I often have people asking me questions about mobile devices. They assume that because I’m tech-savvy about social software, I must also have one of those PDA Smart Phones and do lots of text messaging and whatnot. This could not be further from the truth. I’ve had the same junky, no-frills phone for over four years, and it has finally gotten to the point where I can’t hear the person on the other end of the phone unless I put them on speaker phone. This means I have to look for a new phone.

Ever since I saw a woman typing onto her PDA with a small external bluetooth keyboard at Computers in Libraries in 2006, I have fantasized about doing the same. I’m small and not particularly strong, and I get really tired carrying around my 15-inch laptop all day. It would rock to just carry a PDA and do all my note-taking on there. I love the idea of being able to browse the web over a cell phone connection and being able to send text messages when I’m at conferences (now, when people txt me, I usually call them back because it takes too long to form the words). I also never remember to take photos because I always forget to take my camera with me. If I could get a phone with a pretty decent camera, I’d have all of this stuff in one device and I’d probably be better about documenting my life, keeping in touch with people, etc.

So, I am asking your advice on what mobile device you think I should get. I can only get a phone through AT&T/Cingular, which limits my choices a bit. I was looking at the iPhone and the Samsung Blackjack so far. The iPhone is out of contention because it cannot work with a bluetooth keyboard (which seems like the dumbest thing ever given that it’s touch keyboard is really hard to use — I tried Jessamyn’s last night). The Blackjack definitely looks promising and my friend seems pretty happy with his. So here are the criteria I’m most interested in:

  • Connect to the web through the cell phone network (we don’t have much wifi up here)
  • Be able to work with a bluetooth keyboard
  • Pretty decent camera (for a phone — I’m not expecting 5 megapixels or anything!)
  • Good battery life

A nice form factor would also be a plus, but those four above are the deal-breakers for me.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I know some of you are probably laughing at me because you’ve had this stuff for the past x years and I sound like some yokel from the mountains in Vermont (oh wait, I am!).

Thanks in advance for your help!