I've also been looking around for a new phone. It became much more urgent last week after I dropped my iMate.
After trying lots of phones, I ended up opting for an iPhone 3G. And after using it for a few days, couldn’t be happier with it. Well, not quite true, if it worked as a NextG modem as well, it would be even better as the data plans are quite costly here in Australia.
I've heard people raving about the user interface and wondered if it was just all hype. It's not. The user interface is just so much better than what I’ve used on Windows Mobile devices. I didn’t know how I’d go just using a finger instead of a stylus but I really don’t miss it at all. The setup was beyond simple. When I compare what I had to do to get it to sync with Outlook with the struggles I had with my iMate and Windows Mobile Device Center on Vista, I was left shaking my head as to how simple it was. In fact, it left me thinking that it was exactly the experience that I should have had with WMDC but didn't and gave me faith that these things don't have to be so hard for the end user.
If I’ve had a hassle with anything, it’s been my preconceptions about how the interface should work, based on a Windows Mobile background. Instead of working out how to give you a Windows-like interface in a small package, they seem to have just spent time thinking about how a really good phone would work. First and foremost, a phone needs to be a good phone.
In general, if you just do the most logical thing, you find that’s how the phone works. For example, I spent a short while trying to work out how to call a phone number on the screen. I was looking for selections and menu options, etc. But you simply point at something that looks like a phone number and it asks if you want to call it. It was only my right-click (or hold and tap) background that had me looking for something else.
I also really like the fact that the interface isn’t designed for people with super-eyesight. It’s clear, even outdoors.
For the car, I purchased a SuperTooth Light (BlueTooth) hands-free unit. It was $99AUD and I found it trivial to setup and use. (http://www.supertooth.net/light.html).
Both recommended !
Now the decision is whether or not I want my next notebook to be a Mac so I can dual boot and do development for the iPhone. I took a good look at what they offer developers the other day and it's pretty slick also. I watched a number of the getting started videos and it has me wanting to try it. I've got such a good feeling about what could be done with this quality of interface.