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I rarely venture into the world of fancy electronics.  Sure, I love my iPod Nano (the previous model with the video camera, not the new one with the postage-stamp-sized touch screen), and I enjoy my laptop, but I never end up going for anything much past “entry-level.”  My old cell phones have all been the ones that you can get for free by getting a plan, and none of them did much beyond what you would expect a phone to do (like, make calls and stuff).

Recently, however, I decided that a smartphone-type of device would be useful for me to have around.  There is something comforting about being able to look up directions or check your email or fire off an instant message when you are away from home, and my laptop is a bit on the bulky side for me to lug about everywhere, hoping for a wireless hotspot.

So after settling on getting a smartphone, I found myself wandering into the sprawling warren of indecision.

I pored over every review, opinion article, and top-ten list of mobile devices that I could find, and I was left with four categories from which to choose:

  1. The Cult of the iPhone. My brother recently joined up with the ranks of pinching, scrolling, swiping, app-loving iPhone-ites, and I do have to admit that I felt a twinge of envy whenever he busted out his phone to show off the latest game or GPS system.  iPhones are pretty, sexy, and fun to play with.  Pictures look beautiful, video runs smoothly, and they have the simple, sleek aesthetics of a quality German sports car.  But all that prettiness hides the fact that the iPhone sucks battery power like a fiend; all those fancy apps on the big, luscious screen are thirsty little babies.  And screen smudginess kind of drives me nuts.
  2. The Android Counter-Culture. I think the only thing that drew me to look at Android phones is the fact that they have adorable little avatars for everything.  I’m a sucker for design aesthetics like that.  But what shoved me away is the fact that there are roughly 17,000 Android-based phones out there, and each one seems more gimmicky and esoteric than the last.  They slide up, down, backward, forward, and inside-out to reveal keypads, track pads, and brake pads of quality varying from mediocre to profoundly craptastic.  They have capacitive touch-screens and dedicated buttons that don’t make any sense to me.  They range from “candy-bar” style (not edible, as I learned painfully at the Telus store) to clamshells (does not contain edible seafood) to sliders (not tiny burgers, either).  Even if I settled on getting an Android-powered phone, I could spend years trying to find the right model for me.
  3. The Windows 7 Technological Dead-End. Yeah, I’ll just drop that phone next to my Zune music player in the glove compartment of my solar-powered DeLorean.
  4. The Crackberry Mafia. Fine, I’m not a lawyer, executive, or drug dealer.  But there is still something comforting about all those little keys with letters on them, begging to be used to punch out emails and text messages in ways that my T9-ing little cell phone always wanted to but never could.  They click gently when touched, unlike the touch-screens that stay stubbornly flat and unresponsive no matter how badly I want them to assure me that my misinterpreted typing was somehow their fault.  And fine, the screen isn’t huge and sexy like the HTC Desire, but the battery lasts for longer than ten minutes of hard use.

You can probably guess that I opted for the Blackberry.  Though I considered the flashy new Torch, I settled on the Bold, a workhorse model that will impress no one and still satisfy my every smartphone need.  I’m still not the best thumb-typist, but I’m getting better at finding the things I need amidst all those little icons.  I’ve taken picture of Erin and Abby to put up as my wallpaper, and I have only butt-dialed a few people so far.

I expect Blackberry to change my life.  And since I know someone that works for RIM, I can hold him personally responsible if it doesn’t.

Do you hear that, Horhae?

Personally… responsible.