I've been looking for a new mobile for a while, and that above is pretty much the conclusion I have come to. I don't know, am I maybe just too picky? Here's the thing, though.
1) Capacitive screens are, despite the fuss that gets made about them, utter gash. Yes, they enable multi-touch. But they're also low-precision, require a substantial amount of flesh contact to coerce into functioning, and as such, can't be used if you're wearing gloves. I wear gloves often. Resistive touchscreens by comparison, they're delightful. Intricately precise, and although they have the stigma of requiring a stylus, my fingernail has never let me down. For a compact device, they're great.
2) QWERTY keyboards are essential. I've tried typing on a Wildfire and an iPhone 3GS, and the experience is, basically, horrible. You know how the predictive text box comes up when you're entering a word? That's because the developers are well aware of how excruciating the final three onscreen key presses for your word will be, and actually care about you enough to have gone to the trouble of implementing that feature, and making it default. You don't get suggested words when you're typing on your laptop's keyboard. Don't need them. Don't need them on a proper QWERTY phone keyboard, either, they're just so lovely to use.
But, QWERTY keyboards are out of fashion right now, in the same way copy&paste was out of fashion because the original few iPhones didn't have it. So none of the big phones have it. And some of the phones that do commit the ultimate sin of featuring a full QWERTY keyboard on the same slab of plastic as the screen, reducing the screen to the size of a box of matches, and the keys to the size of tic tacs.
3) Except the ones that do, such as the Desire Z, although this brings me onto my 3rd point: compromises. The Desire HD has a 4.3" screen, which is, frankly, lovely. Gives me a bit of a semi to think about it. I'd love a screen that big, but, if I want the model with a proper keyboard, I have to accept the tiny 3.7" screen instead. Not only that, but the original Desire and the Desire HD both have 1GHz processors. For the Z, HTC have sourced the slowest processor Qualcomm currently make, at a measily 800MHz. If I'm going to shell out £500 on a phone, I want the best that suits me. I don't want half-measures of some things in exchange for full measures of others.
4) Battery life. I used to have an n95, I sold it in near-perfect condition, which is partly down to the good care I took of it, but probably mostly down to the fact that the battery would die about 6 hours into the day, so it just sat unused until I took it home and hooked it up to its charger. Battery life for most smartphones is barely more than a waking day, and that's just lousy. It's not due to technological restrictions. It's due to manufacturers fighting over who can release the thinnest possible handset, which they achieve by slimming yet more mm off the battery. Would you rather have a phone that's 2mm deeper and have another three hours battery life out of it? Bet you would. You're not getting it, though.
5) All of the mobile operating systems are crap. iOS4 is swish, but completely restrictive. Android is swish and open, but terribly immature. You know how people got hugely excited about Froyo bringing 100% speed improvements on some processes? That's not a good thing, that shows that the platform was written by a team of monkeys. Possibly the same guys that wrote the code for this place. WinMo 6 is dead, WinMo7 is laughably bad.
It sucks. I love my Sony X1, but it's getting so long in the tooth now. I just want something like it, with a slide-out keyboard, a large screen, decent battery life, a flexible OS, something that doesn't randomly switch itself off or freeze etc, but nothing seems to come close to what I want. If I must compromise on the keyboard, I'll just compromise on the screen too, and get a San Francisco. But then there's no point, and then there's no point buying anything. So am I just to soldier on with my X1 for another 2 years?
Gods. Open letter to the mobile phone industry: **** you.