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Momma Needs a New Phone

Over the years after having gotten a new WinMo phone, starting with the Cingular 8125 (my first cell phone) to the 8525, I’d bequeath my old phone to my mom. Now having finally seen the promised land with Google and Android, I have developed a pronounced sense of guilt not just for giving my own mother hand-me-downs (that just ain’t right) but for giving her Microsoft phones, the two things compounded together yielding a chronic breaching of the Fifth Commandment on my part.

My mother’s very shell shocked by Microsoft’s software (she loves Linux, by the way) and I don’t think I have her full mobility trust anymore but it’s time to make amends. She wants something reliable that will let her email and make the occasional call — which would put her in line for a Blackberry except she also likes to check her stock portfolio, and as she’s diversified the list on the page is pretty big. So she needs a touch screen, the bigger the better, and a good browser riding on a chip chassis with a little rendering horsepower. Among the shares on that portfolio is the big T and to keep her hanging onto that precious 212 area code I scored for her (that wasn’t easy, you know) sticking with AT&T makes the most sense. Also I kind of tucked myself into my parents’ family plan so I don’t want to disrupt that…

I’ve narrowed it down to the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Captivate. Right now she’s got my Tilt 2 and by this point has developed what I’d characterize as a mobility battered wives’ syndrome with some odd allegiance to Microsoft still lingering, but not strongly enough that I couldn’t talk her into either of these directions.

The Samsung phone is Android, four inch screen (vs 3.5″ on the iPhone). It’s got a slightly larger battery (1500mAh vs 1420mAh), it’s about as thin and it weighs 14% less. Being able to change the battery is a strong plus as she’s not always on point in recharging and turning it off when not using it for a long time and she gets paranoid before going on trips that something will go wrong, which historically happens over 50% of the time. The resolution edge of the iPhone isn’t a deal sweetener as she’s in her late sixties. She’s not a lefty, so antennagate is not an issue. Google’s superior cloud-based voice recognition is a plus because she’ll have a tough soft keyboard assimilation period, and also Google in general is a plus because I said so. Running Linux on her laptop makes iTunes reliance a fairly strong negative.

As for the names, her friends speak highly of their iPhones, so in her mind that’s the safe bet. But the crew she rolls with, I just don’t picture them having given Google a shot yet. My parents own two Samsung televisions and I made their wireless network SSID “Buy some Google shares, Mom!” So placebotically speaking, the brands are not that much of an issue and I understand they cost the same. Both phones would get the job done quite well, given how low Microsoft has set the bar. So I suppose what it mostly comes down to is which phone might she fall in love with quicker in order for me to achieve redemption efficiently. Help me out here.

And no, I don’t still live with my mom.

Doug Simmons
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