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"Centro or iPhone 3G?" Revisited

Tue Jun 17, 2008 - 7:20 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell

iPhone 3G or not?

In "Centro or iPhone 3G?", I talked about both devices and how potential buyers might have a hard time deciding between the two. At first I was very excited about getting a new iPhone. The new iPhone would have 3G and more memory than my current 4GB iPhone. (yep, I always jump the gun and buy the first thing and then a bigger and better model comes right along! - the 8GB iPhone) And then of course we learned that the new iPhone 3G would lack some important features. A2DP support won't be included and neither will cut and paste. I've been reading all the news on the iPhone 3G over the past several days. I found out that there will be no iPhone tethering or dial-up for laptop users either. Say what?! Now what fun is that? We love to use our Treos and Centros for tethering. This isn't something that I do often, but it's great to have that ability anyway, and it really does come in handy.

I forgot to mention the other day the big plus of the Centro having a removable battery. I sooooo much prefer being able to take my battery out and swap it for a freshly charged one, anytime, anywhere. And who wants to have to send their device back to the company just to change out the battery? How inconvenient. The only reason I'd want to have to send my device in would be if it were broken, not to have a new battery put in.

I've been doing a lot of thinking over the past few days about whether or not I should get an iPhone 3G. Insomnia tends to give a person lots of time for thinking. Not a good thing sometimes. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I don't plan to get an iPhone 3G. Not yet anyway. First of all, my area STILL doesn't even have 3G. I guess we'll be on the EDGE forever here the way it's going. I'm ready for AT&T to go ahead and push our connection over the Edge today.

Even though the price of the iPhone 3G is great, the 8GB version for $199 and the 16GB version for $299, the data plan is going to be $10 more per month. I love my iPhone but I have to admit to myself that I don't use the phone function much at all. I love the big screen and mostly use my iPhone for watching videos and TV shows that I download from the iTunes Store. And I often listen to music while I work. I have an Altec Lansing T612 speaker dock that I love! I was using a JBL On Stage II, which is nice but I can't stand having to hear that stupid GSM buzz interference all the time when my Treo and Centro are on my desk. Every few minutes; buzzz... buzzzzz... Enough already! Plus the JBL is White and it looks goofy with my iPhone. Anyway, now I can have my Treo and Centro practically sitting on top of the Altec Lansing T612 and I never get any GSM buzz. Nice!

Back to the point though.... I use the iPhone mainly for music and videos. My Mom accidentally ruined her LG cell phone last week. She had a bottle of water in her purse and the bottle had a flip lid instead of a screw-on cap. And you can pretty much guess what happened to the cell phone and everything else in the purse. Anyway, my Mom is on my AT&T Family Plan and I decided to give my iPhone to her instead of upgrading or replacing her drowned phone. I thought she was wanting a Centro, but when I'd mentioned it to her a few weeks ago, telling her that she would be able to upgrade her phone soon, she didn't seem to want one. But when I mentioned the other day that she could have my iPhone, her eyes got big and I knew that she wanted it.

So, I'll give the iphone to my Mom. I could get an iPhone 3G for myself but I would have to add another line, plus $30 for the data plan. I've already got 4 phones on my plan, including my Mom's ruined phone, which I'm not going to cancel since the contract will be up in August. Right now, I can just hand the iPhone to my Mom and she can start using it immediately since it's already set up and I've been using it on my plan. Besides, I've got a Centro, a Treo 680 and a Treo 750. I decided to get an iPod touch to replace my big screen needs. Since my iPhone is just a 4GB model, whenever I put TV shows and movies on it, I have to delete them before I can put on much more because I run out of space. I've now got a 16GB iPod touch (as of yesterday) and I won't have to worry about running out of space so soon. And I can still use that killer Altec Lansing speaker dock. I'll lose the camera that I had on the iPhone but that's no big deal. I've got a good digital camera and my Treos and Centros have cameras. If I still have the iPhone itch a few months from now, I might break down and get one regardless of the data plan cost. I think I'll be happy with my iPod touch though and wonder if that's what I should have bought in the first place.

I think my Mom would have liked a Centro because she has a Palm TX and is used to the Palm OS. But she has borrowed my iPhone a couple of times in the past, and I believe she was swayed by its huge screen. She watched some movies I'd downloaded and she couldn't believe how good they looked. She said that it was like having a little TV. She loved hearing the stereo sound with the earphones, like the sound of glass breaking in the left earbud and wind blowing in the right one. And she was impressed with the web browsing. And it's just a fact that there's no comparison when it comes to the Blazer experience on the Centro and Safari on the iPhone. I truly love my Centro but I have to be real, ya know? But I'm hoping that Palm has something up their sleeve with their upcoming OS. Web browsing has been brought up a lot when they've talked about the new OS.

iPhone 3G or.....?

Potential phone buyers have other choices too when shopping. The Palm Treo 800w and the Treo 850 are both just around the corner, slated to be released by the end of the summer. And the first day of summer just happens to be this coming Saturday! I have to say that I find the 850 more drool worthy and I'm so happy that it's the GSM model. Both of these devices will have Wi-Fi and will run on Windows Mobile Pro 6.1. The Treo 800w will have GPS and EVDO. For dedicated Palm fans, one of these devices should tide you over until Palm releases its new OS and the devices that run on the new OS. I know that I'll be buying one of these upcoming devices, most likely the 850 since it'll be GSM (uh, bu-bye Treo 750!), and that's another reason that I didn't want to add another phone on my plan yet. I'd rather wait and add one of these Palm smartphones than add an iPhone 3G.

