Phone Home, Redux

In the past two weeks, Jen and I have both replaced our mobile phones. A process too much akin to purchasing a new car or house for my comfort.

Just a few years ago, phones were still tied to a geographic location. Home, work, phone booth on the corner. Amusing to think that ‘the place where telephone conversations occur’ was tied to an actual geographic location.

Today, mobile phones and increased coverage areas have all but removed IRL geography location from cyberspace.

Without a fixed geography, virtual.

This is my second year with T-Mobile’s HotSpot @Home service. With this service, my conversations are delivered over VOIP (when I’m within a wifi network) and the duration of these VOIP conversations aren’t counted against my ‘regular’ minutes.

For a productive work-related phone conversation, I need internet access anyway, so this works perfect. Additionally, if I’m not within a wifi network, I’m probably driving or otherwise not able to talk.

But what about this next time I need to purchase a mobile phone service plan? Sometime in 2010.

I see the continued proliferation of fast, stable, open, wifi making it possible to drop traditional mobile phones in the same way more than 13% of Americans have already dropped their landline phones.

I predict the challenge of polling the 2012 Presidential election will be that 13% of Americans are “soft” phone-only.

Again returning us to a time where a specific, connected place is required for voice conversations.

Maybe, I’ll still keep a ‘regular’ mobile phone though, you know, for emergencies.

Hello Nokia 6806 and TMobile HotSpot @Home

After watching my Treo 650 looping restart all morning, I’ve decided to leave it 1 and move to a very utilitarian Nokia 6086.

Things I dislike about the Nokia:

  • Flip phone. I’m just not a big fan.
  • Display is much less attractive than the Treo’s.
  • Only 500 slots in the Contacts list (I had to clean out my Address Book).
  • Clumbsy and ill-organized menu system, pointless ‘my shortcuts’ menu.
  • Mute isn’t a button on the keypad.
  • Need to clear messages (‘Battery Full’, etc) before it recognizes keypad entry

Things I like quite a bit about the Nokia

  • Uses Apple’s iSync thanks to a small hack from shadowmoon 2. Even with Missing Sync, the Treo’s syncing was unreliable.
  • BluePhoneElite2 support. Neither Treo or iPhone have this to any useful manner.
  • Calls over WiFi.
  • It’s a disposable phone that I can’t wait to dispose of.

Dave Winer’s review-at-one-month confirms I made the right decision not picking up an iPhone.

“Because the iPhone doesn’t have a search command, and apparently doesn’t store messages locally, it makes a poor choice for a mobile email client. “

LATER:
I just added a synchronization command to my regular backup script. Feels like tech working for me, not me playing with tech. A good feeling.

UPDATE 31 July 2007:
My number has been ported to the new Nokia. Yea! So far, with my little playing around, it works as expected. I’m actually finding I can dial much faster and more reliably from the Nokia keypad than I ever could from the Treo. I’ll miss Chatter – but I think I’ll get over it. 🙂

1. And unless something very interesting happens, Palm for good.
2. As simple as it looks, I hosed my system the first time I did it. Had to restart in Safe Mode and wait through an fsck to get back to normal. No fun. Second time, no problems.

UPDATE 21 August 2007:
I’m happy for 2 things:

  1. The Nokia moves so seamlessly and actively between the wifi and TMobile networks. Even sitting right next to my router, the phone is constantly bouncing back and forth.
  2. Call initiated on the wifi network that move to the TMobile network don’t go against my minutes.

UPDATE 26 November 2007
This Nokia is turning out to be a pretty horrible phone. Mute & loudspeaker, my two most used functions during conference calls, are a pain to access – even when the screen doesn’t fall asleep and go black during a call. While dialing is faster than the Treo, it’s still cumbersome – using this keypad for text messages makes me cringe. And needing to clear every message the phone wants to tell me before I can tell it to do something isn’t right. Plus, I’ve gotten lost enough to justify hiring a full-time guide, let alone a magical device w/ Google Maps on it.

As I suspected, T-Mobile has added more phones to the WiFi lineup – namely a. Blackberry Curve. Attractive, but I’m not sure if I want to go back to Missing Sync.