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The Smartphone Market Is A Confusing Place...

Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 1 Comment

Started early, as my current mobile phone contract is far from over, but I'm searching around for what is up and coming and working out what I want next.

A couple of days ago I seen an offer for the Blackberry Storm, which although looks rather stunning apparently has a number of design flaws (see Sarah Lacy's interview http://tinyurl.com/dyzsaz on TechTicker).

Microsoft is continuing to let me down on the announcements front for their new smartphones - Windows Mobile 6.5 doesn't sound like it's about to break the smartphone market with the touch-screen features that other companies are perfecting and continuing to build up and integrate into other online services. Windows Mobile 7, the version that is supposed to catch them up with the rest of the market, is already been hailed as something outstanding - but I'm just not sure I can wait around that long to find out.

Although I love my current HTC Touch, I can't stick with it - in a very short time it has been used and abused and looks dated and far behind the current smartphone market. I could update to one of the newer models, which look great and I'm sure they are - they suffer from the Microsoft Mobile operating system, and because Mobile OS's aren't updatable to newer versions (you have to buy a new phone), the HTC phones suffer from being left behind by the lack of Windows Mobile 7 announcements.

I'm already ruled out of the iPhone market - due to my appauling record with other Apple products. I really wish I could get excited about Apple products, I really do, but although they produce some really good products, they usually go and spoil them by some design flaw (building in batteries, pushing browsers in iTunes updates, being closed off from other manufacturers, etc).

The Google phone is a possibility, but I think it's too early to consider seriously. The hardware does look a little ugly, but I'm sure the functionality will work exactly as advertised. Next generation hardware may change the appeal of the Google phone, but I don't think it's for me - just yet.

Is the new (announced at CES this year), Palm Pre the answer? It could well be (aside from the fact it isn't available yet), the touch-screen interface is very iPhone, but with Palm's spin on the functionality. The phone looks good and appears to work flawlessly - addressing some of the iPhone's shortcomings (you can replace the battery in the Pre as one example). But will the Pre be left behind on the applications front? Do they have enough developers to push the whole thing along and make it usable for Live Messenger, Twitter, Facebook, etc?

So, where does this leave me? The honest answer is - I don't know! The smartphone market is a confusing place and can be expensive if the wrong choice is made, especially as mobile phone companies are looking to lock you in on 24 month contracts now and SIM free devices are expensive to purchase if you really want to upgrade. Fortunately I have five months to make a decision, but believe me, I'm already seriously trying to predict the market and not make the wrong choice.


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