Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cell phone only?

Sarita fell in love with the iPhone--or is it the Blackberry?--a few months ago.

First, our son-in-law used some of the Christmas cash bonus he received from his employer last year to buy an iPhone.

Shortly afterward, we found ourselves down at the local Apple store admiring the iPhone's capabilities.

"But the price!"

And I use my cell phone more than Sarita does. I think I turn it on, on average, maybe twice a month. And make an average of fewer than five minutes' worth of phone calls in those brief periods of having the phone on.

I think Sarita may average a cell phone call twice a year.

But we own our phones. And they cost us "only" $17.95 a month each. For 150 minutes.

If only we used them!

And here the iPhone would cost us only $80 apiece.

But they are so cool!

. . . And then Sarita was at a board meeting. A question came up. Two minutes later, one of the men on the board who had his Blackberry along, came up with the answer by using the web browser built in.

"Wow! How handy!"

And it's probably $10 a month less expensive than the iPhone.

Not quite as cool, but. . . . You'd have the web at your fingertips almost 24/7.

Of course, web browsing on a Blackberry is nowhere near as convenient or graphically pleasing as it is on an iPhone, but . . .

"What if we went totally to cell phone? Save the money on a land line and switch 100% to cell?"

The economics begin to make a little more sense. . . .


So this morning I came across an article that brought me back down to earth a bit. The author has been engaged in some of the same debates with respect to her telephone use. And in conclusion she notes she would have to pay a major fee to get out of her current contract with her current cell phone company in order to switch to iPhone. "What annoys me more, though," she continues, "are the people I do business with who are already cell only."
I try to talk with them and oftentimes the connection is bad, it cuts out, or gets dropped. That is no way to run a business ongoing. For a quick chat on the run maybe, but for extended dealings? Not to mention when I visit my parents I don’t even get cell reception in their house. Many other houses and locations are like that. How convenient is that? I couldn’t imagine the conversations at home with my Mom if I was suddenly cutting in and out or dropping her. She’d go nuts.

Business and personal life is all about relationships. How can you build them successfully with unreliable or intermittent communication tools? Again, great for quick check-ins but extended calls can be hit or miss.

Perhaps we’ll continue to see a trend for mobile only. I totally get the desire to save money on monthly expenses. For me, though, I see the best course of action to be a hybrid solution. Reduce my cell phone plan to the bare minimum I need for typical usage and keep the landline. One becomes a business expense and one does not. It might not be the cheapest solution, but at least it gives me options.

I wonder where Sarita will come down.

I have to admit: the iPhone really is cool. And it may have saved Jonelle's life last week. (It certainly made it easier for us to get her quickly to the medical care she needed. --Jonelle's husband, Dave, looked up the hospital's telephone number online as we were on the way to the hospital . . . then called for help. [Though I just realized, there is always the 411 "Information" number. --But who pays for information that you can get for free online? . . . Oh! Everyone who buys an iPhone also pays for web access, don't they? . . . But that's a sunk cost, isn't it? . . . ])


The wheels keep turning. And the lust grows.
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