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Need a new phone. Treo's dead. - brad's life [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Brad Fitzpatrick

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Need a new phone. Treo's dead. [Mar. 18th, 2007|07:17 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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5 months after its 1 year warranty expired, my Treo 650 just shat itself for the final time. The keyboard's all whack now, pressing random keys on its own, not responding to other keys, etc.

And given that OpenMoko isn't quite ready yet software-wise, I should buy another phone. So...

Dear Lazyweb,

I need a new phone!


The new phone has the following properties, and you'll tell me what phone it is:
  • QWERTY keyboard -- for thumb-killing fast SMS'ing.
  • GSM, Quad-band, Unlocked -- gotta use it in Russia and Europe and Japan, and with pre-pay SIM cards not from T-Mobile
  • Sufficiently Hackable -- can I put apps from the Internet on it?
  • Good IMAP client
  • ssh client
  • Camera
  • Menus and navigation that don't offend me -- I don't want spinny animations and offensive shit common in the slow-ass gimmicky "Java phones"
So, what do I want?
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: obra
2007-03-19 02:26 am (UTC)
Nokia E70?
(Note that for Japan, you need a WCDMA or possibly UMTS phone, not GSM)
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[User Picture]From: decklin
2007-03-19 03:05 am (UTC)
The E61 is also nice (quadband and wifi; both have WCDMA) if you want a more Treo-ey keyboard. I can't really speak to the keyboards themselves as I have an E50 (however: same IMAP client, MidpSSH, webkit-based browser, OggPlay, it's all pretty decent), which really doesn't do anything better except be small and thin.

I had a much older "fold-out" two-handed QWERTY Nokia once upon a time and... probably, you just have to try 'em both hands-on. I didn't like hunting with my thumbs, and I use Dvorak anyway now :)

None of the E series cameras are very good. All Series 60 phones could stand to be a little faster, but otherwise the navigation sucks minimally. (A co-worker bought a new Treo recently and I found the process of setting up his email kind of a pain.)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:13 am (UTC)
No camera on E61, otherwise I liked it more than the E70. :/
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[User Picture]From: obra
2007-03-19 03:18 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:22 am (UTC)
Looks perfect, if I could buy one tomorrow. :/
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[User Picture]From: mart
2007-03-19 12:14 pm (UTC)

The E90 looks good. Thinking about that one for myself. Can't find it in the UK store yet, though.

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[User Picture]From: decklin
2007-03-19 03:20 am (UTC)
My bad... I meant E61i. (Actually, I suspect the camera on that one is not too bad.) Unfortunately, I think it's not released yet, so that doesn't help... :(

(Another caveat about Nokias, now that I see your other comment: you will need a Windows machine to use the USB cable, which is the only way of updating the firmware.)
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[User Picture]From: octal
2007-03-19 05:41 am (UTC)
I have an E61, it's great.

Just get a "real" FX30 or FX50 camera or something.

I'd also add "802.11" to your feature list...it's really convenient when you go to an internet cafe or something.

I use blackberry more, now, since I have unlimited global data roaming for $60/mo total. For email blackberry is hands-down the best. I still carry a local phone with a local SIM for voice.
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[User Picture]From: bobmonster
2007-03-19 09:51 am (UTC)

Be warned....

Be aware that some versions of the E61 sold in the US have 802.11 turned off. If it costs less than $150 make sure to check the advertised feature list.

I personally would hold out for the E61i with the camera and other upgrades.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:10 am (UTC)
Only tri-band, huh? I need GSM 900 for Russia. :/

And the E61, which is quad-band, lacks a camera.

*sigh*
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[User Picture]From: obra
2007-03-19 03:22 am (UTC)
(The european model of the E70 is quadband)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:23 am (UTC)
I heard it was still tri-band, but a different 3 of the 4 frequencies, so it sucks in the US, because 1 of the frequencies it loses is one of the two US frequencies.
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[User Picture]From: obra
2007-03-19 03:26 am (UTC)
My Bad. No 850...though as a tmobile subscriber, I don't tend to actually get much GSM850 anyway. (The euro model does EGSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900 and WCDMA (3GPP Release 99))
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:30 am (UTC)
Good point about T-Mobile ... that's worth researching.

