Did someone finally make a cell phone I like?

Not quite. But Casio came really close with their G’z’One Brigade.

See, I want a cell phone that’s robust and won’t break if I drop it. Arguably I don’t drop my phone that often, but if I were to drop it, I wouldn’t want it to shatter into a million pieces. I also want a full keyboard for typing text messages. I refuse to use T9. So why do I say “not quite?”

Verizon and their crappy OS. It used to be really bad. It has gotten somewhat better, but I would rather have a phone with the maker’s OS on it, connected to my wireless network. Would you buy a computer with the Comcast OS on it? Of course not. Conversley, do you need a computer with your ISP’s OS in order to connect to the internet? No, so why are cell phone carriers this way? I have AT&T (formerly Cingular, formerly AT&T Wireless, formerly Pac Bell, formerly five nickels and a pay phone.) AT&T uses removable SIM cards in all of their phones (except the iPhone.) This means that you can buy any phone with a SIM slot and put your SIM in and it works. This allowed me to buy the phone I wanted¬†(Nokia 6820, no longer manufactured)¬†from eBay and it worked instantly.

I fell as though I’m digressing from the issue at hand: Verizon. But it should be said that all wireless carriers do the same thing with their phones. They pair up with the company making it, and design their own “features” and software for it. Even AT&T. Their newest OS for the Nokia phones makes the default menu selection to be their online ringtone store, which counts as data usage. If you push menu twice by accident, you end up connecting to the internet and getting charged. This is why I like the 6820, it uses Nokia’s OS, not one cannibalized by AT&T. These custom OSs also mean that you can only use the phone with the carrier whose OS is on it. This means you need to buy the phone from the Verizon (or AT&T or T-Mobile) store, you can’t buy any phone you want. So getting back to the Casio Brigade, I like it except for the fact that it is tied to Verizon, and uses their OS.

I refuse to switch wireless providers because another provider has a phone I like. I should be able to use any phone with any provider. Period. Verizon, AT&T, et al. won’t change their business model anytime soon, but I am sticking with AT&T until I can use any phone I want on Verizon. I wish I could talk about the disposability of cell phones now-a-days, too, but I fell as though I’ve ranted enough for now.

About Edward Carlson

Broadcast television engineer working in Los Angeles, CA.
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