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I’ve been very happy with the Nexus One. Since it’s the official Google Android developer phone, it usually gets the latest updates first, is easily rootable and comes with the bare Google Android experience untainted by the mobile phone companies proprietary bloatware and restrictions (wifi tethering, bluetooth keyboards, …). I’ve had it for a year now and I feel like a change but no phone has been released since then that is so much better that I could justify buying a new handset. Let’s look at what’s out there:

2010 choices: potential Nexus One replacements

  • Sprint EVO 4G: the first real contender to arrive on the market (4G, front facing camera) but arguably too big and suffers from Sprint vendor creep. Must be rooted for HTC Sense-less experience. Not GSM (not international travel with it).
  • Sprint EPIC 4G: another good contender (keyboard, 4G, front facing camera) which also suffers from vendor creep (Sprint and Samsung), doesn’t have 2.2 (yet) and additional charges for wi-fi tethering. Also, not GSM (not international travel with it)
  • T-mobile G2: another good option (keyboard, 4G, GSM) but no front camera. Also seems to be suffering of quality control and design issues (keyboard hinge)
  • T-mobile/Google/Best Buy Google Nexus S: could have been it but the lack of 4G (HPSA+) is just ridiculous on a new phone.
  • Sprint EVO Shift 4G (keyboard, 4G), smaller than the EVO 4G but no front facing camera. No GSM. No dice.

Criteria

So let’s think what are my criteria then?

Front Facing camera

Might seem futile right now but Smartphones are changing the way we relate to and use our phones and communicate with people. Being able to video Skype someone on the run is a great feature. Must-have

Well built

Not much to say about this but in general HTCs seem better built than Samsung though both seem good in general. The Nexus one is solid, thin and has good industrial design, hard to beat. Gotta be good

4G

It’s a 4G world now. Whether GSM (T-mobile/AT&T) or CDMA (Sprint, Verizon), my next phone has to be 4G and its CPU has to be able to handle the data speed. Gotta be fast

Has to run Android 2.2 at a minimum and be rooted

Android 2.2 at a minimum, clearly as 2.3 is now out. The phone must be root-able the day of purchase, I am not waiting on that, I want that right away. If it includes vendor bloatware, I have to be free of it and its restrictions. Gotta be current, gotta be “free”

Not on AT&T

Enough said. Probably not on Verizon either which is still more expensive monthly than Sprint & T-mobile. Can’t drop calls

Nice to have: Physical keyboard

Though the Gingerbread keyboard and Swype are nice, I think a physical keyboard might be nice though it makes the phone thicker. Gota tipe faaast

Nice to have: GSM

Because I travel internationally often, my new phone should use GSM as well. Which means it needs to be 4G on T-mobile. Which would require either a phone purchased from T-mobile or an unlocked Android phone bought in Europe/Asia/eBay. I could also keep my Nexus One for international travel, for sure. Can travel

Battery has to last a day, screen has to be nice, …

I won’t state the obvious like battery life, screen size & clarity, etc. It has to be a good phone. Can last a whol

So then?

What’s my new phone? I am not sure. For now, I am keeping the Nexus One since no other phone is better in all essential criteria and some optional, the Nexus One stays in my back pocket. I am sure some new great phone will come soon. Stay tuned.