Assuming Rogers doesn’t once again change the eligibility date for a hardware upgrade, I should be eligible for a new phone in a couple of days. Currently, I have a BlackBerry 9700 Bold, which I’ve generally been happy with, but there are now other types of phones available that weren’t viable as options when I got my first smartphone a few years ago. These include iPhones, Androids, and Windows 7 phones, along with various other propriety almost-smartphones. There are also newer BlackBerrys to consider.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m looking for in a phone (besides the basic functionality of placing and receiving phone calls) and I’ve come up with a list:
- The screen must be larger than the one in my BlackBerry 9700: While the display on the Bold is fine, having more screen real estate would make it easier to use. The BlackBerry Torch has a larger screen.
- The screen must be a touchscreen: I’ve gotten so used to interacting with my iPad by touching the screen that I even find myself trying to zoom and scroll à la iPad. When I let other people use it, they try to scroll by touching the display, even when I tell them as I hand it to them “it’s not a touch screen” and “don’t poke the screen” — even other people who have identical phones to mine. iPhone owners are completely baffled if they try to use my BlackBerry that I eventually take pity on them. Some of the newer BlackBerrys have touchscreens, even if they have a screen similar in size to the 9700.
- Forward-facing camera: It would be nice to have the ability to make video calls, possibly with Skype. iPhones and Androids have them, but I’m not aware of any BlackBerrys that do.
Given that most phones these days have large touch screens, it’s really the forward-facing camera that’s starting to influence the decision. But it’s the next two that are the deciding factors:
- I’ve had an iPad since Christmas 2010 and I’ve bought a number of apps for it. iPhone apps will run on iPads and many iPad apps will also run on iPhones. And you don’t have to purchase additional copies when you get a new iThing.
- Sharing data between my computer, iPad and phone is important. Because I’ve already got an iPad, that almost makes the decision because Apple’s iCloud will sync things up automatically. I could use Dropbox for this on an Android, but it’s not as transparent as iCloud is. (That having been said, I make extensive use of Dropbox to shuffle files around, including to my iPad.)
So, my next phone is going to be an iPhone. It remains to be seen whether I’ll go for the iPhone 4S now or wait for the iPhone 5 (or whatever the next generation will be called). The iPhone 5 hasn’t been released yet, but the rumours are suggesting it could be announced in June with a September/October release. There’s a lot of speculation about what features it will sport a slightly larger screen — hopefully not too large because the form factor of the current iPhones is pretty good. I’ve seen some people using Android devices that are really small tablets instead of large phones and that doesn’t interest me. It may also have near field communication (NFC) built into it, which would offer potential for wireless payments similar to the PayPass technology used by Mastercard and Visa. In Ottawa, the pay-and-display parking kiosks have NFC stickers on them that you can use to wirelessly pay for your parking.
There are things I will miss about my BlackBerry, particularly the PIN messaging. But, I want to have fun, too, and I think an iPhone is most likely to answer that desire.