With so many different smartphones available, how do you decide which one is right for you? The hot features boil down to internet, camera, email, and social, so if you enjoy anything connected to a social media site chances are you’re probably eyeing a smartphone. Digital cameras and GPS devices will be phased out if smartphones keep improving at their current rate.
Even after you’ve decided what you want from a mobile, the choice still isn’t clear. In this post, I’ll give you my thoughts on what’s out there.
Blackberry made a name for itself with its email encryption, and was gobbled up by seemingly every business out there. The screen size was minimal upon introduction, and its full QWERTY keyboard as standard was great for texting and emails. Blackberry even had its own elite messaging platform that used internet rather than text, minimizing your text usage.
As popular screen sizes jumped to full screen and keyboards looked like they were becoming a thing of the past, Blackberry came out with the Storm, which had a full screen that would only function if it was pressed hard enough to compress and click. Some users like myself found it hard to type and for even general use.
Blackberry has just about managed to stay in the game with many of its users still keeping it for business reasons, but some of those buy a separate, personal phone that offers a little bit more.
The Android platform jumped into the mobile phone game and has become a force to be reckoned with. It started on just a few basic phones that were touch screen only (and a huge user testing population ready to help it along). Android in its infancy wasn’t all that spectacular, but the ability to customise a lot of things and the open app market for developers attracted a lot of people.
The app market slowly has evolved and become absolutely gigantic – even I have applications I created for sale on it. Developers and hobbyists alike jumped to Android and began to give their input and join forums related to their devices. The enthusiasm of Android users has progressed so much and the community is huge. With improvements now being made in so many hardware areas – like cameras and screen resolutions – it’s become one of the top selling mobile platforms. It has more different handsets available than any phone on the market, from basic and low priced to monsters with price tags to match.
Nothing says amazing like the development of the iPhone. It was a huge seller from day one and the amount of people who own one and love it is stunning. If you own an iPhone, chances are you’re in love with it because it is such a fantastic phone and so simple to use.
I was an iPhone owner for a time and although I thought it was great, the time came when it became boring to me – and that’s when I started jailbreaking, to be able to get some theme and customization options. Apple really limited the user’s customization, and for many of us that left for Android those restrictions are why. I couldn’t even send a picture message on AT&T for a time and it drove me nuts.
The synchronization with iTunes and now with iCloud attracts a huge number of users and Apple will always be a top competitor. Unlike Android phones and Blackberry that are constantly changing design and shape, Apple changes the design of the iPhone just once a year. Plus, now that it’s no longer exclusive to AT&T, it’s possible for many others to jump onboard.
Windows and webOS
I didn’t forget about Windows Phone 7 or webOS… they are great as well. Windows Phone 7 is simple to use, just like the iPhone interface. Microsoft really changed things up from their Windows 6.5 days and it’s clear that they’ve stepped up their game.
Windows Phone 7 features a tile-based home screen, and uses a lot of swiping gestures to utilize all parts of the applications. The Windows app market is slowly expanding, and they are offering a bit more to their users now. The integration with Xbox is what attracted me to it at first; it was great, but yet again it was just a really boring experience for me, with only having tiles to choose from and limitations to other customizations. With rumors of Android getting the Xbox integration that Windows has I am waiting like a kid at Christmas time.
Out of left field came webOS and it really is a great operating system. From its multitasking to its synergy, where it combines information from many sources, it’s really clean. The app market is not so big but (just like with Android) there is a big developer community and those who love webOS are loyal. The Palm Pre was a big sell for Palm and users who bought it thought it was great. I know I wanted one!
With all of these options above it can really be daunting to decide on which one. My advice to you is to go to the stores with live demo models and try them out. Talk to the sales people and don’t buy the first thing you see. Think about whether you really need an 8 megapixel camera or a waterproof shell; whether you need a full QWERTY keyboard or you’d prefer a completely touch screen device. Then take a look at what apps you’ll probably want and see what market offers them – after all, if you’re on a U.S. carrier you’re going to be stuck with it for two years.
Whichever you pick, I can definitely say that once you get a smartphone you won’t ever go back.