Which mobile phone?

Having been using Windows Mobile 6.5 for best part of a month now I was asked today what I thought of it and what phone software was the best.

imageIts much better that previous versions and is on the way to being as finger friendly as its rivals. You can now select options quickly with any finger rather than having to use the stylus all the time and therefore both hands. Putting this in perspective is that the interface changes are not complete and you don’t have to go very far before your back to the pointer. Still its better in that you can answer and make calls, unlock the phone and even select an application without sharp fingernails now. HTC’s touchflow interface makes it even better – I would really recommend it.

The other new function is the marketplace, rival to Apple’s appstore. Well I’ve been, browsed through the hundreds of applications that are on there and not found anything that I will use for more then two minutes. Great for the kids to find a new game, on a business phone, not really convinced to be honest.

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So its much better than previous versions that’s for certain but there is no doubt that Microsoft are playing catch up here and that Apple with the iPhone and Google with Android are still ahead.

Microsoft scores if you use Exchange as your mail system – their interface is miles better for mail than anything else. No other system )(as far as I know) can let you put your out of office on and set the message from your phone which I find incredibly useful while on the move. Similarly the option to search all of my mail folders is great for keeping my inbox manageable while the synchronisation works the way I expect it to, delete on my pc deletes on the phone, sent messages on the phone show in my sent items in Outlook etc. unlike the Blackberry I tried for a week not so long ago. 

In the short term Apple are a good but expensive option – I would choose one for my personal mobile but not for business if for no other reason than the battery life. In the medium to long term they will loose simply because they insist on making their own hardware which they only seem to update infrequently. Most of all their pricing means they are expensive to run. I hoped that the recent announcement that you could have them on Orange and Vodaphone as well as O2 would make them more competitive but having seen Orange’s pricing it just isn’t so. One might be ok, across a company it doesn’t take many to really add up.

Blackberry and RIM have a cult following but I really don’t get it. When they were the only devices with a ‘proper’ keyboard then I could understand the choice but every form factor is available on every platform these days .Their latest models seemed very slow when I tried one and the integration with outlook was much poorer than I was used to. Personally I cannot see the point,  I would go back to Windows Mobile 5 before having one of those to use.

Which will win in the end, well the best position right now has to be Google, they have a most complete, user friendly interface and with more and more handsets at competitive prices on all the major networks they are looking formidable. Their management and synchronisation options are not as good as Microsoft straight out of the box but with an ‘open’ platform third party companies will fix that if Microsoft don’t.

Early next year Technology Management will have to make a choice what we replace most of our consultants phones with. Choosing which handset or network this time is not going to be easy.  Everyone will have a different personal preference, should we stay with one standard phone or let people choose? Set a platform(s) we support or again let them decide? Questions I’m not sure the answer to right now.

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