Monday, 10 May 2010

Posting from up a tree somewhere

   A week or so ago I read a post from Emma, as someone about to go full time she was looking for a slightly more feminine mobile phone. It left me wondering, just what makes a phone feminine? Leaving aside the pink Barbie-themed models you see teenaged girls using (I wonder, do they have "OMG" and "LOL" shortcut keys?), are they targeted that much on a gender basis? My wife has a very similar phone to mine, so I have no obvious comparison in front of me. What would a masculine phone look like anyway? Either way I wish Emma good luck in her quest.
    Fortunately I have few such concerns. My phone is several years old now, it's a great phone and a much better camera than I expected it to be, but I've come to the conclusion that it's time to replace it because its internet functionality isn't very useful. As the title of this post suggests, I'd like to be able to post to this blog from up a tree somewhere.
    I'm a cheapscate. Seriously. Well, I don't need to shell out for phone bling, I have no desire for an iPhone and it doesn't bother me if I don't have the latest model. All I want is a reasonable sized screen for using a decent web browser, useable QWERTY text entry and a semidecent camera. Oh, and a phone. And I don't want it to be too big. So it's off to my network provider to see what they've got for me for free based on my contract.
    Surprisingly, I find I've got a choice on my hands. A range of second-string feature phones that either had a pop at the iPhone last year and failed to be a contender, or have been superceded by more recent models. And some of them are still rather good. The trouble is though while all the things I want are represented, they're not represented in the same models. The Nokia X6, for example has lovely hardware and the camera I want, but comes with the rather aged Symbian operating system which lacks the useability of its more modern competitors. I'd much prefer Android which I can have from the Motorola DEXT and the HTC Hero, but the Moto has a relatively tiny screen and the HTC has a not-spectacular camera. The Moto does have a neat little physical QWERTY keyboard though.
    From the choice above I'm veering towards the Moto. Surprisingly I find that even if I was prepared to pay a bit for the phone, my choices aren't much better. The newer HTC and a Sony phone join the fray, but the former is a bit large and the later suffers from the same problems as the Nokia.
    Whatever choice I make it'll be one I have to make the best of as I'll be stuck with it for a couple of years. You'll know when I've made my decision, I'll make a post from up a tree somewhere, then another despairing post asking for help, having snapped the crucial branch that would have enabled me to climb down.


  1. Do you have to be in the tree to get reception where you live???

    I had some features that I wanted on my phone the last time I replaced it:

    Decent screen
    Not to laggy when I trying to do something
    Good text input
    Good email / web experience

    I wanted to hate the iPhone (as I have a distaste for Apple in general), but after using a friends phone I knew it was the one for me.

    My next one will probably be android (Google, another company I hate...) as the phones seem to be catching up with the idea (esp the HTC ones).

    I have to say a camera is nowhere on my list. I've never seen a phone with a camera that I would class as 'good' (OK I have high expectations) and see it more a bullet marketing point than a useful item...

    I don't know what makes a phone feminine - Mrs Stace has a Samsung D900i. It's black not pink, but she loves it and refuses to change to anything else as long as it still works. I asked her if she'd rather she had a pink one. I think the answer was a definative 'No!'


  2. At risk of starting a 'tog war...

    You're right, no phone camera yet made is up there with serious photography kit. But that's not the point of a phone camera. A phone camera is a snapshot camera that is always to hand, meaning you can capture the spontaneity of all that happens around you without having to reach for a camera, by which time the moment has passed.

    As to the quality of phone cameras, mine surprised me by how crap it wasn't. It's a 3.1 megapixel Nokia with a neat little magnetic autofocus lens which Nokia are at pains to tell you was made by Carl Zeiss, and it delivers reasonable quality images without the noise that dogs some phone cameras. I didn't expect to find much use for it, but quickly graduated to using it as my default imaging device.

  3. I bet the iPhone has a up-a-tree app though...

    Avoid HTC - I had one, the inner wizardry, especially the antenna and gps, were not good. Nokia is better made, I've returned, a Nokia smart phone thingy for email and calender on the move, and a smaller pocket sized nokia for 'phone.

    And in terms of girly things my pink netbook always gets a "ooh" from the girls...

  4. If Nokia had had the sense to use their perfectly good Linux distro in the X6 instead of giving it Symbian then I'd already have the Nokia. Every phone I've had's been from them, they're the gold standard of phone hardware as far as I'm concerned.
    It's true, the HTCs do feel less substantial than the Nokia. I think I may find my way to a phone store to have a look at the Moto in the flesh.
    I wonder what the reaction of my colleagues would be if I turned up with a pink girly-phone. I should see if I know anyone I can borrow one from, just to mess with their minds.

  5. Thanks for the mention Jenny x

    I did get a more feminine mobile in the end and opted for a pink Samsung Toco Lite. Was very reasonable on pay as you go. It's got a pretty good level of customisation to it regarding the menus, wap, 3.2 mega pixel camera, touch screen, etc. It's a lot better than the cheap and nasty grey Nokia I had before. x x x

  6. You know, Jenny, I was spot on when I had you pegged as a tree-hugger.

    Looking forward to that phone call from the tree.

    Calie xxx

  7. @Emma, I looked at the Samsung. Liked it, but passed over it because it lacks wi-fi and that's my best bet for connectivity in more than one place I frequent. Are we going to see you posting from the bus now? :)

    @Calie: as someone who owns a chainsaw my treehugger credentials must be shaky.

  8. Right, as an update, I received my shiny new Motorola DEXT yesterday. And I'm impressed, at last the feel of a useful computer in my hand rather than a phone that happens to have an operating system. I miss the Nokia hardware, but leaving Symbian behind was certainly the right move.