Smartphone Wishful Thinking: Verizon iPhones, New Android Devices, Palm Prē Pricing
There's a lot of chatter going on around about the possibility of a version of Apple's iPhone coming out for Verizon Wireless--stoked by recent reports of the two companies discussing how to make such a thing happen.
I realize the appeal of such a thing: Verizon's coverage is better than AT&T's, especially (for now) if you happen to take Metro in out of D.C. But I think that the folks dreaming of an iPhone with VzW's red check-mark logo may be setting themselves up for some heartbreak.
First, this Verizon iPhone might not happen at all. We still don't know the details of the exclusive deal Apple signed with AT&T and what it might take for Apple to ship a phone outside the bounds of that agreement. Second, it might arrive with certain features or options disabled or restricted. Third, it could cost considerably more to use each month than it does under AT&T.
Fundamentally, the wireless-phone industry remains a weird market in which customers' wishes need not translate into hardware for sale, since the ultimate customer is still, in most cases, a wireless carrier and not individual callers. Consider another promising phone platform, Google's Android: There's still only one Android phone for sale in the United States, T-Mobile's G1. And the next model due, a Samsung model, will almost certainly be sold only by T-Mobile, according to a
PC Magazine analysis.
Then there's Palm's upcoming Prē smartphone, due sometime soon from Sprint, which looked terrific at the Consumer Electronics Show. But what if a recent report by a self-described Sprint insider is true and you'll have to pay for an expensive "Everything Data" plan (PDF), which bundles in some extra services that you may not need, to use this phone?
I don't enjoy sounding so pessimistic here, but the wireless-phone business has a habit of leaving too-hopeful customers feeling like Charlie Brown after yet another attempt to kick the football. You may be better off indulging in a little worst-case thinking before you indulge in too much smartphone daydreaming. So on that note: What are the things you're worried you'll have to put up with to use [your favorite device] on [your desired carrier]? Which of those could be a deal-breaker?
April 28, 2009; 12:18 PM ET
Categories: Gadgets , Telecom
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