Mobile phones

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
All right, well, I thought I'd post a new topic to talk about what I've been researching lately.. phones. Mobile phones.. if you want to get technical, not cell phones, PCS phones (there is a difference).

Right now I'm just stuck, trying to decide what I should get as far as phone/handset, features, service provider, rate plan, commitment.. I just don't know anymore. I'm in a tizzy.

I could go with T-Mobile and get a Danger Sidekick and use their AWESOME Sidekick rateplan (*unlimited* GPRS data for the first 12 months!), I'd only have a 12 month commitment, and after rebate it would only be $200 and I'd get a free camera attachment. Believe it or not, there is T-Mobile GSM/GPRS coverage in my area, however, T-Mobile doesn't have any phone numbers in my area code yet... weird, no? But T-Mobile customers can call up and change their mobile number whenever they want, so when T-Mobile would get local numbers I could just do that. And of course, with T-Mobile, there's no roaming or long distance, it's all just anytime minutes, and anywhere there's GSM coverage with T-Mobile or a partner, you can get service. But not everyone has nice nationwide plans like that.. so I bet I'd be using the SMS and AOL IM and email features of the device the most. Of course, then there's the downside to the sidekick.. it's not the prettiest thing in the world, it only has a grayscale display, it doesn't have Bluetooth, and there's no Mac support anyway (yet).

Or, I could get a T68i somewhere, and just use T-Mobile's service.. they don't sell them because of some supposed issue, but I could still stick my T-Mobile SIM card in one and it would be fine. T-Mobile has some great rate plans that I'd be able to use, then.. and text messages are the cheapest with T-Mobile compared to any other service provider. Then I'd have the color screen, Bluetooth, and Mac support... but, then I'd miss out on some of the cool data stuff, I'd only have a crappy WAP browser (sidekick uses real HTML), and I'd have to use the number keypad to do all my typing.. who wants to write out an email with that? Not to mention I'd have to pay full price on the thing if I bought it elsewhere, whereas models they do sell I'd get a discount on for being under contract.

Then there's AT&T, another GSM provider in my area.. they don't support the Sidekick yet, nor do they tell me on their 1-800 that they plan to. Their rate plans are also exorbitantly overpriced for what you get compared to T-Mobile's, it's nuts. Plus they want you on TWO year contracts, or you get less discount, pay more for activation, and lose phone protection! So I don't like AT&T much.

Or I could go with Sprint, but they are even worse with the charges (they charge you for EVERYTHING, even charge you for charges!), and they don't have any phones I like.

Then there's Verizon.. they have really good coverage, but their phones also leave something to be desired. Their flip phones are massively ugly (as most seem to be). Not to mention they want you to pay money monthly just to subscribe to their lame games.. like seven bucks for frickin' Yahtzee!

Not to mention that Sprint and Verizon are CDMA, so that means you can only use the phones that they choose and sell. Only a few are color, and none have Bluetooth or Mac support or anything. Annoying.

Another CDMA technology provider in my area is Cricket, but their take on everything is the "around town phone," meaning you can only use it around town, otherwise you won't even get service (thus, no roaming.. in a roundabout way). They offer unlimited local calls/minutes, caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, all that good stuff, for a flat rate per month, post-paid. They also give you like 400 or 500 long distance minutes, and you can buy more long distance by "filling up" your LD "gas tank," or in other words, pre-pay. They also have unlimited text messages for just $4.95 a month!! Unlimited! Other places charge 5-10 cents per text message, and Sprint gives you a bundle of like 30 for $2 bucks.. whereas T-Mobile gives you 500 for $2.99. (Kinda crappy, Sprint and AT&T.) But then again, I'd have to really use those text messages to make that worthwhile, so who knows. Also, Cricket only gives you 4 choices for phones, and you have to buy them at retail value.. though three of them are around $50, the only good one (small, pleasant appearance, neat blue screen, no ugly protruding antenna, the Nokia 8270) is three times that ($150), but then there is a $50 rebate after 65 days of service. It's not a color screen, nor does it have bluetooth, or mac support, but the beauty of Cricket is no credit check or contract, so minors like myself have an easy time getting it under our own names.

Qwest also has CDMA technology in my area, and they offer a few phones and actually have an interesting price plan system so that I could really make a plan that suits my needs.. however, I don't like any of their phones much, they don't have those things I want either.

Then there's a really shitty provider, Alltel/Boomerang, but Alltel I've heard too many bad things about, while Boomerang only offers one piece of crap phone and is just as bad.

No Cingular around here, unfortunately, because they have that cool new plan where you keep the unused minutes.. (The 'use them or lose them' mobile phone minute pricing paradigm always did annoy me a bit.)

So, you see my predicament. I'm obviously just going to have to keep waiting for better/cheaper service, and better handset availability with those services, in my area.


