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My friend Song Z. Huang, co-founder of Soonr (a startup in the mobile data space), shared his insight with me today as to “what’s the best phone”.

Which phone do I recommend? This is a question that I get ALL THE TIME… we are always testing on many different phones. Also, I get to do a lot of demos. Often times certain carriers work better in a particular location than others. So what’s the solution? Multiple phones of course! So recently I took all the phones out of my bag an took a picture of them all.

Here’s a little picture and a quick overview of every phone in my bag.

Left to Right, top to bottom:
LG Fusic – Sprint EVDO service. Great for demo of a consumer phone. Unique feature is the iPod like front control with a built in FM transmitter to send music to the radio. Problem is that the FM transmitter is super weak.
Nokia N93 – Cingular (unlocked World Phone). This phone has a 3.2megapixel camera that does a good job on pictures. It also has a video recording mode which is quite good for a camera phone. The unique feature is that it has real optics and a video outcapability for projected demonstrations. It also has wifi, which can make for a snappy demo.
Sony Ericsson K800i – Cingular (unlocked World phone). This is the undisputed champ of camera phones. It has a 3.2megapixel camera that doesn’t suck! The flash is a real xenon flash instead of a sorry LED that does nothing useful. The unique feature is the excellent camera.
Palm Treo 700P – Sprint EVDO. The elegance of the Palm OS is still prevalent. This phone is fast and works flawlessly. The 320 x 320 screen is stunning and the Bluetooth profles are not restricted in anyway. All this, and it does mobile TV. If only I could get an Ajax browser on this, life would be perfect.
Motorola Q – Verizon Wireless EVDO. This is my 3rd Q. The first one just died one day and started flashing weird bars on the screen. The second one I got wouldn’t hold a charge for a day and kept shutting itself off. When I was just about ready to crush the crap phone, they sent me a third. This one is delivering on the promise. This stylish form factor and nice feature set makes it a phone I can live with….until it probably dies again.
HTC PPC6700 – Sprint EVDO. The keyboard on this phone and the wifi make it very useful. The surprise is that it’s sluggish a hell even though it has a 400mHz processor. We’ve all passed this phone around the office and it doesn’t stick anywhere. I think it’s Windows Mobile 5 that is slowing things up and making it hard to use. There’s promise here, but for now, there are better phones out there. Unique feature is the slide out keyboard and the built in wifi.
BlackBerry 8700c – Cingular. The undisputed champ when it comes to email. That’s what you buy a Blackberry for. These guys have still done the best job of creating the ultimate email machine. The browser is sub-par, the phone is only passable, and there’s no multimedia features at all. Still, the stellar screen and email capability makes this the one to take when you absolutely must do email.
Which phone is the best? It all depends on the location, situation, and need. There is no one best phone… sorry, but that’s the truth.

Personally, I’ve had my share of PDAs and Blackberries, but I’ve settled on a simple Nokia GSM phone with no bells and whistles.  But that’s because I like something that fits small in my pocket and really don’t need all the advanced features. I’ve even gotten to the point where I don’t bother to bring a laptop with me when I travel — it’s a hassle in airports, and technology is so ubiquitous these days that I just grab any old machine while on the road or borrow a co-workers laptop and remotely access my office email when I need it. Now that I have a car with Bluetooth capability, I’m thinking of upgrading to a Bluetooth compatible phone, but I still won’t bother with a smart phone.  Of course, that’s just me — I’ve become fairly ascetic when it comes to technology.

What do you think?  What’s your favorite, bestest phone ever?

Alex Eckelberry