Buying a new cell phone

by brian d foy

For the past several years, I had a simple Motorola StarTac with Verizon service, and it has served me well. The price was right, the minutes were beyond my ability to exhaust, and I liked the flip-phone.

When I left for the Middle East, I cancelled my plan (under a special I'm-A-Soldier-Get-Out-Of-Contract thing), and accidently destroyed my phone's attenna. For the past year that has not mattered to me that much, though.

Now I am getting ready to come back to the States. Some soldiers have got activated cell phones in the mail so they can use them the minute they get off the plane (or maybe sooner if the pilot lets them talk while taxiing). I have been looking at phones myself, and, since I am starting anew, I can get almost anything I like.

My dream phone needs only a few things:

  • A Motorola phone would be great
  • Flip-phone design, preferably with caller-id/time window
  • Works with Mac OS X's iSync
  • Has BlueTooth, because I hate cables, even for a headset.
  • Works with Verizon, with whose service I am completely satisfied
  • Optionally, though not importantly, can receive text messages from the internet so various Perl scripts that I write can email me).

That is it. That is all I want. I do not need to take pictures, play music, download ring tones, or make toast.

Although I have only looked at a few phones, and the intersection between iSync, BlueTooth, and Verizon support is very small, I am still looking for my dream phone.

What phone do you like?


2004-02-04 15:14:53
I was also a Motorola StarTAC and Verizon user since 1996.

I recently dumped both so for the higher tech.

A friend came back from Asia with a Sony Ericsson P800 for me. The P800 is the first device I've felt worthy of dumping my Newton MessagePad 2000 for.

The Sony Ericsson P800 does
Web browser
E-mail client
(I installed Opera)

(You'll also love using a Bluetooth headset.)

It will sync up your MacOS X Address Book and iCal via iSync.

The only down side is that I think the P800 is too SMALL.

When I got it in November, I dumped Verizon who won't do Sony Ericsson and went with T-Mobile. I've got the standard $40/mo voice account + $20/mo unlimited internet + $20/mo unlimted Hotspot.

Connectivity all the time.

2004-02-04 19:57:16
Verizon and Bluetooth Impossible for the time being
Verizon and SprintPCS use CDMA wireless networks. Currently there are no CDMA Bluetooth phones. There were rumors of a SonyEricsson T608 which would be CDMA and have Bluetooth about a year ago, but then they announced it was cancelled.

At the moment, the only Bluetooth phones use GSM wireless networks. T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular offer GSM. AT&T and Cingular are transitioning from TDMA to GSM, so they're selling phones and plans for each network, and the coverage of each's pair of networks may be different.

As a side note, Nextel uses a different system altogether which is also lacking Bluetooth options.

2004-02-04 22:25:02
Verizon + iSync
I just went through this whole process myself. It seems that the best phones are supported by the worst wireless providers, and vice versa.

The only phones that Verizon supports that seem to be iSync-compatible are the Motorola T720 (perhaps T730) and V60 (various suffixes, some of which may work). That's it.

The alternative that I decided on is the LG4400. It's not iSync compatible, nor does it have Bluetooth, of course (since this is Verizon). But if you get the right cables and the right drivers, you can use the free Bitpim software to upload & download your address book and calendar. Bitpim will also transfer ringtones & display wallpaper, which iSync doesn't, from what I hear.

There seems to be nothing that will take OS X's Address Book and iCal and use Bitpim to automagically send it off to the phone.

However, Bitpim will apparently read CSV files... so I'm sure you can see as well as I that perhaps a little Perl+Applescript might be a decent iSync substitute.

Hope this helps a bit.


2004-02-05 07:53:59
Sprint does have a Bluetooth Phone
Sprint released the Sony Ericsson T608 (Bluetooth enabled) in late December 2003. Unfortunately, this phone is only available via Sprint Telesales.

Verizon however does not have a Bluetooth enabled phone yet. There is a petition on the Internet to try to force them to add a Bluetooth enabled phone.

2004-02-05 08:19:03
Verizon and Bluetooth Impossible for the time being is the unofficial website for the Sony Ericsson T608 phone which has been released by Sprint (but only for sale by Sprint telesales, and even then the customer service people are not always aware if it is in stock).

2004-02-05 16:07:52
Motorola V880, but
I've been using my trusty old StarTac. However, in the last week I've been helping my in-laws with medical problems, and also set them up with a Verizon cell phone, the LG4400.
I've now loaded up the addresses and phone numbers using bitpim from my Mac, set the wall paper so that the family member picture shows up when they call, and set the default wall paper to a picture of Freud (my father in-law is a psychoanalyst), and I'm now suffering from cell phone envy and want the same phone you do.
I've just now learned that Verizon has no bluetooth phones, and at least what I've read on the net it has to do with selling wireless adapters for notebooks.
Wake up Verizon, I want no wires to my headset and want to isync easily too.
Any way, a good phone is now available in China. Search for the Motorola V880. It is a CDMA flip-phone with bluetooth, and a camera that they can delete as far as I'm concerned, but all-in-all it looks perfect if Verizon would elect to support it.


2004-02-12 01:09:30
SE Z600
I'm in the same decision process right now. I right now have a SE T68i and I need to replace it because it's leaving me. I liked a Symbian phone, but the 3650 is just too big and clunky (I wonder what the designers were smoking when they came up with that keyboard...) and the 6600 is too expensive.

I think I'll go with the T630, once SE decides to distribute it here in Italy...

You said you liked a flip-phone design, you might want to look at SonyEricsson Z600. It has exactly the same software as the T610/T630, with a TFT screen and a flip. It is a bit thicker than the T610/T630, but it also has a bigger keyboard and screen.

2004-11-19 17:55:58
V880 is not working in S Florida
I use Motorola V880 (from China Unicom). China Unicom shares service with Verizon in the U.S. This phone works well in California, chicago, even in South Carolina. However, it does not have any signal in south florida (Ft. Lauderdale area). Please help.

Thank you