When I had to turn on the interior lights of the car to dial my cell phone at night, I decided it was getting near the time for a replacement. Even when the backlit keyboard used to beam brightly, it was difficult to see. With no lighting at all, it was impossible – I am pretty good at knowing where the keys are and I could get a call out if I needed to.
Since its twin had bit the dust some time back – my son and I had matching phones – I was able to ‘part it out’ to keep mine running. I was being a tad stubborn as I couldn’t decide what to buy as a replacement. Plus, I like fixing things.
Friends, family, and business associates were a great resource for hearing firsthand accounts of a wide range of phones. I was leaning toward a Treo at one point, and others were trying to get me to go the BlackBerry route. With the Palm Pre on the horizon, I found myself beginning to lean that way. In the end, I couldn’t get behind the iPhone.
The writing on the wall was clear; I couldn’t wait much longer and it was time to make a decision. The Palm Pre was now out of the picture. Did I really need a smart phone? After all, there were many to choose from and each one had attractive attributes of its own.
I decided the best thing to do would be to take a close look at how I used a cell phone. I observed my use over a month’s period of time. From that simple action, I concluded that getting a smart phone would add no significant gain to my regular use. In observing others, it seemed to me that they actually spent more time than necessary in using their phones. Add the ‘cool apps’ factor and distractions seemed to kick into high gear; I couldn’t tell whether they were using a cell phone or a handheld video game.
I concluded that I needed a reliable phone for calls (signal, performance, etc.), a basic set of tools like calendaring, alarms, contacts, etc., and a few extras like a camera and MP3 player. My old phone had all of those and an FM radio channel that I liked to listen to from time to time. Bluetooth and T9 text messaging were a must; I struggled with iTAP on other people’s phones for predictive typing.
Once the promotion for the Samsung HUE II (SCH-r600) surfaced, along with the usual Internet ‘vetting process’ on my part, I was sold. It was going to be a back to the basics approach for me. It didn’t hurt that the ad was a two-for-one offer. I traded-in my wife’s phone for the matching pair; the HUE II has changeable faceplates to tell them apart. I’ve been with the same carrier since 1993, so like the Staples slogan, “That was easy.”
I have only used it for a week, and I’m still getting use to the change in features and form factor (slimmer and lighter is nice, too). Most interesting to me is finding that it’s the simple things I enjoy the most. A good example is the display of text messages; when I look at one, the rest of the messages sent to/and from that person display like a threaded conversation. The faceplate displays the dialed numbers in a giant font; great for guys like me that are slow to grab their glasses. The color display is rich and bright.
I need to study the manual more and see what else I can do. Alltel has a widget on the phone called Celltop that I want to look into; I want to try Instant Messaging, too. In some ways, I am most pleased by taking a back to basics approach to something that shouldn’t require more effort than the task at hand – I just want to make a phone call; everything else is a plus.