I am once again carrying a cell phone around with me after going without for several years. Things have changed quite a bit in that time. The $50 a month for a service plan buys a helluva lot more minutes these days and you can send and receive more than just phone calls and short text messages. I signed up with Cingular mainly because the salesman I dealt with back when I was checking out the major mobile carriers to see which one worked at my mother-in-law’s house in Brighton was the only one who had a demo phone I could borrow instead of forcing me to sign up and then cancel the service when it didn’t work at the house only to end up billing me for a full month later when I made all of 4 phone calls on the services I was testing. Ironically Cingular is also the one carrier that just barely works at the house, though the call quality is for crap and the connection is lost on a regular basis. I’m not too worried about that, though, as I bought it mainly for when I wasn’t at home and when I’m pretty much anywhere else it seems to work OK.
I ended up buying the Motorola V557 phone because it was the cheapest model they had that offered Blue Tooth headset compatibility. I’ve not bought a Blue Tooth headset yet, but I plan to in the not too distant future. In addition to that the phone also has a built in digital camera that’ll also record short (15 or so seconds) video clips without sound. It supports something called GPRS/EDGE High-Speed Data Access for browsing the Internet at some ridiculous cost per byte transferred that I have absolutely no plans to make use of, support for AIM, ICQ and Yahoo! Messenger right in the phone, which is nice except that I would’ve preferred either MSN Messenger or Jabber/Google Talk support instead as I use both of those more than the other three. It doesn’t help that you can only be signed into one such service at a time. It allows for multimedia messaging allowing for the transfer of pictures and sounds in addition to text when messaging. It even has a built in POP3/IMAP4 email client, though the idea of trying to respond (let alone READ) email on a phone this size using a standard numeric pad is simple horrifying to me. There’s something called the MEdia Net Live Ticker that, as near as I can tell, is a means of trying to suck extra charges from you for minimally useful news tickers that I’ll also try to ignore. Lastly it has a speaker phone option and it supports custom ring tones, a feature I’ve already taken advantage of. Word has it you can play games on it and other such stuff, but I don’t plan on that anytime soon. I’ve had it for most of the week now and I’ve received a whole two phone calls on it—one of which was a wrong number. Social butterfly I am not.
Don’t know how much usage I’ll actually get out of it as I’m not the sort to spend hours talking on the phone to begin with and I mainly got it so I could be reached by my coworkers more easily. I did sign up for one of the text packages so I don’t have to pay per text message sent and received. I’d like to test EE’s mobloging feature by making use of the camera phone to send straight to the blog, but I’m not entirely sure what the actually charge for doing so would be. I know that sending a picture by itself is 25 cents so who knows how much it’d cost to send a picture and a small bit of text to go along with it. I’d have to do it as an email too so that’d probably bring up the whole charge per kilobyte sent thing to boot. Short of it is I’m not going to even consider trying it until I sit down and figure out how it would work and how much it would cost, if anything, to do it. Still, it’s nice to know I could do it if I wanted to. It appeals to my inner-geek.