Gadget Disease, Part II

Well folks, I said I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it. I did it and so far I’m not regretting it. In reference to my Gadget Disease post, I am, in fact, now a T-Mobile customer. After years and years of being a loyal customer of Verizon Wireless, and after years and years of shamelessly promoting them, I’ve jumped ship. I will confess that I feel like a mutineer. It’s like I told my barber of 20 years to go take a hike, and went to the salon down the street. That’s really what I feel like, especially with Verizon’s great commercials, superior CDMA network, EVDO, strong brand, good customer service, and cool brand versus T-Mobile’s rather unimpressive position in the US cellular market, their pink brand, sheek commercials with the lovely Catherine Zeta Jones, and their inferior EDGE network. Ah, but alas, I am now one of those guys – a ship jumper, a traitor, a pinko. And ya know what? I don’t care! I’m happy so far! It will take a few days for me to get over my shame and adjust to the new reality of my daily mobile life, but I’ll get by.

Here’s how it went down:

After my Gadget Disease post I saw Mike Orren’s comments and suddenly I thought – hey, there’s a guy who’s happy with is choice and is saving a bundle of Washingtons. That, my friends, was compelling. Upon further research and investigation, about 6 hours worth, I quickly deduced that Verizon is ridiculously expensive. But here’s the kicker: I called Verizon. Explained how long I’ve been a customer (umm… Bell Atlantic Mobile anyone? Circa 1997?). I told them how shocked I am at the competitions rates and selection of phones. I went on about a few other details that I shall forgo here, and their answer (twice) was “I’m sorry sir, I wish there was something we could do.” Now, keep this in mind too: this is a corporate account, with a few lines on it, not just me. So they basically told me I’m free to leave and they won’t try to stop me. Wow!

So, I did. After looking into T-Mobile’s packages and pricing, and going online to read what the masses had to say about EDGE, about the BlackBerry Pearl, etc etc, I contacted a local T-Mobile store, in Cambridge (at the Galleria Mall – ask for Ralph or Christina). Ralph spoke to me on the phone, and put up with my fast talking, my fumbling of plan configurations, and my many call backs. He was patient, kind, easy-going, and most of all – no b/s. He gave me the best possible price for our new account, and gave me an unbelievable deal on the phones. I was very very pleased. That evening Chris and I went there, and spent a good hour with Christina, who took very very good care of us.

Long story short, I’m now about 20 hours into my T-Mobile contract (as are Chris and Bob) and not only are we paying less with T-Mobile, but we’re paying less money per month for a whole bunch more! Unlimited this, unlimited that, MyFaves, great deal on the phones, no activation fees, a credit on our account, yada yada yada. Just a no-brainer!

Onto the Pearl – I’m thrilled. I can’t believe all the emotional abuse I put up with using Windows Mobile for so long. All three of us have the Pearl now, and we’re like kids on Halloween. I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of the phone and the availability of software, information, tips, etc. However, two things I’m annoyed by right now:

  1. User Interface. I rather like the Windows Mobile UI. BlackBerry is nice… it’s lightweight – I like that a lot. But for messaging, the UI is a little clunky. Sort of like looking at lines of code or something. Takes getting used to, that’s for sure. Not too clean, at first anyway.
  2. Email syncing. This is, after all, BlackBerry’s thing isn’t it? Yes, well, it’s a piece of cake if you have BlackBerry Enterprise Server running. But come on! We’re a small company, we can’t shell out $1500 for that baby. We have Exchange, but we use that for mailbox redundancy and for basic calendar and contact sharing. We actually POP our emails into our Exchange mailbox. I like that approach. But without BES, you’re left with three options:
    1. Just use your BB to pop your email. Problem: Must have outlook closed, or not popping at the same time (sure sure, have Outlook leave mail on the server – no thanks.) Plus, I want emailed PUSHED to me, not popped. That’s the point!
    2. Use BlackBerry Desktop Redirector. Well, I would if I could – it won’t work for me. I’ve spent too much time reading forums and reading whitepapers and still can’t get it to work. Keeps saying “Disabled” and “Verifying forwarding address” Ay yay yay.
    3. Use Mail Connector. Got that working nicely. Very nicely. Got it going through the T-Mobile website (which, by the way, is amazingly sophisticated. Very impressed with my.t-mobile.com. It was working last night, then it stopped. I restart it and it works for a little bit, then stops.So, I arrived at the following solution:We use webmail.us for our hosted email, for many reasons. Anyway, I just have a copy of each email forwarding to my blackberry email address. So, it comes to my Outlook InBox, and my BB. That’s fine. Works fine. Minor concerns about that, but so far, whatever – it’s doing just that.

Oh, and one last thing – EDGE? Highly under-rated. I’m quite impressed. Sure it’s only 144 kb/s, but ya know what? EVDO is very VERY fast – but what does it matter if you can’t use it? Any Windows Mobile phone I had, whether I was using IE or Opera Mini, it would either crash my phone, freeze it, or just take too damn long. The BlackBerry browser and Opera Mini work exceptionally well with the EDGE network. I’m both shocked and in awe!

All things considered – very pleased. A smart choice. Mike, if you read this – thank you!

All things considered, I’m happy with my choice. Laughing