Envious of your friends who are constantly answering e-mail, surfing the web, updating a calendar and texting friends and associates from their phone? It may be time for you to take the plunge and invest in a smartphone.
The good news is that with intense competition between the major U.S. carriers, there are some very good deals to be had on a variety of excellent devices. Included is a list of what may be considered the current flagship phone for each carrier, with a few honorable mentions thrown in.
Keep in mind getting a smartphone means an accompanying data plan for your line, which run about $30 per month. And if you are not eligible for an upgrade, these phones get much pricier than what is advertised. Finally, if you want 3G coverage be sure to check it is available in your area.
iPhone 3GS (AT&T): While not a major update to the previous iPhone 3G, it does offer a zippier processor, video recording and editing capabilities as well as voice commands. At $199 for a 16GB model it is a great deal if you are a new AT&T customer or eligible for an upgrade. However, some users still complain of sketchy service from AT&T and limited productivity features.
myTouch 3G (T-Mobile): The follow up to the G1, this is the second major handset running Google’s Android. The myTouch 3G promises “thousands of apps,” with T-Mobile heavily promoting Sherpa, a personal organization app. Android continues to get stronger and is an operating system to watch as a potential strong competitor to the iPhone. This device is also being marketed for its customization features such as the option to choose skins and background wallpaper. However, keep in mind that T-Mobile’s 3G network is relatively new, so check if it is available in your area.
BlackBerry Tour (Verizon): Still primarily a business-centric device, this is probably the slickest looking BlackBerry yet and very likely the best phone on the Verizon network. The Tour gives you a great combination – the power and utility of a BlackBerry with what many regard as the most reliable 3G network. The only major drawback is the lack of Wi-Fi (a Verizon quirk) and the scaled back screen real estate due to the QWERTY (physical) keyboard. But if you are set on staying with Verizon or a fan of the BlackBerry line this is the phone to get.
Palm Pre (Sprint): Sprint recently made a large splash with the Pre, another iPhone challenger device that features a touch screen and slide-out QWERTY. The Pre’s dominant features is its ability to run multiple apps in the background; making for quick multitasking. Palm and Apple are also battling over the Pre’s ability to sync with iTunes. The companies released dueling updates – Apple killed the feature, then Palm found another way around it.
Honorable mentions: Windows Mobile doesn’t get much love, but at $99 the new Samsung Jack is a strong device that place nicely with your Windows PC. The Nokia E71x also got many positive reviews, and the BlackBerry Curve still has many devotees.