My Quest for the Ultimate Cell Phone
1. Keyboards. There is now software which is supposed to make it possible to connect an ordinary (HID) bluetooth keyboard to an Android phone, although so far I have not been able to make it work on my phone. Assuming I can solve that problem, I'm tempted to give up on finding an Android phone with both a good keyboard and a good screen. Virtual (on-screen) keyboards seem to work better than I had expected, and the combination of a virtual keyboard for brief notes and a portable bluetooth keyboard for more substantial writing looks pretty good.
2. Android on Windows Mobile Phones. Some time back, I was interested in the Touch Pro 2, a windows mobile phone which has a relatively large screen and what is widely viewed as the best physical keyboard of any mobile phone. I played with one a little, but gave up on it in part because I found the software unintuitive. It's possible that, de nuovo, it would be as easy to work with as Android, although my guess is not, but in any case I am used to Android.
Yesterday one of my students showed me his Touch Pro 2. Running Android. The trick was done using a program run from Windows Mobile. The student commented that it worked as a phone, but still had some limitations, in particular did not yet enable bluetooth. An online description of what sounds like the same software lists a number of other limitations, including no gps. But with luck, such problems will be overcome in time, for the Touch Pro 2 and other high end Windows Mobile phones, considerably expanding the range of options available to me.
The HD2, for example, has an even bigger screen, no physical keyboard, and will shortly be available in the U.S. from T-Mobile. The project to put Android on it does not seem to have gotten nearly as far as with the Touch Pro 2, but there is some interest in it.
3. The Dell Mini-5. Dell has announced, but not yet released, a phone that seems to be closer to what I want than anything now on the market. The Mini 5 runs Android, has a 5" screen, and pretty clearly is designed as an internet device that happens to be a phone, not a phone that happens to be an internet device. That suits me, since I don't use a cell phone all that often to make or receive calls. As an extra bonus, it is rumored to come with a Kindle ap, making it an ebook reader that can fit in a pocket—a considerable improvement in convenience over the Kindle itself. And a much bigger screen than the Psion Revo on which I have, in the distant past, read books.
Nothing, however, is perfect. According to the rumors I have seen, the Mini-5 will be offered only on the AT&T network, which has the reputation of being among the worst of the U.S. cell phone systems. If they would only build one for Verizon as well ... .