Tuesday, January 22, 2008

cellphone: bought the wrong phone (Sanyo Katana DLX)

After 3 1/2 years with the Samsung sph-i500, the smallest and best and only PalmOS-based flip phone PDA, I knocked it into the bath[**]. I've wanted to replace it for 2 years, now I must. All I want is
  1. flip phone so I don't wreck the screen walking into things while it's in my pocket
  2. a phone dial pad, not a teeny-weeny typewriter keyboard
  3. touchscreen and handwriting recognition
  4. music player
  5. extendable applications
  6. quality cameraphone
  7. infra-red so I can use it as a backup remote control e.g. with Novii remote
For a device that does all that I'll willingly pay a thousand dollars, but it's not manufactured. The Nokia N93i comes really close, with a great camera and everything but a touch screen, but Nokia doesn't have a store in the Bay Area so it's only sold by dodgy gray marketers. Other candidates:
  • iPhone has a vulnerable screen, no physical dial pad and no movie recording (yet)
  • Treo 755p has a vulnerable screen and a typewriter keyboard
So while I wait for Nokia to show up and Apple to introduce more iPhone features (and Google Android to disrupt the market), I'll just buy whatever is the best ordinary flip phone Sprint sells. That turns out to be the Sanyo Katana DLX. But in several ways it's worse than the Sanyo MM-9000 I got for my partner exactly 2 years ago: smaller screen, lower-resolution camera, worse speaker and speakerphone. It does have slightly better UI, Bluetooth, and SDHC capacity (when 2 billion bytes of memory aren't enough), and the charger and cable from the MM-9000 are compatible.

The Katana DLX is only $80 after rebates and getting chained to Sprint for another two years, but it's not what I want. I bought the wrong camera a month ago to capture photos and videos of Jhane Barnes, now I bought the wrong phone.

My other choice was to buy another Samsung sph-i500. Both it and the Sanyo MM-9000 have loyal dwindling fan bases that hoard backup phones.

[**] I read BBC news and various planet.* aggregators of my favorite blogs on my phone everywhere I go, including bathtime. (Your phone has a browser in it! Figure out how to use it, or better yet install Opera Mini and use that!)

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  • If you can stand the wait, android is sure to impress. But right now a jailbroken iPhone is pretty much king, and if hacking the phone is too risky for your taste, the sdk is due this month. That should fill the void that apple left in the iPhone: videos, mms, zoom(!! How could this not be included)
    I worry about the screen too, but its supposed to be near impossible to scratch, not sure about cracking tho! Hope you find the right fit!

    By Anonymous Noel, at February 07, 2008 1:13 PM  

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