new cellphone – for 12hrs electricity cuts in Nepal

As of today, the electricity cuts in Kathmandu is around twelve hours, which means I will not be able to charge my current cellphone everyday. I love technology, and mobile phones are something, very “worldly” to me. Changed quite a few from my first phone back in 2005, and constantly looking to get acquainted to the new capabilities of these remarkable machines of present world order.

It’s time to get a new handset

This time it’s different. Riding along with the Nepali infrastructure – electricity cuts, slow network, crapy 3G, i have decided to look for the cheapest handset that has all the bare necessary functions and a great battery life to get along. Some of the things I think is a must for me.

must have
1. Wifi – Internet is somewhat necessary (no, its not for Facebook)
2. Email – that comes with the internet, but a good email client that can sync with my Google and/or Microsoft account would be perfect. Preferably an inbuilt one, with IMAP.
3. Calendar – something very important. Sadly, Google recently pulled its plug for MS Exchange in GMAIL so looking forward for Microsoft Calendar sync.
4. Twitter – not an active user, but like reading and few are good source of useful information.
5. Contact – another important pillar for survival. Internet sync is always a welcome, but after changing few handsets over the years, i have become accustomed in making an offline archive, updated ever so now and then.

important but not absolute
6. Good App Store – i know Apple App Store is the best but any App store is okay until there are few that i think o need.
8. Wikipedia app – the holy grail for mystical knowledge – a world of facts.
9. FM – uhh.. Tis that there is a constant need for listening live. Listening to few of the audio programs for more than a decade now.
10. internet browser – preferably a webkit version, which can take in some basic offline html and javascript files.

battery requirement
Anything that gives me three days worth in one charge is worthy of my worship. There are few handsets that do get to these. Not talking about Motorola RAZX MAXX, but a phone from yesteryears – the Nokia handset – 1200, 1101 etc. There are few local phones from India and China with battery capacity as much as 2700 to 3500 mAh, with one week worth of use. But these have arcane user interface with unknown language interface – its a maze.

other hardware requirements
11. Touch screen is preferable but not a must.
12. QWERTY is added bonus, but this is a risky bet, as not all qwerty is as good as BB or Nokia-E series. Those were great, and loved them.
13. Camera – not a believer in 2mp camera (or 3.2 or 5mp camera at all) need something better. However at the price range i am looking, i can’t get 8MP.
14. Screen size – anything less than 4, and more than 2.5 is okay for me. Sunlight legibility is not an issue, and color screen is average requirement.
15. Body and built – one that can withstand a 3 feet fall, again and again. Am not clumsy, but handset sometimes do slip out :p
16. Blinker light – for all the miss calls and messages and alarms. This would be great to have. Loved all my previous handsets with this functionality.
17. Audio – not a big fan of audio quality, and use something else to listen to good music. But would want a 3.5 audio jack for accessibility option.
18. Vibration mode – preferred the vibration mode of iPhone 4s, not iPhone 5. Yes there is a generational difference in it. A stronger vibration is good for my Jeans pocket, especially during the cold winters of Kathmandu.
19. Maps – Nokia maps for Nepal. Seriously, its better than google map.
20. GPS – A-GPS is okay, but even cell tracking system would be okay. Don’t drive car, so no need for a satnav.
21. Normal USB port – not proprietary – that can charge the phone through my desktop also (or even laptop or tablet – that be awesome)

my shortlist (will update on it, as i look around)
1. Nokia Asha 311 – priced somewhere around 12,000 NRS – sweet spot
2. HP Palm Pre 3 – love the OS even though its between life/death situation
3. HP Palm Veer – most adorable phone ever
4. Nokia Lumia 620 – a bit expensive, but has NFC

my expensive wish-list (if anyone wants to gift me)
1. Motorola RAZR MAXX – GSM version – a rare thing
2. Apple iPhone 5 (with sim card the size fit for Nepali use – micro sim??)
3. Google Nexus 4 (would have been great if it came with replaceable battery)
4. Nokia Lumia 920/910 – would want smaller screen size. (hate the huge screen size)

P.S. – I am looking forward to work with NFC. It has great potential, and since it’s affordable, I would love to see it get implemented in health sector in Nepal. Last I heard, there was a project in Pakistan working with Children Hospital for identifying chest infection and severe pneumonia in children, through NFC identification of the patient.