So I’m a bit of a cell phone nerd…

I like cell phones. A lot. I started with a Motorola V120 on Verizon Wireless, which was almost instantly upgraded to a V60 because the store employees were stupid and gave us a non-Verizon phone that didn’t work in the sense that it was not compatible with the network.

I had that for two years after which I realized how advanced technology actually was. I upgraded to a Treo 650, the ultimate nerd device at the time. Half way into that, I bought a RAZR because it was new back then and I had to have one. Quickly realizing it sucked, I switched back to the Treo (not an easy thing to do on Verizon). That gave way, two years later, to a HTC Apache/XV6700 because I needed WiFi connectivity.

Then I broke off from Verizon because they’re stupid and restrictive and unethical. I switched to AT&T (Cingular) because they’re GSM and allow me to use an unlimited number of phones and switch them out at my convenience anytime I wish.

I got a cruddy free RAZR again when I signed up which I use if I ever have the need to rappel from great heights or swim underwater. My main phone was a Sony Ericsson K790a (an Americanized version of the phone used in Casino Royale). I use that one off and on, but my main phone now is a Nokia N95.

So, yeah, quite a history. I research phone rumors and technology practically constantly and am on top of new devices months before they’re available.

So I’m excited that AT&T “announced” two very interesting devices today. The first is an Americanized LG Prada—a full-touchscreen device announced in Europe a few months before anyone had every heard of an iPhone. Nice.

The other “announcement” is the SE K850 and Z750. These two devices…well let’s just say that at one point, I was considering buying the K850. So you know it’s a GOOD phone.

The nice thing about the K850 is that like my N95, it’s a 5 megapixel cameraphone. Five megapixels in high-end phones was a common theme in 2007. Nokia, LG, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung all have at least one 5 megapixel phone on the market, with Motorola supposedly following next year.

So 5 isn’t an odd number.

But for America it is.

There are currently no phones offered in the USA above 2 megapixels (low end by European standards and piss-poor by Asian standards where 10 megapixel phones are not uncommon) unless you count the HTC Kaiser/AT&T Tilt/8925, but not everyone is going to buy that. There is one 3.2 in the works for Verizon, but don’t get your hopes up as the last phone with that resolution was discontinued after only a few months.

So this is huge. The American market NEEDS devices like this. Why? American cell phones SUCK ON TOAST. I gave up on them when I switched to AT&T. Europe consistently gets more and better advanced phones faster than we do. Why? For one, less red tape. In the USA, you have to wait for a carrier to release a phone. This can take 6 months to a year after the fact from when the phone was actually released. In that time, one to two successor phones could have already been produced. That’s right: every phone on the American market is at least a six months outdated even if it’s a new release.

In Europe, you can buy unlocked/unbranded cell phones direct from the manufacturer. These phones have NEVER been touched by carriers. This is what I do and will continue to do until a better method is developed.

Back to the K850: This phone is what the USA needs. Something light years beyond anything else offered in this country. Hopefully it will make Americans realize how piss-poor the rest of the selection is and open up a new market for high-end devices in the US.

Yes, this stuff is expensive. But that may not be an issue.

I hate the iPhone. Yes, it’s sleek and fancy and has an amazing UI. But that’s it. No 3G, no GPS, no multimedia messaging, no removable storage, the camera sucks (fixed focus, no video!), it’s locked tighter than a drum, and third-party applications are shunned by Apple.

The ONE thing that the iPhone has proved, however, is that Americans are willing to pay a lot of money for a phone. 500,000 people paid $600 for one. That’s $50 less than I paid for my N95 and the Nokia does all that I mentioned above plus more.

The K850 will be subsidized by AT&T. I’d expect it to be $300 for a two-year contract. More money than a RAZR, but less than an iPhone—and the Sony Ericsson blows Apple’s device out of the water spec-wise.

I hope it will be a hit. I hope phones like these—the iPhone included—will prove to manufacturers that the USA is not a third-world country, cell phone-wise. I hope that Americans can finally get some decent devices so they can realize what they’ve been missing out on for the past four or so years.

For those not on AT&T, don’t expect devices like this for a long time. Sure, Verizon is going to get a touchscreen LG to replace the enV soon, but don’t get your hopes up. 90% or more of the phones in the world are made for GSM, which is used worldwide. Verizon uses CDMA radio technology, which is not compatible. When manufacturers make phones, they make them for GSM first, and if they’re wildly successful, they make a CDMA variant for the United States. That may never change, and for good reason: CDMA only exists in the US (and Korea, but under a different guise). That is a very limited market and there is no reason for manufacturers to make slews of advanced phones for a market that only consists of about 80 million people (Verizon + Sprint). In addion, Verizon cripples the living hell out of their phones and demands all of them have a standardized UI—something that has pissed more than a few companies who have refused to make handsets for them anymore. Oops. (Side note: Apple first took their iPhone offer to Verizon. They declined.)

So AT&T must be the testbed. If advanced phones are introduced to the US on that network and are successful, manufacturers may get the hint and start testing better phones on other networks. Maybe.

If any of that made sense, kudos to you.

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7 Responses

  1. Um. Well, I like, you know, the like commercial with Chad and all, like the one with the dog, Fluffy who is like sooooo adorable. Ya know? Ok, was that like what you meant when you asked if like any of that made sense, totally?

  2. And you’re not a nerd. You are a Cell Phone Enthusiast. And at least I know who to call on if I have questions about cell phones. 😉

  3. Well….no kudos for me! I have the most basic phone possible simply for calling 911 or roadside assistance for driving. And I frequently forget to even put minutes on it.

    Will you let me know when they add a shock device that zaps the user every time they do something rude or inconsiderate while on said phone? 😛

  4. Dear Mr. Cell Phone Nerd,

    What are your thoughts on AT&T’s reception quality since they took over Cingular?

    Sincerely,
    Curious Ketchup in Minnesota

  5. P.S. I totally agree that the quality of phones here sucks arse. And, while I’m still peeved at AT&T for their lack of usability, I do miss being able to use whatever phone fit my mood that day. 😦 Maybe someday Alltel will change to having simcards in their phones… Well, a girl can dream, right? 😛

  6. I only was on Cingular for a short period before they reverted back to AT&T, but I can tell you that my reception is excellent. I can get full bars in Wal-Mart, whereas my parents (on Verizon) get nothing.

    This is also hardware based. You can have a great network, but a crappy phone, and therefore get crappy reception.

    Though, I am very satisfied with the reception I get all around Omaha.

    As for Alltel, don’t expect a CDMA-to-GSM switch anytime soon. That would require either a compete transformation of their current network, not to mention all new phones.

    However, fourth-generation data/voice technology will be pretty much globally based on GSM (even in the US), so who knows?

  7. Kevin, the scary thing is, I actually understood that. I told you I was smart!

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