A while ago, I had posted an entry on ZeroXR about needing advice on a new phone. In the post I detailed about my previous history with phones and my time with them. What I didn’t get a chance to do was to really get into the nit-picky details of why I loved and/or hated each one. There’s the old saying that “Every rose has its thorns” and I am one who believes that even applies to technology. Especially since the “Jesus Phone Part Deux” came out, everyone wants the “hottest” phone or the cutest looking ones. I present to you my “memoirs” of hacking phones up until this present day. Click the jump to read this opus of my memories!
The Zero Corporate Communicator is due for an upgrade… My AT&T Tilt has taken quite the beating from me. For 7 months of loyal service, being subject to my drunken rages every now and then, but also being hacked to fit my needs… I am amazed it has last me 7 months. I mean with respect to things… Check out my phone chronology! (Disclaimer: Times are approximate…)
10/2004 – 10/2005: Nokia 3120 (1 Year)
10/2005 – 1/2006: Motorola RAZR V3 (3 Months)
1/2006 – 3/2006: Motorola SLVR L6 (2 Months)
3/2006 – 5/2006: Motorola MPx 220 (2 Months)
5/2006 – 7/2006: Sony Ericsson T637 (2 Months)
7/2006 – 10/2006: Motorola SLVR L7 Unbranded without iTunes (3 Months)
10/2006 – 1/2007: HTC Wizard as a T-mobile USA MDA (3 Months)
1/2007 – 5/2007: Nokia E62 (4 Months)
5/2007 – 10/2007: Palm Treo 680 (4 Months)
10/2007 – 4/2008: DUAL PHONES – Sony Ericsson P990i AND Sony Ericsson w300i (6 Months)
4/2008 – Present [12/2/2008] – HTC Kaiser as an AT&T Tilt 8925 (7 months onward…)
Lately, my phone is going through issues… The slider mechanism is getting loose, unless I lock it in the angular position if I somewhat slack with the screen angle. I am going through a RAM leak issue that my phones go through… So something like the phone’s alarm or an event reminder will lock up or even crash my phone. I have to reboot the phone every other day now rather than every 4 days to keep the phone functional. The worst part… I have tried almost EVERY cooked and stock OEM HTC TyTN II ROM possible to flash into my phone in hopes of having a functional phone that was stable since the maladies happened… But alas… even a bare stripped out BASE ROM that is on the original HTC TyTN II without the garbage still has my phone crashing and locking up.
So yeah… I have been looking at new phones. At the moment, I am eligible through T-Mobile to enjoy the same deals as new users from being eligible for an upgrade as long as I do the 2 year hitch. However, should I choose to hop back to the Death Star and be subject to their funny taxes, rollover minutes and etc… I’d have to wait until around until June of 2009. Time is not of the essence, yet… Unless my phone just purely becomes dysfunctional that it is unstable. I do need a smartphone, as the ability to see my calendar of events and keep my contacts at ready access. Messaging is highly important to me as I do a lot of mobile contact when voice is not an option. Internet plans are being considered, as e-mail and instant messages are my alternative lifelines other than texting and voice calls.
Here’s the line-up… so far that is:
BlackBerry Bold (To be unlocked…)
BlackBerry Javelin (aka 8900 Curve) [Unfortunately no official link yet, link from Boy Genius Report]
Nokia XpressMusic 5800 (The wicked touch screen music phone)
Palm Centro (Unlocked from Palm)
HTC/T-Mobile G1 by Google
My common themes seem to be phones with physical keyboards that are exposed, the only exceptions being the G1 and the Nokia Xpress Music 5800. The G1 has a slider keyboard like my Tilt, while the Nokia has a soft keyboard and it does support written input via stylus.
The issue of billing is not too bad… cause at the moment, I pay $70 for my current plan after taxes and such. However should I go with any device with the optional net plan (for the G1, the net plan is MANDATORY), the price totals out at $80. So it’s about 1 take out meal a month less. Not a big deal, cause I don’t have much time for that anyways. The only pressing issue would really be the $35 activation fee and the device prices.
The BlackBerry devices may be fun, but the Bold, for example is only available in the US as a locked AT&T phone and I would have to spend a little extra coin to get it unlocked for use. The Javelin is not known if it’s coming to T-Mobile USA, but there is already an AT&T unit under testing. For either the Bold or Javelin, this is probably the most expensive route ranging from sniping one off of craiglist at $450+ before any unlocking services.
The Palm is a rather nice and pint sized little smartphone and at roughly $300 unlocked from Palm is a great deal. The sad selection of white only is a little sobering… Though the final issue is compatibility with the T-Mobile mobile web… I am highly considering mobile web, so it puts the Centro on a very thin edge. The Nokia XpressMusic 5800 ($500+) is also on that same thin edge with the mobile web compatibility… Though the XpressMusic is more media centric rather than a corporate looking communicator.
The T-Mobile G1 is probably the underdog of them all… Priced at $180 with a 2 year renewal, fully Linux and open source, and quickly becoming versatile. It’s made by HTC, so I am not too afraid of build issues. Sure, it looks a little caddish and far from corporate professional… But to know that it can basically give me near remote control over my own site is damn near staggering, especially when there are times I’d kill to blog something but only to find that I have to pay for a wireless LAN at Starbucks for an hour I may not use entirely.
