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My Tracfone story

Originally posted as comments at Sunni and the Conspirators - No Longer Tempted By The Fruit Borg

You might want to doublecheck the monthly fees.

You could get a reconditioned iPhone for not too much, but by the time you count data plans and the monthly fees, you're probably looking at between $90 and $150 a month for a basic plan.

And even though I am an Apple guy (and currently writing this on a iMac named MaKai) I am not sure I would use the internet access enough to justify that cost. Granted I am in a rural location and only "go to town" every month or so.

Let me tell you my Tracfone story.

Verizon is the most reliable carrier in my area. I was seriously considering a Treo. I've used a Palm for years and didn't think it would be that difficult. But every time I would look something up, I'd get a different price.

Finally I took advantage of my iMac's wide screen. I fired up two different browsers, went to Verizon's website, and copy-pasted the exact same information between the two windows.

Two different prices.

Twenty minutes later I had a Tracfone from Walmart.

Now it doesn't do everything I want, I'd love Bluetooth and a way to connect it to my computer so I could download selected address information. But as a basic phone, it works well.

I think I paid around fifty bucks for the phone and another fifty for the lifetime double-your-minutes plan. I've replaced the battery on the phone and replaced the plastic case with something a bit more custom. Throw in a wired headset, and I think that was another $60-$75.

With the double-your-minutes thing, I guess I spent about $20-$25 per month on average for the cell phone. I still have a landline too.

And I use Google's Grand Central, which should roll out of beta this summer, that's the number I use on my business cards.

The really ironic thing about this is that Tracfone got the number from Verizon and it's piggybacked on Verizon's network. But I was willing to spend much more per month with Verizon than they are getting from me now.

Away from my computer, my handy Palm TX still can find WiFi hotspots that don't cost me anything to use.

I drool over the iPhone, but AT&T's 3G network isn't in my area, so I can't really justify the cost.

Even for a near rabid Apple fan…

Update - forgot to mention, the Bloomberg story quotes Cook out of context.

Here's more of the quote.

Cook:“We are confident with where we are competitively. We’re watching the landscape, we like competition. As long as they don’t rip off our IP, and if they do, we’ll go after anybody that does. I thought that might be your next question, so that’s why I wanted to get that out.”

Question: “Are you referring to Palm when you say ripping off IP?”

Cook: “I’m not talking about any specific company. I’m just making a general statement. We think competition is good, it makes us better. But we will not stand to have our IP ripped off. We will go after them with every weapon at our disposal. I don’t think I can be more clear than that.”

Check your coverage Sunni before committing to anything. AT&T requires a minimum two year contract for the iPhone I think, most of the other carriers have similar requirements for smartphones.

(multiple gizmos on the belt, um, erm, we won't go there right now)

I admit I don't like the intellectual property thing either, but I am willing to cut Apple some slack.

Before the iPhone, it was the cell phone carriers who were dictating the features that the cell phones and smartphones had, often requiring the manufacturers to purposely disable parts of the phone. And the UI's were just terrible.

Oh, just so you know, Palm is pulling out of the PDA business and shifting their entire Treo smartphone line to Windows Mobile. The Palm Pre will have it's own OS, but isn't compatible with anything else Palm has made, including their desktop software.

Welcome to the future.

I'm thinking about buying another TX just in case. But my next PDA may well be an iPod Touch, essentially an iPhone without the phone or camera.

These comments are a bit dated, they come from Feburary of 2009.

My next PDA was and is an iPod Touch. I’ve not made the jump to an iPhone yet, in part because I am paranoid about what the FedGov might do.
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