The times, they are a-changin’?

I was at Best Buy and I had to take the holy pilgrimage to the cell phone department, just because, well, I have to.  Don’t argue with the digital deities.

Anyway, they reorganized the entire section and so I had to look for the AT&T section.  I spotted a Sony Ericsson W580i—a phone available with AT&T—out of the corner of my eye, so I moved in that direction.  All of the sudden, I saw this:


UNLOCKED phones??  In the United States??

Indeed, they were.  But that’s not all.  In among the low-end Sony Ericssons and Nokias was this little gem:

The Nokia N95-4 (US 3G 8GB version).

Insert bug-eyed emote here.

So, not only does Best Buy now sell unlocked GSM phones in-store, but they have perhaps the BEST unlocked GSM phone available?  My jaw dropped to the floor.

Seriously, this is great stuff.  Many Americans don’t know/don’t care what “unlocked” means, and while they won’t convert to the ways of the light overnight, I think this will serve as some kind of solution in the long-term.  People will see amazing phones they’ve never seen before, ask what carrier they’re with, find out there is no carrier attached, and if the sales people are educated enough (BIG “if”), they may see how advantageous an unlocked phone really is.  The only thing I want to see is MORE.  There were four models, and the N95-4 was the only one worth looking at.  The SE W580i is already offered by a carrier, so that was unneeded.  The other two were snoozers, but inexpensive, which is what people will look for initially.

Still, while I’d never buy a phone from Best Buy (the N95-4 can be gotten for quite a bit less online), it’s an excellent first move.  CompUSA used to be one of my favorite stores because they too sold unlocked phones…now that they’re basically out of business, I’m glad to see Best Buy pick up the torch.


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