- Strong Battery Life - This seems important since I'm going to be using it as my primary phone.
- Call Quality - Again, this is important because I'm using it as my primary phone.
- Size and Weight - I carry my phone with me wherever I go, and I usually keep it in my pocket. This seems ideally suited to a flip-phone, as they are small and the shape prevents accidental dialing. But I've never much cared for flip-phones (see next bullet), so what I'd really like is a small, light, candy bar style phone.
- Usability - Stuff like navigation through the menus, button controls (including size, shape, placement, etc...), and how the phone feels in my hand and against my face are important. This is where flip-phones normally fail for me, but I'm trying to keep an open mind... If I do end up seriously considering a flip-phone, it will need to have an external screen with caller ID, so I can see who's calling without having to answer.
- Text messaging, instant messaging, and email - I'd definitely like Text Messaging, but IM and email aren't a necessity.
- Camera - Would be nice to have, but not that important to me.
- Speakerphone - Again, nice to have, but not very important to me.
- Wireless/Bluetooth/Infrared/Connectivity - It would be nice to backup all my data on my computer, but I don't absolutely need wireless and I wouldn't be upset without any sort of connectivity at all. Internet access would be nice, but isn't really necessary.
- Sound - I could really care less about ring-tones, and though it would be nice to knock out two birds with one stone by getting an MP3 player in the phone, I don't think the technology is there (nor am I really willing to pay for it - still, this Sony Ericsson W800i sounds pretty darn cool).
- Games/Downloads - Don't really care at all. It's nice to have a game or two on the phone, but I really don't care much.
- Style - Looks aren't that important to me. I'm not a big fan of glitzy designs or anything, so simple and to-the-point is what I'm looking for. It would be nice to have a good looking phone, but it's not essential.
- Smart-Phones - Don't really need this either. I suppose, in the future, this will be the way to go, but I don't want to be that connected just yet (though if I ever do end up getting a blackberry type device, I would want it to also be a cell phone and probably an MP3 player as well).
I'm not sure which provider I'm going to go with either, but I'll have to see what my options are. My employer had a deal with AT&T Wireless, so that is what I have now, but AT&T is now Cingular, so I'm not sure if that relationship still exists (or if we switched to something else). I would prefer a CDMA based phone, but several friends have had bad experiences with Sprint and Verizon is a little too expensive for me, especially if I can get a good deal with Cingular (which uses GSM).
In looking at the phones available for Cingular, I'm not especially fond of any available options. The closest thing to what I want is the Sony Ericsson T237 or the Nokia 3120. Both are pretty low end models, but it seems like the big differences in the next steps up are the extraneous features I don't really need (like the camera, Bluetooth, etc...) As of right now, I'm leaning towards the Sony Ericsson T237 (or the Sony Ericsson T637, which is nicer, but is also more expensive and has lots of features I don't especially need). It's nice and small, it apparently has a fantastic battery life, and decent call quality. Most reviews I've seen give it reasonable marks and recommend it as a good no-frills phone. Some user reviews give it pretty bad marks though, which is why I'm considering the T637 (despite it's extra features).
Of course, I'll need to look at these things in the store before I really make my decision, but any advice on cell-phone buying would be much appreciated. I haven't really looked into Verizon phones yet, but I'm going to give it consideration...
Update: In researching and thinking about this a little more, I think some of the more feature-rich phones might be worth considering, despite my initial distaste. So for now, the front-runner is the T637. We shall see. Suggestions or advice still welcome...