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How Do You Connect – Cell, Blackberry, Treo?

Are you trying to simplify your life? Me too.

That’s the way I’m getting a cell phone. I need to be reachable and to make phone calls on the go. I also want better access to my email, and a few other online apps.

But after living without one for 3 years, jumping back into the connected world is intimidating. What carrier do I go with? What type of phone do I get? What services do I need?

Then I realized that most of you probably have cell phones. So now I’m asking you:

How do you connect?

The biggest debate I’m having is between a standard cell phone vs. a Blackberry. I had a Blackberry last summer at my law firms, and I liked the connectivity. But I don’t want to be addicted to one. A regular cell phone could still tap into web apps when needed, but definitely isn’t as convenient for a couple emails.

Then there’s the carrier question. I’ve only had Cingular phones in the past, but their Blackberry and data plans are expensive. However, T-Mobile has a family plan (need one for my wife too) and you can add unlimited Blackberry service for $19.99/month. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

What do you think?

I’m really eager to have your thoughts on this subject. I don’t want to be one of “those people” who are glued to their phones. And I definitely don’t want to be using a Blackberry 24/7, especially during meetings. But I do want to be connected and reachable.

Do you have a favorite cellular carrier? Do you hate having a Blackberry? Should I fork over the dough for a Treo instead? Or should I go uber-simple and just get a basic phone?

[tags]cell phone, blackberry, treo, cingular, t-mobile[/tags]

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16 Responses to “How Do You Connect – Cell, Blackberry, Treo?”

  1. Deaf Musician
    June 14th, 2007

    I don’t know about Blackberry and Treos… I use Moto Q with Verizon… and I love it. You can play MP3, videos, I bluetooth my to-dos, contacts, calendars with outlook. Sometimes I play golf on it with my fav music running in the background. I get my emails from 5 different accounts, I chat with my friends (builtin MSN), I use Google Maps when I am on the run, it’s amazing to see google maps fullscreen on moto q. I connect it to my car via bluetooth. it’s good stuff. i don’t know about any other phone, though. Good luck…

  2. Mark Shead
    June 14th, 2007

    Don’t forget that if you were using a Blackberry with an Enterprise server, your experience will be very different getting one on your own. Basically you when you have a stand alone blackberry, changes made to your desktop email aren’t reflected on the client. So if you delete an email from your desktop, it is still going to be on your blackberry. (I think there maybe a way around this if you use Outlook and leave it up and running on your computer all day.)

    I think T-mobile has the best rate in the US, but it gets pretty expensive for International roaming.

    Good luck.

  3. Britty
    June 15th, 2007

    You were without a cell phone for 3 years — do you really “need” one again? I’ve never had one myself, and it seems that everyone who does becomes endlessly preoccupied and globally rude. Is the “connected world” really any better than the take-things-in-their-own-good-time world?

  4. Britty
    June 15th, 2007

    By the way, I’m sure you’ve heard Blackberrys referred to as “Crackberrys” in the twitching palms of the obsessed….

  5. Marina
    June 15th, 2007

    No cell phone for three years? Wow. I bring my “Crackberry” into the shower with me. (But — and I think this distinction is important — because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to.)

    I’d suggest a Blackberry 8830 from Verizon Wireless. I’ve been with Verizon for going on 10 years now and taken various phones on various road trips across the country, and with a few rare exceptions I’ve always had far better reception than friends on other networks I was traveling with.

    That said, if most of the people you’ll talk with are on, say, T-Mobile, and T-Mobile has free in-network calling, that might be a really good reason to go with T-Mobile. Thankfully I have converted nearly all of my friends to Verizon at this point, and my paid minutes have gone down considerably as a result.

    I wouldn’t look at getting a Blackberry, or any cell phone, as a “complication.” One can be INCREDIBLY useful at improving and simplifying your life. For example, you can set alarms to remind you of upcoming meetings, and wherever you are, you’ll still get the alarm. You can sync your phone calendar to your computer calendar so you don’t forget birthdays or appointments or to eat lunch. (I have alarms reminding me to have a snack every three hours.) You’ll never have to hunt around for someone’s address/phone number. It’s all in how you approach it and what you do with it :)

  6. Andrew Flusche
    June 15th, 2007

    You guys have definitely exceeded my expectations already. Thanks for the tons of great input!

    DM – I’ve definitely looked at the Moto Q. The only problem is that they seem expensive up front. I’ve found Blackberries for free (with a contract), but the Moto Q is usually at least $75. I might keep looking.

    Mark – Thanks for the heads up on the enterprise vs. personal Blackberry setup. I definitely need to do some research on that.

    Britty – I could live without a cell, but I think getting one outweighs the negatives. I’ll definitely do my best to not be rude.

    Marina – You’ve definitely hit on some of the great benefits of a Blackberry. Although I hope you don’t ruin yours in the shower. :)

    Thanks for the comments,

  7. Chris F
    June 15th, 2007

    I just switched to a Palm Treo 700wx (Sprint is the carrier) a couple of weeks ago. Even though it’s a Palm, it runs Windows Mobile 5.0, so it’s very familiar as far as operation and navigation goes.

