Rant: PO'd at stupid US cellphone companies

For the last year or two, I’ve been using a Nokia 3650 cell phone. It’s quite a nice unit – BlueTooth, a decent screen, Java, a few cool apps (including remote control of my PowerBook), a basic camera, international roaming via GSM – but it’s getting a little long in the tooth. Recently it’s taken to powering off spontaneously, which is a little tedious. So it’s time to look for a new phone.

There are lots of really cool phones out there these days.

  • 3G phones like Motorola’s gorgeous A1000
  • the latest version of Nokia’s intriguing Communicator, the 9500
  • Sony Ericsson’s cool S700 and amazing P910i
  • The “Imate” family, such as O2’s XDA IIs and XDA II mini (sold under various other names)
  • the Treo 650, where palmOne finally got it (mostly) right
  • even HP, with their iPaq 6315 – like the Imate, this include WiFi

I’m sure I’ve missed some. But they all have one thing in common: none of them are available from my phone company. I’m with AT&T Wireless, now merged with Cingular, which makes it unquestionably the biggest GSM provider in the USA. And what do they have for phones? Crap. Or, rather, vanilla, with a few teasers like the Motorola V3 RAZR. I suppose I could switch to T-Mobile, just to get the Treo 650, but the odds are that next time I’m in the market it will be their turn to be behind. Do I really have to buy an unlocked phone? (I know: I’m cheap. But why not?) Don’t the US providers want my business? Do they really think that Blackberry has sewn up the high end market? (It hasn’t.) Or do they only care about the 12-25 year old market? (Dumb.)

What’s wrong with the US market? Why are all the exciting wireless innovations happening in Japan and Europe? And how much would an unlocked O2 XDA IIs cost me….?

(I didn’t bother to take the time to hyperlink all of those phones and companies. You know where to find them. One of my favorite sites for drooling over unattainable gadgetry is Mobile Phones UK. Please wipe the saliva off your keyboard afterwards.)