Now, one (lol, perhaps hundreds) might think that I'm crazy for getting an iPod touch (16GB for $399) when it actually costs more than the new iPhone 3G (16GB for $299). But I have to weigh in the fact that I'm not chained to a data plan of $30 with the iPod touch. I paid what I paid. In the end, the iPod touch will come out cheaper. Plus, when I get one of the new Palm Treos, I plan to buy one that is unlocked so I can just swap out my SIM card. Yes, I could have swapped out the iPhone's SIM card too but the iPhone came with its own separate data plan. I can use my single current data plan for my Treo 680 and swap the SIM card out and use it on all my Treos and Centro. ;-) And so, by giving my Mom the iPhone, and not re-upping her LG phone contract in August, I'll be saving $9.99 a month, and that'll add up.

Even More Phones to Choose From...

Another device that I've been hearing about caught my eye the other day over at WMExperts; the HP iPaq 910. The 910 will come out on June 30th for $500. Check out these specs:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro
  • 416mHz processor
  • 128 RAM
  • 256 ROM
  • Quad-band EDGE and Tri-band 3G
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • 3 megapixel camera

And if that doesn't get the drool going, get a load of the Samsung i900 Omnia. The i900 will have a 5 megapixel camera! Man alive!

And check out these other specs:

  • QuadBand Edge and HSDPA
  • FM Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • 400 x 240 screen
  • Custom interface on top of WM
  • GPS
  • 624 MHz processor
  • Touchscreen (capacitive) with haptic feedback
  • 16 gigs of storage plus a microSD slot

Mmmm, Mmmm! That sounds good to me! Is that some nice eye candy or what? Hmmm, I thought my digital camera was pretty good, but this i900 has almost as good a camera. Dang, it might be about time to upgrade the ole camera if a phone's camera is that good. The i900 sure does favor the iPhone. Check out the screen real estate on that thing. And 16GB plus a microSD slot? That's a lot of storage there. I hope Dieter gets his hands on one of these when they become available so we can get a good review and hopefully a video review. Are y'all as addicted to gadget porn as I am? I bet you are! I check YouTube all the time for video reviews of new devices. If I had time, I would sit here and watch that stuff 24/7 while eating popcorn and drooling at the same time. ;-)

Don't forget about RIM. I've gotten some hands on time with the Curve in our Round Robin and it's a great device. RIM now has the new BlackBerry Bold, which you can read about over at our sister site CrackBerry.com. Our friend Kevin over at CrackBerry.com has an interesting story about his purchase of the BlackBerry 9000 (Bold). He got lucky on ebay and got a Bold before they were officially released. He heard about a few Bolds being listed. He took a chance and bought the ebay item and it turned out to be legit!

The Bold has a beautiful 480 x 320 HVDA Color LCD screen and runs on 3G. The Bold also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 2.0 megapixel camera, and a full QWERTY keyboard.

You can read Kevin's series of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 review here.

Looks like there's another BlackBerry coming too. The BlackBerry Javelin. The Javelin is rumored to have a 480 x 360 LCD screen, Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, GPS, Wi-Fi, 3.2 megapixel camera, 4.6 OS platform, BES 5.0 support, and ArgonV processor.

Engadget has posted a video of the Javelin. The rumored release date is mid-2009.

If you're pondering buying an iPhone or a BlackBerry, you should check out the ongoing BlackBerry vs. iPhone articles at our sister sites, the iPhone Blog and CrackBerry.com. These are so much fun to read! Both sides have made some great points. The latest articles are Top 10 Reasons Why the Blackberry Compares Worse Than Ever to the iPhone and The Comparison Continues... BlackBerry vs. iPhone .

Final Thoughts

Well, you know which phone I've chosen - the Centro. I chose Palm long ago. I love the simplicity. I also love all the 3rd party apps to choose from. I like having my Contacts and Calendar at my fingertips too. Having a built-in QWERTY keyboard is also a plus and makes typing emails and text messages easy and fun. I chose the Treo 650 when it came out because I wanted my PDA and phone combined. And I've continued buying Palm smartphones since that first purchase.

My Centro does everything I need and more. The iPhone is wonderful too. Giving mine to my Mom might be like pulling teeth in the end, but she needs a phone and my Centro is staying with me. Would I rather watch videos on the iPhone? Yes, and that's why I just bought an iPod touch. It'll be my media device and take the place of what I mainly used my iPhone for. I can watch videos and listen to music on my Centro too, plus play games, read eBooks, listen to audio books, schedule appointments, mark down birthdays and anniversaries, work on documents, tether to my laptop, copy and paste, attach pics and videos to emails, and on and on and on.

If you're searching for a phone, be it your first phone or your umpteenth phone, you'll have fun looking around. There are sooooo many out there to choose from. I could have listed more in this article, but there are so many that it would take me forever to list all the great devices to choose from. As I mentioned before, do your research and read lots of reviews. There are simple phones and smartphones. Price wise, the Centro is super and the iPhone 3G is pretty darn impressive too. Apple was smart to price the iPhone 3G so low because other cell phone makers are going to have to lower their prices to compete with the iPhone 3G. An example of this is that the Samsung Instinct dropped to $199 after the Apple announcement. I read that today over at the iPhone Blog in Casey Chan's very interesting article entitled, "Apple's Path to $199".

And Hey, I would think that Apple took a cue from Palm in pricing a feature packed phone at a low price, because look at the Centro for $99. The Centro is a small phone jam-packed with features. ;-)

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