  • Reply 1 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Oh, and another thing I wanted to touch on.. some of the cool phones coming out.

    T-Mobile just started selling the Sony Ericsoon T300, a midrange non-flip phone that has a camera attachment you can slap on the bottom... but it doesn't support MMS, it just sends them to T-Mobile via GPRS and then T-Mobile can post them on your MyT-Mobile webpage or send in an email. They are also going to be offering the Nokia 7210, a brightly-colored, strangely-designed phone that supports MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service.. try to keep up), but it doesn't have a camera, and no service supports a phone that has an integrated photo/video camera, so it's kind of like.. why?

    Then there's the Sony Ericsson P800, it's SUPPOSED to be coming out before the holidays, but even if it does, it'll be expensive I'm sure. I do like it., however. I hope they offer it with a discount!

    And Nokia has some of the COOLEST phones coming out, with big, bright color screens, cool new keypad layouts, icon-based OSs, interesting designs, integrated motion/picture cameras, MMS support, and new browsers that not only support WAP, but XHTML and regular HTML, and maybe some others. There are a couple already out, but they are only offered/supported in Europe (they're only dual-band phones, 900 and 1800MHz.. the US GSM is 1900!).

    There IS a neat tri-band nokia camera phone that I really love, the 3650.. it's just too cool for words. Great screen, Bluetooth, PIM stuff so presumably there will be Mac support through iSync.. it runs Java, too, so say hello to lots of games. Nokia is already drumming up TONS of development for the platform, too. All this, in a very compact size. I called up T-Mobile and talked to about four different people and three different 1-800 numbers, only to find out that there is a "possibility" that they might carry it, and it's "up to the powers that be." Not too shocking they wouldn't release information like that ahead of time, considering the phone isn't actually available yet (availability is early 03 according to nokia's website), but I tried really hard. Anyway, I sure hope to god T-Mobile jumps on it, because I think it could be BIG, camera phones.

    Here's a picture of the 3650, I can't resist:

    Nokia has lots of other cool phones too, with less radical designs.. but I think they were banking on the 3650 being big in the US. And I hope it is, there is nothing like it out there!
  • Reply 2 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    But then, I'd hate to shell out $150-350 bucks on a phone and get in a commitment with one service or another, when Apple might be coming out with a phone of their own soon. An iPodphone.

    I just don't know, I just don't know.

    I kinda want a camera phone, and to do MMS, but I'd be just as happy with a phone that could also do GOOD mp3 audio in a compact package like the iPod (5GB+ storage). Maybe Apple could put it all together. But I don't know if convergence is their cup of tea.

    Nokia has a totally cool 3G phone that supports both GSM/GPRS and WCDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access, the 3G update to CDMA).. why has it taken so long for this to happen? Until now all phones have been either one technology or another.. and they're all so different, which makes difficult decisions. You can only use CDMA phones with services that support them specifically, and GSM phones on GSM networks. I hate hate HATE that!
  • Reply 3 of 100
    bellebelle Posts: 1,574member
    Welcome, Sir, to the great technological dilemma of our time...

    And you haven't even mentioned the upcoming Smartphones and other PDA hybrids...
  • Reply 4 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Right. There's the Siemens PocketPC thing that's big and ugly, the Audiovox Thera PocketPC that's slightly less ugly, there's the HandSpring Treo 270 which is majorly ugly and is only a Palm device.. all of which are priced out of my pricerange, even if I wanted them.

    I also saw a spy report or preview of the Tungsten W from Palm... kinda nice, actually. Keyboard that is a decent size, but can't be hidden, no numeric keypad, but nice screen and marginally better Palm OS, with no ugly flip screen cover. Cool antenna, too. GSM/GPRS, of course. Also like $600+.. I'll pass.

    If Apple could just make a better-designed Sidekick without the keyboard (Inkwell instead!), and with a color screen and Bluetooth (not to mention a wonderful user interface, which would be a given), and it could use the same tiny HDs as the iPods for storage, GSM/GPRS/WCDMA, and maybe an elegant camera attachment (like the camera could be in the battery or something, so you'd buy a camera-battery to get it, rather than just slap the camera attachment on somewhere).. that could be so huge. Unbelievably huge. It would be a little expensive at first, sure, but it would come down, and it wouldn't die off like the current business-oriented PocketPC/phone hybrids surely will. But I digress... I think everyone has talked about a device like this one time or another, and we don't need the thread to degenerate into a bunch of rabid Mac/gadget geeks having wet dreams about the next iDevice.

    What are all of you guys' mobile setups?
  • Reply 5 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    You're so right, though, Belle. There have GOT to be others who are just as confused and indecisive because of all of these circumstances. Am I the only one who just can't decide which way to go here, am I the only one frustrated with the systems and providers and choices available, and the waiting and waiting and waiting for a better solution?

