Mobile phone upgrade time?

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Mobile Phone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it’s about PCs, you build one based on what you want to use on it. Yet you can’t build a mobile phone that suits your needs.

I don’t even have a year with my current phone. It’s not like it’s broken or something but, as I said before: Time changes, technology advances.

I don’t feel comfortable with my current HTC Opal anymore. Yes, it’s a nice budget pocket PC running Windows Mobile 6.1 (blame me. I didn’t wanted to void the warranty trying to install a “cooked” 6.5.3 ROM) and it suited my needs: Internet browsing and mail. Heck, if I could buy an HTC HD2 (aka Leo), I’d be happy. As the guys from says: what other phone runs Windows Mobile, Android, MeeGo, Windows 95, and Ubuntu? And now we need to add Windows Phone 7 OS!

Games were optional on the Opal since the CPU is kinda slow (OMAP is horrible) and even with the famous HTC Manila 2D (aka TouchFLO 2D), the phone was lagging. So basically I moved from the Manila “Today” screen to SPB Mobile Shell and a nice WP7 skin I found on XDA-Developers.Sadly, it doesn’t hide the taskbar like some other themes out there and there’s no animated sequences on the hubs or the icons (for example, the People icon or the Images icon), but it gave some hopes to my phone.

Last month I noticed that a group of people was trying to port Android OS to any OMAP-based phone (including the Opal) by running an emulated Linux enviroment to access the Android files. It’s not a ROM per se, so you need to manually “activate” Android mode after you boot on Windows Mobile. I decided to give it a shot. It was amazing. It runs a basic clean 1.5 build (Cupcake), just to try out (2.1 on most of those devices won’t even run properly due to specific system requirements).

Obviously, my phone wasn’t made for Android, so it was kinda hard to do some stuff… Even trying to send a text message was a pain due to the slow CPU speed.

Apart from that, the “experiment” wasn’t complete at the time I downloaded it (It was an ALPHA build, and I think it was cancelled): Battery was always at 100% with no charge record, USB didn’t work but as hotspot, WiFi and Bluetooth didn’t work, camera didn’t work, NO SOUND/VIBRATION AT ALL (even on phonecalls, you can’t hear the other person talking, unless you boot Android during a phonecall and fix that particular problem. No sound/vibration, but you can talk/listen after all), and some other stuff I can’t recall right now.

I didn’t had any experience with Android before, even though I was following their updates and such (I was amazed with the Eclair to FroYo update… Now even more amazed with the release of Gingerbread).

While looking at the Android-based phones list, I saw one that chatched my attention: The Samsung Galaxy Spica. It’s not one of the most advanced phones out there, but it works as an entry-level Android device. It has a 800mhz processor (almost 4 times better than the Opal CPU), more RAM, and it has Android 1.6 Donut as default, official upgrade to 2.1 Eclair and non-official support for 2.2 FroYo AND 2.3 Gingerbread (Gingerbread is still at beta though). For an entry-level phone, that’s amazing.

At the time I was looking at this phone, Windows Phone 7 was about to be released on the US, and I was expecting to see a fierce competition between the three current giants on the smartphone market: Apple, Google and RIM, now including Microsoft to the confict.

All WP7 phones I’ve seen are amazing, yet they’re way out of my budget. And sadly, my country is RIM’s spoiled brat… So basically, Blackberry OS rules here, followed by iOS, Android and WM on the 4th place. Because of this, more RIM phones are released, and there’s a small or even no spotlight for Android phones. Heck, when the iPhone 4 was released here, people had to act quickly and pre-order one of the 5000 units that arrived. Those 5000 units didn’t lasted more than 24 hours, which means that iOS is still on the battle to become the most used OS on my country. I even got an email saying that the preorder system was a “first come, first serve” thing, and by the time I sent my request, they were reserved already. Wow!

Right now, I feel like WP7 is still a little “green” to have a full review, though current ones aren’t that bad. Even though WP7 has LIVE support and an amazing amount of apps on the marketplace, I’d have to go with the little alien this time.

I really expect to buy the Spica today or maybe this saturday, then I’ll give some first impressions and a small review about the phone.


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