Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Little and big Hershey's bars: Android phones at SXSW 2010

Longtime readers know that I'm a big fan of my aging G1. It was the first Android phone, and still has some features that the iPhone can't match (ex: multitasking). On the other hand, it's a bit clunky in other ways, and I'm worried that the sliding keyboard will loosen up well before the contract is up in October.

So I've been casting envious eyes at some of the new Android phones on the horizon. In particular, two:

Google's Nexus One. Although it hasn't been selling all that well, this phone has some fantastic features and is now available for both T-Mobile and AT&T 3G bands. (You can buy it unlocked, which is probably what I'd do.) I saw a few of these at SXSWi, but didn't get a chance to fondle, er, test-drive it. If you'd like to give me that chance, email me or tweet me.

The Dell Mini 5. I did get a chance to test-drive this one, courtesy of Chris Byrd at Dell. It's fantastic. We heard about this one a while back, as an Internet tablet - but recently Dell revealed that it would also serve as a phone. Chris tells me that they haven't announced a carrier or price yet, and I was not sly enough to worm any other details out of him. But he did say he has been using it for the past couple of months and it has been great.

Let's put this on the table: The DM5 is enormous. Its home mode is landscape rather than portrait, like a PSP rather than a standard candy bar phone. And speaking of candy bars, it reminds me of nothing more than an enormous vintage Hershey's bar next to the diminuitive modern Hershey's that is the iPhone or Nexus One. It will fit in a shirt pocket, but sticks up about 3/4". It has forward and backward-facing cameras (for videoconferencing, when the carriers support that). It has a docking station that allows you to port the phenomenal video to a big screen. And yes, I covet it.

The DM5, Chris tells me, will be out in the first half of this year - so, by June 30. If it rolls out to AT&T, they will have a real competitor that sits between the iPhone and the iPad, combining features of both - as well as an unlocked Nexus One.

You may have figured this out already, but the DM5 looks like a strong contender for the next-gen Spinuzzi phone. If I have to get a phone without a physical keyboard, the DM5's native orientation and screen size should help to make up for the lack. And it's tailored to what I actually do with my phone - roughly 50% browsing, 25% tweeting and texting, 20% email, 5% talking. But the Nexus One also looks like an excellent phone. It's nice to have these alternatives out as my G1 takes its final lap around the track.

1 comment:

LifeSize said...

lol at "5% talking" -- that's so true, so where phones have developed to today.