Thursday, July 23, 2009

At Their Mercy

I've been drooling over the iPhone again. A tech-friend of mine got one and my boss just got one, too. Now that they have some of those basic features like copy and paste enabled, it looks like a solid phone.

It's no secret that I'm not exactly ecstatic about the Fuze/Touch Pro. I've recently likened it to running Linux on a desktop. There's so much that can be tweaked and so much that has to be tweaked that it almost becomes not worth the effort.

I tried the Matrix Pro but it didn't fit the bill, either. I loved the form-factor and the dedicated numeric keypad was awesome but I couldn't get it to do things I thought it should be able to do (such as add items to the main screen). It worked great but I felt too limited in flexibility and too bogged down in the operating system. So, here I am, drooling over the iPhone again.

What I really want in a smart phone is something that can receive my work email/calendar/contacts, can have programs added to it to increase functionality, has a touch screen and generally just works without a whole lot of effort on my part. Sure, the iPhone fits the bill but I decided today that I would still really like a physical keyboard.

The offerings from AT&T that fit the touchscreen/keyboard criteria are the HTC Fuze, which I already have, and the Samsung Epix, which I hear has a few really annoying problems that they haven't managed to work out yet. Something about not ringing properly and not sending notifications like it should.

AT&T is supposedly going to carry the Palm Treo Pro but that probably won't be released until December. My upgrade date isn't until next April so that may work out but I would sure love to be able to just pay a cash price and switch now. My Fuze is functional but I just got tired of fiddling with it. I am currently not using it to its full potential because it effectively reset the unit when I upgraded the ROM and I just haven't had the strength to completely re-tweakify it.

What I'm caught in is a comparatively archaic and unwieldy operating system (Windows Mobile) running on a wide variety of hardware that, in trying to differentiate itself from the competition, falls short in key areas.

So, here I sit, drooling over the iPhone. I even devised a plan to get one. I still have the $100 gift card I got with the Matrix Pro. I'm currently selling the Matrix Pro on eBay and hoping to get ~$200 out of it. I figure the Fuze is probably worth at least another $200 so that would give me $500 to use toward an iPhone. Crazy, I know.

The truth of the matter is that I'm not convinced an iPhone would make or keep me happy. And I must be insane to even think about spending $500 on a cell phone. Honestly, if I could get email on my old Sony/Ericsson (and I could give it a full keyboard), I'd probably be quite content. I loved that little phone. But, alas, I am at the mercy of AT&T and all the other cell phone companies. Limited to their selection of what they think I need that isn't necessarily what I want, tempted by what is to come 'soon', and locked into a contract that makes hardware changes ridiculously expensive except on their schedule and their terms.

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