Inanity. Abbreviated.

2012-03-27T17:45: Nothing Good Enough

For my own organization, I'm writing down my reasons for rejecting every smartphone on the market today.  I know, #FirstWorldProblems:

  • Plans are primary, so I'm staying with T-Mobile barring an overriding deal elsewhere.
  • I'm almost entirely reducing the field to Android because:
    • I need easy tethering. Blackberries don't do it right. I don't want to connect a personal Blackberry to my work BDM and have everything get confused there.
    • Symbian is a moving train wreck, particularly in the US. I may have never left my Nokia E73 if they kept releasing bug fixes to the existing features, but that's never been how it works with them. That the Nokia Astound is being dumped for $99 is a shame, but it's not getting a Belle update.
    • If I won't touch Symbian again for that reason, you can just not mention whatever this year's name is for the Linux/Qt OS that Nokia and Samsung pretend to care about when they want to keep their real OS partners in line. Too bad after glowing hardware reviews of the N900 and N9.
    • Windows Mobile is unmanageable without a Windows desktop that I don't have, even if I did like it otherwise. Booting Windows once is OK, e.g. to flash the Hercules that Heimdall can't manage, but as far as I know WM7 would be too hobbled without being able to regularly touch Windows. Ditto iOS.
  • Luckily, Android means lots of device options. But I know I need a couple things physically:
    • The weight must be as low as possible. If my G2 could magically lose two ounces I wouldn't be writing any of this. I want to stay under 6 oz. includnig a case. A TPU case generally works for me, so that lets the phone creep up over 5 oz., but not to 5.5.
    • The screen must be 4.3" or larger unless it has a physical keyboard. Bigger is better. The ease of typing jumps with every increment I've tried.
  • Almost every Samsung is out for not having a notification LED. I tried to use a Hercules and sent it back. The LED is a showstopper. I know about BLN hacks, but the backlights involved are too bright. It couldn't work.
  • After sending back the white Hercules I got, I considered that the black model might be better, but I checked in a store and it's still too much.
  • The one modern Samsung that has an LED is the Galaxy Nexus, but its voice clarity is said to be a step down from its S2 cousins. It's also annoying that they used an inferior camera, maybe because it showed off Android 4.0's new software better?
  • If the RAZR either had Band IV HSPA or took a standard SIM, so I could use a different 3G phone when I needed it, I'd overlook the (nominally?) non-replaceable battery. Would love to have a phone from a company that can build a phone. Every HTC and Samsung starts out down a point with me. Could move up as more other micro-SIM phones come out as options. Or will the industry largely skip right to one or more nano-SIM standards? (Because standard SIMs are just so unthinkably huge ....)
  • The HTC Sensation was a strong candidate. Maybe if I hadn't been comparing its screen to the Hercules when I got them both in ...? My official rejection reason will be the power button being too stiff combined with a lack of other physical buttons to wake it up. We'll see if the one @dragonjaze kept develops any of the hardware problems endemic to the model. It was manufactured this January so maybe HTC fixed some of the issues. I'll have to check hers in a couple months, because if her power button loosens up after a couple months of use, who knows?
  • (Yes, I bought a Sensation three months after the Amaze came out — see the point about weight, above! And I think people undervalue the hardware jump the Amaze represents. None of it is worth that last ounce.)
  • Now pondering the Atrix 2 as a melding of the above two. Practically the same dimensions as the Sensation, with a full GB of RAM and a camera button, and Moto's reception and call quality, while still being of the replaceable battery and standard SIM variety ... and the whole Webtop thing as a bonus! Need to check out the development community and see if it's thoroughly broken. Update 3/28: darn, no one has cracked the bootloader?

I'm pondering a Blackberry/Playbook/Tetherer combo, but not too seriously. ("Tetherer" being one of the old Android phones that can sit in my backpack until needed.) Also pondering other phone-tablet combinations.  Hm, does the BB 7.1 OS bring mobile hotspot to the platform? With Blackberries everything depends on which service books your carrier pushes too. TMOUS started rolling out 7.1 for the 9900 in February then pulled it. May have to recheck this.  (Looks like they just re-released it and tethering is a listed feature.)

Now the latest news from TMOUS is that they will start moving 3G to band II this year so they can do LTE on band IV within two years. When that hits my area, many more of the world's 3G phones become options — and more future-proof options at that. So that's even more reason to simply do nothing.

Update 3/28: the upcoming Huawei lineup, including both the Ascend D series and the myTouch QWERTY, looks promising. Looks like summer for any of those. I'm trying to think of any Huawei phones I've seen reviewed.

Update 4/11: Upcoming Pebble watch to make phone LED less relevant? Or today's inPulse watch?

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