Saturday, February 20, 2010

A New Phone...Finally

So a couple of years ago, my contract was up with AT&T. It had actually been up for ages and I hadn't bothered to replace my now 3-year-old phone yet. I went to visit my folks over the holidays, and I forgot my phone at home (it happens when the cab driver calls you at 4 a.m.--no, really). I thought, well, why not just go to the store and pick myself up a new phone. Answer? Because you don't do your research and you end up with a Samsung brick that doesn't make calls. But of course, I didn't know that. So I went and got my shiny Samsung brick and brought it home. It dropped some calls. I updated its firmware. It dropped some more calls. I turned off 3G so that it could use only the 2G network. It dropped fewer calls but still dropped at least 20% of them. I tried to return it, but AT&T would not take it back, not even within the 30-day period, because there was "nothing wrong with it." I considered insuring it and running it over with a bus, but the AT&T clerk assured me that wouldn't help.

So I went back to my old phone, which was a free phone that had been a modest upgrade from my very first cell phone. I had always loved the phone anyway, so it was fine. Except of course that now I lived in New York City, the land of no AT&T service. OK, ok, don't sue me. The land of extremely limited and spotty AT&T service. And I counted the days until my contract was up.

The thing is, when my contract was up I totally choked. Since the last time I chose a phone, phones have become another thing entirely. I mean, yes, there were smartphones when I got my phone. The iPhone was already around, etc. But I swear it wasn't nearly this complicated. You have to pick a platform and an operating system and a plan and it is just seriously insane. And because I spent the last 2 years with the evil, evil Samsung, all of these decisions were freighted with crushing "I will have a new phone!" anxiety. I have been trying to make this decision for two months.

So after a ridiculous amount of time spent on research, I have gone and done what is almost certainly the wrong thing. I always buy the wrong thing, or the right thing at the wrong time. I bought an iPod mini right before Apple consigned the form to the scrap heap. I bought a certain popular computer days before it was announced that my employer was going to get a whopping discount on said computer. It has been very frustrating. So I look at it like investing in art. You don't buy art because it's going to be a smart investment. You just buy what you think will make you happy.

I got a Droid Eris, which means I've changed my service to Verizon. AT&T is simply not the smart choice for the NYC metropolitan area, and they've voiced concerns about their 3G network, so I'm steering clear. I'm not really down with Verizon, because its technology isn't international-travel-friendly, but I will just get a cheap GSM phone to take with me to Europe should the need arise. So far I am thrilled, but I have only had the phone for 6 hours, so it's hardly definitive. I'm not even sure the Samsung drove me crazy this fast. I am having a lot of fun messing with apps and trying to figure out whether I want a Google Voice number, which sounds tailor-made for me--I have not known my home phone number by heart for about 8 years.

I did briefly consider the Nexus One. It looks incredibly sexy. But since I've gotten by until now with a phone whose most advanced feature was the alarm clock, I think it would be overkill. If I enjoy this phone, I might upgrade to whatever follows the Nexus One in the future. We shall see....

All's I know is, Shifter, now I have my own linux box. Hooray!

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