Saturday, October 18


Today was a bit of a crossroads for me. I counted the minutes to the arrival of my new Nokia N96, which I won from eBay in a one-sided auction. Getting into my first Nokia after several years of using Pocket PCs and then the iPhone resulted in a bit of disorientation, but my fingers went back to keypad texting with little problem. As I sat there with the N96 in one hand and the iPhone in the other, I realized part of the reason why I chose this particular model to replace my Apple device- the N96 is very similar in look to the iPhone- glossy black with little visible trimmings save for the one button (though once you activate the thing, a myriad lights turn on like a Christmas Tree). Unfortunately, the similarity ends there, at least in substance. While the iPhone felt like a solid bar of sturdy metal with a lovely heavy feel, the N96 feels like a toy with it's plastic body. However, the phone has a nice feel to it regardless, and the size is just right to rest comfortably in my hand. I spent the evening (and the meager factory charge of the N96's battery) testing out the camera, trying out the video and Mass Storage capability and troubling over a file that refused to be deleted (forcing me to format the phone's memory).

Needless to say, I'll probably be spending most of the weekend getting to grips with my new toy. I'll also probably be spending a bit of time helping my Mom- who has consequently become the owner of a used First-Gen iPhone- get used to her new device.

All things are new again...

Wednesday, October 15


My next phone?

I love my Apple iPhone 2G. Even to this day, I haven't seen a phone out there that looks as sexy and as slick as Apple's first-generation effort in the mobile arena, not even the iPhone 3G. The phone still looks as sleek and lovely as the day I got it, and feels just as solid, sturdy and classy all around. It's still got, as far as I know, the most user-friendly and fun interface on a mobile device I've ever experienced, the best video playing and the loveliest screen around. So, why do I find myself continually thinking of making a switch to a new phone?

Well, it's natural... I'm a gadget freak. I yearn for always finding the next big thing, the next cool toy. Stability, sameness and status quo are nice, but ultimately... boring. Right now, everything's peachy with the iPhone, but there are several glaring things that I can't deny. One, my iPhone is of a dead species- like that silent Kurt Russell in the film Soldier, replaced by a new , slicker generation of plastic-backed descendants. Though it's working quite well now, I have no idea what I will do once the battery- which has to be sent to Apple for replacement- finally starts acting up. Two, support for apps and new stuff on the free, jailbroken side of the iPhone has apparently dried up. Installer, once a rushing river of cool free applications, games and nice stuff, has as of late grown stagnant. Everyone is developing for the Apple iTunes App Store, and who can blame them? They can get paid. So far the games and apps on my phone currently are cool, but aside from the most useful stuff like Sketches, Pool and Tetris, most are just stuff to take up space on the screen.

And finally... well... better things are coming. Phones with great cameras and video. Great functionality and features. These can't be denied. Even though the form factor of the iPhone is still king for me, looks can only get you so far. There's substance to be found in other phones coming out or out right now that I, as a gadget enthusiast, can't ignore.

So what are the options I'm looking at?

Definitely I am NOT getting an iPhone 3G. I'm just sick of the overblown priced plans from Globe and the overpriced models sold by the Grey Market. I asked myself, is it worth going through all that for just added storage and some nifty games from the App Store? Nope. Man, if the App Store had a Tekken or a Street Fighter game, if the iPhone had a decent camera and video-recording and 32 GB at least, I'd plunk into it in a heartbeat. But right now? It's pretty crap. At least, for someone who has already had an iPhone for a while, the 3G model isn't an upgrade- it's a grudging kiss to Apple's ass. No thank you.

I found myself gravitating a bit towards a couple of new phones out recently- the Samsung i5810 blew me away when I first saw it in a shop at Megamall's Cyberzone. The sleek black slider has an 8-Megapixel Camera (!) and the ability to take VGA videos at 120 frames per second- that means you can play them back in butter-smooth slow motion if you want. Add to that 16 Gigabytes of storage (which you can further augment with a memory card), the latest Symbian OS and you've got one heck of a smartphone that gadget geeks would cream over. The only problems are- well- supposedly the battery life sucks eggs, the screen isn't as sharp as you'd expect and the thing's a heavy, bulky bar. Well, at least if you need to defend yourself you can use it as a blunt instrument.

The other option I am thinking of is the Nokia N96, which is the Finnish upgrade to their now-classic N95 superphone. What sets it apart is a lot more focus on video and multimedia- both of which score high with me. The 5-Megapixel camera and DVD-quality VGA video recording look great, as well as the 16 GB storage, nice big 2.8 inch screen and Symbian OS (which includes NGage gaming support). This is a true all-in-one device that can pretty much serve as my phone, PDA, media player and camera/video recorder in one compact (albeit still substantial) package.

So it's pretty obvious- I'm teetering towards a return to Nokia. It certainly seems to be a better solution than an earlier plan I had for upgrading- getting myself a 32 GB iPod Touch and a Sony Ericsson Cameraphone combo. However, this route could potentially have me at one time lugging around THREE devices at a time (a proper digicam), which is just... dumb.

It's not yet a total done deal- everytime I look at my iPhone, I just find myself totally enamoured in that huge, lovely screen and my determination slightly falters. Ultimately, I probably won't be selling my iPhone... maybe I'll just retire it and keep it around in The Sanctum like my old O2 XDA2i. But someday, it seems to be invetable... I have to move on to something else. Man, decisions, decisions.