Just call me "earbud"

January 22 2005

Unsurprisingly, the nervous anticipation of a long trek to Orlando has me awake a couple of hours before the alarm.  The snow doesn't look all that bad, the storm has mostly passed, and the flight is still posted on-time.  Hopefully things will be OK.

A few weeks ago, I asked for input about a new cell phone.  My contract was up at the end of the year, and the SonyEricsson T226 that AT&T "upgraded" me to ten months ago was destined for the recycle bin.  In addition to being a generally inferior phone feature-wise, it had the nasty habit of not actually ringing when an incoming call arrived.  Now I can say it's gone.

The decision on a new phone basically came done to whether I wanted to have mobile e-mail access.  I checked out all the Blackberries, Treos, etc.  Ultimately, I realized that a device like that would actually become a inhibitor for me...at least as far as my overall work/life balance is concerned.  I'm already famously addicted to my e-mail -- eight unread messages in my inbox at the moment -- so being able to do e-mail in the bus on the way to the Hertz rental lot just would have added another layer of nuttiness.  They don't call 'em Crackberries for nothing.

Thus, I was able to narrow my criteria a bit.  I definitely wanted a cameraphone, even though their use is restricted in some corporate offices.  I'll keep the old T68i around as backup in case that becomes a real problem.  Bluetooth was also important, especially since my new Thinkpad T41p also has that capability.  Most importantly, I needed a quad-band phone, for the best domestic coverage as well as international GSM roaming.  

With that selection criteria, the decision became fairly easy.  The Cingular rep didn't hesitate to suggest the Motorola V551, which was what I had decided on during my own research.  It's my first "clamshell" phone, and I'm not sure I love that form factor yet, but it does have some advantages.  Certainly the phone has all the latest features, polyphonic this and integrated that, but more importantly it met all my criteria and was not that expensive.  It also has integrated AOL IM, which at least in part can substitute for the real-time e-mail access that a Blackberry would have provided.  

For whatever reason, the Cingular store wasn't able to sell me a new phone and contract (!), saying that if they did a "conversion" I would potentially lose international roaming for six months (!!!).  They suggested I buy a new phone on eBay!  Instead, I called customer service, where they were all too happy to sell me the new phone, and for less than the selling price in the store!

The new phone arrived on Tuesday.  One thing that impressed me is that I was able to receive calls and texts in my basement -- the best reception yet of any cellphone I've owned in this house.  The battery life is really good, the camera works well enough, and the UI is fairly straightforward.  My only ding so far is that it is way too easy to change the ring pattern, using the switches on the left side.  Thus, putting the phone in my pocket the other day somehow toggled it over to "loud ring", which was exactly the opposite of what I wanted at the time.  It isn't too easy to "lock" the keyboard (the assumption being this is less important in a clamshell model), so I might just have to put up with this.

So why "earbud"?  Well, you all already know about my fetish for the XAct XG2500 cordless phone which I now use in my home office.  It seemed only right to get one of those bluetooth earbuds to go along with the new phone.  Sorry, no live model photo at 4 AM, but these stock images should get the point across..

Image:Just call me "earbud"Image:Just call me "earbud"

So, if you see me in the halls at Lotusphere this week, and it looks like I'm talking to myself, don't worry, I didn't forget my meds.  Just look for the blinky light, and call me "earbud".  :)

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