I’ve been a loyal Blackberry user for about four years. RIM not long ago released the Blackberry Torch to modest fanfare in the US. While Jim Courtney tells me that it’s worth a look, it’s only offered by AT&T, which makes it a non-starter for me.
In contrast, today marks the official launch of the G2 on T-Mobile. With it’s landscape mode keyboard the G2 just might be the handset that entices me to make the leap to Android. I’m going to try and lay hands on one this evening. Further, my wife wants a new handset as well. We might be in the market for a pair of handsets.
This comes at an interesting time as Counterpath just this week announced the pending release of Bria For Android. Todd Carothers’ blog has something to say about this release. The availability of a solid SIP client on Android is a welcome thing, although I’ve heard good things about SIPDroid. It’s nice to have options.
The SIP client is important because it lets my cell phone fit nicely into my employers OnSIP hosted PBX setup. The availability of G.722 based HDVoice would be nice, but isn’t a deal breaker for me.
Skype just released a Skype client for Android outside of the walls of Verizon wireless. The world at large seems to be less that thrilled about this as it doesn’t support calling over 3G, only Wifi…at least in the US. Skype is clearly living with the terms of their partnership deal with VZW. Also no video calling.
My primary use of Skype is for desktop IM and the occasional ad hoc file transfer. I suspect that I would use Skype very little, even on an Android phone.
On the other hand, I’ve found that the Blackberry 9700s UMA feature has proven handy at times. UMA stands for “Unlicensed Mobile Access” and is a means by which the handset can make & receive calls over Wifi when not in a cellular coverage area. There have been a number of occasions when T-Mo didn’t quite reach my location so I jumped on some nearby wifi. This is especially true inside some buildings.
T-Mobile is the only US carrier that offers UMA calling. Until recently it was only offered on a small selection of handsets, including a couple of models of Blackberry and a few “feature phones” that were offered as part of their now defunct “At Home” service.
The very fact that T-Mobile killed off the Wifi-based home calling plan called into question their commitment to UMA calling in the mobile handsets. Just today T-Mobile officially announced support for UMA calling on Android handsets. That removes yet another impediment to switching from my Blackberry to the G2.
Part of the attraction of the G2 is that it’s the first handset with an HSPA+ radio capable of making use of the upgraded network that T-Mo has been rolling out. It’s not truly 4G, more like 3.5G….but it’s faster than 3G…more comparable to the Clear/Sprint Wimax offering.
In theory, if I rooted the phone I could use it as a fast wifi hotspot. However, with 11 months left on my Sprint Mifi contract there’s little to be gained by such trickery. Such a move would just kill the G2’s battery quickly, as Tim Panton recently noted of his Nokia E60.
Keeping the Mifi powered has already proven to be a problem. I still see value in a 3G/4G USB interface given the kind of extended duration usage I’ve been needing.
There’s certainly a lot to consider…rest assured there will be more to follow on this topic.