I have a bit of an obsessive personality. Plus, I’m not a very patient person. So when something new and shiny comes out that I’m interested in owning, it makes my life very difficult. Because I want it NOW, and because I can’t seem to think about anything else.
Unfortunately, Microsoft just released something both new and shiny, and I want it, and so my thoughts are consumed with it, and that means you have to be subjected to a rambling blog post about it, because I can’t seem to think about anything else right now.
This new shiny thing is a mobile operating system called Windows Phone 7. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound very exciting. But trust me, it is. It’s kind of like Christmas and my birthday wrapped up together in cake. It’s difficult to explain what’s so wonderful about it, and I don’t really want this post to turn into an advertisement, so just go here and find out more about it yourself.
In any case, my wife is thoroughly sick of hearing me talk about Windows Phone, so I’m going to ramble about it on my blog instead, and then maybe I can get some of these thoughts out of my system. So here we go.
First, some facts. There are currently three Windows Phones available in the US. On AT&T, you can get the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround, and T-Mobile has the HTC HD7. Two more have been announced, and should be available before the end of the year. One is the LG Quantum, which will be an AT&T phone, and the other is the Dell Venue Pro, which may or may not be on T-Mobile.
Microsoft has pretty strict minimum hardware requirements for Windows Phones, so there isn’t much of a difference between each phone. But there are a few differences. For example, every phone has to have a screen with an 800 x 480 resolution. However, the Samsung Focus and the Dell Venue Pro both have a Super AMOLED screen, which provides a much more impressive image than the LCD screens that the other three phones have. So that’s kind of important to me.
Also, the LG Quantum and the Dell Venue Pro have physical keyboards, while the other three do not. And the HTC Surround has surround sound speakers. Which are not all that impressive, apparently. I have not yet been able to see any of these devices in person yet, so everything I’m talking about here is information I’ve gotten from other sources.
My dilemma is really twofold. First of all, I need to figure out how I’m going to get one of these things. Secondly, I need to figure out which one I’m going to get.
Obviously the first problem is more important. Cell phones are strange things. They don’t really cost all that much – as long as you sign a two year contract with a service provider. And those service plans? Yeah, they cost a lot. And if you don’t get a service plan? Yeah, then the phones cost a lot a lot.
For example, I could get an HTC Surround or an LG Quantum from Amazon for a grand total of… one penny. Not bad, huh? Oh, but then I have to basically sign my life away to AT&T. The cheapest service plan costs $55 a month. That includes a whopping 450 minutes, no text messages, and only 200 MB of data. Oh, and by the way, AT&T does not provide any service where I live. So I’d be paying $55 a month for a service that I cannot use. Not to mention that the Samsung Focus is the phone I really want, but it is currently out of stock.
The situation with T-Mobile is both worse and better. There is only one phone available on T-Mobile right now, the HTC HD7. It’s not quite as nice as the other phones and it costs $150 on Amazon right now. But T-Mobile at least has the option to only pay for data, and not get a voice plan. Which would be good, cause I never talk to anyone on the phone anyway. Oh but wait… T-Mobile doesn’t offer service in my area either.
So it’s really kind of pointless for me to get one of these phones with a service plan. Fortunately, it is possible to buy them without a service plan. (What would be the point of this, you ask? Well, I’d basically be using it as a handheld computer anyway. They do have Wi-Fi, so I could still connect to the internet that way, plus I hardly ever leave the house anyway.) Unfortunately, they cost around $500. For that much money, I could get a halfway decent laptop.
So what do I do? Buy a phone for a penny, but get saddled for two years with an exorbitant fee for a service I can’t use? Or save up and spend $500 next year for a phone with no service?
Of course, once I figure out how I’m going to get a phone, I need to figure out what phone to get. They all have their pros and cons. The Samsung Focus is the one that I was interested in at first. It’s the thinnest, and it has the best screen and the best camera, but it only has half the RAM and storage space of the other phones, plus it has no physical keyboard, which is something I think I would like to have.
I think the one I really want is the Dell Venue Pro. It’s got an awesome Super AMOLED screen like the Samsung Focus, and it’s got 16 GB of storage, plus it’s got a physical keyboard. It’s not actually available yet, so I don’t know anything about the camera, but it still seems like the one I want. So I guess that’s not really that big of a problem.
In any case, I have no money right now, so I guess I just need to be patient and see what happens. Maybe Microsoft will release something like an iPod Touch – a device that runs the Windows Phone OS but isn’t actually a phone. That way I don’t have to worry about a two-year contract, plus it probably will be quite a bit cheaper than an actual phone. Now, I just have to wait. Yay.