Back on 2008 I purchased a G1 phone as soon as I could use my Qualcomm subsidy for phones (and other devices) with our processors. Over most of that time I’ve been very happy with it. But after nearly two years it has started to exhibit some problems which may be at least in part because it is now running a very old version of Android and, as near as I can tell cannot be upgraded to a newer version.
Sometime in the last year, I got Tara a Google Nexus One to replace her very old Razer and get her up to a smart phone. She has been happy, and I’ve been sometimes envious. In fact I’ve been debating about using my bouns again once it becomes active in November for a new phone – and had been strongly leaning towards a Nexus One myself (unless Google released an update about that time).
But it sounds like Google hasn’t been able to crack into the US market directly with a mostly unlocked phone. Now the Nexus one is only available from Vodaphone with a contract (no go for a US phone), or as a developer model for much more than what I paid for Tara’s unlocked phone.
So, between now and Novmeber, I have to decide if I want to replace my phone or not. I just did some looking at what T-Mobile is offering – since I’d rather stick with T-Mobile than move to AT&T and want to keep the family on one plan so Verizon and Sprint are right out (plus I’d like to still be able to roam in Europe, et. al., not that I’m likely to be there before 2014 the way things are going).
Looking at what T-Mobile has to offer right now, I’ve pretty much determined that they are only offering two Android phones: the Garmin phone/GPS hybrid – which people on my team may have worked on, I’d have to see if I could confirm or not – and the “My-Touch Slide.” From what I’ve read, the Garmin has overridden the default Android interface, which is one thing I’d like to keep if I stay with Android, so that may be out. The other phone looks like it may really not be that much of an upgrade from the G1. I’m not able to map version numbers on the Android OS to the names I hear around work (Doughnut, Eclair, Froyo, etc.). So that may not work either.
Other choices would be to look at other smart phones. But even there T-Mobile looks a bit thin – especially given my need to ensure that there is a Qualcomm chip. Most of the ones that I can see that are highly likely to have Qualcomm chips are either the Blackberries or WinMobile phones. I’m not sure I want to move from Android to either WinMobile or RIM’s OS, but I think I’d lean to a Blackberry – but at the loss of a bunch of my capability.
The third choice would be to either keep my current phone, or get something that is wholly covered by a contract extension – which I should also have available about the same time unless something got glitched there – and then use the subsidy to get a wireless powered e-book reader (probably a Knook). Obviously, I could just hold onto the bonus as well and not use it at all until absolutely necessary - i.e. when my phone fully dies or gets lost.
At least I’ve got about three months to figure this out. And who knows – by then the Christmas phones will be out and there may be more options.