    I have configured ActiveSync on my Exchange server in my office to automatically sync my calendar, contact, and task items from Outlook to my Palm over my Palm’s EVDO Internet connection (which seems at least very difficult if not impossible on a Blackberry). I created rules in Outlook to forward important email to my Palm (I didn’t want to be receiving all my junk mail and sales pitches at 3AM on my Palm). I used “Email Redirect” from the MapiLabs toolbox to make these forwarded messages effectively “redirect” to my Palm, so when I hit reply on the Palm instead of replying to my work email address (the address they were forwarded from) they reply to the original sender. It’s a pretty cool little hack and solves that problem perfectly.

    All in all, I am quite impressed with the features of this device. Heck, it even has a terminal services client so I can RDP in and remote control my home computer, my work computer, or any of my client’s servers or computers right from my phone. My clients are highly impressed with my new MUCH faster response time for remotely resolvable issues, as well as my much faster response to questions and problems submitted by email.

    In short, I love it and I’m never going back to a plain old stupid powerless phone. By the way, a lot of my customers have Blackberries (sp?), and they don’t have near the power or compatibility of my Windows Mobile Palm Treo.

  8. Jim Poon
    June 16th, 2007

    I’ve had a GSM Treo since the Treo 600. I started with the Treo 600 and then upgraded to a Treo 650 and now I’m using the Treo 680. What I like about the Treo is all the Palm programs that I’ve bought and collected over the years.

    I use my Treo as/for a portable dictionary, a low quality camera, an MP3 player, a video player, language dictionaries, games, agenda, alarm, calculator, budgetting, keeping track of car records, etc.

    The Treo has its problems but I would not leave home without it.

  9. Andrew Flusche
    June 17th, 2007

    Hi Jim,

    It sounds like you’re definitely a loyal Treo user. I know lots of people who swear by them. I’m looking into them as an option, but I think they’re a bit out of my price range. But I might look at getting a refurbished model.

    Thanks for your comment,

  10. Christopher Johnston
    June 22nd, 2007

    I have a Treo 700p and, even though it is the worst Treo yet, I have found it useful. Google Maps for Mobile keeps me from getting lost, Gmail for mobile lets me check my mail, Blazer lets me browse the web and lots of sites have mobile versions(Legal Andrew, NOAA, Twitter, Plaxo, Facebook, etc..), I get hundreds of text messages a day from Twitter, oh and I occasionally make a phonecall using my Jawbone bluetooth headset. Treo’s are at least worth a look.

  11. Andrew Flusche
    June 24th, 2007

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for adding your thoughts here. I’m glad to know your Treo is working well for you.

    I actually just got a basic cell phone – Samsung m500. I’ve got Gmail for mobile too, although it doesn’t have a qwerty keyboard and I’m really slow with the phone keypad. I definitely plan on posting more about it and the plan I went with.

    Take care!

  12. Kenlie
    June 26th, 2007

    I’ve been a fan of Cingular (and AT&T) for years. I recently purchased a Cingular 8525 (HTC.) It has a sliding keyboard and a full web browser which rocks my world. You can send and receive email, surf the net, download applications, clients, etc. I can create and view Microsoft Office docs and apps. not to mention the ability to use it’s GPS…Ahh, I’m in love with it.
    It’s pretty amazing, but if you don’t plan to use Cingular, go with the Moto Q. Though it is not a touch screen, it is also awesome. And even with the extended battery, it’s still pretty thin.
    Did I mention that I’m in love with my phone? By the way…I signed a two year contract. The phone was $399 at Cingular, but Amazon listed it at $174. Cingular matched Amazon’s price without question.
    And one last thing…I’m not addicted to my phone, but I love the convenience it lends to most situations. Even paying a little more for data, I would not want to go back to life without a smart phone.

  13. Andrew Flusche
    June 26th, 2007

    Hi Kenlie,

    It sounds like you really like your phone & plan. That’s great. I just can’t afford $174 for a phone right now. Maybe some day. :)

    Take care,

  14. jodi
    June 26th, 2007

    andrew thank you for getting back to me and i will follow up with the information and your time on this subject and i definitely will be using it as there are alot of issues with this company that need to be addressed for example do you happen to the the time frame for one to file an issue with the labor board as when in managemnt for this co i was on more than one occasion forced to work punched out with no pay i am a single mother and did this in fear of losing my job i did however report this to grievance and it did stop but myself and others were never compensated for the loss of wages and the manager is still actively running the office as you can tell i am disgruntled but this job is the only one i can find that will work the hours i need and the things that are going on in the workplace are unbelievable
    thank you jodi

  15. lizzie
    April 17th, 2008

    hello. I have a palm treeo 700p from verizon wireless. the treo has great capability but awful reliability. bluetooth never worked well and it constantly drops calls. in addition, the touch screen is unresponsive half of the time. finaly my treo voice capability broke when i used a wired earphone and now i have to upgrade. because i have had 2 treos all with problems, i am thinking of getting a global blackberry.

    I have 700 contacts in my vista contact list. do you know if blackberry will use ms vista and I can download the contact list?

    do you know if the blackberry is reliable? the treo is frustratingly unreliable.

  16. Andrew Flusche
    April 17th, 2008

    @lizzie – I’m not sure about Blackberry, honestly. I used one for a couple months, but that’s about it. It should synchronize with Outlook, so you can get your contacts from your computer into the Blackberry. And it must be pretty reliable, since so many people use them. Personally, I’m now using a Moto Q.

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