Monday, August 22, 2011

Best Upcoming Smartphones 2011

For the past two years, clearly the best-selling tech item around the world became the smartphone, the device that conveniently places the Internet in your pocket. This week, it has been announced that Research In Motion shipped 14.2 million BlackBerry in the quarter ending in September 2010, narrowly beating Apple's iPhone sales. These are huge numbers for smartphones sales.
The best way to shop around for a smartphone is firstly, to select a carrier with adequate coverage and a price plan that fits your needs. However, if you're going firstly to select the best smartphone, you should start by selecting its operating system (OS).

Right now, you have five Operating Systems (in the United States):
  • BlackBerry's OS by Research in Motion (RIM);

  • HP's web OS;

  • Apple's IOS, the software for the iPhone;

  • Google's Android; and

  • Microsoft's Windows Phone 7;

1) Concerning BlackBerries, while carriers such as Sprint and AT&T already sell smartphones running RIM's upgraded BlackBerry 6 software, others (e.g. T-Mobile and Verizon) still have to make such adjustment. Anyway, BlackBerry 6 won't probably be around for long, as RIM will be using a newer operating system on its coming tablet computer, in early 2011.
2) HP's web-OS just got a major update, however the current lineup is badly due for a replacement, and apparently HP's upcoming smartphone (i.e. Verizon-first Pre 2) doesn't look like it will count as such. Web-OS also badly trails other operating systems in its selection of apps, though it remains better off than Windows Phone 7.
3) Apple's i-OS does multimedia, calendar and contacts organization and Web browsing better than all the others smartphones. It also has the widest selection of add-on apps. Its FaceTime video-calling software is excellent in terms of ease of use and reach on other smartphones. But the iPhone runs only on AT&T, right now. That carrier also locks every iPhone sold in the US against transfer to other services, limiting you to expensive roaming plans while you travel abroad. And the major drawback with the iPhone is its phone service, particularly the issue of dropped calls.
4) Android OS's major strength is its diversity, because every major US carrier offers an Android smartphone which has led to a good selection of hardware designs and prices as low as $0.01. And the choice of Android apps might be limited, but fortunately it is not subject to the sort of freaky control Apple exercises over its App Store.

5) Windows Phone 7 to some extent is an unfinished product: it is a decent Web smartphone with weak apps. And Windows Phone 7 smartphones are overpriced for what they do. And their current limited availability is a serious drawback: only T-Mobile and AT&T sell Windows Phone 7 smartphones, but other carriers should join them by mid-2011.
Obviously, smartphones running Microsoft's older Windows Mobile software should not even be considered in your shopping requirements, in 2011.

After you select the operating system, then you should choose a carrier that will offer you coverage and a flexible price plan. Right now, your best choice for mobile-broadband coverage are with Verizon and Sprint (2nd choice). AT&T and T-Mobile are distant competitors. Why? Let me give you an example: in 2009, AT&T refused to allow iPhone users to make Skype calls over AT&T's 3G wireless network. In 2010, AT&T eventually relented. However, Verizon Wireless offers more than twenty smartphones that are compatible with Skype, and about half of them sold with Skype's mobile app already on the smartphone.

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