In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

XV6700 in the house!

Last night, I finally made the switch from my tried and true SMT5600 Smartphone with Cingular to the new XV6700 with Verizon.  The SMT5600 has served me well over the past year and a half, and it went a long way to help me realize the usefulness of PDA functionality within a phone.  I finally was able to keep contacts, emails, and appointments all in sync wirelessly with our work Exchange server.  If I was going to be out for a while, I could easily get online and check my messages and see what meetings I had coming up, but its abilities were limited.

For starters, the Cingular network is so slow.  It was not very fast at downloading my messages or getting online.  And I quickly realized that a keyboard was a huge limiter.  Sure, it had the T9 work recognition, but in messages, you use a lot of technical terms which are never in its dictionary.  So I was never inclined to respond to messages when I was away... it simply allowed me to check and made my get anxious to get home to my computer so I could respond.

Additionally, I've been a little bitter with Cingular since they screwed me after I got married.  I used to be with Cingular Blue (aka AT&T).  When I got married and wanted to add my wife to my plan, they had to convert my plan over Cingular Orange.  They told me my phone was unlocked (after a quick test with a Cingular SIM card and it seemed to work), however once they converted the plan over and tried to set up my phone, it wouldn't work at all.  So I had to buy a new SMT5600, signing a new contract, and even though it was at a pretty decent discount, it left a bitter taste since I still had to pay something, and was then under contract.  Additionally, once we changed over, my wife realized that Cingular's service is horrible around her work down in Lodi.  She constantly loses a signal, gets dropped calls, etc.

Now, with me trying to get out more often (sitting in Starbucks as we speak), I realized my options for getting online outside of the house could get costly.  For T-Mobile Hotspots at Starbucks, it is $6/hour, $10/day, or $30/month with a 12 month contract.  And that is only at T-Mobile... if I go to a Java City (another chain around here) or a bookstore's coffee shop, it is a different WiFi provider, and then a separate fee.

It dawned upon me that I could use my cellphone to get online remotely though my laptop.  However, Cingular's wireless network connections are barely faster than 56k dialup, so that is not even an option.  However, Verizon's EV-DO network was very compelling.  After checking out the XV6700 from Jim while I was in Dallas, I was convinced.  EV-DO boasts a theoretical top speed of up to 2Mbps, with average speeds around 500kbps.  Its not as fast as my cable modem at home, but certainly faster than dialup and very capable of handling basic web browsing, email, and IM.

So, I bit the bullet and made the switch.  Purchased the phone, waiting fo rmy cancellation charge, but very content with the change.  As I am sitting here in Starbucks, I did a speed test of the EV-DO service and got 462kbps down and 112kbps up.  On top of that, the XV6700 features a slide out keyboard that makes responding to emails and even getting on MSN IM far easier than with the SMT5600.  It also is a fully featured Pocket PC, which means in the future I could get a bluetooth GPS locator and navigation software (a new toy for sometime in the future... need goals, you know).

In my opinion, this service is almost a must for being truly portable.  It enables me to get online anywhere I have cell service, regardless of who provides the WiFi hot spots or even if one is available.  Even better, my monthly fees for phone minutes and unlimited data is only a few dollars more than with Cingular... much less than Cingular + T-Mobile Hotspots would be a month, with much more availability.  What more could I want?

Friday, March 03, 2006

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