I am pre-mourning my Blackberry, whose keyboard has no equal in the current smartphone universe. And it sleeps and wakes automatically on a schedule, a feature lacking on the iPhone, as the unwelcome 2am "ping" of my husband's email often reminds me.
But realistically, once the market turns away from a technology, it's only a matter of time until the fat lady sings. Blackberry appears headed for the Palm death spiral. If my next phone likely won't be a Blackberry--what will it be?
There are two hot contenders on the horizon, one in each of the major smartphone camps, Apple's iOS and Google's Android. (Windows Mobile phones get great reviews, but hardly any regular humans seem to buy them).
Samsung's Galaxy S III and Apple's rumored next iPhone will both have mind-blowing specs, and both are likely to be BIG phones--great for seeing more on the screen (or just bigger text for older eyes), but challenging to fit into a pocket. And maybe not so comfortable to hold for a long phone call. Hello, headset!
Sadly, very few new phones include physical keyboards, and typing on glass is both uncomfortable and inaccurate, sometimes hilariously so (WARNING: NSFW*). I'll miss my keyboard, but I love the idea of a phone that knows when I'm looking at it and when I want to make a call.
So. . .How to Choose?
Essentially, the smartphone decision (regardless of carrier) is between
- Apple world, where things are fairly easy but you have limited control, and
- Google world, a little more confusing but a lot more flexible.
Both types of phones work with most computers and email accounts, although some Apple features won't work with older machines.
And the good news for consumers is that the ferocious competition between Apple and Google (and others) drives innovation. (That's also the bad news, as your shiny new device may feel out of date in no time). If you do switch phones, be patient with yourself; it can take a good month to get comfortable. And don't forget to check the return policy!
*NSFW: Not Safe for Work--you might not want to follow this link if others are looking.