Welcome to the 411, my Q&A 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 the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Do you think there's any chance of Verizon carrying the LG BL40 chocolate? I don't get why a phone would be released in Europe and Asia but not in the States. Thanks.--Ana, via e-mail
Sorry Ana, but I don't think we will ever see the LG BL40 Chocolate offered here in the States. Verizon does offer a scaled-down version of the Chocolate in the form of the LG Chocolate Touch, but it's really not the same phone at all. If you really have to have it, you could probably get an unlocked version and try it with an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card, but I can't guarantee you will get the phone's full functionality. Some cell phone manufacturers are better about bringing their global phones to the States, like Nokia and sometimes Sony Ericsson, but others prefer to make and sell a phone specific to a particular region, usually with help from the carriers. I'm sure that's not a satisfactory answer, but that's currently how the cell phone market works.
I am professor and I do a lot of e-mail and Internet browsing, and I would like a phone with world-coverage (for when I travel), and a flash camera (5MP would be nice). Currently have a Palm Treo 750 with a QWERTY keyboard. While I like it, it would be nice to get a virtual keyboard so that when I read the New York Times (or the like), I can have the whole screen--also, the Treo's camera is lousy. Phones that have a QWERTY keyboard that pulls out (such as the Motorola Droid), are useless to me since I cannot type with one hand, which for me is essential. (My right hand doesn't work.) Furthermore, virtual keyboards like the iPhone have this annoying feature that if you make a mistake typing, one has to find the error by pointing to it, which makes typing incredibly slow. What I'd like is the virtual keyboard like the AT&T HTC Pure, which has a left-right-up-down keys. But the HTC pure is too small! Is there any other choice? HTC HD2 seems ideal, but is not available in the U.S. Frustration!--Paul, via e-mail
Luckily for you, Paul, it seems like the HTC HD2 will indeed be available in the U.S. We're not sure of the date right now, but it sounds like it'll be available sometime in the first quarter of 2010. Maybe Microsoft might even push out a new version of Windows Mobile by then. So if you're not in a rush to get a new phone, I would say wait for the HD2.
I recently received an iPhone 3gs as a present, but I am considering getting a Nexus One instead. I've had the original iPhone since day one and need to upgrade. I like the feature set for the Nexus, but I feel a bit shorted that I'd have to buy an additional microSD card for more storage space. Maybe I've been spoiled by the iPhone, but I feel that should already be part of the phone. In any case, my only other main concern is having a device that handles my media seamlessly. I've had a lot of frustration using iTunes and using something that is simply drag-n-drop would be a blessing. Lastly, it's important that I can text as easily as I can on the iPhone. I am aware of the reports about the typing on the Nexus One. Should I wait for an OS fix? Apps and games aren't a big deal to me since I only use only a handful of them at most. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.--Ray, via e-mail
You are right that you would need an additional microSD card if you want to store a lot of media on the Nexus One. That said, microSD cards are available in large sizes these days, and unlike the fixed storage in the iPhone, you can swap out cards to get even more storage if you prefer. You are also right that you can just drag and drop music to the Nexus One instead of having to use iTunes (there's a way to drag and drop music to the iPhone too, but it requires a third-party app and a Wi-Fi connection). However, if your only problem with the iPhone is that you have to use iTunes to sync music, you can actually use alternative applications like MediaMonkey if you'd rather not use iTunes. It won't sync everything like apps and games, but since that's not very important to you, it might not be a big deal. As for the virtual keyboard, I actually like using both the one on the iPhone and the Nexus One--the iPhone's keyboard does look a tad more polished, but the keyboard on the Nexus One is just as responsive.
Overall, I think both phones are really good, and it completely depends on your priorities as to which phone to prefer. The iPhone might be slightly better at handling media with its all-inclusive iPod interface, but the Nexus One allows for more flexibility with the capability to drag-and-drop items and the option for microSD storage.