2009 Smartphone Round Robin
6 platforms -- Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Nokia S60 and Maemo, Palm webOS, Microsoft Windows Phone -- 10 devices, and almost as many weeks later and the final week of the 3rd Annual Smartphone Round Robin brings yours truly back to iPhone!
And I won't lie -- I'm loving it. It's great to be back. All the other platforms have their strengths and highlight a few of Apple's remaining weaknesses, and this is the first year I can honestly say that if there was no iPhone I could find a device on each and every one of them to live and work with. The iPhone, however, remains for me the most fully realized, most user friendly, most consistent, most convergent device on the market.
What has my time away taught me? What have I learned to appreciate more about the iPhone, and what have I come away wishing Apple would straight out steal from the other platforms?
I've already reviewed the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.x OS before, but now I'm going to take a broader, wiser, look at it again -- and I'm going to do it after the break.
Over the last 5 weeks of the 3rd Annual Smartphone Round Robin, the editors of our sibling sites, Casey from AndroidCentral.com, Kevin from CrackBerry.com, Matt from NokiaExperts.com, Dieter from PreCentral.net, and Phil from WMExperts.com have all had their chance to review TiPb's flagship iPhone 3GS. And we've just had to sit here and take it, the good and the bad, the raves and the rants. Well, it's week 6 now, baby, and TiPb gets to retort!
My first smartphone was a Palm Treo 600 and so my last 2009 Smartphone Round Robin "away" review focusing on Palm's new webOS platform as embodied by the Palm Pre and Palm Pix does not lack for symmetry. Between the two, last year I reviewed the Palm Treo Pro which I quipped was more HTC than Palm, ran Windows Mobile and not a Palm-made OS, and had a keyboard that was hard to consider "pro" level. 3 years of round robin, three totally different platforms from Palm, and only this review for me to try and make my own sense out of it.
Luckily I had the mobile accomplisher himself, our editor-in-chief Dieter Bohn to show me Palm's new platform and their new devices, and the truly exceptional community over at PreCentral.net Forums to help understand where it's at and where it's going.
(And just a reminder, every day you post on that PreCentral.net thread, or any of the official Round Robin threads, is another day you're entered to win one of six (6!) new smartphones!)
Now let's get this on...
When last I left Palm they had but the Centro and some HTC Windows Mobile device to offer, now webOS and the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi's inform Week 6 of the 2009 Smartphone Round Robin. Talk about night and day. Lucky I have the daywalker himself, our illustrious editor-in-chief and PreCentral.net's own Dieter Bohn to show me how the brand new generation of Palm devices work. And works well.
Remember, every day you post on my PreCentral.net Forums thread, you're entered for a chance to win a webOS device of your very own. (And there's a total of 6 smartphones up for grabs -- one per SPE site -- so check them all out!)
This week also brings mobile powerhouse Matt Miller of Nokia Experts to TiPb's own iPhone. He's on the TiPb iPhone Forums and needs your help! Give him a hand and get a chance to win an iPhone 3GS for your troubles!
Video hands-on with Palm Pre and Palm Pixi, after the break!
Phil and Mal over at WMExperts.com were gracious enough to invite me onto the WMExperts podcast today to kick my apps discuss my Windows Phone Review, as well as all the weeks news -- including whether the iTablet or Windows Mobile 7 wins the prize for most rumored, unannounced product of the year.
Check it out!
Windows Phone is only slightly better off in this year's Smartphone Round Robin than Palm was last year -- like we substituted in the WinMo Treo Pro for the aging PalmOS in 2008, we're using two heavily HTC-skinned devices as WMExperts entries in 2009 -- the HTC Touch Pro2 and massive HTC HD2.
And I'm melancholy about that, because I kind of liked the unabashedly Windows Mobile tweaky, geeky Treo Pro last year, and was hoping to see a pure Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 device this year. Scrappy, underfunded Palm was able to deliver webOS after all, Google went Android 2.0, and Apple went iPhone 3.0. Instead we got Windows Mobile 6.5, which was decidedly bashed, and the aforementioned HTC Sense UI/TouchFlo shellacked over it -- a UI so opaque I think users might have trouble distinguishing HTC's Windows Phone devices from their Android ones going forward.
But those are the WinPhos we were dealt, and they're certainly tremendous in their own rights. To help me make sense of them (no pun intended), Phil Nickinson went over the finer points for me and the WMExperts Forum members really helped me out.
(And just a reminder, every day you post on that WMExperts thread, or any of the official Round Robin threads, is another day you're entered to win one of six (6!) new smartphones!)
Okay, enough preamble, it's time for the review... after the break!
Week 4 of the 2009 Smartphone Round Robin brings me face-to-big-glass-face with our most ancient nemesis -- Microsoft's Windows Mobile Phone, this year spawning the killer keyboard of the HTC Touch Pro 2, and the monstrous hardware of the HTC HD2. Yes, that's 2 times HTC version 2 devices and to help me out, I've got the dark lord of WMExperts himself, the one and only WMExperts Phil Nickinson to show me the ropes -- and quite honestly to help me lift that ginormous HD2 onto the table!
Remember, every day you post on my WMExperts Forums thread, you're entered for a chance to win the Windows Phone of your choice. (And there's a total of 6 smartphones up for grabs -- one per SPE site -- so check them all out!)
This week also brings the yin to my yang, the productivity to my play, my best frenemy forever, CrackBerry Kevin back to TiPb and the iPhone he claims never to use. Head on over to the TiPb forums and help him out, would you? (i.e. show him some neat new games). And get a chance to win an iPhone 3GS for your troubles.
Video hands-on with the Touch Pro 2 and HD2 after the break!