"That thing's going to Cricket" - Aaron Baker, News Editor
FrankenPhone! It Lives!
Wasn't it Mick Jagger who once crooned, "You can't always get what you want / But if you make a mash-up you kinda can?" Something like that, anyway.
I'm tired of "close but no cigar" when it comes to mobile phones. iPhone's great except for that closed OS and no hard keyboard. Palm's WebOS is awesome but Palm can't seem to build a truly awesome piece of hardware to run it on. Android? How many branches has that platform splintered into already? And why I can't I find a Droid that does hard QWERTY and pinch-and-zoom Web browsing save the Europe-only Moto Milestone?
Even if I don't have the R&D lab and factories to create the ultimate mobile phone, I do have the power of the mash-up. And so I give you my FrankenPhone, Version 1, comprised by taking my favorite bits of existing mobile devices and smushing them together into one gloriously awesome KravPhone mash-up:
Hardware: HTC Touch HD2
This one's a tough call because part of me thinks I'll miss a hard QWERTY, but the capacitive touch display on HD2 is so big that it makes virtual typing a breeze. 4.3", 480 x 800 (WVGA) resolution of multitouch atop an 11mm thin device packing a 1GHz Snapdragon processor? Sold.
I might have to swap Nokia's best-ever camera (N86 8MP, maybe?) into the package, since I haven't spent much time testing HD2's optics. Then again, I'm pretty much resigned to the feeling that "No cameraphone is yet better than a sub-par standalone camera" these days, anyway, so it doesn't much matter.
Operating System: Palm WebOS
There's a caveat here, as you'll see when you get to the "Ecosystem" section below, but not worrying about apps for a moment, I'd want WebOS handling my contacts, messages, and multitasking. WebOS is the best combination of form and function on the market right now, combining excellent multitasking, notifications handling and data syncing with a gorgeous UI chock full of visual delights and flickingly-fun gestures. WebOS lacks Android's widgets, I know, but as a matter of personal preference I can live without 'em in favor of Palm's far more luscious visual treatments.
A second caveat, actually, is that WebOS lacks a virtual QWERTY with landscape support and a killer autocomplete/dictionary system. So I think I'd throw HTC's custom Android QWERTY into the mix since I've been such a fan of it on Hero and Droid Eris.
I almost, almost, almost chose Verizon … but Sprint works just as well as VZW where I live and work, and it's a heckuva lot cheaper than Big Red. 4G isn't yet widespread enough in the U.S. to really consider, and while CDMA networks can't do voice and data at the same time, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, especially considering AT&T's muddling 3G performance of late.
Now that I think of it, a GSM phone with both AWS and global HSPA banding could work … I could rock it on T-Mobile in the States and enjoy that forthcoming 21Mbps throughput I keep hearing about.
Here's the aforementioned caveat: I'd want WebOS, but I'd want Apple and not Palm running the App Store. And the music/media store, for that matter. For all that people justifiably complain about Apple's closed-book app approval process and total lockdown on iPhone OS, the fact is they've got an App Store chock full of useful and fun software (and some useless stuff, too, of course). No other mobile platform has the games iPhone OS has right now, and frankly I like playing games on my phone. And Apple's got an iTunes Store chock full of audio and video content, if that's your thing, and an insane cottage industry of cases, docks, and other gear is in full bloom around iPhone.
And, hey, mashing-up WebOS with an Apple-run ecosystem would finally put an end to Palm and Apple's stupid bickering, right?
So there you go: It's the HTC-Apple-Palm (and maybe Nokia) mash-up FrankenPhone.
You got somethin' better? Give it to us in the comments!