First, I think that you should consider getting one of these toys with a phone plan. This will be way less expensive (around $50 versus 400 by themselves). Anyway, how will you use them if you don't have a plan? I did not study the plans, at least in the US, because I am coming back to France, but I believe they are sort of the same. Also, I think that $50 for such powerful tools is not really expensive. I think constructors have made a lot of effort to make their phones more affordable, and thus attack the customer market. Back in the days, I talked to a representative of Blackberry France that told me their main goal is to focus in the business to customer market, also because the professional market is close to saturation and don't allow a lot of room to expand.
I have specific needs for my cell phones that convinced me I want a smart phone:
- An organizational tool: I struggled for the longest time of my lack of organizational skills. I am mainly a creative person, and I had to work a lot on my organizational skills. That is why a year ago I bought my first windows mobile device, an Acer. I think that this help a lot, because at any time you have a tool that will order your contact information, and you'll be able to see and update your schedule very easily. I advice any busy person that has problem to keep things organize to own one of these smart phones, It will help you a lot.
- A tool to go on the Internet: I'd like to have a tool that will help me to read my rss feeds efficiently while I am in the public transportation for example. This is important because if you want to make the best out of your available time, and you spend so much time in the metro, you need to keep busy. Reading rss feeds is for sure a great tool.
- Being able to post from the device: As a blogger, how many times I have forgot to post a great idea I had because I did not have access to the Internet or to my blog platform. I'd like to have a phone that will have a comfortable keyboard, which allows you to write fast a blog article. That is also the reason why I did not want to get an Iphone and I won't talk about it here, because I don't believe that their keyboard is really great for writing long articles. Hence I am agree with David Spark's opinion about the Iphone you can read here.
- Eventually to use it as a multimedia player: This is not one of my main criteria, but it will be great if it could have a good memory in order for me to also listen to podcast and some of my favorite song. But as I already have a nano Ipod, this is not mandatory.
- Concerning the keyboard, I have tried both the Samsung and the Blackberry keyboards to write a post. I think that the Samsung keyboard's keys are a little bit larger and more convenient. Even though I feel comfortable with the blackberry's one, I think the windows mobile empowered mobile is better
- Concerning the rss feed reader, I think there is a great advantage for the blackberry. I had a windows mobile device and the Internet browser sucks. This is not possible to see a webpage easilly. Thanks to its build-in rss feed reader, this is very convenient to read a blog with a Blackberry device.
- Concerning the organizational tool, I have one problem with the blackberry model. Thus, I use Outlook for my calendars, contacts and tasks. By using blackberry, this is not that convenient to synchronize your Outlook. I have already made the experience, and trust me, this is not easy at all to get something that synchronize both. So advantage for Outlook and Windows Mobile on this side.