I'm using a different mobile today from the one I was using on Friday, and the choice is down to Google software, not hardware or operators, months before Android ships.
Most of last year, I used a Nokia E65. A nice small slider handset, with a good screen, built in Wi-Fi and other features. Towards the end of last year, I tried the Sony Ericsson P1i - and came close to switching across to the P1i.
In the Sony-Ericsson's favour, it has a larger screen, and a very nice rocker-style keyboard. It pretty much converted me to the idea of using a qwerty-type keyboard for texting, and even using a stylus and touchscreen, something I loathe on phones. It also has features that Nokia is a bit stingy with, notably, an FM radio, a better camera with autofocus, and the possibility of using good stereo headphones for music.
(For some reason, I find an FM radio a really good thing in a phone. When my phone has one, I cycle round town with a happy smile on my face, knowing that the BBC is providing a better music stream than my MP3 collection could - and/or good conversation. )
The Nokia had a couple of points against it, as well as the lack of radio. The camera has no light - so I don't get to to use the phone as a torch. Its biggest problem is that its charger is pants. It has a tiny pin, which makes fairly unreliable contact in the tiny hole on the handset - and the charger seems cheap and unreliable itself. One wore out quickly - and so did one I had lying around from a previous phone.
So I'd move happily over to the P1i, except for one thing. I use the mobile version of Google Mail. And I do it online, rather than POPping a version of my inbox which will then diverge from what I see when I do Google mail on my desktop.
On the P1, this is a nightmare, combining dire ergonomics, crap integration and over-blown security dialogues reminiscent of the worst of Vista.
1. Launch mail from user-defined soft button (use stylus)
2. Enter user name and password in two field (doable with keyboard only)
3. Click the screen TWICE - More and then Sign On (which is the only item on that menu!)
4. "A MIDIlet in the untrusted MIDIlet suite Google Mail is attempting to connect to the Internet. Do you want to allow this?" There are five options - none of which is to allow it to connect on future sessions. So there's no way to surpress this one. Select and then click continue.
5. Google Mailbox loads. Sometimes.
On top of this, the program has started denying it has any connection: It sits there for a minute then snaps "This program requires a working data connection. Please check your signal strength." I can do that, I can see three bars of signal strength in an icon above the Google Mail screen. and can see it in an icon, but apparently Google Mail and my phone aren't on good enough terms for the phone to tell it directly.
By comparison, the Nokia remembers my password and most of my settings.
1. Press user-defined hard key
2. Confirm I want to give Gmail access to the Internet
3. Select access point (could be T-Mobile or my home Wi-Fi)
4. Do email.
So I've bought up a couple more Nokia chargers on eBay, and shifted back to the E65.
But I've now chosen a handset, not on the basis of its physical abilities, or on its operating software or bundled software - but on a third party app. I don't even know who's responsible for Google Mail's poor showing on the P1i - is it S-E, UIQ, or Google?