Monday, December 1, 2008

Smartphones for the Family

Since our family is now three adults, my wife and I and the > 18 yo son, I can't get away with just buying myself a SmartPhone. It has to be three or none.

A smart phone is not very good without unlimited data and unlimited text messaging. Pricing out 3000 minutes for the three of us to share is an eye opener.

Best I can figure, AT&T wants $300 a month, Verizon (our current provider) wants $350 a month, T-Mobile $215 a month and Sprint wants $190 a month.

So that leaves Sprint & T-Mobile as my candidates. Verizon has the better coverage in our area, which is why we switched from T-Mobile to them two years ago. But paying $135 more a month (or $160 more if we choose Sprint) is way too much of a premium.

And I want the Android phone over the iPhone anyway (that's a future topic). Right now, the only Android phone in the US is the G1 from T-Mobile.

Problem is, we left T-Mobile because their coverage of our street is abysmal. With the carriers now offering street level coverage maps, I can tell Sprint is as bad.

Sprint has an ace up their sleeve. Their Airave basically creates a mini-cell site right in our home. It takes our cell signals, and channels them out through our Broadband to Sprint and thus to the phone / cell networks. The equipment cost is $99 and the service is $5 a month.

And the G1 has some flaws. There will be more choices in two years. I have a habit of not buying the latest & greatest, but instead buying the affordable "good enough" choice. So it is good that Sprint has something that is "good enough", and affordable and will hold us for two years until the choices of Android phones are plentiful and hopefully cheaper.

I think we'll go with an Instinct.

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