Guest Article by Rishi Kumar from RK-home
Some hold a device as elegant in appearance and functional in usage as the iPhone / iPhone 3G to be a token from technology-heaven. Plus, with that Apple logo, there’s an aura of “coolness” about it. 😉 Others like me, however, believe that as good as the iPhone 3G is, it’s still a cell phone – and what’s a cell phone without good coverage? With AT&T/ Cingular’s exclusivity contract with Apple for the next year or so, customers who trust in Verizon’s superior network must turn elsewhere.
Before starting medical school, I needed a smartphone which was capable of running all the healthcare software (Epocrates, Merck, etc.) which I’ll need during my education and clinical rounds. I turned to the new Samsung Omnia i910 for Verizon Wireless to hopefully meet and / or exceed my preferences. Here’s a concise review of my findings after a week of playing around with the phone.
$200 with a new two-year contract makes the Samsung Omnia directly comparable to the iPhone 3G (AT&T / Cingular) and Blackberry Storm (Verizon). All three phones require a data contract, which in my experience, is far faster on the Verizon network. Hooray old-school CDMA!
Appearance / Design
Like the iPhone, the Samsung Omnia is all about the touch-screen. It has a large 240 x 400 pixel resolution screen, but only supports 65,536 color viewing (16 bit). I’m a huge fan of SPB Mobile Shell and am pleased with the way it runs on the Omnia as my main user interface. The optical mouse also comes in handy when browsing the web and clicking those tiny hyperlinks with your finger is too difficult. All in all, here are the pros and cons of the design:
Pros: 5 MP camera with LED flash, optical mouse, accelerometer, simple button layout, wifi (rare on a Verizon phone), GPS (will be unlocked in the first half of 2009 by Verizon)
Cons: Accelerometer and touch screen aren’t as responsive as the iPhone’s.
On, and on another note, I ordered an Invisible Shield and found great difficulty in applying it to this phone for some reason. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t done it in a while, but applying the shield to the Omnia took longer than shielding a MacBook, an iPod Touch, or an LG Voyager combined.
Being a Windows Mobile device, there are numerous applications out there to install. Everything from utilities to games and user interfaces to demos, WM 6.1 Professional supports a lot of software. Also, with Skymarket (Windows’ answer to the “App Stores” run by Apple, Blackberry, and Google), the Windows Mobile software community will be far more structured and accessible to all smartphone users.
Samsung Omnia already comes with some neat software. The basic Office applications (PowerPoint, Excel, Word) as well as the Opera Mobile browser, RSS Reader, FM Radio, etc. This was probably the first device where I spent more than an hour tinkering around with all the pre-loaded software before getting bored. 😀
Being an ex-LG-Voyager user, it was difficult for me to get used to not having a physical QWERTY keyboard at my disposal. Text messaging with the Omnia is no where near as quick and efficient as with the Voyager, but hey, handset designers couldn’t make things *too* easy, now could they? 🙂 Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional tends to be a little sluggish at times, especially if you’re running numerous programs in the background which are all hogging CPU cycles and RAM. Turning off some of the eye candy (Samsung widgets, elaborate themes, etc.) ended up resolving the problem in my case. But being an iPod Touch owner, I naturally draw comparisons between it and the Omnia. In the end, Apple really did a fantastic job in making everything run “smoothly” (from the accelerometer to scrolling through contacts), but Windows has the large user base and will be releasing Windows Mobile 6.5 sometime next month.
If you’re a Verizon customer who is looking for a device beyond the conventional cell phone, I strongly recommend the Samsung Omnia i910. It has plenty of features which will appeal to hardcore business users, to the light consumer user… and dare I say it… even us medical students out there. 🙂 As far as Verizon phones go, this one probably has all the features one could desire in a phone. To make things even more convincing, the best is yet to come with Verizon unlocking its GPS software (so you can use Google Maps and other proprietary software) and Windows establishing SkyMarket.
This article was written by medical student Rishi Kumar. Check out his blog, RK-home where he writes about controversial topics in medicine and politics as well as some sci / tech stuff. If you wish to write a Guest Article, you can do so here.