Friday, July 5, 2013

Still considering another phone

July 1st has come and gone.  Its only real significance is that it opened up my new phone upgrade window.  It's a long time until my contract ends in November, so Sprint has made things available much earlier than their previous 22 month period.  My two previous phone switches happened around 12 months from the prior change, as I was part of their Premier programme.

Apparently, they weren't making enough money but they made a lot of customers happy.  Of course, smart phones have an ETF of $350 and feature phones are at $200, I believe, but they weren't getting enough of that within 1 year, so the price of happiness was too high, indeed.

I currently have an iPhone 4S with 32 GB of storage.

I'm thinking about:

  • LG Optimus G(2)
  • HTC One
  • Apple iPhone 5S
Of course, the iPhone 5S won't be out until October or so.  Apple has just revealed that they've added the iPhone to the university sale that they do in autumn, so until the current supplies are gone, no one gets the new products.  This also explains why the MacBook Pro wasn't revised at WWDC, as all products they feel are desired by students will be discounted and after stock runs out, the revised models will be announced.

In any case, I want something fairly current but I'm not sure how far I would want to go.  The displays of all three will be high density displays.  I'd like a tablet but it's too much extra to carry, especially with the laptop computer.  A high density display on a phone will allow me to read and write Japanese, Chinese, and Korean more easily.

Update 2013.07.08: About 1 month from now, there is an announcement from LG, which is expected to be the Optimus G2.  I noticed that Sprint has reduced the price of the Optimus G from US$199.99 to US$99.99, according to my contract upgrade.  It's still a quad core phone and it sucks battery life as with all the rest--will the new one need a humongous battery and still suck the life out of it?

One thing that concerns me is that Android always has a problem where some app doesn't work with some phone.  These two phones are well known but will all apps work with them?  They have a good chance, but is that enough?

Of course, it has taken time for various apps on iOS to support the iPhone 5 and newer iPad displays.  It matters but there may not be a problem by the time October/November arrives.

Speaking of app compatibility, the HTC One lacks the menu button.  This seems a major flaw, even though some developers have gone out of their way to provide a solution in their applications.

I have a fourth option: do nothing and let the contract expire.  I'm not 100% enamoured of Sprint's service in this area, and my mobile hotspot (Tri-Fi!) regularly has trouble, probably because it doesn't support the lower frequencies and neither WiMAX nor LTE are available at home.  I doubt they'd appreciate losing a 13 year customer, although it would just be the loss of my phone at the moment, as the mobile hotspot has until July of 2014.

It seems to me that they could put better technology into a place that suffers from more trouble, rather than putting poorer, cheaper technology into place.  The signal used to be quite good, but their current technology leaves the mobile hotspot hanging by a 1 or 2 bar thread, where the phone will have double that.  The lower frequency counts, apparently.  Of course, how many times have you seen the number of bars change when you actually started to use the device?  Then again, one the phone, the number of bars represents the voice signal, which could always be fine, while the data signal would be in the toilet.

It's sad to return home from a trip where I was getting around 10 Mbps on WiMAX or LTE to see the connection struggle with e-mail.

I seriously doubt the deal with SoftBank will help in that department.  They'll still consider a small town unworthy of investment, even though the Sprint executives probably live far enough out of Overland Park, Kansas/Kansas City to be consider rural.  I doubt that they have a problem anywhere they go.

Update: 2013.09.10: iPhones 5s and 5c have been announced for September 20th availability.  Could I do with the 5c, which is mostly a warmed-over iPhone 5?  I suppose so but the extra power of the 5s sounds better.  I still haven't seen the LG Optimus G2 available, but Motorola's Moto X is.

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