It seems like the world is rapidly resolving into camps of mobile phone users that are either smart phone users or basic telephone people. I have carried Internet phones in the past, but I found the versions that I used five or six years ago of little use. I became a believer in using a cell phone as phone and little else.
I never had any trouble resisting a Blackberry or Crackberry as they are often called in the Washington, DC area. I found most Blackberry users' behavior obnoxious so I did not want to become another person who always was watching their phone instead of paying attention to a conversation with a live person.
When the iPhone was announced, I watched with interest as people fell head over heels in love with it. I worked for Apple for nearly twenty years so I know well the pluses and minuses of falling for an Apple product. With Apple you usually give up some of your freedom, and you likely end up paying more one way or the other.
Some parts of Apple are hard to shake. Years before the iPhone, Apple had put us on AT&T with our cell phones. I made one attempt to get away from AT&T. I moved to Cingular and a great Nokia smart phone for my personal use only to have AT&T buy them and make my phone unusable on their system. I was not impressed.
We made a move to coastal North Carolina, and I started doing real estate sales in the area. My Broker in Charge used AT&T and highly recommended their service so I went with them but stuck with a basic Motorola Razr flip phone.
That was a little over three years ago. Over that period we came to figure out that AT&T actually had lousy coverage for us personally. My phone could sit on the kitchen counter and receive one call only to go out of service and miss the next one. I could even miss calls when I was at work in what passes for the most populated part of our area.
Even when it did get a call at home, I had to run to the front of the house to keep from losing the call. When my phone missed a call, I often did not find out about a voice mail for hours. I eventually went to Google Voice as a solution. When a call to my cell phone went unanswered, Google Voice would try all our land lines. That worked fine, but it also left some clients trying to figure out what was happening as Google Voice tried to find me.
AT&T recently announced a device for the home which would route your cell phone calls through your Internet connection. Aside from taking offense at the misleading way it was advertised as cell signal amplifier, closer investigation revealed it as an expensive solution to a problem that I should not be having since I was already paying for basic service.
We did visit the AT&T store and found that I could buy an iPhone and my wife could get a free new phone, but it would be a messaging phone which would require her to sign up for more service than she needs.
A few more weeks went by, and on my birthday we decided to visit the local Verizon store. I immediately held up crossed fingers when the sales person mentioned Blackberry products. It did not take long to get over to the Motorola Droid. I had some basic familiarity with the phone since my son has one, and I like the premise behind the Android operating system.
After deciding on the Droid, we found a nice free phone for my wife which did not require her getting a messaging service that she would never use.. After a call to my son to confirm a couple of things, we signed on with Verizon.
It took them a few minutes to move my wife's contacts from her phone, but I got the biggest kick out of the salesman handing me the Droid, and a minute later saying that he would move my contacts. I was able to answer that I had already moved my contacts and had my Gmail set up. It was as simple as signing into my Gmail.
I am a big fan of Google's web services, and the strong integration with the Droid was one of the reasons I decided on the Droid. The biggest reason was the Verizon network in our area which recently enhanced by purchasing Altel. Adding the Altel network has given them much better coverage in our local area.
Moving to the Droid has been exceptionally easy. I moved over two other IMAP email accounts from Rackspace which I have been using since before I worked with Webmail.us which was purchased by Rackspace. Moving those accounts to the Droid was a piece of cake, but I will admit to having the server names memorized.
The Droid has already proved itself useful. I got an email counter offer on a property just before we had breakfast in a restaurant the other day. I was able to quickly forward it to my clients. I also got a sales lead the other day while at another restaurant. We are timed on response times on these, so it was nice to be able to instantly respond that I would get back to them after our meal.
As an example of ultimate irony, I received a call from AT&T while I was writing this article. While their survey might not really be able to convey my frustration with their network coverage, hopefully canceling my service after approximately 16 years with them might get the point across.
When we first moved to the coast, Verizon did not have coverage as good as AT&T. Now their coverage is better. All the talk about AT&T working on their network because of their relationship with Apple has not gone beyond the stage of talk in our area.
Verizon coverage has delivered what it promised, and it is unlikely that we will take advantage of the 30 days money back offer.
I can only imagine how frustrated that I would have been with an iPhone and the coverage that I had with AT&T. It would have driven me up the wall. There is one thing that I am certain of after all these years in technology. Your device can only be as good as your network lets it be.
While some of my Apple friends might have expected me to buy an iPhone, I have been away from the reality distortion field for enough years to make my technology decisions on other things than blind loyalty to the Cupertino marketeers.