I wrote about "Choosing a mobile phone" last week, and I've chosen the Sony Ericsson P1i, which is a feature rich PDA smartphone that has been around in the market for more than a year and is still a hot pick for many people. I believe now is a good timing to buy it, as its price has dropped for a few hundred ringgit since its launch, and has been stabilized and maintained over than past 3 months.
This is my first smartphone, and I find it very interesting compared with the traditional mobile phone. If you are a technology savvy who like to explore, modify and hack around the phone, then smartphone is your choice.
When I got the phone (supposingly for the Malaysia/Indonesia market), I found that Chinese was not supported by its original firmware. The first thing I did is to replace its firmware with the Singapore version with Chinese support. And now, it can read and write Chinese in SMS as well as all the installed applications. Its touch screen handwriting recognition now can recognise Chinese writing too!
Beside this, other benefits of smartphone over traditional phone include:
- There is no limit to the contacts information (only limited by available memory). Traditional phone has fixed limit on number of storable contacts.
- There are a lot of applications in vast variety available (free and non-free) for its OS, and the number keeps on increasing as development is continuous. Traditional phone is very much restricted to Java based small applications/games only.
- You are able to modify (mod) and extend its existing features, such as adding the cool Touchlight function with its camera light. This feature is available in some other mobile phones, but not in the original specs of P1i. There also exist mods to the camera to add more function (such as continuous shots) and enhance the photo quality.
- You are even able to explore and hack into the Symbian OS file system, tweaking it for faster and better performance.
- You are able to upgrade the applications that come with the phone to a newer version.
- You are able to add plug-in to its web browser, such as enabling the capability to display flash animation.