Friday, January 12, 2007

Alternatives to Apple iPhone

If you were excited by the iPhone announcement, you may have missed photos of the LG wide-screen smartphone,LG KE850

The Sony w880 also looks promising.

The OpenMoko FIC Neo1973 Smartphone was announced several months ago and will be available in February, 2007.

As I've pointed out in previous postings, I'm not a big fan of all-in-one devices. Yes, the iPhone includes a camera, a music player, and PDA functionality. However, the 2 Megapixel camera isn't likely to replace my 10 Megapixel Pentax, the 8 Gig music player won't replace my 30 Gig iPod, and iPhone lacks the applications available on the iPaq. I expect my PDA to include Word, Excel, handwriting recognition, DivX Mobile Player, removable memory cards, IRDA, and maybe most importantly, the ability to install 3rd party applications.

So, iPhone the won't actually replace any of the devices I carry and it's larger than my phone. Although convergence is getting closer. I'm increasingly tempted to toss my PDA and phone in favor of a device like the Treo 750. However, that's because the size of the Treo is finally approaching the size of my iPaq and it includes all the same software. The new 750 goes on sale this month.

The iPaq 1945 is 4.5 x 2.8 x 0.5 inches; 4.2 ounces. The Treo 750 is 4.44 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches; 5.4 ounces. Unfortunately, the Treo's display is only 240 x 240 pixels while my iPaq has a 320 x 240 pixel display. I really wish that some manufacturers would make Pocket PC phones without QWERTY keyboards. I've never felt like I've needed one and they just take up valuable real-estate that could be used for a larger display. Sadly, it seems like the mini-keyboard trend is irreversible at this point.

I've tried the Motorola Q and the Samsung Blackjack. They are nice but they are Windows Smartphones. I think I'd rather stick with a Windows Pocket PC phone.

I should also add that my PDA costs less than $200 and my phone is $50 with a 2 year contract. The less-capable, albeit prettier iPhone starts at twice that price. I'd suggest that money would be better spent on a 30 Gig iPod or a 10 Megapixel Pentax.

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