If anyone has an opinion, feel free to comment and let me know! If you have a recommendation, tell me your reasoning why! Any reasonable insight is welcome and encouraged!
A few days ago, I stumbled upon [H]ardOCP talking about a “front page” article saying that Google may have inadvertently pushed some Android developers to the iPhone SDK… This is rather an ironic tale of karmic shock as about a year ago, there were some whispers in the grapevine that Google was proposing to OpenMoko prospective programmers with a rather gutsy move to say “Come to our project, cause we are Google after all! We have tons of capital and our project is more financially stable.” So naturally, most programmers do want a buck for their efforts and most basically said “bye” to the OpenMoko Project and hopped on the Google Android bandwagon. In the midst of all the hub-bub of Google vs. OpenMoko, the Apple iPhone crowd was rather disappointed that their shiny $500+ toy had no clean API layer to play with like Windows Mobile or PalmOS. They managed to juryrig their own method of installing applications onto “jailbroken” iPhones by apps like iPwn or WinPwn to free the phone’s certification of applications in a means of giving the device a gray zone to play in. Of course, the problem with that was Apple’s coders releasing new firmware builds for the iPhone would render these “jailbroken” iPhones into paperweights unless the unofficial teams such as the “iPhone Dev Team” found ways to circumvent Apple’s check-sums. That somewhat changed with the iPhone 2.0 software release and the offical push of the iPhone Software Development Kit (or SDK for short).
Let’s delve into the background of the 2 “major” projects…
The Android project (in my observation) almost is a deceptive concept of “open source” as depending on how you rank with Google, you get certain layers of access with Android. What do I mean? Like if you’re an amateur coder who wants to make an application for fun, you would have basic access to the API. Now… let’s say you did something like won the “Google Summer of Code” competition or you are dumping millions of dollars to Google’s Android venture, naturally, you get premium access to the newest SDK builds and even API access to even control device functions. That could get some users who have slaved hours on Google’s Android project pissed! This is really the pressing concern from the article highlighted by AppleInsider, actually. Imagine that you and a few friends of yours make a killer app that just requires you to know the exact pressure sensitivity readings of the touch screen for an Android phone, but the caveat is none of your “staff” are big name commercial people or Summer of Code winners… This could be the one failing crux to your masterpiece to ever find completion. However, someone who won the Summer of Code competition may have an all access pass to all functions of the phone and could create a killer app that could rival yours. End result: Your team loses out on a chance to monetize on your killer app, yet your competitor gets a chance to dominate the market. Could you imagine the frustration to know your competitor’s app would be up for sale in Google’s Android App Shop for $2.99 a download while you’re going “If only Google let us access code on touch screen sensitivity…” with your friends?
Apple’s iPhone SDK is much in the same spirit like Google, an illusion of open source, but I feel they have mitigated drama by allowing all users certain levels of access. There’s the “Free” SDK which is just basic tools to build and test apps for personal use. But to get your name out there… Apple wants you to pony up $99 for a Basic Developer license which gives you the right to distribute your app to other iPhones via WiFi and also sell/give your app away at the iTunes App store. Should you sell your app, you do get 70% of the revenue. Then there’s the “Enterprise” license for $299 which allows you the power to make in-house corporate apps for the iPhone, like a trippy app that monitors and plays with your custom ECU for a tuner shop or other endless things your corporation wants to use the iPhone for. This license in particular is recommended for firms employing 500 people or more.
In my opinion, Apple’s rules are a little more concrete than the undefined access rules that Google has imposed on it’s users… We’ll have to sit and see how things brew down. The fact that Google’s been dawdling with producing a real and hard phone is making their time slip, while Apple and even OpenMoko have live phones to play with! Sure, Google has a deal with HTC to have a phone created as well as make it so that users with HTC phones can do a firmware update to have Android operational on their phones… Add to this that they are trying to fight between T-Mobile USA and Sprint|Nextel as official providers… You have a concept that may simply have trouble breaking the market in a solid fashion. I guess in a sense I am saying… Google better give everyone an “eHug” and get their crap straight or come up with a better strategy quickly unless they want to let Apple take more limelight from them..
Before I turn into a pumpkin and meet sweet slumber… I think I may make a custom build and archive it to XDA Developers as a build for their “ROM Kitchen”. The build I have formed is stable, functional, yet beautiful. It is a fusion of the OEM HTC TyTN II Windows Mobile 6.1 build with bits and pieces obtained from the HTC Touch yet in a balance that is simply lean and minimal in lag. I can definitely post details of my build for those who wish to replicate it and I hope to also obtain screen captures of my Kaiser in action.
I do know one thing… I will definitely need a name for my build, should I go through with archiving it and making it available for public consumption. As much as I love Shinra from Final Fantasy 7’s fame, I can’t call it the “Shinra Enterprise Mobile Device” build due to legal copyright trademarks and all the legal mumbo-jumbo. It will have to be based on the ideals of my website, surely. If anyone has ideas for a name, feel free to pitch a comment up!
With this… I bid thee adieu!