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And now, for something completely different (2)

February 16, 2009

This week is the Mobile World Congress, where all of the snazzy phone companies come out and talk about their latest phone babies, and for someone who is interested in smartphones, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to it.

I think…my heart is still taken with a phone that was spoken of earlier — the Palm Pre.

Palm Pre

Palm Pre

There have been a lot of contenders for “iPhone killer,” and a while back, when the iPhone was still not so good (and I couldn’t even recommend it a while back)…there was a narrow range of time that other companies could have taken advantage of to really take the iPhone out of the running.

Of course, these companies didn’t, and so the iPhone quickly spread like wildfire. I hear 51% of all smartphone data traffic comes from iPhones nowadays.

And of course, Apple released the iPhone 3G, which improved the original in many ways. Now, I can easily say that the iPhone is one of the top smartphone models. Even though I have some issues with the device, I can’t say that its success has been unwarranted.

So, other companies have scrambled to make iPhone killers, and each has failed. And I can say I saw it coming — many of the products didn’t even look hopeful before they came out, so it was easy to rule them out.

The Palm Pre hasn’t come out yet, but I think it stands a chance? Why?

Well, apparently, the guy who designed the iPod is on board with Palm (although that’s leading to some potential patent lawsuits…which would sink Palm’s battleship if Apple launches any torpedos). And when you see the videos about what you can do with the Pre, you see that they’ve paid attention to the small details…have multiple email accounts and calendars? It pools them together. Have multiple ways to communicate with one person? The Pre standardizes it so you’re communicating with a person and not a series of screen names. You’ve got the multi-touch, the beautiful, finger-friendly OS, speed and little lag…it’s looking like it could be The One.

But of course, I don’t have any Palm devices. And I don’t have Sprint. But what should little ole I, stuck with an AT&T Tilt/HTC Kaiser, do? Well, HTC has annoyed me, and I don’t think they quite have it down, but they too will be releasing two particularly promising next-gen devices: The Touch Pro 2 and the HTC Touch Diamond 2.

HTC Touch Pro 2

HTC Touch Pro 2

Basically, it seems that HTC has taken a more evolutionary approach instead of Palm’s revolutionary approach. The Touch Pro 2 will still be running Microsoft’s tired, old, and limited Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, but HTC has worked on adding more benefits to TouchFlo to make the OS more fingerfriendly. Combine that with a better resolution (800×480), a larger screen (3.2 inches), and that’ll lead to at least theoretical eyecandy.

So, why am I still skeptic? Well, HTC hasn’t increased the processing speed from the Touch Pro…and HTC has pointed out that this is their “business” device. To translate that from code, HTC has had a history of pointing out that its business devices don’t need to be media powerhouses, and because it has worked with Qualcomm which has some legal issues, HTC has ended up not putting accelerated graphics drivers into their own devices. So, HTC devices poke along on 2d AND 3d tasks, lagging when the hardware should be able to handle it all.

There are other super-devices…such as the Samsung Omnia HD. This one also takes an evolutionary approach from the original Omnia.

Samsung Omnia HD

Samsung Omnia HD

The Omnia HD will only have a 640×360 resolution, but it will have a 3.7″ screen, an 8 megapixel camera (jeez, I would barely need my regular point and shoot with this phone), up to 16 gb of internal storage along with microSD expansion which means that’s 16 + up to 32 gb so far…this could be my music player AND camera). On the other hand, it appears that Samsung will be jumping ship to Symbian OS S60 5th edition from Nokia rather than sticking with Windows Mobile. I dunno what to think of that — I’ve never used S60.

Ah, high-tech life will be good.

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