My first mobile phone in 2002 was a Nokia 3310. It was a hardy beast and hands down, the most reliable mobile phone I have ever owned. I don’t remember playing the in-built games that much, but its screen was easy to read and the phone was dead simple to use.
I recently bought two Samsung i780’s for friends and upgraded them, after purchase, to Windows Mobile 6.1. I use a Blackberry Bold and have a Apple iPod Touch at home, which is the same UI as the Apple iPhone, which I’ve toyed around with a lot but never had the inclination to buy. I’ve also used the Nokia N series and the Symbian operating system in addition to Nokia’s own OS for its other phones. And for a short time, I also had a Sony Ericsson phone – that I hated enough to forget the model – and a Samsung X820, at one time the world’s thinnest phone.
Each of these phones came with a different operating system and UI, some with more bells and whistles than others. Not a single one of them were as stable as my Nokia 3310. In my experience, the greater the complexity of the OS and features on the phone, the more unreliable and unstable the OS was.
This is one reason I support device agnostic SMS as the best way to send and receive mission critical information – like election monitoring reports from the field. With the exception of apps for the Apple iPod Touch, which ran well, I have not encountered a single J2ME app or app for Symbian that has not at some critical moment just crashed and buggered the phone’s OS to boot.
If only because I know I will not be able to resist buying it, I really hope the recently announced HTC Sense UI in their new Hero phone works as well as it looks.
On another note though, with my Blackberry Bold, I hardly ever use my laptop when I travel long-haul or when I am in the field in Sri Lanka. Even basic phones today are capable of photo and video recording, some even voice. Phones like this new HTC model blur further the distinction between a mobile phone and features traditionally associated with the PC.