BlackBerry Storm2 was also announced this week with availability occuring a couple of days ago on Wednesday, 28 October. Crackberry.com has a detailed review that covers the device in detail and it looks like the Storm2 is the device that the original Storm should have been. RIM tried some different things with the Storm, primarily with their clickable display, that took away from the BlackBerry experience and this no longer seems to be the case.
The biggest news in mobile technology this week was the Motorola DROID announcement from Verizon Wireless and we spent a large junk of MobileTechRoundup show #188 talking about the device and Google Android. James, Kevin, and I haven't yet held the DROID so we are reserving final judgement on it, but it sounds like James may be the only one who may pick up the device since he already has a Verizon account. Google Maps Navigation beta is installed on the DROID and may just have wiped out PNDs, but Microsoft is helping with the shutting down of the MSN Direct service on 1 January 2012.
With all the excitement surrounding the latest Google Android devices people are starting to make statements about Android or Apple winning the smartphone war. There will never be a single winner in the smartphone space and people should not even count out Symbian with their current double digit lead and exciting future prospects with the Symbian Foundation work. The smartphone market is exciting and fluid with the flexibility to let anyone step in and take a share of the pie while others continue to improve as well.
Verizon Wireless was stagnant in the smartphone arena, but is coming out shooting with a full load this holiday season. The Motorola Droid was announced earlier today and now we hear rumors that the HTC Droid Eris will be priced competitively at just $99. Stay tuned since an official announcement for the Eris has yet to be made.
I received a press release today from Sony Electronics regarding the new Sony Ericsson Aino unlocked mobile phone and have to really wonder if there are enough rich people who are willing to pay $600 for a feature phone. The Aino doesn't run any smartphone OS, but Ericsson's proprietary system. It does have an 8.1 megapixel camera and ability to work with a PlayStation3 for media sharing. It was reviewed on CNET UK and they were not at all impressed with the touchscreen interface and functionality of the device.
Verizon and Motorola made it official today with the announcement that the DROID by Motorola will launch next week, 6 November, for only $199.99 with two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. The DROID is Verizon's first Google Android device and the first Android device running version 2.0 software. It has a huge 3.7 inch 854x480 pixel resolution capacitive touchscreen and comes in at only 0.54 inches thick with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Palm stole the spotlight at CES 2009 with the announcement of their Palm Pre and WebOS operating system and Palm fans rejoiced. It hasn't been as successful in 2009 as was hoped and in October their stock was down again, 20%, with limited Palm Pre availability and slow rollout of applications. I personally do not have a lot of confidence in Palm getting past 2010 without rolling out updated WebOS devices on other carriers. Do you think Palm can continue and succeed with the WebOS?
I signed up with Grand Central way back when it first launched and then transitioned to Google Voice along with everyone else. I then paid $10 for a custom Google number and love the experience on Google Android devices. I was browsing through the Google blogs and discovered that Google is now offering you the ability to use Google Voice with your existing phone number instead of having to select and use a new number. Keep in mind this is a lighter version of Google Voice as you can see in this blog post and in the chart shown below. If you have a Google Voice account, you can add Google voicemail to any mobile phone linked to your account.