For the page 10 months or so I've been using a Samsung Blackjack, before that I used various Blackberries for perhaps 5 years. I changed phones because the BB I had didn't offer the ability to tether and working mostly solo it's pretty handy to be be able to connect anytime. The tethering on the Blackjack worked fine, but the battery life wasn't great. In fact, it was so bad ATT gave owners a free extended life battery this past July.
My business partner Brian upgraded to an IPhone from a Win based smart phone, and my friend Chris also dropped his vanilla cell phone to move to an Iphone and both seemed happy. I decided to try a little harder to buy something I'd be happy with, so over the course of 45 days I tried to note how I used the phone, what I wished it could do, and what frustrated me about the current phone. I also started reading all the cell phone blogs to see what was coming up for release (as an aside, cell phones are an amazing market, there is always something new coming).
Top of the list it had to be a good phone with great battery life, had to have Bluetooth, and should make it very easy to manage three way calls when needed. It had to have the ability to sync contacts with Outlook, a feature I truly depend on. It has to offer a tethering option preferably at 3G rather than EDGE. Email is right below phone capabilities, it's definitely nice not to be tied to my laptop and still be responsive to the customer requests I get during the day. Web browsing on a phone is something I've always found barely usable and the 'real' browser in the IPhone had me interested, I could see where I would probably get a lot of adhoc reading down if I had a real browser. I also considered a smart phone with a touch display so that I could run SQL tools (Idera Mobile, or similar) but in practice I just don't need that functionality as much now that Im primarily a trainer. Having a camera was also something I preferred, using it to document white board discussions comes in handy.
I was sorely tempted to try the IPhone, based on the cool factor and the real browser, but the lack of a physical keyboard was a deal breaker for me after trying it - the virtual keyboard just didn't seem like a good fit for the way I work (and type!). That left me looking at the BB Curve and the upcoming Moto Q (I use ATT). The Curve only supports EDGE, the release date on the Moto Q was uncertain but would support 3G. Ultimately in a decision that was probably based as much on past experience as it was logic I with with the latest Curve, the 8310. Very very pleased with it so far, the only feature I miss from the Blackjack is the way it handled callerid. The Blackjack could be set to send your phone number if the number you were calling was in your address book, otherwise it suppressed it - nice for staying off calling lists. I wish the BB had a better browser and 3G, and that they'd unlock the GPS rather than charging another $10/month to use the TeleNav service!
I surprised by the number of IT pros that don't have a phone that does true email. My friend Steve finally saw the light and bought a Dash. Having email on your phone doesn't mean you have to answer every email right then, but it often is a way to keep things moving faster than they would otherwise. Finally, I'll say that as much as phones have gotten better and the IPhone is driving some innovation, they still have a ways to go.