Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smartphones for Residency

In a few weeks, medical school graduates will be starting residency (technically, it's internship, but we all simply call it residency now). Many of them will be purchasing smartphones and upgrading from standard PDAs. Do they know which smartphone to get? I'm a strong believer of touch-screen devices.

Here are my suggestions based on the type of operating system (OS) you prefer:
  • Apple iPhone OS: You only have once choice here. Apple iPhone. If you're tight on cash, you'll be able to find a used iPhone 3G. Good luck getting a new iPhone 3G[S] by July 1.
  • RIM BlackBerry: Storm (or Storm 2 if you can wait until after July 1. This is coming later this summer).
  • Google Android: T-mobile G1 (there are other phones coming later this summer)
  • Palm WebOS: Palm Pre
  • Palm Original OS: Used Treo (why buy a device that's running a dying operating system?). Avoid the Palm Centro.
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile OS: this is where things get really complicated. There are several new phones coming out later this summer, so if you can wait, then you'll end up with a much nicer phone. If you prefer something like an iPhone, then go with something like the Samsung Omnia of HTC Touch Diamond . If you prefer a slider, then go with the HTC Touch Pro (or Touch Pro 2 or Samsung Omnia Pro).
Sounds complicated, doesn't it? How do you decide on the operating system? How do you decide on a mobile phone carrier? (In many cases, that's decided based on the phone you choose). I'll write more about these topics later this week, so stay tuned.


  1. Great question. We develop apps for both the iPhone and the Android Phones. I carry and use both of the phone most of the time.

    1.First you have to look for a carrier that will provide you the service that you need in the areas that you travel.

    2. What do you want to do with the phone? The apps make the phone, the phone doesn't make the apps.

    3. What criteria do you have in a phone. You mentioned touch screen, I like keyboards myself. I have apps on both phones but I do switch back in forth between the two. Do you want to listen to music, iPhone is better but you better be near your charger.

    How much talk time do you need. One of the biggest detriment to the iPhone is that you cannot change the battery. That mean you can't carry additional batteries.

    Most smartphone are good guality, I liked my Blackberry,iPhone and Android.

    Android may be the darkhorse, that moves ahead. There is a hospital talking about a standard platform for Smartphone, Android is the mostly candidate. That is the future though and you will have many phone before that is a reality.
    So, pick the one that you like and you will most likely enjoy it.

    Jeff Brandt motionPHR a mPHR for iPhone
    MyMedBox mPHR for Android

  2. Well, if you want to use your phone as a portable ultrasound machine, you have only one choice: Windows Mobile. Worse, you have to find one with a USB host port. Right now, that would limit you to a Palm Treo 800w (which are plentiful on eBay for <$100 now!). There are other devices, and some on the way, but this is a serious limitation right now.

    I don't expect anyone to make this application the "killer app." right now, but I'm miffed by the inability of any other platform to support generic USB devices and support the USB host functionality necessary to use them (even flash drives are out).

    iPhones, Android (G1), webOS (Palm Pre) Blackberry, Symbian, etc. don't have the necessary tools to do this. Bluetooth is too slow at this point (this may change with V3, but there are a lot of issues with that as well).

  3. I agree with the above. In the US, the carrier makes a huge difference to the quality of your experience. During my brief stays in NYC, my iPhone 3G battery drained very quickly as it tried to find a proper signal. Out in the less congested cities of NY state, the 3G signal is actually quite good.

    As Jeff Brandt said, it's all about the apps. The app community on the iPhone is vibrant and there is always something new coming up.

    I don't doubt that the other phones are better at certain things, but if I had to choose one device to carry, it would be the iPhone. Now, if you lived in SF or NYC - a Verizon blackberry of some sort might be better?

  4. David, Android has a USB port and iPhone just release 3.0 which supports com via their 30pin to USB.

    Jeff Brandt motionPHR mPHR for the iPhone

  5. Not sure where you went to medical school, but in the United States, the first year of post graduate medical education is internship, and the rest is residency or fellowship. Except in the case of allopathic medicine, where most skip the internship altogether because, unfortunately, it's not required.