A friend bought the European E70 for use in San Francisco and hated it... never got a signal. But he's on Cingular.

He switched to the US E70 and it works great.

Lemme go see if I can find info on what frequencies T-Mobile uses in SF...
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:34 am (UTC)
Naah, there's too much 850 all over the US, it turns out. I wouldn't be happy with just 1900.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, the European E70 has no GSM850, popular in San Francisco.
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[User Picture]From: preci0us
2007-03-19 02:55 am (UTC)
tmobile dash
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:02 am (UTC)
eh, it's Microsoft. Somehow I doubt it works with Mac & Linux. I use no Windows.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: perpetualmotion
2007-03-19 03:05 am (UTC)

rambling

Who's your service provider ? I have a Cingular 8525 and love everything about it. You might not want a slider keyboard though (garage door opening ? Although I'm sure you can hack one of the hardware buttons on the front or side to fire up a shortcut in whatever browser you want to use on it), but it makes a big difference in typing convenience (along with the scroll wheel on the side). It's 3G, and I usually get around 700-900K down, around 150/200 up... Anyway, it's rebadged from the HTC TyTN, and lots of other service providers have their own rebadged versions - most of them with slight variations on minor hardware/software, but fairly similar. I bought a bluetooth GPS receiver for it (about the size of a lighter) and Tom Tom Navigator 6 is awesome. It would make a great GPS for the bike, with a mount for the gauge cluster. Lots of bluetooth helmet systems, too...

/rambling
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[User Picture]From: perpetualmotion
2007-03-19 03:05 am (UTC)
Nevermind, yes, it's Windows Mobile 5.0 ;)
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[User Picture]From: matthew
2007-03-19 03:15 am (UTC)
I rather like my blackberry, but it lacks a camera. It does run apps from the net (gmail, google maps, etc) so that's all cool. Of course it's also a blackberry so it's got all that weird freakiness. There's probably better out there but it works for me (especially when work pays for it)
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[User Picture]From: taral
2007-03-19 03:24 am (UTC)
Treo 750p

Shame it's not out yet. :)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 03:25 am (UTC)
Treo gets no more money from me.

Fuck that "operating system".
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[User Picture]From: taral
2007-03-19 03:27 am (UTC)
Well, if you find anything better, let me know. :)
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[User Picture]From: daveman692
2007-03-19 06:02 am (UTC)
+1, I hate my Treo but haven't found anything better.
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From: baudehlo
2007-03-19 04:08 am (UTC)

Maybe...

Try a crackberry. Hey, I live in their town so I have to suggest it. :-)
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-03-19 04:11 am (UTC)
I was thinking of purchasing a Cingular 8525/HTC TyTn as mentioned above.

I'm not going to be making a purchase for another month or so, so I'm kind of replying to tag this post for later viewing. Let me know what you end up buying.

If not, anyone else have suggestions as well? Where I'm moving has good cingular service, but not good Tmobile service, fyi.
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[User Picture]From: krow
2007-03-19 05:26 am (UTC)
Nothing on that open source phone you got?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 05:26 am (UTC)
I referenced that phone in my post.
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[User Picture]From: krow
2007-03-19 05:31 am (UTC)
Somehow I skipped that... I am almost in the same boat. My Treo 650 is not long for this world and while I can pick up a replacement I don't particularly like the phone. I was hoping to hear that OpenMoko was viable or... hope that someone breaks the iPhone and I can get what I need on it.

I've been watching a few people I know switch to smallish phones and just start carrying around the Nokia Linux handheld. I loathe the idea of carrying around two devices though :(
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-03-19 05:33 am (UTC)
It'll be the end of the year before the OpenMoko hardware+software are sexy enough to use as a regular phone.
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2007-03-19 07:09 am (UTC)
If we're very lucky.

I lost my Treo in a club a while back, and have switched to a borrowed non-smart phone (Motorola RAZR) while I decide what to do. I'm enjoying having a small, clamshell phone a lot, enough to put up even with predictive texting. The only real hate-point so far is that it keeps telling me that I've run out of storage for texts. WTF? Those things are tiny, why can't it store ten thousand of them?

