2008 certainly seems to be the year of the smartphone. Sure, smartphones have existed for years. In fact I remember way back in 2001 when someone was talking about this “BlackBerry” device that allowed people to read their emails. Huh? What were they talking about.
Over the past few years it was mainly business people that were purchasing the smartphones. BlackBerry had the market and was the corporate norm. The Palm Treo was a fine runner-up…in fact I had seen more Treos than BlackBerries out in the wild. The geeks often opted for Nokia’s options (such as the N95) because they were unlocked and quite hackable with their OS.
And then…there was the iPhone. Suddenly the masses started making their way over to the joys of a phone that did more than make calls and take pictures. A phone that the consumer wanted and was willing to pay for when traditionally the mass consumer market was content with the free phone or paying up to $50 for a phone.
Palm, which has been criticized as moving to slow in the market in updating their phones and losing their once rather large market share to being a mere has-been introduced the Centro. This phone, cheaper yet still functional, allowed Palm to start gaining market share again. This was another phone aimed at luring consumers away from the “simple cell phone” to the smartphone market.
Here we sit, with Samsung introducing the Instinct and various other players vying to be the “iPhone killer”. First off…nobody is going to kill the iPhone. Let’s get that straight now. There can be competitors, but Apple will not rest on their laurels. They introduced a great consumer phone and now they added a load of enterprise capabilities for the next version…they’re here to stay and they’re gunning for number one.
However…as cool as the phones are, and as they become more consumer friendly and penetrate the everyday casual user market, we still have to take the plans into consideration.
I want an iPhone…I admit that. But I just can’t justify spending that much money for the plan. $60 or $70 just to use the phone? Eh…not really. I’m spending a mere $35 AFTER taxes for my unlimited data with Sprint (meaning I also use my Treo as a modem for my laptop…something other carriers will charge you an arm and a leg for), 500 minutes (which start at 7:00 pm instead of 9:00 pm like the others), unlimited texts…all good stuff. For me it still comes down to the network. Sprint is fast and the monthly fee is cheap. That would be an extra $420 a year MINIMUM to switch to a plan where I could get an iPhone. Unfortunately, Sprint is requiring the Simply Everything plan ($70 for the cheapest) and you can’t use the phone as a modem. Why would I do that? So I can watch TV on my phone? I don’t care about TV that much.
So here we are…the year of the smartphone. The phones, from various manufacturers and various providers, are beginning to flood the consumer market as they continue to make their mark in the enterprise market. Soon the phones will be nearly as ubiquitous as the common cell phone and it will come down to which provider screws you over the least. So…for now I’ll stay with a great price on my plan and a good (but not super) phone with the Treo while I wait for AT&T’s exclusivity to end with the iPhone…or I get stupid rich and don’t care about doubling or tripling my monthly expenditures for a cell phone.
I apologize if this post seems a bit choppy. I had a friend ask me about…get this…cell phone plans while I was writing this. Oh the irony…