Smartphone search: A Progress Report
The closest I think I have so far found to meeting my requirements is probably the i-mate Ultimate 9502. It has a 640x480 screen, Windows Mobile 6 which should include an adequate word processor, a QWERTY keyboard, quad band phone and triband 3G, plus built in GPS. Unfortunately, although it was supposed to be out by now it isn't, and the most recent references seem to imply sometime early next year. And, of course, I would want to actually get my hands on one and see how it feels before buying it.
Its competitor is the HTC X7501 Advantage. It has essentially the same features plus an 8 gigabyte microdrive and is available now. But it's heavy and uses an odd two piece design, held together by magnets. I found a web page of a seller in Chicago, where I will be for a few days in early January, who might have it--I'm not sure if they have a showroom where one can actually look at the thing. One advantage is that the screen is physically larger than any of the others--5" diagonal, as compared to 2.8", I think diagonal, on the i-mate.
The third possibility is the Toshiba Portege G900. Its screen is even bigger in pixels than the other two--800x480. But it's only 3" diagonal. Currently there isn't a U.S. version, just a tri-band European with 3G on 2100 MHz, which isn't supported in the U.S. I expect a U.S. version will eventually appear, at which point it becomes a serious possibility.
Does anyone out there know about another candidate I should be looking at? Also, do any of you have enough experience with a screen that combines large pixel dimensions with small physical dimensions to tell how much sense it makes? As a practical matter, can you read more of a web page than on a screen with the same (say 3" diagonal) physical dimension but fewer pixels (say QVGA: 240x320)?
The 7501 weighs just over 12 ounces, which seems like a lot. Just out of curiosity, I checked on the weight of the Psions that used to be my favorite pda's, back before Psion left the consumer market. The Revo weighed 200 grams, the 5mx weighed 354. The 7501 is 371 grams, so comparable to the latter.
Of course, the Psions were the reason I went to routinely wearing a sport jacket--and the seams around the inside pocket tended to eventually tear out.