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The more I read and hear about iPhones the less I want to buy one. Yes, the multitouch interface is exciting. Yes, it’s design is aesthetically pleasing. But even those who love their iPhones admit they have many faults. Reading Juliette Culver’s joys and frustrations with hers set me to thinking again about why I wouldn’t buy one despite hearing the lavish enthusiasm of iPhone owners.

It’s difficult to type anything more than a short message using the on-screen keyboard, the Internet browsing is slow, patchy and limited, Apple is proprietary about the apps you can install on it and it handles like a bar of soap, which means I’d have to cover its beauty with a grippy latex cover or I would just drop it all the time.  In addition to all this, apparently they’ve been known to catch fire.

People often ask me for advice about buying a new mobile phone and I always find it a difficult question to answer because it’s a very individual and personal decision. In these days of converged, increasingly powerful devices, it depends on what you want to use the phone for. I know that by far the majority of people in reality just want to use their phone for making calls and sending text messages, but others may find that a good camera is more important than a good web browser, or that being able to play music is more important than accessing email.

I would like a touch screen phone with good hand-writing recognition and good battery life than I can use for taking notes at meetings and conferences. A phone that starts up quickly and works seamlessly. I also want to be able to sync it with my calendar, whether I use Outlook, GCal or both. And because photography is a hobby of mine, I want it to have a good quality camera with at least 4x Optical zoom and a flash. I’d also like GPS that allows photo tagging and can help me find my way whether I’m walking or driving. A fast 3G connection and a good browser, such as Opera Mini would also be a necessity.

If it happened to also have a good built in ebook reader, that would be a bonus, especially if it could cope with multiple formats from different ebook suppliers.

Finally, I would still want to be able to download extra applications to personalise and customise the device as I can with my current phone.

Is this all too much to ask? Until recently it has been. Converged devices haven’t been able to fulfil all their functions as well as dedicated devices, but that’s starting to change. Already the iPhone and the Nokia N95 are going some way towards my ideal device.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Sony Ericsson Idou, which has a 12 megapixel camera after being somewhat disappointed by the Sony Ericsson X1.

The HTC Magic (using the Google Android operating system) looks interesting too, although it only has a 3.2 megapixel camera.