Sony Ericsson P910a
The Sony Ericsson P910a is a joy so far. The 910a is a mobile phone and also a personal digital assistant (PDA). I actually think of it as my mobile office. It not only can receive email, it automatically checks for new email on whatever schedule you specify. It is "push email" ready. That is a fancy term that means it can use the BlackBerry service. In other words, it can be a BlackBerry without you having a BlackBerry. Nothing wrong with the BlackBerry — they are great — but I have always preferred more computer-like devices. The feature of the P910a I find most innovative is the "flip" lid. On the outside it has the normal keys you would expect on a mobile phone. Flip it down, and it has a full QWERTY keyboard on the reverse side. As you would expect it has a digital and video VGA camera. The 320×208 color screen is dazzling with a sharp and bright 262K colors. All in all, Sony Ericsson has done a really good job of integrating the best of everything.
The list of features is long: Picture editor, Sound recorder, Picture gallery, Picture Phonebook, Picture wallpaper, Backlit display, email, SMS long (Text Messaging), MMS (Multimedia Messaging), Video streaming (for watching the news), Handwriting recognition, Predictive text input, MP3 Audio, MPEG4 Video, Java™, Bluetooth™ wireless technology, Infrared port, GPRS for High Speed Data, USB support, Vibrating Alert, Touchscreen, the innovative Jog Dial, Voice control, Calculator, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Speaker phone, and Alarm clock just to name a few. And of course it has great web surfing with the Opera browser. The Opera browser is really what drove me to the P900 and now the P910a. I was not enthusiastic about using the web with a mobile phone for quite a few years, primarily because the browsers that mobile operators provided were really crude, to put it mildly. The Opera mobile browser is an Internet standards-based browser. You have to try it to believe it (on the desktop too).
The Memory Stick Duo™ allows you to store pictures, movies, music, and files of any type. You can use the P910a to create and review spreadsheets, read pdf files, and of course store email and web pages. Having a good-sized storage medium makes all of this very practical. The unit comes with 32 megabytes but you can add much more at attractive prices. I got a half-gigabyte memory stick from memorysuppliers.com They had a very good price and a good web site.
The most important factor of all about the P910a was the availability of the 850MHz GSM Network — in addition to GSM 1800 and GSM 1900. The P900 had 900/1800/1900, which is great in Europe but very poor in the U.S. I have seen a huge improvement in signal strength since switching to the 910a. The really neat thing about GSM phones is that you can change without even talking to the operator. In my case, this is a big plus because AT&T Wireless is very hard to reach and once you connect with them they often do not know too much about anything technical. With a GSM phone, you just take the SIM card out of the old phone, put it in the new phone, and you are finished. Turn it on and it works.