The Phone Buying Blues

My poor Sidekick Color died last week. My wife wants a cell phone. I want something out of Star Trek that just doesn’t seem to exist yet (go figure). Deciphering cell plans, and deciding on a phone that will do all the things I want it to. Right now, I need a phone for Jen that doesn’t have to do a whole lot. A camera would be nice, but not required, and it just needs a good address book and battery life.\
My requirements are a little tougher. It has to be on this list, has to have a camera, e-mail, support internet-over-Bluetooth, and a calendar. Yeah, I know. I’m tempted by the Treo 650, but the only carriers who have it charge an insane amount of money for their unlimited internet plan (I did over eleven megs a month on my Sidekick). T-Mobile has a much more reasonable unlimited internet plan, but they don’t have the 650.\
The cell companies’ websites don’t help either. They don’t have reviews on the site, are sparse with the details, and navigation is a pain in the butt.\
If you’ve got any recommendations, I’d love to hear ’em.

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. Despite my best efforts to kill my Sidekick, I still haven’t quite managed to finish it off. Had a close call on the corner of 13th and Kenyon the other day, but that only resulted in a few scratches.
    I’m pretty happy with the el cheapo T-Mobile plan I’m on right now, but the thing is just about useless when it comes to receiving phone calls.
    Unlike you, I haven’t even started thinking about a replacement, so I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

  2. Perhaps you can buy an unlocked (OEM) Treo 650 and just put your TMobile SIM card in it? I know that would work for normal (non-smart) GSM phones. It might be more expensive in the short term, but you wouldn’t have to change/reup your contract with TMo, and you could leave whenever you wanted if their coverage goes into the crapper.

  3. I currently own two Samsung i330 (Palm-based) smartphones — one for me, one for my spouse — and while they’ve served adequately, I swear I will never buy another Palm-based product again. Ever. Not unless they improve drastically. (Thus, the Treo line is out of the question.)
    The next phones we will be getting will be the HP iPaq h6315 smartphones. PocketPC-based, with GSM/GPRS, 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth all *built in*. Yes.
    And, regarding the Apple iSync requirement, don’t cripple yourself just because Apple’s software sucks. For $30 (yes, it’s not free — boo hoo), you can get The Missing Sync for Pocket PC:
    Yes. You WILL buy a h315. The first one I’d ever seen was Carl Garland’s — if he still has it, walk over to his cube and ask to check it out. You will have a gadgetgasm. It’s the shizznizzle.
    You can thank me once you’ve bought one.
    Now if only I could come up with the ~$1K it’ll cost for me to buy the two for my own use. Grr …

  4. Two things worth noting, regarding previous comments:
    Dossy – you mentioned having a Samsung i330, and that you’d never touch another PalmOS device again. You should realize that the i330 runs PalmOS 3.5.3, an extremely old version of the OS (roughly the same version loaded on the old Handspring Visor models. Since it was built for PalmOS 3, the system specs were designed accordingly. The Treo 650, by comparison, is a modern PalmOS device, running the most current version of the PalmOS, and with customizations designed to improve the user experience. What’s more, the Treo 600/650 has a thumbboard, rather than relying on handwriting recognition for text input, and is roughly the same size as a standard candy-bar style cell phone. You’d do well to give the Treo a shot.
    Also, there’s a verison of Missing Sync for PalmOS that not only replaces the Palm desktop application, but improves upon it in many ways. I believe the website is markspace dot com. While Missing Sync does not USE iSync, it will sync to all of the standard Mac applications (address book, ical, etc.).

  5. FWIW, Verizon Wireless is supposed to be launching the Treo 650 by the end of the month. Of course, they’re probably one of the carriers that charge an insane amount for their data plans, but it’s an option…

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