The One Lab

The Hunt for a Decent Cell Phone

I'm currently looking for a cell phone that doesn't suck in the US market at this time. At the moment, I have a Motorola RAZR V3m which, while somewhat fulfilling my needs, is dismal for doing any kind of contact or agenda data manipulation. Unfortunately, the only input method available is the beyond awful iTAPEN or T9 input methods, and the UI Verizon built into the darn thing is dismal. Honestly, does anyone actually like digging through eight levels of menus just to delete a contact, only to be insulted by a mandatory four second animation of a piece of garbage being thrown away? NO! And I certainly don't, either.

Ultimately what I want, however, is a phone that must do the following at the bare minimum:

Features that would be icing on the cake would be:

At the moment, there doesn't seem to be a phone in the US market that manages to fulfill all of the first set of requirements in the slightest. [Ed: actually, I did manage to find one -- more on that down the line]

There's always the Danger HipTop, which I've had in the past before, but why? The entire platform is locked down tighter than a drum, the devices consistently break apart with consistent use, and my data would be held hostage on Danger's servers forever.

In any case, the below is a listing of the various phones I've looked into so far. At this point, my best bet would likely be the Nokia E90 or the Motorola E690, as one is running an operating system that is totally user-malleable (S60 is pretty darn cool), and the other is running Linux.

Future phones yet to be released (in the US)

Motorola E690

This particular phone looks quite decent, as it's slim, has a nice design, could easily fit into a pocket, and runs the most open operating system on the planet: Linux.

Unfortunately, there's next to no information about this device anywhere, save for some photos. My guess is that this will be yet another Asia-only phone which means us US people will be sucked down into the abyss of crappy phones yet again. =o(

Nokia E90

This phone is the closest the old Psion Series 5 users will ever get to having a Series 5 combined with a cell phone. Unfortunately, it really is just that, in both form and function. The size of the phone is insane and fails to meet a core goal: the ability to fit it into my pants pockets.

Probably not going to work.

Apple's iPhone

Decent cell phone from what I've been able to glean from the techspecs and the Apple keynote. From what I can tell, it's exactly the same size as my 20GB iPod Video, which is more than slim enough to fit in my pockets.

So far, I like what it has to offer, but I really want to know if the device will have a vibration mode for discreet incoming calls. This may be the major make/break point for the device. Ultimately, this device provides almost exactly what I've been looking for, including the malleability via widgets.

We'll have to see how it fares in the near future -- FCC approval, and the requisite contracts with Cingular can change it.

Phones currently available

Nokia E70

[Ed: THIS is the phone I eventually settled on. While it meets every single one of my goals, the one thing I would like it to be is faster]

Nokia 9300i

Nokia 9300

Nokia 9500

HTC Hermes (Cingular 8525)