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Blackberry, Sidekick, ????

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 01:33 pm
I am an old hand at the whole text messaging thing. Got my first Wyndtell back in 1998 or so. They were big chunky things, gray, very basic but worked great. I traded it in for a smaller, sleeker model -- the classic RIM Blackberry, in one of its earliest incarnations -- and had that for several years. I continued to have Wyndtell service, for a whole $9.99 a month.

My Blackberry kicked the bucket a few years ago and I haven't gotten a new one. It's time -- it's so useful and we can maybe finally afford it again.

Wyndtell doesn't offer that awesome service fee anymore -- the lowest one is now $39.99/ month, I think -- and it seems to have suffered greatly as a company (lots of recent complaints).

I'm well out of the loop, though, and am not sure what to get. I would like one that is as basic and functional as possible. I don't want to pay for a lot of extras. What I need and want is email -- if something is available that has email and only email and is cheap and reliable, fabulous. If that's impossible, I wouldn't mind if it were a cell phone as well (we don't have one, E.G. can borrow it) and a camera would be cool.

I do want a standard qwerty keyboard, even if it's tiny -- I don't want it to be a phone that you CAN send text messages from but you have to do complicated toggle stuff or whatever and each key has three letters... blech.

I wouldn't need to send a zillion messages from it -- I was just looking at a plan that was 400 messages/ month, that seems to be plenty.

So, Blackberry? Sidekick? T-Mobile? Cingular? What do you got?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,810 • Replies: 21
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 01:39 pm
Also can you tell me about what I'd expect to pay per month? I'm looking at an older style Blackberry on Amazon, I had to jump through several hoops to find out how much everything cost, it seems like there will be a monthly service fee that totals about $60. Huh? That sucks!

    + T-Mobile Get More 600 Nationwide Minute Plan with Unlimited Nights and Weekends (Monthly service charge of $39.99 billed by T-Mobile) 1 + T-Mobile 2 Year Contract (No Charge: Included with T-Mobile's Monthly Rate Plan) 1 + BlackBerry Unlimited Add-on (Send and receive personal e-mail, plus web access; no corporate e-mail) (Monthly service charge of $19.99 billed by T-Mobile) 1 + Regulatory Programs Fee (Monthly service charge of $0.86 billed by T-Mobile)


I didn't seem to have the option to do without the $19.99 one. I chose the cheapest options all the way through.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:21 pm
Anybody...? Please? I'm going on a trip solo (me 'n' sozlet) in about a month and REALLY want to have one before then... communication is a nightmare otherwise.
0 Replies
 
Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:26 pm
I've got a Palm Treo 650, the new model is the 700. It's a phone as well.

It's pretty easy to use it as a phone and for texts, email, ect...the keyboard is pretty easy.

I use it for work email, occassionally go online, has a decent camera for a phone, and a camcorder which can be used for a short time.

Unfortunately I just cracked the screen Saturday night, and I have no idea how...don't know if I dropped it, or leaned on something...looks like it's going to cost almost $200 to get fixed.

But overall I like it. I really got it so I can keep up on work email while on the road, otherwise I'd keep using a regular, smaller phone.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:29 pm
I'd jump in and help but I have no idea why people use those things. I wouldn't dare... but then again I understand its value to you over having a cell phone.

Just wanted to let you know I'd help if I could... But I have no idea.




(And, besides that... I'm leaving.) Laughing
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:34 pm
Thanks, Slappy!

About how much is service per month? I can't get a feel for what normal and low-end is. (If $60/ month is normal, I can't afford one yet.)

Squinney, you are hereby forbidden to leave. So there. Just blame me.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:56 pm
Well you pay the normal cell phone bill, then I think it's an extra $50 for "data," which gives you the ability to go online unlimited. However that's through Verizon, and other companies could be different...probaby close enough though.

It is expensive...and it if weren't for my company reimbursing me, I'd proably just have a "normal" cell phone.

You can buy a regular cell phone that has internet access...and it's cheaper than through a PDA. I think I paid $5-10 extra a month before. It was pretty damn slow, and not as user-friendly as on the Treo.

I've heard the new Blackberry is nice too...but the Treo got slightly better reviews on the past models.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 08:47 am
Geez, this has been a pain in the ass.

They never just tell you prices upfront, you have to fill out all these damn fields and click through 10 screens... grrr...

