Roundup: 5 Smart Phones for Summer

Applications Compared

These days, it seems like most phone application developers head straight for Apple’s iTunes platform. Finding proper applications for more generic phones like the Samsung Instinct S30, the Impression, and the LG enV Touch is more difficult.

Still, applications are available. Each has a subscription-based GPS service and streaming entertainment apps from service providers, basic email, contact and calendar functions, and rudimentary games. They all also come with instant messaging built in.

The N97 comes with a slew of built-in applications, from QuickOffice to Qik, which lets you stream video directly from your phone to the Internet. The number of applications built into the phone is more than we’ve ever seen, but most are small and often useless. Having a dictionary and a zip code finder on the phone is great, but these apps are rarely used.

Nokia also opened the Ovi Store, where users can download first-and third-party apps for Nokia devices either on a PC or directly on the phone. Currently, the list of available apps is astonishingly small. Most are also either useless for regular users or are not really apps at all, but media downloads, such as videos, are available. The Ovi Store on the N97 has a poor interface and navigating it is more of a hassle than it’s worth.

The Palm Pre was the only tested device that seemed to have real promise in the app-platform area. While the company’s app store is still in beta (and to be fair, Apple’s app store opened over a year after the iPhone’s initial release), it offers several excellent downloadable applications, such as Pandora for radio and Tweed for Twitter. Unlike the N97, business apps for the Pre are scarce and there are currently no standard document or spreadsheet applications.

Yet, even in beta, the Pre’s app store makes navigation and downloads easy, both over WiFi connections and through Sprint’s network. Both the N97 and Pre can also run multiple applications simultaneously, unlike the iPhone, though the N97 slows down significantly, in part due to its slow processor. The Pre continued to run well even after having several Web pages and applications open.

This thread is closed for comments
13 comments
    Your comment
  • SlyMaelstrom
    Where's the HTC Touch Pro 2? It's superior to all of these phones and will be available on all major US carriers by the end of September. It's already out on T-Mobile.
  • jamezrp
    HTC Touch Pro 2? Keep your eyes peeled on this site...
  • jamezrp
    HTC Touch Pro 2? Keep your eyes peeled on this site...
  • georgeb45
    HTC Touch Diamond 2 rulez them all. HTC Touch Pro 2 is the most advanced smartphone but is too large. Diamond 2 has the perfect size and works great. I'm using it for 3 months now and i'm very satisfied with it.
  • nerdherd
    This is a strange review...comparing a Palm Pre to a Samsung Instinct? Why don't we compare apples to apples, like mentioned above where are some HTC phones like the Diamond 2 and the Touch Pro 2? Not to mention some kind of Android or Symbian based phone...
  • Where's the G1? By far the best phone out... Better than all the phones reviewed in this. I would've liked to see it compare against these phones...
  • moullas
    "There are currently three major players in the touchscreen operating system business for cell phones: Apple with the iPhone OS, Google with Android, and Palm with webOS."

    ?? Is this supposed to be an unbiased review? Forgetting Windows Mobile with the largest userbase seems a bit suspicious
  • Noobster15
    Why wouldnt a Iphone be considered a Smart phone?
    It could own all of those Phones
  • Boxa786
    your name says it all, iphone is not classed as a smart phone when compared to true smartphones due to its crippling features, such as;
    No MMS
    No Video recording

    the latest iphone 3gs has many improvements over its predessors, but it still lacks some features compared to the rest.

    Although all these phones mentioned are great, there are other handsets available which should have been included in this review, such as the latest HTC and not forgetting the world number 1 for business users, RIM handsets!
  • kyeana
    If im not mistaken, the pre's app are done entirely in html/javascript, meaning that if they open the app store up to everyone, we should see apps flowing into it in no time.
  • kyeana
    Also im not sure if this has been addressed yet, but the pre did have a bug in is messaging app that caused the battery to drain faster then it should. Perhaps that could account for some of the battery life issues (but of course not all of it, i still would have loved to see a bigger battery in there)
  • Tomsguiderachel
    nerdherdThis is a strange review...comparing a Palm Pre to a Samsung Instinct? Why don't we compare apples to apples, like mentioned above where are some HTC phones like the Diamond 2 and the Touch Pro 2? Not to mention some kind of Android or Symbian based phone...

    There is a Symbian unit in this roundup.
  • Tomsguiderachel
    Thanks to everyone who commented on this article. Here's some insight into our editorial process: we can only include articles for which we have review units in any given roundup. We did not have the HTC Touch Pro 2 when this roundup came out, but we had those 5 phones so we reviewed those. But now, we finally have the HTC Touch Pro 2, so check out: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Toshiba-TG01-HTC-TouchPro2,review-1386.html

    Please keep this in mind when you make comments about missing products in roundups. Not every product is available to every review at every moment in time. We do try our best!