My smartphone dilemma

Stopping overnight in Reading last weekend, with a complete lack of reading material, I picked up an actual dead-tree copy of PC Pro magazine for the first time in years. I’ve read it on and off since discovering three years’ worth of back issues on a shelf at the back of my school library – the output of Jon Honeyball, in particular, is usually good for a laugh – followed, more often than not, by some serious thinking about the issues raised.

The column that most caught my eye this time, though, was one which explained the Rebel Simcard, which appears to offer a way of running an iPhone 3G on the network of your choice, without having to risk bricking the phone or voiding the warranty.

That’s good, but unfortulately, it’s still not good enough for me to send the £400 or so I have earmarked for a smartphone in Apple’s direction. It still doesn’t support tethering, the inability to run a SIP client in the background would be a huge annoyance, and developing for it would require the purchase of a £68 SDK (OK) and a £1000+ Mac to run it on (not OK, and neither is having to distribute code through the app store).

All of the above are things which the phone is technically capable of doing, but has been prevented from for various reasons. Meanwhile, my personal preference for keyboards – even small ones – over touchscreens which I struggle to operate with my medium-sized fingers, is another negative of the iPhone.

At the moment, I’m hanging on to the money and pinning my hopes on the Palm Pre, which should arrive in the UK later this year. If it’s as good as the hype says it is, supports tethering, and can be purchased on its own without an expensive contract I don’t need or want, it should fit the bill very nicely.