Slideshow

6 keys to the ultimate smartphone

Call it the iBerry Pre; it's got the best features of the top smartphones all in one handy (and, sadly, fictional) device

  • Operating system: Three-way tie iPhone OS, Google Android, and Palm webOS: Operating systems all have so many different features that it's difficult to settle on just one as "the best." In terms of ease-of-use and customer satisfaction, the iPhone's OS comes out on top. However, that doesn't mean that the OS X couldn't incorporate features from other operating systems to make it even better. For example, OS X could adopt a more open architecture such as Android's Linux-based system to make it easier for developers to create applications. Or it could incorporate the Palm webOS's ability to layer applications, thus letting users keep several applications open at once and flip seamlessly between them.
  • Applications: Apple App Store By any measure, Apple's App Store has been a monumental success. The store has delivered more than 2 billion downloads since its launch in July 2008, and the store currently features more than 85,000 different applications for users to choose from. Needless to say, none of the other application stores offered by any other companies provide this level of choice for users. One challenger to keep an eye on will be the Android Market. While the store today doesn't come close to the number of apps that Apple currently sells, it could catch up in a hurry if Android-based devices become more popular over the next year.
  • Now get into some apps There's plenty of them out there so now you've made your decision on which phone to get, go and load it up. Good surfing.
  • Price: Samsung Omnia and Palm Centro Neither of these devices are top-of-the-line smartphones, but if you're looking for a bargain, they're sure to satisfy. One challenger to keep an eye on will be the Android Market. While the store today doesn't come close to the number of apps that Apple currently sells, it could catch up in a hurry if Android-based devices become more popular over the next year.
  • Processor: Samsung S5PC100 This is a top-of-the-line processor that is used in the iPhone 3GS and that runs at 600MHz. Aaron Vronko, the co-founder of RapidRepair.com, has said that this processor is particularly powerful because it combines a central processing unit, a graphics processor, and a memory controller onto one chip, thus creating a more efficient processing system. Honorable mention goes to the Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor, which has many of the same features as the S5PC100 and which is used in the Palm Pre.
  • 6 keys Everybody loves their smartphone, but no device is perfect - just ask iPhone owners how they feel about relying on AT&T as their carrier. But what if you could take the best parts of every smartphone currently on the market and combine them to make the world's greatest mobile device? What would you choose? In this slideshow, we give our take on what this Frankenphone would look like by incorporating the best hardware, operating system, and enterprise features.
  • Enterprise features: BlackBerry Although both the iPhone and the Palm Pre have been pitched as enterprise devices, none of them can match Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices. The big feature that differentiates BlackBerry devices from the competition is the vast array of security features that allows IT departments to, among other things, disable devices' digital cameras; to enable or shut down specific Bluetooth profiles and set how long devices are "discoverable" using Bluetooth; and to define which applications on a BlackBerry can access GPS capabilities.
  • Keyboard and screen: The BlackBerry Curve 8900 series and the iPhone 3GS, respectively This is where creating a fantasy phone starts to butt heads with physical engineering. After all, if you want a big screen, it makes it more difficult to produce a large full QWERTY keyboard to the phone and vice versa. But if we could have both a large screen and keyboard on a device, we'd combine the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen with the BlackBerry Curve 8900's superb keypad. Of course, an actual phone that had both of these features would probably be too heavy and too large for many people to carry around, but that's why this is a fantasy exercise.
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