Now comes the fun part: researching what devices are out there.
This whole 4G thing is fairly new, so I figured I wouldn't have much to choose from. Lo and behold, Verizon Wireless has eleven phones with 4G capability to choose from on their website.
Good lord. It's going to take me longer than until the end of June--when my current phone is eligible for an upgrade--to wade my way through 11 different phones.
I need to get this down to a manageable number.
What I Want on My Phone
I'm not afraid to say it: there's a whole bunch of crap on my phone that I have absolutely no idea how to use. For example, I don't really get the whole QR thing--those black and white squares with weird patterns in them that look something like this.
What I do use my phone for quite a bit is the camera, so I want to make sure I have a good camera on my new phone.
I want a good battery on it, too, that lasts a long time. It's a long drive from Indianapolis to Chicago, and then another three hours for a Chicago Rush football game, and another long drive home. If I forget my phone charger at home, I'm screwed. After nine or ten hours, my phone is down in that dreaded orange battery range, threatening to go red at any minute. If I happen to use it to capture the image of one or two of the beautiful Adrenaline Rush Dancers while I'm there, I'm really screwed. I can virtually guarantee that my phone will be dead long before I get home...which will, no doubt, coincide with the exact point in time during which the engine drops out of my car in the middle of nowhere.
I also want it to be able to do GPS navigation because heaven help me if I ever have to divert from my normal route to and from Chicago. The search-and-rescue crews might never find me. That is one huge city.
I have to have good sports apps, too. If you've looked around redzonewriting.com at all--or if you've ever met me--you know that sports play a pretty big role in my personal and professional life. More than once, I've been chastised by the Mrs. to put my phone away during dinner. She obviously doesn't understand my need to be constantly connected to the goings-on of the Arena Football League, the NFL, and MLB. Sheesh. Women...
Closely related to good sports apps is the need to have good fantasy sports apps. I have this brother-in-law who lives on the Death Star, wears a black suit, and breathes real funny, and he and I are arch-rivals in fantasy baseball and fantasy football. If I can't snag the next great player off the waiver wire a nanosecond before he does, or if I can't move a batter out of my lineup after his game gets postponed by rain, my evil brother-in-law might defeat me. And that's not gonna happen.
Then there's the really important stuff: good social media apps. I don't know what my friends would do if they didn't know in real time through Facebook that I was going to the drug store or if I didn't tweet them my latest arena football article on Twitter. This stuff needs to be able to be done on the go. Lives depend on it.
I have to be able to get my e-mails on my phone, access the internet, talk, and text, but I think that's all pretty much standard on smartphones anymore. Oh, and I need a good game of Spades on there. I love Spades. Some people like Solitaire; I like Spades. I can't play Angry Birds worth a crap and Words With Friends got old after about a week, so I kill time with Spades.
So that's what I absolutely have to have on my new phone. Anything else is just icing on the cake. I don't Skype or otherwise video-conference--heck, I hate just talking on the phone--and I'm certainly not going to word-process on that tiny little screen. My eyes are already failing quickly enough. Ditto for watching movies, sporting events, and videos. I suppose that if I had no other choice, and the only other option was to miss a Chicago Rush game, I'd squint for three hours to see what I could, but it's certainly not going to be anything routine.
While shopping for smartphones on Verizon Wireless's website, I can select various options, and Verizon will narrow my choices. So I plugged in everything I want on my phone, and ... I still have eleven phones to choose from. Huh. Well, that didn't help.
Next, I sorted them by newness. Since cell phones--and most other technology--are obsolete about nine seconds after you purchase them, I figure newer is better.
Sorting them that way helps. Now we're looking at LG's Lucid, and Motorola's Droid 4, Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, and Droid Razr Maxx. I see that the HTC Rezound gets a lot of stars in its consumer ratings, so we'll throw that one in there, too.
If I sort by consumer ratings, the Razr Maxx and the Rezound top the list.
I click on the first five and use the "compare" feature on Verizon Wireless's site... and ... BLAM! The Lucid's out. It has a 5-megapixel (MP) camera and 8 gigabytes (GB) of internal memory. All of the Motorola models have 8 MP cameras and 16 GB of internal memory. The more megapixels, the better the picture. The more gigabytes of memory, the more stuff (songs, photos of Adrenaline Rush Dancers, phone numbers for divorce attorneys when the Mrs. finds my picture collection, stuff like that) you can store on your phone. So the Motorolas almost double the LG up on both.
Out goes the Lucid and in comes the Rezound (you can only compare five at a time). And...BLAM! The Rezound compares quite well to the Motorolas. In fact, the Rezound has the best front-facing camera of all of them (2.0 MP to 1.3 MP).
All of the capabilities and features are the same across the board for the five phones, but the Droid Razr Maxx and the Rezound have the best battery lives--by a long-shot--of the five, and my techno-geek cousin tells me that 4G chews up the battery life at a pretty good clip. Plus, we already established that I want a good battery to begin with, especially if my cousin is right (and he usually is on that kind of stuff).
So that's where my research will begin: the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and the HTC Rezound.
Let the reading begin.