Smartphone, Dumb Carrier

In June of 2006 I bought a Palm 700w smartphone. Having just upgraded from a Nextel flip phone my mind was completely blown. This new phone ran Windows Mobile 5, synced my calendar & my contacts, gave me access to Microsoft Office mobile, and could run all sorts of applications. I really liked it but had a lot of technical difficulties with this phone. Finally in December of 2007, after at least 3 replacement Palm 700w replacements from Verizon I decided to try a new phone.

My new XV-6800 arrived just before Christmas and it was truly like a Christmas gift. This device even further expanded what I could do from my phone. With Windows Mobile 6 a larger screen, slider keyboard, built in wifi card, & GPS capability; I was now able to do lots more from my phone then I had imagined. I could now remotely control my computer through LogMeIn.com mobile, emails & texting became much easier with the larger keyboard, and best of all I could now use this phone as a WiFi modem for tethering with my laptop. I really loved this phone! Unfortunately however there was also a lot to hate. This phone has turned out to be even more unreliable then the phone it replaced.

As time went on however the biggest problem turned out to be the Network. Verizon? You might ask how I could have a problem with their network, since they have the largest network, with the most coverage.” This is true. However my issue is actually their business practices. I’ve learned that if there’s one thing Verizon does it’s nickel and dime their customers to death. The most glaring example is GPS functionality. The phone I purchased included a chip set which will receive GPS satellite data from satellites launched & run with my tax dollars. Instead of allowing customers to use the equipment they’ve already paid for they make them pay for it, and not just with wit h a one time fee, but rather with a monthly access charge. While the company seems to have realized they were wrong (thanks to a class action lawsuit) and opened up GPS functionality on select handsets, mine of course isn’t one of them, since they haven’t released an update. There are also similar problems with proprietary charging cables and jacks.

This peaks my interest in the Open Handset Alliance, and Google’s Android. The Open Handset Alliance (formed by Google when Android was released in 2007) is a collection of companies and standards which promote a better experience to users through open standards. While I’m afraid that Verizon would never embrace Android due to the seemingly 180° difference in how they conduct business, it seems the users are asking for devices which run Android, and the rumors seem to indicate that Verizon’s listening. I for one am waiting with bated breath, although if not, it my be my last breath, and a carrier change may be eminent.