    When you think about it, the mobile phone handset market is just as bad, if not worse, than the mp3 player market was before Apple stepped in.


    On the bright side, this is my 1002nd post. That's neat.
  • Reply 6 of 100
    bellebelle Posts: 1,574member
    <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />

    This thread sums up a lot of the problems I've come across as I've been looking for a mobile computing solution. (See lots of threads all over the place.)

    My current solution is non-existent, as my Nokia 8290 has only an infrared port or a serial cable as data options, and neither laptop supports 'em.

    My plan, which will probably change, is to buy either a Palm or Pocket PC with Bluetooth, and a Siemens S56 phone (GSM, tri-band, Bluetooth, GPRS, ...) in January.

    The trouble is, I know fine well that even if I stick with this solution, I'll want to move to something else in six months time when the state of the art moves on once again.
  • Reply 7 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Yeah, I suppose that's inevitable.. but I really hope that I can get the P800 Sony Ericsson now.. and be ahead of the crowd.

    Sorry if the thread is a bit duplicitous.. I couldn't find a semi-current thread dealing with phones in general, handsets and service (there are some specific phone threads that are interesting though).

    But dang.. I thought Nokia made the best phones, but this picture really has changed my mind about the P800. Maybe it's not out of my pricerange..

  • Reply 8 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Huh. The P800 really has everything I want. I forgot it had a camera in it. And it also has the software features I want, like browsing on all the different technologies, SyncML, even 3d games. I like the stylus approach much more than Nokia's uglybuttons/joystick thing, too.

    The size.. is perfect.


    Ok, it's settled. I'm waiting for this.
  • Reply 9 of 100
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    brad, lay off the caffeine, will ya? I'm getting jittery just reading your posts....

    I've decided that I'm going to simplify my life by using a phone for *gasps* for phone calls. I know, I know, it's a novel concept. All I really want is for my phone to make and receive calls. Too bad a lot of cell phones have trouble with that some times... (having some trouble with my siemens randomly losing a signal...)
  • Reply 10 of 100
    i've been looking at a couple of the 'smartphones' that are coming out in the next few months; they're combination phone and pda (palm OS 4).

    <a href=""; target="_blank">kyocera 7135</a>

    <a href=""; target="_blank">samsung i500</a>

    they're both pretty similar, except the kyocera has an mp3 player (which i don't really care about)

    i was looking at some of the other current PIM/phone combinations , but they don't have good ways to input information; no touch screen or anything; everything has to be done with the numeric keys which isn't a good solution when you want to add something really quick.

    that's why i went looking at the palm os phones. i also took a little look at the pocket pc phones, but the 'smartphone' market is just emerging now, with great new phones coming to market. i'll probalby wait over the next 6 months to see what comes out and what people think of them
  • Reply 11 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    I don't know about those, Max. Tiny screens, forcing you to use the keyboards, the whole flip deal. The ugliest part of a flip phone is the hinge, and they are all so ugly on all of the decent flip phones. I don't think a flip phone could possibly work for me, I wouldn't be able to stand it.

    Really, I see convergence in PDAs/mobile phones. I think the "sweet spot" for convergence is gonna be a PDA with some sort of a quick physical keypad (whether it be slide-out a la Nokia 7650, or flip/snap on a la P800, or whatever), and the rest being PDA with spacious, thousands-of-colors touchscreens and no nasty chiclet keyboards. They'll use a combination of GSM/GPRS (tri-band) and WCDMA, possibly even supporting the future UMTS, all in one phone. There will be varying screen sizes and featuresets (Bluetooth or not, camera or not, memory media support or not, etc), as well as pricetags, to suit almost everyone. SMS, AIM, WAP, email, and PIM functions will become just as easy and integral as voice functions. Battery life will get better. As they become more ubiquitous, we'll see finance management software being replaced by digital wallets, which can even beam your credit card info or check info to the cashier at your favorite coffee shop (one way or another). MMS and photos/audio/video is really going to make things fun... GPS location/navigation will also begin to be integrated into these devices, as it's not the most useful thing by itself... and then things will start to get fun, like locating your friends on the road. Maximum possibilities for connectivity whereever you go.

    <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
  • Reply 12 of 100
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Nokia will be showing of some new phones today. Maybe they'll show the successor to the 9210... Maybe it will just be a thinner version? or will it have a cool new design?

    [ 11-04-2002: Message edited by: New ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 100
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    the 6650 will not be here until early summer
  • Reply 14 of 100
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Chew on this:

    I've decided that I DON'T want my PDA and cell phone to merge. I like the ability to look something up on my Visor while I'm chatting with someone on the phone. If I had the two in one unit, I'd have to put the person on hold, talk from a distance while I looked something up, or any other number of strange scenarios.

