In November 2007, I wrote a series of blog posts for MarketingBeyond, the predecessor to MobileBeyond, about my best Android mobile phone, resulting in a PDF summarizing a 4G futuristic phone totally controlled by voice using widget memory swapping.
At that time the mobile phone that met most of my requirements was the HTC Touch, the Windows Mobile 6.X predecessor to HTC Android mobile phones released in 2008 and 2009.
While Google’s new Nexus One meets some of the feature requirements included in my ideal Android phone requirements, until Google releases a CDMA version to Verizon Wireless and has a GSM version that operates on frequencies used by other major carriers, such as AT&T, MobileBeyond acclaims the Sprint HTC Hero as its ideal Android mobile device.
Best Android Mobile Phone
The Open Handset Alliance (OHA), chartered by Google in 2007 to develop an open architecture mobile operating system, has now become an alliance of over 50 technology and mobile companies that helped develop the Android operating system, “the first complete, open and free mobile platform.”
In the revised PDF summary of my ideal Android device, I list four mandatory requirements for the best Android mobile phone:
- Global Mobility. “Your mobispheric device will run on 4G broadband networks worldwide…” While HTC configured Nexus to operate in the 1700Mhz “band 4” of T-Mobile’s 3G network in the U.S., despite T-Mobile’s network speed increase for the launch, none of the other two carriers in North America–AT&T in the U.S. and one small carrier in Canada–operates on band 4. (This is also the case in other countries.) While voice calls work on other networks, data service is limited to the slower 2G (EDGE) service. (Google has promised a Spring, 2010 release of the CDMA version of the phone for Verizon Wireless’ 3G network.). It amazes me that Google and HTC released a sophisticated, unlocked 3G smartphone that only works on T-Mobile’s 3G network in the U.S. I can hear the howls already from AT&T customers who purchase the phone from Google at $530, pay AT&T’s monthly data plan charge and become dissatisfied with turtle-like network performance.Despite the Nexus One’s fast Snapdragon processor, AT&T’s already congested network will, unfortunately, lead to customer dissatisfaction, on par with complaints from iPhone users. While the original Sprint HTC Hero ran Android version 1.5x, Sprint and HTC have upgraded the OS to 2.1X. In my opinion, the Hero is the best smartphone I’ve tested. The Hero is a well-conceived, integrated Android smartphone. It operates smoothly and quickly on a major U.S. carrier’s 3G network and offers most of the features of Google’s new release.
- Multi-Dimensional. “Your mobispheric device offers VoIP phone connections, text, and multimedia…” No problem with the Hero or Nexus with low-cost international phone calls using Google Voice and both sport a 5mp camera. The multimedia user experience with the Hero, despite the Nexus One’s Snapdragon processor, will actually be better when accessing the mobile Web. Owners of Google’s Nexus in the U.S. should expect poor to unacceptable data performance on AT&T’s high latency network.
- Voice Controlled. “No keypad nor stylus is necessary to communicate with your device. Use natural speech to control all functions.” In version one of the the Nexus, voice integration may be its greatest strength. You may use your voice for Google Search, data entry and other phone functions. While mobile phones haven’t yet achieved interactive speech, voice recognition and speech-to-text have rapidly advanced over the years. Voice control within the Nexus One should be one of its shining stars as mobile users lose their fear of talking to their phones. However, the Sprint Hero has voice recognition capabilities as well, although not as extensive as the Nexus.
- Solar Powered. Alas, not yet for either phone. Although they’re a few solar-powered phones on the market, batteries are still the source of power for mobile devices. Battery life still remains the Achille’s heel of mobile phones. Until solar or another source of power is developed, carry your charger with you.
Other comments about the best Android mobile phone
- The Hero on Sprint’s 3G network operates more reliably and faster than the Nexus One will on T-Mobile. Despite T-Mobile’s wireless broadband boost, I believe T-Mobile will suffer the same fate as AT&T when data traffic congestion accelerates across T-Mobile’s and its roaming partners’ GSM networks. The Hero, on the other hand, is already using Sprint’s broadband network and one of its roaming partners is…roll the drums…Verizon Wireless.
- Google had an opportunity to revolutionize the wireless industry by reducing the price of the Nexus One knowing that its mobile advertising revenues would more than pay for the phone subsidy. Google’s acquisition of AdMob, one of the largest mobile advertising networks in the world, plus its current dominance in mobile advertising, will generate substantial revenue as consumers purchase the Nexus and other smartphones. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple, which recently purchased Quattro Wireless, another mobile advertising network, counters Google in the market by selling the next version of the iPhone at a discount while paying for the subsidy from mobile app advertising revenues.
- Like Apple, Google enters the mobile handset market without any experience, including handset support. While T-Mobile has a stellar record for technical support, AT&T will now have the dual challenge of supporting both the iPhone (assuming Apple maintains the relationship) as well as an extremely sophisticated “super phone.”
- AT&T has already selected more than a dozen new Android phones to offer. So the learning curve for AT&T techs supporting multiple Android handsets, including the Nexus One operating on its EDGE network, will be extensive.