Just before leaving home on Saturday, I had a postcard in the snail mail from AT&T Wireless.  The post card indicates that AT&T is

sending you a FREE upgrade to a Sony Ericcson T226 mobile phone.  Your T226 allows you to take full advantage of our improved AT&T Wireless network. ...
Your new T226 will be sent directly to you ... You'll find...a return kit to dispose of your old T68.
At first I thought, wow, what great timing!  While at Lotusphere '04, I decided that I needed a new phone.  The T68i has been OK, but not so durable -- the volume switch doesn't work anymore, for example.  Also, the reception isn't great -- I was sitting next to someone at Lotusphere whose different phone was also on AT&T wireless, yet had full strength while I had no service.
I wondered if maybe the T68i had been identified as universally having such poor coverage, and that AT&T was essentially acknowledging this by recalling the T68i.  Butwith such a generous offer, I was trying to figure out what the catch would be.  There's always a catch, right?  Well, sure there is.  The postcard indicates that you can visit www.sonyericssont226upgrade.com for more information.  So I did.  
Well, there's quite a catch
According to the AT&T T68i vs. T226 comparison matrix, the T226 is missing quite a few T68 features that I use every day.  For example:
  • There is no calendar on the T226.
  • The T226 apparently does not support Bluetooth or SyncML.
  • and the biggest problem of all, the T226 is not a WorldPhone -- It operates on "850 / 1900 (Americas only)".
What the f&ck?
IMHO, this is an absolutely ridiculous program.  My AT&T Wireless account is a business account -- it is tied to IBM's contract with AT&T.  Does AT&T think that IBM's employees really are going to be wowed by the T226's supposed advantages such as downloadable games and recordable ringtones?
It's too early to call back to the US to complain about this, but I am definitely torqued.  
Apparently, so are others, as there is quite a discussion on the AT&T Wireless support forums, and on O'Grady's powerpage.org.
Update: I've posted some additional information in
this new posting on March 7.

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