I’ve got a new phone. Helaine’s got a new phone. Stef’s got a phone, but it’s currently on a UPS truck somewhere between here and college.
I’m not sure this was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, but it was pretty close. That’s ridiculous, because a cell phone decision should be easy… or at the very least, easier. I think the cell phone companies make sure it’s as difficult as possible to compare plans.
They’re willing to compete. They just don’t want to compete on price.
Yes, my new phone is a toy, but I wanted a PDA type phone. You know the type. It’s got a full QWERTY keyboard and 320×240 pixel screen. I have no business reason for getting one. I still wanted it.
Originally, I had my heart set on a Motorola Q9, a sharp new phone. It was supposed to be out in August, then September, then…. well, it’s not out yet. In the meantime, my Motorola RAZR died (though it has since mysteriously come back to life), rushing the process along.
I finally decided on a Samsung Blackjack. It’s bigger than today’s standard cellphones, but it still fits in my shirt pocket. It is a phone, camera, camcorder, audio recorder, computer. It’s probably got more going for it that I haven’t figure out yet.
More on the phone in a minute. First, the process of getting it.
As it stands now, there’s no way to buy a cell phone and know you’ve gotten the best deal. Seriously. I wanted to stick with AT&T, but they have different prices on the Internet, in their retail stores and from their independent online dealers. And, of course, few of those prices are obtainable.
One online retailer showed my Blackjack earning me $60, on a new contract. Yup, buy a phone and get $60 back.
Hey, that’s for me. My old AT&T contract expired in August. But when I called to get the price, I was told it wasn’t for me.
As a good AT&T customer, I wasn’t eligible for their best price. That was only for switchers. The price for me would be $250 more per phone! I will maintain a bad taste from that for a while and though it was the independent telling me… I’ll blame AT&T, the enabler.
On top of that, AT&T sells the exact same Internet access for a variety of prices. If you’ve got an iPhone, you really get jobbed. There’s also a different price for Blackberries, phones like my Blackjack and standard phones, like my old RAZR.
It’s all the same access. It’s all unlimited access. They’re just differently priced.
A blog reading friend, Pat (who once worked selling cell phones), was incredibly helpful, setting me up with Rob at the AT&T store in Meriden. Rob did what he could, but it still cost me $160 more per phone than that online teaser ad led me to believe.
Rob was the calming influence in all of this. Of all the people I dealt with, he’s the only one who could say the sky was blue without me being tempted to look up and make sure.
This is one very cool phone – though being a phone is only a small part of what it does. I’ve already been online, downloading programs to better web surf, deal with email and upload photos and video.
The video and still image quality is surprisingly good, considering the tiny lens. It’s not going to unseat “Clicky,” but I will be using this functionality. In fact, on our upcoming vacation, I’m planning on doing a little vlogging from the Blackjack.
The phone connects to the Internet on AT&T’s high speed 3G network (available here at work, but not at home). It’s still not like real broadband, but it’s not too bad. Of course the relatively small screen is not well suited for web browsing.
If you’ve never used one of these, you’ve probably looked and said, “those keys are awfully small.” They are. Still, I haven’t had any trouble with the keys. Where my big fingers do cause trouble is with the center navigation switch. For me, it’s very difficult to press it, without pressing what’s next to it.
Some of my trouble is caused by being left handed. There’s a navigation wheel located perfectly for right handed people, but not me. I will learn to use it with time, as lefties learn to use right handed computer mice.
It didn’t take more than a few minutes to start to realize the power this phone possesses. I understand even more why the phone companies are fighting network neutrality. This phone allows you to bypass the cell carriers on many things they want to sell.
For instance, there’s a service sold by some carriers for around $10 a month. It turns your phone into a pretty cool GPS receiver with live traffic reports. Google gives that functionality away for free! It’s tough to sell against free. As far as I can tell, I’m about $40 away from using Google and my phone as a GPS receiver.
I’m curious to hear Stef’s impressions when after she unpacks her phone. I hope she’s as pleased as I am… and I’ve only scratched the surface.
3 thoughts on “The New Phone”
I recently changed phones as well but went a different route. I’m with Verizon and have had a Verizon/Audiovox XV6600 Windows Smartphone for almost two years. My existing contract was up but I wasn’t happy with the discount Verizon would give me for the Verizon/Audiovox XV6700. Verizon charges $399 with $100 discount. Nice but still pricey. I went on eBay and found the same phone, a bit used, but still in fine shape for $195 and I got the docking cradle, charger, and USB cable. I think its a great deal.
You would think they’d reward customer loyalty…evidently not.
What do you use as an app for the internet? I use Opera Mini.
This past weekend I was in New Hampshire visiting my brother in law…he is a grung/geek who develops web sites and web development software. I’ll get you a link to his stuff at some point…he and his business partner helped the NY Jets with a development issue on their site last year and they have some pretty big marshmellos in the fire. I digress, he has a LG sorta-smartphone on the Verison network…he has a service that he connects to the web thru his phone, USB’ed to his MacBook Pro and he gets very fast, almost broadband speed. I was really impressed by the simplcity of this solution. Might be worth the switch….although I’m locked into ATT as well. Here’s to hoping my Razr v3x dies a quick death soon.
Nothing like Indian Summer without anything close to a freeze yet.