Building the Ultimate Smartphone

What if you could combine the best parts of every smartphone on the market?

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Everybody loves their smartphone, but no device is perfect — just ask iPhone owners how they feel about relying on AT&T as their carrier. But what if you could take the best parts of every smartphone currently on the market and combine them to make the world's greatest mobile device? What would you choose? In this slideshow, we give our take on what this Frankenphone would look like by incorporating the best hardware, operating system and enterprise features.

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Smartphone smackdown

Guide to mobility

Palm Pre vs. iPhone

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Processor: Samsung S5PC100. This is a top-of-the-line processor that is used in the iPhone 3GS and that runs at 600MHz. Aaron Vronko, the cofounder of RapidRepair.com, has said that this processor is particularly powerful because it combines a central processing unit, a graphics processing and a memory controller onto one chip, thus creating a more efficient processing system.

Honorable mention goes to the Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor, which has many of the same features as the S5PC100 and which is used in the Palm Pre.

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Operating system: Three-way tie! IPhone OS, Google Android and Palm webOS. Operating systems all have so many different features that it's difficult to settle on just one as "the best." In terms of ease of use and customer satisfaction, the iPhone's OS comes out on top. However, that doesn't mean that the OS X couldn't incorporate features from other operating systems to make it even better. For example, OS X could adopt a more open architecture such as Android's Linux-based system to make it easier for developers to create applications. Or it could incorporate the Palm webOS's ability to layer applications, thus letting users keep several applications open at once and flip seamlessly between them.

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Keyboard and screen: The BlackBerry Curve 8900 series and the iPhone 3GS, respectively. This is where creating a fantasy phone starts to butt heads with physical engineering. After all, if you want a big screen, it makes it more difficult to produce a large full QWERTY keyboard to the phone and vice-versa. But if we could have both a large screen and keyboard on a device, we'd combine the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen with the BlackBerry Curve 8900's superb keypad. Of course, an actual phone that had both of these features would probably be too heavy and too large for many people to carry around, but that's why this is a fantasy exercise.

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Carrier: Verizon. Every year, Verizon scores highest among consumer surveys for its low rates of dropped calls, failed connections and late voice mail notifications relative to other U.S. carriers. Some popular smartphones available on Verizon include the BlackBerry Storm, the BlackBerry Tour 9630, the Palm Centro and the Samsung Omnia.

Honorable mention goes to T-Mobile, which has earned acclaim for its customer service.

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Enterprise features: BlackBerry. Although both the iPhone and the Palm Pre have been pitched as enterprise devices, none of them can match Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices. The big feature that differentiates BlackBerry devices from the competition is the vast array of security features that allows IT departments to, among other things, disable devices' digital cameras; to enable or shut down specific Bluetooth profiles and set how long devices are "discoverable" using Bluetooth; and to define which applications on a BlackBerry can access GPS capabilities.

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Applications: Apple App Store. By any measure, Apple's App Store has been a monumental success. The store has delivered more than 2 billion downloads since its launch in July 2008 and the store currently features more than 85,000 different applications for users to choose from. Needless to say, none of the other application stores offered by any other companies provide this level of choice for users.

One challenger to keep an eye on will be the Android Market. While the store today doesn't come close to the number of apps that Apple currently sells, it could catch up in a hurry if Android-based devices become more popular over the next year.

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Price: Samsung Omnia and the Palm Centro. Now is a good time to buy the Omnia as Verizon is having a smartphone fire sale. You can get the Samsung Omnia for just $29.99 right now if you buy it off Verizon's Web site. AT&T, meanwhile, is selling the Palm Centro for $49.99. Neither of these devices are top-of-the-line smartphones, but if you're looking for a bargain they're sure to satisfy.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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