With a slew of new devices constantly being released, it’s hard to stay with one platform and with one manufacturer. A few phones that have caught my attention enough to draw me away? The Palm Pre and Pixi, Motorola’s Cliq and HTC’s Touch Pro 2 are the main contenders.
There’s a reason I haven’t gone back to Windows Mobile. There’s a reason I haven’t gone over to Android. There’s numerous reasons I haven’t switched to an iPhone and the *only* reason I haven’t tried WebOS is because the only available device is on a CDMA carrier.
What are the other reasons? Here are the top 5, in no particular order.
1). SMB/SAMBA support.
I run Windows and Linux at home. I have an 802.11 network with WDS. I have multiple routers feeding my home location for seamless hand-offs anywhere. I can step inside my garage, and access any computer on the network via SMB. I can lounge on the deck and access my main workstation, my laptops or my audio server. This of course isn’t native, but it is done with the very intuitive software from Telexy Networks called SymSMB. Not free, and it’s also been officially discontinued but it’s worth every penny and it's a first install on any of my S60 devices.
2). Intelligent Profile Switching.
Just like many people, I sleep. I also wake up. I go to school (or work) and I have other daily activities. I don’t want my phone interrupting me when I’m busy. A ringer switch isn’t smart enough to know when to enable itself (I’m looking at you, iPhone). I want to have my phone work itself around me. When I walk into a theater - go to vibrate/silent mode and turn the brightness down to 5% just incase I need to use it. When I’m sleeping - silence all SMS, MMS and e-mail, switch the ringer to a lower volume and play a more soothing tone to wake me up, and while you’re at it let’s also drop the brightness down to 20% and turn on bluetooth so I can answer with my headphones since I’ve been known to fall asleep with them on. Oh, and I want it to happen only on week-nights between 10 PM and 7 AM. But, I’d also like you to know when I’m in class and switch to Offline mode since I don’t always get a signal and when I’m done, switch back Online and retrieve my messages for me.
Doesn’t sound possible does it? It is and my E71 does everything I’ve mentioned, thanks to SmartphoneWare Best Profiles. It has the ability to switch profiles based on GSM LAC-ID (location based), calendar entries (fully customizable search) and time of day.
3). WiFi Sharing/Tethering.
Oh hi, I’m on the VIA train with my friends. We’re all on laptops, doing work, checking our favorite websites or just playing games. We didn’t need to pay an extra $15 for WiFi access. When we get to our hotel, we don’t need to use the insecure pipeline they provide. When my home connection goes down, I don’t have to switch to dial-up just to stay online. Why, thank you JoikuSpot. Using JoikuSpot, I can share my 3G/UMTS connection with 254 clients. That’s right, 254 people. I don’t have to pay an extra $10 to my provider for a “tethering SOC”. I don’t have to buy a new device to do so (I see you, MiFi). I can simply fire up the software, which does all the work of configuring a DHCP server, enabling WiFi and setting it into EITHER Ad-hoc mode or full Infrastructure with the option of using WEP (I know, I know). I give my friends the SSID and key, and before you can punch Mahatma Ghandi in the solar-plexus - we're all online consuming the internet best as we can.
4). Hardware Changes.
Another easy reason? I can make subtle changes to the hardware on my device. I bought my E71 as a gray steel. I purchased a white keyboard and a black housing after the fact. I can change them out at anytime I feel like it. This might be trivial, but after a few months of using one color, swapping makes it feel like a whole new device at times. I can match my dark themes with the black housing and my lighter themes with the white housing.
5). Open Platform.
I like S60 and Symbian. I like how Nokia has put it all together. I like their integration. I like their beta applications (ImageExchange). I like their officially released applications (SportsTracker, Share Online, Nokia Maps). I like the ability to have Python on my device. I like the ability to have Ruby on my device. I can write full MS Word, Excel and and PowerPoint compatible documents. I can get instant push email via numerous 3rd party providers or via IMAP Idle. I can access the filesystem. I can torrent. I can download podcasts directly to my device, and play them in almost any format at my leisure. I have A2DP with AVRCP. I have full OBEX-FTP.
Okay, so the last item was a bit of cheating, but as you can see, S60 on the E71 and comparable hardware is just simply the bee’s knee’s to me. Android is bringing some great changes to the mobile platform world, same goes for WebOS. Hopefully Symbian Foundation can step up to the plate. As for me, I’ll be sticking with S60 and my E71 until something that can fulfill the above needs comes out. The E72 does it, but too many little changes and not enough larger ones, such as the screen.