Initially, the requirements were pretty modest: I don't have an mp3 player, so I figured it would be convenient to have a device that is my phone and my mp3 player at the same time. After that, I started having trouble keeping track of my schedule: my hectic agenda at work was enough to overwhelm me, let alone all the other small items I need to do every day. So, a calendar and some sort of notes system on the phone would be ideal. I then played around with my friend's Dell Axim x51v, and I realized how nice it was to have (a) a VGA screen, (b) Windows Mobile (c) WiFi.
Anyways, things quickly spiraled out of control, and now I want the ultimate all-in-one phone device. Here is the complete list of requirements:
- ~3 inch touch screen
- VGA (640x480) resolution or higher
- Windows Mobile 6
- Memory card slot
- Integrated Wi-Fi
- Integrated Bluetooth
- Integrated GPS
- Integrated camera
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
- Tri-band UMTS/HSDPA
- QWERTY keyboard
- 4-8gb on-board storage
Now, I'm willing to bend on a few items - for example, the exact size of the screen, the quality of the camera, on board storage (as long as there's an expansion slot) - but if I'm going to dump a bunch of money on a phone, I'm going to demand a lot. Of course, I also wouldn't object to some extras on top of this list, such as a low price, lots of RAM, fast CPU, reasonable size, etc :)
So, in my usual fashion, I went online and researched and read about every PDA phone out there and compiled a list of contenders:
- HTC Advantage x7501: this thing has virtually every feature that I want and is made by HTC, a respected & trusted company. However, it has two serious drawbacks: it's HUGE (the touch screen alone is 5 inches!) and ridiculously expensive (over $900). I just honestly can't see myself carrying around such a massive device and I can't imagine spending close to a grand on such a toy.
- E-Ten Glofiish M800: in terms of features, this is the runner up to the x7501 - it has everything I want except the on board storage (it does have a microSD expansion slot). The specs and pictures seem to indicate it has a much more normal size, which makes it the most likely candidate so far. However, it's not out yet, so it's hard to tell if this thing will be any good. Moreover, it's likely to be expensive ($800?), so I might have to wait for a while before buying it.
- I-Mate Ultimate 9502: this thing has just about identical specs to the M800, so again, the only thing lacking is on-board storage (but there is a microSD slot). Reports on release price vary from $400-$800, so that doesn't help much. The biggest problem, however, is that the none of the I-Mate Ultimate series phones have been released, so it's hard to tell if they are good, crap or just vaporware.
- Nokia E90 Communicator: I love Nokia phones and this one seems very promising, but is lacking in several areas. The resolution, while 800px wide is only 352px tall. That's almost 100px shorter than VGA, and I'm not sure the extra width compensates enough for it. Like the m800 this one has very little on board storage, but an expansion slot is a decent compromise. This thing runs the Symbian OS instead of Windows Mobile. It's also extremely expensive ($900), so I just don't see myself getting it.
- HTC Universal (aka O2 Xda Exec, I-Mate JasJar, etc): this seems like a very cool product, but from what I understand, has been discontinued. Additionally, it doesn't have GPS and very little on-board storage.
So, it seems like now it's just a game of waiting. Hopefully, the E-Ten and I-mate phones will be out and reviewed soon. But for now, I'm going to have to stick to writing notes on the back of my hand.