This seems to be the best I've come up with so far:

    BlackBerry Unlimited Plan with T-Mobile BlackBerry 8700g update quantity ›remove package › BlackBerry Unlimited * Whenever minutes: none * Weekend minutes: none * Weeknights minutes: none * myFaves minutes: n/a * more details › $29.99 per month change plan › This charge will be applied to the monthly payment. T-Mobile BlackBerry 8700g T-Mobile BlackBerry 8700 * Internet and corporate e-mail * High speed data with Edge * Bluetooth® wireless technology * more details › To transfer your existing phone number to T-Mobile, check eligibility now. Suggested retail $399.99 Instant discount -$150.00 Mail-in rebate -$50.00 $199.99


It's an email-only plan, unlimited email, and you CAN make voice calls but it's 20 cents a minute. (Perfect for if E.G. wants to borrow it or something.)

It's this device:

http://www.t-mobile.com/images/products/BlackBerry_8700g/250x270.jpg

Which is the one I wanted. (Real qwerty keyboard, small, nice color screen.)

Any feedback?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 01:40 pm
OK, so this has more information about it:

http://www.blackberry.com/ap/products/blackberry8700/blackberry8700g.shtml

I read it but I still can't figure out -- what does "web browsing" mean, exactly? Could I post to A2K from it, for example? Or is it just about looking up the weather or something?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 01:46 pm
Upper managers here have blackberries -- no idea what it costs but I imagine it's a company plan. My brother has a Treo which he is very fond of. I believe he bought it used, but again, his plan is through work. Can you see if your job has a plan that you can get in on?

Sorry I can't be more help. I am the opposite of you when it comes to texting -- a veritable dinosaur. I refuse to use the phone for it because it's a pain in the ass, and I'm too cheap to buy a device that makes it easier.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 02:03 pm
I'll look into the Treo next.

Here's David Pogue's review of the Blackberry above. (Just "c" instead of "g", can't imagine they're that different.) It sounds like "browse the web" means "do whatever you would do on your regular computer, except that the screen is tiny." It does sound like it's pretty slow, though.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/technology/circuits/03pogue.html?ex=1179374400&en=f452a6f537f4e4a6&ei=5070
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 02:20 pm
The wife's got a blackberry that seems like it's capable of doing a hell of a lot, but she only uses it for work e-mail. Pretty sure it costs a ton, but, like everyone else's, her work pays for it.

If you really just miss the texting from the old service and don't care much about the web capabilities and whatnot, you might have more luck just using a plan that offers text but not internet.

Maybe.




Isn't there some sort of tax writeoff available for TTY services -- and, if so, couldn't that apply to blackberries et al?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 02:23 pm
I'd love a plan that offers text but not internet.

I'm not sure what that means, though. No browsing? That'd be fine (though I'm getting het up about the idea of being able to do my internet-based work by the pool). The old version wasn't really text messaging per se, though, it was real email. Anyone with an email address could send me stuff, I could send it to anyone with an email address. So does that require internet?

I haven't seen anything yet that differentiates.

I just went to a Deaf site to see if there were any leads, there was a Sprint ad, $29.99/ month with a specific Treo or Blackberry (8703e this time), I clicked on it for further info, gave me emails of local sales people, one is a friend of mine. So I emailed him, will see what he has to say.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 02:34 pm
Should've thought of him first... He wrote back right away and sounds good Still prefer to have some general background so as to not just say "OK!" But this'd be free Blackberry (after rebates) (the 8703e one) and an unlimited data-only plan for $29.99/ month.

That sounds pretty good, right?
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 03:21 pm
Had a reply here about an internet-only plan with T-mobile for $50/month, but this is definitely better...
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 06:21 pm
That sounds really good. Good thinking.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 07:24 pm
sozobe wrote:

I just went to a Deaf site to see if there were any leads, there was a Sprint ad, $29.99/ month with a specific Treo or Blackberry (8703e this time), I clicked on it for further info, gave me emails of local sales people, one is a friend of mine. So I emailed him, will see what he has to say.


I was just going to comment on the Sprint plan when I saw this.

They do have a "E-mail/SMS" only (no Web browsing) plan and the price you got sounds about right. They have several devices (Blackberry, Treo and at least 2 others..) you can use with the service but I've never used any of them so I can't comment on the quality/functionality of the devices themselves.

Nextel offers the same thing but they are now owned by Sprint anyway so I don't think there is any advantage to going with them over Sprint.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 01:19 am
Re: Blackberry, Sidekick, ????
Sheesh, I know more about PDAs and Smartphones than I should, as I've owned the top of every line and go through them like underwear. Here's my quick take:

Cost:

Your real cost is in your service plan. So you should be looking at internet rates. If you only really will use email (not browsing and multimedia) on the internet you could be able to get away with some of the starter data packages, but I recommend finding the cheapest unlimited package.

