Day 11 with the Samsung Omnia

OmniaFirst, just to get this out of the way and off my chest, I want an iPhone. It’s superior in almost every comparison. However, my carrier is Verizon Wireless and I get a pretty sweet deal on my family plan because I have a family member who works for Verizon Wireless. That’s the dilemma. Pay more than $50 more each month and go with the iPhone plan or try to make it work with a smartphone from Verizon. I’m trying to make it work. I’m trying really hard.

I have been auditioning a Samsung Omnia, which has almost every feature imaginable, during the 30-day no hassle return policy. Here’s what I like about the phone so far:

  • Completely touchscreen based
  • Wi-fi
  • GPS, though Verizon Wireless has disabled it; I’ve read rumors that they will be opening it up by the end of June
  • Bluetooth
  • Works nicely with Exchange/ActiveSync supported email servers (we use Zimbra)
  • Comes pre-installed with the Opera Mobile browser
  • Has both a 5MP camera as well as a video camera that shoots up to 640×480; the video is choppy though
  • Supposed can mount it as a drive to my Mac, though I haven’t tried this yet
  • Expandable memory up to 16MB with a micro SD card
  • Have been able to install some important third party apps

Here’s what I hate though:

  • Windows Mobile; this is the worst interface because it’s still based around the expectation that people will use a stylus to interface with it.
  • Bluetooth won’t mount the device to my Mac
  • Don’t think I can charge it through my Mac because it requires some special program that is only Windows based
  • Proprietary USB/charger jack
  • GPS is locked. Come on Verizon please get with the times and let us use the phone with apps we like such as Google Maps for mobile phones
  • The power button is sometimes hard for me to get to
  • The cover for the USB/charger jack is hard to remove without longer finger nails
  • Outlook just stinks
  • Windows Mobile. I mentioned it already, but it’s pretty bad
  • The Samsung keyboard, though generally pleasant to use, wouldn’t type into Google Maps for mobile phones. Some of the other keyboards already installed worked, but they’re terrible stylus-expecting keyboards
  • Rotation animator works almost flawlessly

And, here are some apps making life bearable, if not enjoyable some of the time:

  • Spb Mobile Shell 3. Makes the phone pleasantly usable by essentially throwing away some of the Windows Mobile interface. This will cost me $30 if I stay with the phone, but I think it’s worth it because it’s that much better
  • Spb Keyboard. Though this will cost about $15 it might be worth it though I’m willing to look for another keyboard that works well with my fingers as well as one that will work with Google Maps for mobile phones
  • Google Maps for mobile phones. It’s Google Maps on a phone. Works great and would work even better if Verizon would open up the GPS. I so want to use the GPS. Think it would be great for getting around NYC by foot or for taking a detour due to a backup on the highway.
  • PockeTwit. I looked around for a decent Twitter client and I settled on this one because it supports kinetic scrolling. I liked Twinkini enough but it didn’t support kinetic scrolling. It also comes with a “QuickPost” app that lets me post a tweet without having to lauch my Twitter timeline. And, the QuickPost app exits automatically after sending my tweet.

So what’s left? What am I going to do before the 30-day period ends? I’m still undecided because namely I haven’t been able to find a better email and calendar interface, which is my biggest stumbling block at this time. Outlook is terrible and the Spb Mobile Shell app doesn’t skin those apps. I hear that Windows Mobile 6.5 is out or will be soon. I’m hoping the interface at least makes scrolling and interacting with the buttons much easier.

I like this phone a lot, but hate Windows Mobile. Get me a better interface for calendar and email and open up the GPS. That could sell me easily.