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Android LogoOur contract is almost up with T-Mobile which means it’s time to pick a new phone. Sure, we could keep going on with the phones we have… I mean they still work and everything.. but where’s the fun in that?!

Our current phones are the G1 which was the first Google Android phone. This has been a great little phone. It has it’s limitations* and quirks, but all in all it’s been the best phone I’ve ever owned. So I really want to stick with Android for the upgrade. I am leaning towards going back to Verizon (the carrier we had before moving to T-Mobile) but that is still up for grabs at this point. It’s going to depend on a balance of phones and available plans.

To help on deciding which phones to go with I’ve created a spreadsheet to compare all of the Android phones that are currently on the market, or are right around the corner. Some are discontinued but left on the list for comparison and completeness.

You can view the document as a webpage with this link. You can also access it as a spreadsheet in Google Docs which will allow you to export to a number of formats (csv, excel, etc).

We originally made the jump to T-Mobile specifically to get the first Android phone since it was an exclusive (yes, my wife is the bomb diggity that she’d let me drag us to other carriers to satiate geek lust). I’ve been happy over-all with the service and call quality and the pricing is good. But I’m finding spotty 3G service in a lot of areas that I frequent. That’s the reason I’m thinking of going back to Verizon. It seems theirs is the network to beat when it comes to data coverage.

Sprint has decent coverage and a speed boost with their “4G**” phones, but Verizon is building out their “4G**” network now and it should be in full swing by the time our new contract comes up and it’s time to buy a phone that is compatible with the new system.

* Regarding the G1’s limitations: I always thought that the problem with the phone being sluggish at times was the CPU. It ends up that it’s really the amount of memory! There are several newer phones that have basically the same CPU (Verizon’s Droid Eris, T-Mobile’s Cliq, Sprint’s Hero) but people don’t seem to complain about the speed. Then I realized the reason is that they have twice the amount of RAM!! Through some 7337 Haxx0r Skillz (yes, that is sarcasm) I rooted my phone and installed an app to increase the clock speed of my CPU, add swap memory, and compress the memory giving it more space overall and the little thing flies!

I removed some of the stuff because it adds wear & tear to the memory card and chews the battery life. But it gave me a taste of what the current generation of phone hardware will feel like. Along this vein I also added in custom software to upgrade the phone from the T-Mobile supplied Android 1.6 (Cupcake) to the current Android 2.2 (Froyo) to try out the features. Wow, it’s like a whole new world and I can’t wait to upgrade!

** I placed 4G in quotes because the 4G consortium has not ratified the standard yet so none of the carriers can official call theirs “4G networks”. Sprint uses WiMAX which has been taking a lot of hits lately (Intel just gave up on it, for instance) and Verizon is using LTE (which actually looks like it will be the official standard). Sprint took a huge risk in that if the standard does not include WiMAX they’ll look silly, but will probably keep on calling it that. I don’t believe that Verizon has official announced their upgrades and are just calling it their LTE Network… for now.