Can you hear me now?

I don't use a lot of minutes off our calling plan. But I do use my old phone quite a bit . . . . if that makes any sense at all. Most of my friends and family are on the Verizon network so those calls don't count against our plan's minutes. In fact, Holly and I have the lowest tier family plan and we rarely come close to touching our allotted monthly amount.

In addition to my phone, I also have a little Sandisk Sansa mp3 player that I use for listening to music/podcasts on my commute or while working in the yard. Both of these devices are small and very good at their core competency. But I'd like to consolidate their functionality into a single device, so I don't have to carry around two things.

What a revolutionary idea you might say. And amazingly, it seems I'm not the first to have had this epiphany. Looking around there's quite a few 'music phones' floating around these days. T-mobile has some particularly slick devices right now. And apparently there's some new device out now that you might have heard of called the "iPhone." I think I saw just a few minor mentions of it across my numerous tech news feeds over the past 8 months. And it looks like they even had a few dollars in their marketing budget for a modest ad campaign judging by the commercials I saw during every single commercial break on the Discovery channel this past weekend. The only problems with the iPhone are:

A) It costs considerably more than a lot of other smartphones.
B) I don't use Itunes.
C) It's not on Verizon.

I might actually be willing to get past the first two traits as it really is a nice device. But nothing short of a fully-functioning Star Trek tricorder with built-in light saber and beer tap is going to get me to leave Verizon right now. As I said before, most of my friends/family are on it and (in the spirit of the commercials) the reliability of the network just can't be beat, especially in the more rural regions where some of my family lives.

So my options are limited to Verizon's offerings. Unfortunately, Verizon is notoriously behind the curve when it comes to releasing contemporary, fully-featured phones. And due to a recent legal spat with chipset manufacturer Broadcom they're even further behind schedule this year. Fortunately that's about to change with as many as 15 new phones scheduled for release between now and the end of the year. The new Motorola Q9M will be the first shot in this barrage going on sale later this week.

My current contract ran out a couple months ago so my 'new every two' credit towards a new phone means I should be able to get a nice phone for a very reasonable price - which will be important with Holly staying home this year. The only problem now is which one? I'll go from minimal choices to many decent choices in the span of only a couple months. Right now I'm waffling between one of the following two routes:

  1. Less expensive, music-oriented phone w/1 yr contract. The new LG Chocolate is actually pretty nice and seems to be notably improved from the original. And the two flavors of the Motorola Z6 look to be decent potential candidates as well (although I'd have to sacrifice quite a bit of storage space if they really do cap out at only 2GB.)

  2. More expensive, smartphone w/2yr contract. I think I'd actually be happier with this solution longterm. The problem is, I'm too cheap to pay for the data plans, at least for the upcoming year when we're trying to cut back. The new Q9M does support wifi via the SD slot (although at the expense of memory) and should be reasonably inexpensive with the discounts I'll have available. And while the Samsung SCH-i760 is kind of funky looking, it looks reasonably compact and extremely functional.
Any other year than this one and I'd easily go with the second option. But right now I'm leaning toward the first route.


Adam said...

How's that old saying go, something about a sheep that walks off the end of the cliff and all the other sheep follow right along.

Well as sad as it is to say, for me Steve Jobs is that first d@#$ sheep and you can bet I'm gonna have an iphone at some point. Atleast when it comes to Verizon that is, and I actually have a stable enough income to spend on shiny things with a glowing apple on them.

Adam said...

oh yeah i'm writing this on one of my 5 apple personal computing products.

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