    I have T-Mobile, and have been with the company since it was Aerial (remember them?). I got a great deal on a Samsung S105 and am waiting for it in the mail, now. 65k color screen, baby!

    Back to my original subject: Ask yourself how practical it is to have all those cool features in one unit. Would it be more convenient to have a PDA in your phone, or separate? What sort of features do you really need while separated from your home computer. Example: I looked at the phones that can take and send pictures, but realized that I would never use it.

    Just my 2/100 of a dollar.
  • Reply 15 of 100
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Well, turnes out there was no new communicator released today, but a whole host of other NOKIA phones...

    That 7250 looks preatty sweet...
  • Reply 16 of 100
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    Someone said: I've decided that I DON'T want my PDA and cell phone to merge. I like the ability to look something up on my Visor while I'm chatting with someone on the phone. If I had the two in one unit, I'd have to put the person on hold, talk from a distance while I looked something up, or any other number of strange scenarios.

    You haven't ever used a Nokia Communicator then? Just flip it open and you're still chatting away while accessing anything on the PDA.

    The same goes for Bluetooth headsets combined with PDA-like phones or - for example - the Tungsten|W.
  • Reply 17 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Huh, I didn't even know about the NMIC event. Here's the new releases:

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    7250: another ugly nokia "fashion" phone, this time crossing over into the camera phones.. no Bluetooth, and worse yet, totally evil Digital Rights Management crap! Tri-band phone, but they don't mention North America in their market availability.

    5100: sporty, athletic, durable phone.. even waterproof, to an undeterminate extent. again, not the most beautiful thing in the world, kind of a crazy styling IMHO. but it fits the target market.. which I should mention will not be the US, at least not initially. It is a world phone, though. Nice screen, but where's the Bluetooth, Nokia?

    6100: Just a value-oriented tri-band color screen phone, nothing too shocking. I'm thinking this is meant to compete with the Sony Ericsson T300, and to widen the prevalance of MMS-capable phones.. I bet it'll be cheap. No Bluetooth, again.. at least it supports 900/1800/1900.

    8910i: Finally, Bluetooth! But it's also probably going to be one of the most expensive phones, too. It's made out of titanium, but most elegantly-formed (not pressed) titanium, and anodized. Color screen and vertical slidey keypad cover. This isn't really a PDA smartphone, and it doesn't even have fun stuff like a camera, it's just a yuppie rich person handset. Funny thing, though.. it will NOT work worldwide, it's only a dual-band phone (900/1800, sorry Americas!).

    6800: Ooh, this one is kinda neat. It's a flip phone... but not any flip phone you've ever seen before. It flips out to become a dual-sided keyboard.. and when it's closed, there is still a numeric keypad (dual-button-sided flip). Decent color screen, but no Bluetooth (surprise). More disappointing yet, it won't work in the US of A. Oh well, who needs keyboards anyway..

    2100: A decent phone-phone, what may be the last non-color Nokia released. Much more pleasant design than most Nokias, but obviously not a phone any of us want. Yet another phone that won't work over in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it's 900/1800.

    Some other weird things coming out are a Nokia SMS/MMS webcam (basically), a teeny add-on digital camera attachment (instead of a built-in one.. an idea I actually kinda like, for upgradability), and a little cradle with speakers you can stick it on that takes advantage of most all new Nokias' built-in FM radios. Basically, peripherals to use Nokia's new proprietary peripheral connection port for phones, "Pop-Port."

    Then they go on to talk about new software services and stuff.. digital wallet crap, VPN crap, personal settings crap, Multimedia messaging crap, crap which will end up turning cell phones into AIM buddy lists with a GPS twist, privacy crap. Faintly intriguing...

    But not enough to make me want a Nokia, really.
  • Reply 18 of 100
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    The 7250 has SyncML, which probably makes it workable with iSync... just thought I should let you know Tonton...
  • Reply 19 of 100
    nijiniji Posts: 288member
    im not sure if everyone knows this site or not, but for great info on 3g fons and what is happening overall in wireless, this site is hard to beat:

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

  • Reply 20 of 100
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Ok, I'm about to be like.. screw bluetooth, screw huge touchscreens, screw integrated camera.. I can get a T300 for the same price as a shitass Nokia 8270. Or I could get a crappy Kyocera flip phone, or I could get a T68 (non-i). All $150, each with a different service obviously... I'm going with T-Mobile and the T300 (and the camera attachment.. bling). Who cares if it isn't all of that crazy expensive stuff.. I'll be able to access my own account and put myself on the special preferred retention/dealer rate plans and stuff.

    Of course, I decided to wait another two weeks, just so that I'll really be sure. So it doesn't matter much right now.
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