Guide to Choosing a Smart Phone for Local

In early January, Miriam Ellis of Solas Web Design asked the Local Chumps (an email salon whose members vary depending on the weather but that day included myself, Miriam, David Mihm, Matt McGee, Andrew Shotland & Will Scott) what smart phone should she buy. In doing her due diligence, she wanted to know which had the best features, the lowest price, the highest performance, the comparative benenfits etc etc….but mostly wanted something that would browse the internet well. All the reasonable questions that a conscientious consumer would typically ask about buying a piece of technology

Initially, many of our answers were single “phone” answers. The more complete answer, in the end, was that the choice needed to really include considerations about the service provider. The conversation took a “which cell provider sucks least” bent. (“Mine sucks less!” “No mine sucks less!”)

Picking a phone is not a straight forward technology purchase but a complex dance between choosing the service provider, your data and communication needs and picking the right smartphone.

It is impossible to choose a phone in the US without also choosing a provider and a (not so good & expensive) plan. Picking the phone should be the hard part but in reality it is picking the plan that requires a degree in systems design, accounting and social theory.

So with that in mind I have developed this scientific flow chart to help confused consumers in today’s marketplace pick a smart phone that browses the internet well:

I will leave it to Miriam to divulge to the world which phone she purchased (but I will say that she is the proud owner of a shiney new toy). Now, if we could just get her onto Twitter….

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Guide to Choosing a Smart Phone for Local by

20 thoughts on “Guide to Choosing a Smart Phone for Local”

  1. Yeah, c’mon Miriam, start tweeting. Nice flowchart Mike. (flowcharts are dynamite link bait, btw: hope this one works for you, Mike 😉 )

  2. I’m counting the days until Verizon lets me buy my new droid! Mike, which one are you using?

    And Miriam should definitely join the twittolution. Or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

  3. @meleighsmith I currently use an iPhone and am playing with a Nexus.

    what no peer pressure here. Although we were having an animated conversation about you on Twitter today. 🙂

    if Miriam does finally make it to Twitter (it a slippery slope after all) she can do a word or grammatical tip of the day. Be a whole lot more intersting than: “on this day in 1798 Martha washington’s cat died”

  4. @ Annuaire

    I finally had to give up on my N3650 when the mic died after 5 yrs of faithful service. It had been dropped, battered and abused but “kept on ticking ” doing my email with never a complaint, syncing via Bluetooth and being an all round friend.

  5. Believe it or not, I’m in my 30’s and have never owned a cell phone in my life. My friends and family always tease me about it. But I think it may be time to give in and catch up with the times. Looks like your saying pick the provider first and the phone second. I’ll give it a try.

  6. Hi Sam

    Well I am saying that you need to eliminate ISPs that just won’t work for you (ie too expensive, not good service) and then pick the best phone from the remaining choices… I personally don’t think all of the choices in phone above are equal. For example the Droids are less elegant than the Nexus but might make sense if you already have a relationship with Verizon or if Verizon is the best choice.

    One of the critical choices is whether you are desktop or cloud oriented. I really like my data on my desktop so the iPhone is a better choice for that than the Nexus…which is really Google service oriented….

  7. hah, so true. My brother has been trying to talk me into getting an iPhone (he just switched from Verizon). I’m still on Verizon and I’m frustrated with an LG phone that’s only a few months old and doesn’t work. Yet, I’m hesitant to go to AT&T with the spotty coverage and dropped calls. In the end it almost becomes a matter of the lesser of the 4 evils.

  8. @Brett

    Where I live, ATT has coverage the equal if not better of Verizon…but it varies depending on where you live….

    Wouldn’t it make sense socially to have one, compatible system that you could switch into and out of as made sense? Walled oligopolies end up being a regular p.i.t.a to deal with.

  9. TM –
    Curious to know why you feel so strongly about that? What does your iPhone do that other phones (including the nexus one) don’t? I’d love to hear the cause of your loyalty.

  10. What about for international use? I currently use a Samsung Saga, but I am thinking of switching to the Nexus One or Motorola Milestone (the GSM version of the Droid). I am a bit worried about the touchscreen only keyboard of the Nexus One and the antenna problems I have heard so much about.

    Anyone have international experience out there with these phones?

  11. Hahahaha! The truth is, they ALL suck! I will say that AT&T sucks less than Sprint in my experience, though. I keep hearing Verizon is the best, but I wanted an iPhone.

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