Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Jury Is Out

Every two years, I am allowed to keep up with the exponential progression of technology by upgrading my cell phone. Which is nice, seeing as how the most cutting edge of cell phones goes completely archaic 5 minutes after you get it home.

Today, I went to my local cell phone provider store because A) they have a new location next to the Starbucks by my house and B) I qualify for an upgrade. Yippee! I get to get a new phone!

What I really want is an iPhone. I love them. Like 5 to 8 year old boys love a Nintendo DS, so do I love the iPhone. I am an Apple marketer's dream. But alas, that phone is sold exclusively by AT&T. And when I priced the cost of switching over to said provider and phone and the plans you'd need in order to have it do all the cool and nifty things you want it to do? Twarn't worth it. I will stick with my iPod Touch.

I pondered the Samsung version of a touch phone. It was nifty. But had the same problem. To have it do all the nifty things you want a web enabled phone to do, you have to pay too much. And it just felt like a cheap immitation of the iPhone. If I get a touch phone, it will be an iPhone. Some day, my sweet iPhone. Some day.

I pondered all the other phones. I made the poor guy pull about 6 different phones out of boxes so I could actually heft them, feel the weight, check the size compared to my pockets, etc. If anyone is looking for some good "open box" deals in my area, let me know and I'll give you the address of the store.

I went with the Blackberry Curve (a red one - this photo is all I could find that matched my newer model). It's a cute phone. It's very functional. It has a full QWERTY keypad (ie - you don't have to press one button three times just to get to the 3rd letter on that key). It can handle web and email if you want but you don't HAVE to buy the plan for those features like the other touch phones. It comes in red. Very important. I'm pretty sure all phone designers have understood that you MUST offer phones in a minimum spectrum of black, red and pink. I am girly enough to wear pink Converse but NOT to have a pink cell phone.

I bought the upgrade, got the info on the $100 mail-in rebate, switched to a new number (goodbye old 617 Boston area code), transferred over my whole contact list and headed home. I called a few people so they'd have my new number. I emailed everyone on my email list to give them my new number. I put the kids to bed and then sat down with my new phone and the instruction manual.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking that if an instruction manual says, "From the home menu, select option A", there should probably be an option A on the home menu. Now granted, I did not graduate from college. And I've only been writing instructional and technical documentation for a good 13 years. But I feel pretty confident that the instruction manual that comes with a phone should actually represent what a consumer might actually FIND in the phone.

So while I've been able to change the display font to all sorts of silly and unreadable fonts and have called a bazillion people in my contact list, I still cannot get the web browser to work, nor have I been able to set up the email capabilities. I also have not found about 6 of the menu items the instruction manual insists I should find in the home menu.

I have 30 days in which to try out my new phone that is - I was told - the top selling phone in America. Even topping the iPhone. I am convinced I will love it. Because my church bass player likes his. And I trust him because he's a total technerdian like myself. But better. And more smarter.

Tomorrow, I plan to make the guy at the wireless store earn his day's wages. I will go back in with my lovely 30 day trial period phone. I will bring the oh so informational instruction manual. And I will ask him to show me where these elusive menu options are. And to show me how to set up the features I paid extra for. And when he shows me all sorts of steps that aren't in the manual, I will then ask him to please inform the Blackberry technical writing staff (which is, no doubt, NOT housed anywhere in America these days) that they kinda missed some vital info and to please stop half-assing it and write a manual that represents what their product actually DOES. OR...when he shows me that I totally didn't read something that is really obvious, I will come back and post a big ol' "DOH!" post telling you all how stupid I am. But I'm kinda thinking it will be the former.


Sarakastic said...

I wish they made more orange phones.

Trish Ryan said...

I love that you're rocking a red phone! Even if it barely works due to sub-par documentation, a red phone is pretty slick :)

j said...

I wish they made more orange phones too :)

I almost took back my blackberry during the trial period too. It was so different and I couldn't figure out anything, but it gets better, I promise. Make that service guy earn his wages!

Jane said...

Guess what?? I completely wiped out my inbox and along with it, your email with your new #!!! Email me so I can get it and put it in to my phone.


Barrie said...

Oh, do let us know what happens.