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Smartphone Software Neurosis

5:00 PM -- It's clear that smartphones have finally taken off in the last twelve months here in the U.S. I'm seeing a lot more people using Treos, Pocket PCs, and even the Danger phones than I did a year ago.

And many of these devices have a lot going for them -- easy access to your calendar, email, and the Web in a package that is typically easier to read than the tiny cellphone screen. Hell, they're arguably more powerful than the home PCs of yesteryear.

But with extra power comes extra problems. Loading up phones with software that used to be the preserve of desktop machines has had an unfortunate side effect: The phones crash a lot more than they used to.

Nearly everyone I've spoken to has stories of problems with smartphones. From inscrutable error messages, to dropped calls, to constant resets to get the things working. As a user, I know that I've experienced a range of problems with the numerous devices I've tried or owned.

And enough of my friends and colleagues now have these devices for me to able to say that this is not an isolated issue: As phones get smarter they get less stable.

A bit like people, really. Let's call it the Woody Allen-ification of wireless.

Now, I have no real solution to this problem (do I look like a software engineer to you?). In fact, I think it's probably going to get worse as vendors add more applications.

I just know that I never used to have to reset my cellphone. It was dumb... but happy.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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