Smart phones – caveat emptor

motoroladroidThinking of getting a Droid? It’s Motorola’s smartphone entry into the marketplace that some say will be an iPhone killer. It uses Google’s Android mobile operating system. Here’s one of their latest ads.

Click for larger.

Click for larger.

Verizon’s 3G area of coverage may be better than AT&T’s but there are some differences. The chipset and the protocol each uses is different. So, as of right now, the iPhone would never work on a Verizon network because of the chip inside and vice versa. But that may change.

Verizon’s first ad attacked the iPhone but few nongeeky consumers would understand it. Lately, their ads are attacking AT&T’s network coverage area. AT&T quickly followed up with a lawsuit.

Then comes tethering, using your smartphone as a modem to get your laptop on the Internet. No network has that yet, but their working on it. This from Slashdot:

Tom Bradley reports in PC World that the new Motorola Droid smartphone will cost users $199.99 with a 2-year contract, with an additional $30 per month for the mandatory ‘unlimited’ data plan that has a monthly cap of 5Gb. Verizon will charge $50 for each additional gigabyte over the 5Gb limit on the unlimited data plan. Verizon has confirmed that tethering will cost another $30 per month for an additional unlimited data plan that is also limited to 5Gb. If you want tethering you will pay $60 above and beyond the monthly contract for service for an ‘unlimited’ 10Gb of data per month, and if you plan on connecting with an Microsoft Exchange email account you have to pay another $15 a month. ‘Verizon seems to be doing everything it can to make the Droid as unappealing as possible by nickel and diming customers so that actually using it is not cost-effective,’ writes Bradley. ‘After all of the hype around Verizon’s marketing efforts, and generally favorable reviews of the Motorola Droid, users that rush out to get the new device may be in for a shock.’ Droid users will have to wait until sometime in 2010 for tethering. ‘That service is on our schedule for next year,’ says Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney. The delay is because ‘the service has to be tested on the phone so until we know it works, we don’t offer the service. It is not uncommon for us to introduce the phone and continue to test the service and offer it later.’

Also, early contract termination fee may amount to $350.


Regardless of whether you get an Apple iPhone, a Motorola Droid or a Palm Pre, please look at the contract that you will have to sign and the cost of usage for the total duration of the contract. The Droid is brand new and may need to have some bugs shaken out of it. The iPhone’s been around for quite a few years but AT&T’s network seems to be the big stumbling block. The Droid has the network but it may come at a hefty price. The Pre still needs a little design work.

In any case, know what you’re getting. Buyer be aware.

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2 Responses to Smart phones – caveat emptor

  1. Howie13 says:

    Tethering not available? I’ll have to let the guys I’ve seen do it for the past year know.

  2. fcgrabo says:

    Verizon offers a small credit card sized plugin device called the MiFi. It creates a wifi hotspot around your computer. Of course, you have to pay them for time you use on their network.

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