Road Warrior: Smart Phones

Smart Phones

Since we last reviewed consultants’ favorite smart phones, a new generation of products has been introduced to the market. That’s always the nature of technology. And it shows no signs of slowing down, with the highly anticipated iPhone 4G launch expected by the end of the summer. Below are the pros and cons of four of the most popular smart phones.

Apple iPhone 3GS (AT&T)
$299/32GB; $199/16GB, www.apple.com/iphone

After shaking up the smart phone market three years ago, the iPhone remains the market share leader—with more than 34 million sold. Its easy-to-use interface for everything from e-mail to Facebook, and access to more than 130,000 applications (two-thirds of which are free), has made it a popular choice. The knock on the product has been that it’s less practical for heavy business use. New applications make it increasingly easier to review and edit documents, but it’s still not the ideal tool. That is starting to change. The highly touted 4G version, whose details are still largely unconfirmed by Apple, is rumored to have a front- and back-facing camera, presumably for video conferencing. And a larger battery will help those on the road stay online longer.

HTC HD2 (unlocked)
$679; www.htc.com

Launched in March, Window’s HTC HD2 is fast, thanks to its 1 GHz processor. The power is so big that several versions come with at least one movie already installed, and a Blockbuster movie application for on-demand rentals (a nice feature for those that have trouble sleeping on planes). In the current versions, the iPhone only allows one application to be open at a time. With the HTC HD2, there’s no juggling—the applications can run simultaneously. On the HTC HD2, conference call reminders appear with a large dial button, alongside the PIN. Conferencing in multiple colleagues on a single call is as easy as clicking on their picture. However, like the iPhone, the lack of a physical keyboard makes long work of text-heavy emails. The price is steep, but retailers, most notably, T-Mobile, are aggressively pricing the HTC HD2s.

Droid (Motorola)
$599; www.motorola.com

First launched last fall, the Droid broke with the touch-screen trend and offers a full, slideout QWERTY keyboard. However, there have been complaints about the limited spacing between keys. The Droid has two advantages for those consultants that spend time driving from client to client. First, it offers voice-activated commands, which makes the device truly hands free. And the phone provides GPS turn-by-turn voice navigation. Similar apps are available on the iPhone, but require use of a third party, such as MapQuest. It also provides a 5MB camera and a DVD-quality video. It is, by far, the best camera of the four reviewed here.

Blackberry Bold 9700 (unlocked)
$455; www.na.blackberry.com

The new Blackberry Bold 9700 has made several improvements over earlier versions. The trackball has been replaced with a more responsive trackpad.

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