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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Phone Question

I'm all in a dither. My phone, a little Nokia 6820, is aging. I've had it for over five years, and it's been a trouper, but it's time to move on. AT&T desperately wants it off their network because I got it before AT&T merged with Cingular and moved to Cingular's infrastructure but then later decided that AT&T was a better name. Since then, Sam offered his Nokia E70, a decendent of my phone. I've used that a bit, but it is much bigger so it's not ideal for me. The thing I just love about both of these phones is that they have a nice standard number pad and a full QWERTY keyboard as well. I can easily type and dial and navigate one handed or by touch.

So, the iPhone came out and was all spiffy with its pretty pretty screen and I was very grateful because what I'd seen in the phone market for the preceding couple of years was uninspired. Getting a QWERTY keyboard meant upgrading to a brick the size of an original Palm device. But the iPhone had no keyboard and several other issues that made me wait.

And then the iPhone 3G came out and it was good. It fixed a couple of my peeves (like the unfortunate headphone jack issues), but it still had no keyboard and typing my SUNet ID password was onerous at best. With our Kerberos security, my day to day password is really long and nonsensical, thus making the predictive text useless. Add to that a monthly cost that was way over my budget, and the iPhone fell off the list of possible options again.

But Android was on the horizon and promised a slide out keyboard. Hope blooomed and was crushed.

Then I saw the little Pantech Duo and thought, "Oooh! Handset of my dreams! Come to mama!" But the device turns out to have a lot of issues (extremely poor battery life, reliability issues, etc.) and it's being discontinued by AT&T. Harumph. I became resigned to waiting another year or so for something to meet my needs.

But since we've moved to a primarily web-based email and calendar on campus, I've really been missing having a device that could cover me for that. Then Sunday night, my car charger for my phone finally died. The rubber shielding had torn ages ago, and that little copper wire finally gave way. Then I get in on Monday, and I've got an email from AT&T talking about their Premier rates for Stanford folks and how they even apply to the iPhone now. Hmm. So I go look at the site, and sure enough, it looks like I can have a phone plus data plan for about $4 more a month than I spend now. That resolves my second biggest issue with the iPhone.

But am I ready to go keyboard free? Can I live with the frustrations of no copy/paste, nay not even being able to highlight a large swath of text and delete? That's one of those details that feels like Apple is intentionally trying to handicap me, because it's not like this isn't technology they have on their other tools.

There's a lot to love about the iPhone. A little research and a trip to the Apple store tells me I can get a second charger that is both a car and home charger combo. That seems like the perfect option to keep in the car for travel. And the touch screen is just so pretty. The zoom in and out feature is brilliant.

So do I make the leap? Or should I be patient and see what the various Android based tools bring to the market next year? Opinions welcomed!


  • I would borrow an Iphone and try it out for about 30 minutes or so. I lost a bunch of enthusiasm for the Iphone when I got to play with someone's. It felt like my fingers were too big to do the zooming and navigating needed while websurfing.

    It's just as well, it's a bit too pricey and a bit too big physically. I will have to find a new phone too soon.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 12:13 PM  

  • But Geordi does not want to be assimilated!

    By Blogger mice, at 7:18 AM  

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