One thing that can possibly help reduce your costs is Wifi support on the device. If you are mainly going to use it at home or at places with Wifi you can access you might be able to get away with a smaller data plan or none altogether.

Software Platforms

If you want to use the phone for anything else the software platform is important. To make it real simple the mobile platforms I recommend are Apple's iPhone and Windows Mobile.

Apple's usability and integration of it's apps are almost enough to make me adopt it despite it's horridly proprietary nature. I'd have to hack the hell out of it to even use it (it's not available where I live) but it's almost good enough to make me do so. But the downside for you would be that a lot of its strengths lie is the multimedia capabilities that I'm not sure you'd use. However it's usability breakthroughs are very very significant and much other mobile experiences are not nearly as good. If you are comfortable with technology it might not be as big of an issue but even then it will be a more enjoyable experience than any other smartphone.

Then there's Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC Phone edition platforms. I currently use this platform because it's open enough that I can install the various software I need and want. I can use it as a bluetooth modem for my laptops when I'm away from home, I have gigs of music I stream wirelessly to my headphones and all sorts of geeky stuff.

And a quick note on the blackberry: I don't like it because it can't do much of what I need, all it's hardware is too bulky for me (I like RAZR thin or I wouldn't use it as much) and because the biggest selling point ("push" email) is something I don't care enough to replicate on my phones even though I can. But I will say that the hardware usability and email implementation has been the gold standard in mobile email. Nothing else out there really has this kind of usability when focusing just on email.

Hardware

Here are some strictly hardware recommendations, the real cost is in the service plan you can get away with.

T-Mobile Dash - This is like the BlackJack and Motorola Q in most ways except it also has wifi. I'd use it if it weren't so damn ugly or if I needed wifi.

All things considered this phone is my recommendation to you.

Here is a link to the phone

The reason I recommend it is because it's a nice thin phone with a fairly good keyboard, wifi and most of all because it looks like T-Mobile offers a data-only plan that might well be the cheapest choice you have stateside for your intended use. You can also probably find it cheaper from someone else (if you do, note that the real name for the device is HTC Excalibur and it's a T-Mobile exclusive in the US under the "Dash" name).

T-Mobile's Data only plan

I'm not sure that you can easily find unlimited data in the US for under $60/month so this is the best I think you can find.

Here are some other phones I recommend but they don't seem to fit your requirements:

Samsung Blackjack - Can be found as low as $75 with a plan. This is my primary phone right now. It's very thin, less wide than the Motorola Q it's copying and runs on GSM so I can swap out my SIM cards and use it overseas. No Wifi here.

iPhone - The proprietary Apple/Cingular nonsense is what keeps me from using this. Once it's a bit more network portable (i.e. the hacks stand the test of time) and I can more reliably add third party apps then I'd probably adopt this one when the mail client improves. It also supports wifi.

Motorola Q - My previous phone. Same software as the Blackjack (Windows Mobile). It has a better keyboard in my opinion than the Blackjack. No Wifi though.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 01:22 am
sozobe wrote:
I'd love a plan that offers text but not internet.

I'm not sure what that means, though. No browsing? That'd be fine (though I'm getting het up about the idea of being able to do my internet-based work by the pool). The old version wasn't really text messaging per se, though, it was real email. Anyone with an email address could send me stuff, I could send it to anyone with an email address. So does that require internet?


Traditionally, yes. When mobile operators say "Text" they mean text messages (SMS). Email is under "Data" or rather the internet.

Sometimes there are some loopholes that confuse the issue (like an email address that gets forwarded to SMS to you) but that's the basic standard.

[quote[
I just went to a Deaf site to see if there were any leads, there was a Sprint ad, $29.99/ month with a specific Treo or Blackberry (8703e this time), I clicked on it for further info, gave me emails of local sales people, one is a friend of mine. So I emailed him, will see what he has to say.[/quote]

If you haven't already done it this is definitely the best I've seen for your described use and requirements.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 09:00 am
Hey, thanks for the info. I especially appreciate learning more about the text/ Internet distinction.

I didn't end up buying the Blackberry -- just as I was about to our air conditioner broke and required a $500 fix and I started feeling too poor again. The specific deal expired at some point, but I think they have deals like that fairly often, plus I have a contact now. (The deaf Sprint guy.) Once I feel a little less poor (which will be sometime after we get our roof fixed, sigh), I think I'll go for it.
0 Replies
 
 

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