It looks like Motrolla A780 is indeed a decent smartphone. If I was to buy my first smartphone, Motorolla A780 would be a perfect choice for me (nevermind the fact that I still cannot buy it anywhere). But, I already had my first smartphone – Sony Ericsson P800. Getting and using one for more than a year slightly altered my requirements list. Things that I care about now are:
- FM Radio. It turns out I can spend a lot of time listening to FM radio rather than to silence or mp3s on the memory card. MP3s eat up a lot of space, and listening to them eats battery like a car with no petrol. FM radio reciever must be built-in into my next smartphone. It is a good option anyway, since it is cheap and small, but with a lot of use for many people. It seems that Motorolla A780 does not provide it.
- Recoding and playback of voice calls. I never thought that I would want this feature in the first place, but in the course of the last two years I foud myself in the situation where I badly needed it more than once. Luckily, Motorolla A780 has it.
- CompactFlash memory. Although I am yet to see any good phone with CompactFlash, I still want it. CompactFlash is the best memory option for a smartphone I can see out there. It is cheap. It is open. And it is huge. CompactFlash cards and microdrives are in the GByte area already and not only that, but they are relatively cheap too. Memory Stick Pro 1 GB is roghly 3 times more expensive than a 1 GB Compact Flash card.
- High level of integration in PIM. Personal Information Manager is an important part of the smartphone. I, therefor, expect it to be properly done. Sony Ericsson P800 has an average one. It provides all the important functions for calendaring, addressbook keeping, TODOs and notes. What it lacks is a good integration between this parts. For example, when I creat an appointment or a reminder for a phone call in the calendar, I cannot use contacts from the addressbook. I have to retype everything. Similarly, I cannot attach notes from the notepad to the contacts in the addressbook. Addressbook allows one to type in a single note for the contact but that’s it. I cannot attach any graphics (like a map of how to find someone’s house) except for one single photograph. P800 has a photocamera, but I cannot organize my photos properly with contacts or notes attached to them. All of these require user to dump all data to the computer and do all the organization there. Bad. Unfortunately, I don’t know how good Motorolla A780 in this regard. But in the worst case scenario, I guess, the same solution as for P800 will work – install a third party organizer.
- GPS. Global Positioning System allows one to always know exactly where he is. Not only that, but it can provide this information to all sorts of software. When taking pictures, location coordinates might be saved into the image. This way you will always know where you took the picture. Alarms and reminders can use the coordinates to go off only when you are in the area. Coordinates can be used with a number of mapping services to suggest a better route through the city or to help you find your way back to civilization. Or to the nearest petrol station. Or hotel. Or good restaurant.
One of the things that I have noticed in the review is that Motorolla A780 does allow you to have both a ringtone and a vibrating alert. This is really odd and I don’t see any reason of why did they make it like this. I hope they will fix the behavior in the next generation of this phone.
One thing that I stopped worrying about is battery life. If the phone can live one a single battery through the day, I am satisfied enough. I realized that there is no way that I will find myself away from power for longer than a day. As long as the device can be recharged from a socket, or a car, or a USB of a computer, it is good enough for me.