I want a new phone. My aging Palm Treo 700p is acceptable, but I’m growing tired of some of its limitations.

I want a smartphone, there’s no doubt about that. I want to be able to access my email from my phone, and general internet connectivity is also something I’ll use. I don’t want to carry a phone and a separate internet appliance if I can avoid it. I don’t particularly need a camera, but I’m sure I’ll use it if it’s provided.

The biggest wishlist item I have for a phone is WiFi capability. Being able to check my email over my phone’s cellular connection is acceptable, but as WiFi gets more and more ubiquitous, I’d prefer to use it if possible. I’d love a phone that supports unlicensed mobile access, such that I could use a WiFi connection to place and receive calls when available without consuming cellular minutes, as well as to roam between WiFi and cellular.

I am, however, more than a little picky, and the restrictions I place on selecting a new phone severely limit my options. First, I refuse to purchase any device running Windows Mobile. I would prefer a Palm-powered device, but there are no WiFi-capable Palm-powered cell phones, only PDAs. I’m open to all other non-Windows mobile operating systems. Second, I would prefer to stay on my current provider (Sprint), so that my family can continue to benefit from the plan to which we’re all subscribed. (This alone is what most limits the selection of devices available to me: Sprint doesn’t offer a phone that gives me what I want.) Yes, I know Sprint stinks. Frankly, I am of the opinion that all cellular providers stink.

My boss has a Blackberry Curve, which has WiFi and UMA. It looks like it offers almost everything I would want, except that I would be required to switch to either AT&T or T-Mobile. And, although it provides WiFi internet access, I’m not sure how well of a general-purpose web device it is: I admit, the iPhone has me wanting YouTube on my phone.

Speaking of which, I previously detailed my complaints against the iPhone. The iPhone is very close to what I would like from a smartphone, save that it doesn’t support UMA. I could live with that limitation, I think. The largest impediment to me pursuing an iPhone is the iTunes Music Store lock-in. I do not want to be required to use ITMS to manage my phone. I don’t want to be locked in to anything, if I can help it.

I’m keeping an eye on the openmoko products, though they’re (still) too immature for a user like me. I’m also hopeful that Google’s Android project liberates phones in more meaningful ways.

As I mentioned above, I would prefer not to have a cellphone and an internet device. I’ve been growing frustrated with the limitations in the Nokia 770 I acquired, and have been casually exploring the Nokia 800 and 810 models. I don’t really want to carry around two devices, and unfortunately WiFi isn’t quite as ubiquitous as I would like, so I do want to be able to fall back to cellular data access when needed.

I suspect I’ll end up with a Palm Treo 755p, one step up from where I am now. Carina has one, and she likes it well enough. It’s the familiar old Palm, and even though it doesn’t do WiFi the transition to using it will be almost negligible.

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