I'm also looking for a new phone. In fact, I'm finally looking to join the smartphone revolution, albeit a bit late. I've never owned one before, so I'm looking for some suggestions. Dumb it down for me. I get enormous discounts with Sprint, so that's who I do business with. It seems like I can't go wrong with a Samsung or HTC?
Me 3. My old as hell cell is starting to get a bit wonky.
Pretty much. I'd personally avoid Motorola to be honest, although since the Photon's bootloader is unlocked, fixing the screwups Moto does to their software is simple enough.
On sprint a great option will be the Galaxy S III if you can wait until summer. Otherwise the HTC Evo 4G LTE and the Galaxy Nexus LTE are good choices for Android handsets. If you need a keyboard, the HTC Arrive is a solid choice if you want to try Windows Phone, otherwise you'll be looking at the original Epic 4G and the Evo Shift 4g. Both are fairly long in the tooth so I'd choose them if and only if you NEED Android, a hardware QWERTY and Sprint service.
Another thing to look at is futureproofing. Sprint's moving to LTE, so a lot of the "4G" handsets on shelves now might not have wimax service in the future.