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The 411: Windows Phone 7 or Android?

Every two weeks in The 411, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories.

Mobile

Welcome to The 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

I am looking to purchase a new smartphone. I have been looking at the Verizon Droid X. I have been told that Android 3 should be coming out before the end of year , doubling [the] speed. (1) Is there an ETA for the Android 3 release (2) what will be the Droid X equal [by then]...or should I just bite the bullet and buy the Droid X? I have a BB Storm that is driving me batty. Is the wait worth the added aggravation? -- d, via e-mail

If you're referencing Gingerbread, I believe that's actually Android 2.3 and not 3.0 as previously rumored. We don't really know the exact date that Gingerbread will be released, but yes, we have heard it will be before the end of the year, so we think it'll be around December 2010. As for whether the Droid X will get the update, we think there's a strong possibility it might, but we expect you'll have to wait for quite awhile before Motorola gets around to releasing a version of the update that's compatible with its own software. I don't think there'll be a hardware update to the Droid X before the end of the year. If you're ready to drop your Storm however, I don't think there's a problem with getting the Droid X now, especially as prices are starting to drop due to holiday sales.

I'm spending hours on the Internet looking for reviews on particular AT&T cell phones, and I just want to get the most for my money. I've probably narrowed it down to the Sony Xperia 10 or the Motorola Bravo if I go "Android" but then I saw the new Windows 7 phones. If I sign a contract and am stuck with a phone for two years, I want to make a good decision but am not very techie. I am sticking with AT&T because I am buying my son the iPhone for Christmas (even though I know Verizon may have it by then too.) Am I better off with Android or Windows 7 if I'm keeping the phone for two years, and do you have a suggestion for which phone? -- Sandi, via e-mail

Would a Windows Phone 7 handset be more user-friendly than Android? Josh Miller/CNET

This might be a controversial answer seeing as Windows Phone 7 is such a new platform, but I think you might be better off with a Windows Phone 7 handset compared with your other two choices. The Motorola Bravo is a pretty entry-level handset with Android 2.1, and the Sony Xperia X10 has an overly complicated user interface that would take longer to upgrade in the long run. Also, Windows Phone 7 devices like the Samsung Focus are pretty polished for a first-generation product--you get a Super AMOLED screen, a 5-megapixel camera, and a user interface that's pretty easy to get around.

Bear in mind that the Windows Phone 7 platform is fairly new, so the online community support won't be as robust as Android. But Microsoft aims to be much more timely in its software updates, and for a non-techie like yourself, I think you might experience fewer headaches over time. Definitely go in a store and play around with a few of the choices before making a final decision, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with Windows Phone 7.

Do you have any idea if Versace will come out with a cell phone? If yes, do you know when and what might be the price? Will Versace be with a company such as Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.? I went to Versace.com and they have a page displaying a Versace cell phone. -- Raul, via e-mail.

Versace is coming out with a new Versace touch-screen phone called the Versace Unique. It was created by Modelabs, and it's definitely a luxury handset with an 18 karat gold finish and a back cover made out of hand-crafted leather. We have no idea what operating system it'll have, but something tells me it won't be a smartphone--previous luxury handsets have typically gone the proprietary route. We definitely don't expect this to be subsidized by a carrier, so expect to shell out the big bucks if you have to have it.

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