I'm certainly not getting a Treo again; not until you can actually buy one with Cobalt pre-installed, which is I think never.
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[User Picture]From: waider
2007-03-19 10:16 am (UTC)
I think the limit for the RAZR is 1075 SMS, and I've no idea how it deals with variable-sized MMS messages but they don't seem to be available through the modem interface so it probably takes one slot for the message header and keeps the rest of the message elsewhere.

Having said that, I'm pretty sure mine started complaining about space when I let it stack up to 600 messages or so.
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[User Picture]From: funjon
2007-03-19 07:12 am (UTC)
I know you will dislike a Windows Mobile phone, but I've been extremely happy with my HTC TyTN (the OEM version of the Cingular 8525, as referenced above). I use The Missing Sync (www.markspace.com) to sync with my Macbook Pro, which works well. As a bonus feature, if you have a data plan on your phone, if you update your phone to the AKU 3.3 rom and are using The Missing Sync, when you plug it in and turn on Internet Sharing, you get an IP address on the USB port. And it Just Works (tm).

The TyTN is a GSM/UMTS/WCDMA phone, so it will truly work world wide. It should work everywhere you want to go, including Japan (woo).

If you want to play with it ping me when I get back from Las Vegas on Tuesday night. I'll even be in the city Wednesday for dinner with a friend.
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[User Picture]From: robflynn
2007-03-19 09:25 am (UTC)
I find the handwriting reco. isn't too bad, either. It could read my sloppy writing.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2007-03-19 09:34 am (UTC)
So Ash's Treo started doing that -- it would act like "Alt" had been pressed when you pressed half of the other keys, and some keys didn't work -- and he sprayed it with electronics contact cleaner and it works fine now.
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[User Picture]From: quappa
2007-03-19 09:59 am (UTC)
Look at SonyEricsson P990. There's qwerty, 2mp camera, wi-fi, umts and probably all the other mobile phone features ever imagined.
http://www.mobile-review.com/review/sonyericsson-p990-en.shtml
The only downside -- not enough native 3rd-party software.
Previous model p910 doesn't have wifi but supports much more software.

And you don't need GSM 900 in Moscow.
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[User Picture]From: boggyb
2007-03-19 11:37 am (UTC)
I've got no idea what's current in the cellphone market, but I can recommend anything by Sony Ericsson. In my experience their phones Just Work, and they punch out a better signal than most of the stuff around.
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[User Picture]From: eqe
2007-03-19 02:49 pm (UTC)
I think the Blackberry 8800 satisfies most of your requirements. Oops, except it seems to be lacking a camera. And I don't know what their installable software situation is.
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[User Picture]From: ioerror
2007-03-19 07:05 pm (UTC)
You can install unsigned java code easily. I have a few different applications installed, one of which is a very good ssh client.
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[User Picture]From: desh
2007-03-19 03:14 pm (UTC)
The "unlocked" part of things shouldn't be a concern. I'm told that Cingular is really good at unlocking phones if you call their international number, tell them you need the phone unlocked for abroad travel, and give it a few days. So if you find what you want among Cingular's US lineup, you should be good to go, and for a couple hundred bucks cheaper than the equivalent unbranded/unlocked phone.

And I'd recommend anything in Nokia's E-series. S60 is plenty "hackable". I don't know phone-specific details, though. (I know their N-series better because I don't like QWERTY.) Check out their site or the phonescoop.com phone comparison feature to find out what specifically you want.
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[User Picture]From: poligraph
2007-03-19 03:59 pm (UTC)
Nokia E70, Nokia E61i
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[User Picture]From: radven
2007-03-19 04:59 pm (UTC)

Treo 680...

The Treo 680 isn't much of an upgrade to the 650, but it does meet all of your requirements - and I'm not sure any other phone out there does.

I am in the same boat... My 650 is failing, and I need something better... But the state of the smartphone universe pretty much sucks now.

*sigh*

- chris
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[User Picture]From: askbjoernhansen
2007-03-19 09:44 pm (UTC)

Treo 680

What Radven said. I'd rather not give Palm any money either, but if my 650 gives up before either OpenMoko or the iPhone is ready then I'll just get a 680...
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[User Picture]From: askbjoernhansen
2007-03-19 09:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Treo 680

oh - but of course I'd be delighted if you find something else that works that the rest of us can copy (or not, depending on how it goes). :-)
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