This seems to be a question that I tend to field more often that I could admit. And the question comes from people from all walks of life. Friends, family, associates. Even some of my geekiest friends come up with that same question.
Unfortunately and given that there are an infinite number of devices this days, there is no clear answer to the question, however, I had to imagine what would happen if my mother decided to ask this question. Now you have to understand that I love my mother very much but she doesn’t rely on technology. She has never had a computer and would be just as troubled choosing a smart phone as choosing a brand new computer. Her only requirement is that the phone will do, well, one basic thing: place phone calls.
Given that the subsidized price of smartphones basically sets them all in the same playing field (forget about unlock, root and other expressions, that would qualify you as a geek), I would suggest getting one instead of a normal feature phone. You will get a computer for the same price as a basic phone, so why not take advantage of the offer.
And it all comes down to 4 different types of phones:
- Windows Phone 7
Yes, there are more, but in my world, this are the finalists. And from the 4 that were left, lets narrow it to 3, because as much as I love my fellow Canadian firm RIM, blackberry has dropped the ball, and although they are still strong in much of the world, they seem to have lost the compass. I had the chance to play today with their tablet solution, the Playbook, and although its very nice, its clear that they lag behind everyone else. At this point, I have no recommendation of a Blackberry for anyone but the most zealous of the Blackberry users.
Next comes the iPhone. Without a doubt, the phone that changes the world, and there may be claims that Samsung and others came up with the idea first, and they may have, but it was Apple that executed and delivered the finest piece of communication technology. This is the phone for my friends and family who want a great phone that does almost everything a phone should do. Great email, web browsing, and a pletora of apps for everything under the sun. Yes, the app explosion is not thanks to Apple. As a matter of fact, the iPhone 1 was released with no expectation of apps, but a strong community came along and actually twisted Apples arm and now, they are the leader to follow. I love the iPhone and I recommend it for almost everyone, except for the following cases.
Android is my platform of choice, but then I’m not the usual user. I format, reformat, change and personalize my phone as much as I can. I love the phone even if I have to reboot several time a day, but my HTC Desire has very tweaked operating system and also has a bunch of apps, yet I do a lot of things that nobody cares about. And I have to admit, most of my apps, actually are checking what the phone is doing. Yet I love that my phone looks like no other around. For the geek that wants to play with a smartphone and yet get all goodies from the iPhone in a less refined form, Android is the phone to have. Now, to choose which Android phone to get is another story.
Finally the Windows phone. As crazy as it may sound, this is the phone for my mother. Elegant, simple and powerful as the others but without the burden of thinking about a computer-on-a-phone. Yes, I’ve surprised even myself. I’ve used this phones only a few times, but for the user who needs, well, a phone, you can’t go wrong with this. Good phone, great email, good for picture browsing and maybe, just maybe, my mom could get a Facebook account. But don’t bet the farm on it. But if she does, Windows will take would care of her. I’m sure that we will be getting one for her, but first, I need to call her on her land line and convince her that we could be seeing each other if she only had an iPad 2. That, will come before a new phone. Of that, I’m sure.