Maybe it’s just me, but it seems every other week someone’s releasing a new “SmartPhone” that’s going to “change the way you do business” as a mobile professional. But in my opinion, when you peel back that slick new protective plastic and fire it up…it’s the same old thing. No new killer apps, nothing really new as far as functionality or capability, and more often than not each new “exclusive release” seems to have more bugs than your local landfill on a hot summer day.

How long have they been making “Smartphones” now anyway? Well, to be honest, that I don’t really know. I can tell you this, my first Smartphone was a Kyocera QCP6035 that I picked up in 2000 or early 2001. I can’t remember for sure, as I think I might have killed those brain cells banging my head on my desk while trying resolve the plethera of issues I’ve been having with the latest generation of Smartphones. Either way, I’m pretty sure it was one of the first available, and can remember how giddy I was to be able to toss my cell and my Palm Pilot for one device.

Let’s see, the QCP6035 was a pager, phone and Palm based PDA. I could sync it with my PC, had mobile e-mail, Internet access (w/SSL support), could tether it and use it as a modem, it was IR capabable, had voice notes, hands-free speakerphone, voice dialing….and it could cook a 12lb turkey in less than 30 minutes! Well, maybe not the last one but you get my point. What’s really changed since then?

Sure the devices have gotten smaller, but for some odd reason my fingers haven’t. Yes, color is cool and having a mobile media player in your phone can come in handy. A Qwerty keyboard or even full keyboard is nice, as is the ability to take and send pics or watch highly compressed streaming video on a 2″ screen. GPS apps are both cool and useful in the business environment, and we have third party developers to thank for that.

I’ve used Blackberry, Windows and Palm based Smartphones on various provider networks and they all still seem in their infancy, with sluggish responses and frozen screens that frequently require soft or hard resets to resolve. Windows Mobile and Active Sync have progressed some, providing better compatibility with the entire MS platform; although I’m still left with the feeling that they’re merely another revenue niche for Microsoft rather than a honest effort by the behemoth to drastically improve Smartphones.

I just don’t see any major improvements in stability or even capability over the last 5 years. There certainly has been a vast improvement in network bandwidth since then, but I guess with all that bandwidth I expected a little more capability. Silly me.

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