Friday, February 03, 2006

Cell Phone Shopping

We're changing cellular plans from Verizon to Cingular - mainly because Cingular offers reception inside the buildings at work, whereas Verizon phones get none. One of the bonuses is that we get a nice discount on both the phones and calling plans.

What really annoys me is the lack of good information about the phones. You go to the various web pages for cellphones, and they don't tell you anything useful. There is the standard "talk hours, standby hours, camera or no" and that's about it. Heck, I knew that about my phone when I got the low end phone over two years ago - I'd hoped they'd come up with more info.

For instance, my old phone has a calendar. There's no real way to synchronize it with any other calendar, but I could have hunted and pecked the events in if I'd wanted. Two years pass, and I expect perhaps a little advance in the capability. I know for a fact that a friend of mine at work has a phone that can sync up with Outlook - he has a simple phone that's two years old.

So I look on the web, and it's nearly impossible to find any information about cell phones and calendars. What the heck?

So I go to 2 different Cingular shops and ask. The sales guy at the first shop had one of those blue-tooth dongles in his ear the entire time I was talking to him. I didn't like him much to begin with, but the fact he kept that dongle in his ear the entire time he talked to me came off as very rude. I told him about the 2 year old phone that a friend had, and he just didn't really get the fact that I wanted to have a simple calendar on my phone that actually worked. He showed me all the various phones - but provided no information to distinguish any of them other than bluetooth, whether I could use it all around the world (yeah, that's what I'm needing, being the international traveler), and the different colors of phones.

The next store had a young woman that immediately looked very confused when I asked about a calendar. She pawned me off on the main guy at the store who had very little additional information. He didn't know about the capabilities of any of the basic phones any better than the dork with dongle in his ear. So he showed me the "smart" phones and Treo/Blackberry devices. There were a couple of different smart-like phones (some had MS Windows and some didn't), but, again, he had no information that would help someone choose between the phones.

Nowhere could I find any sources of information about the software that came with various phones, nor any realistic comparisons between them (calendaring or regular use). The couple of reviews I found that had something that seemed like information came from people who seemed to jump between 2 or 3 phones constantly, upgrading to a new set of phones every 4 or 6 months. Do they like throwing away money that much?

In the end, I'm getting a Nokia 6102 because my friend's phone that syncs with Outlook is a Nokia - and the 6102 looks like it might fit the bill. If that doesn't work, I'll be upgrading to the Cingular smart phone because it's pretty and is guaranteed to connect with MS products.

Anyway, it's been very frustrating to work so hard for so little relevant information. Our cell phone numbers will remain the same, but we'll have new phones in less than a week.

The next step is to switch the home phone to Vonage - which should be interesting considering the fact they don't offer phone numbers local to Corvallis (or any location south of Woodburn or west of Bend).

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