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Archive for February, 2011

My wife’s Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept Android phone had one thing she liked: It’s physical keypad. It had more things she didn’t like:

Touchscreen (she doesn’t like touchscreens).
Laggy (unresponsive) touchscreen

And it had some bugs:

Internet would drop out for hours multiple times per week, even per day sometimes. Power cycling phone didn’t help.
The Android Notifications bar which you slide down from the top of the launcher screen would frequently just not work. As far as I know, rebooting would handle this. Happened all the time. Drove me batty.

So we returned it to Best Buy within our 30 day return period. That went smoothly. And I got my wife a Virgin Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8530 instead. I’m disappointed to report two things:

  1. There’s a $10 BlackBerry internet services (BIS) fee on top of the Virgin Mobile plan rates if I want any internet access on the BlackBerry. WTF?
  2. The internet comes and goes throughout the day on the BlackBerry. WTF?!? I don’t get this one and it’s pretty frustrating to me. Does anyone else have unreliable BIS internet access with their Virgin Mobile Blackberry in the Tampa, Clearwater or Dunedin, Florida areas?

P.S. My T-Mobile Comet ran faster and seemed to have a more responsive touchscreen, though I realize that might just be its increased general speed.

12 March 2011 update: It’s been almost two weeks. So far, so good. My wife really relates with her Blackberry and doesn’t miss her Android phone at all, it seems. She’s just not a touchscreen girl. And not a big web browser, either.

29 August 2011 update: As far as I know, internet is now reliable on my wife’s Virgin Mobile-branded BlackBerry. Furthermore, and far more importantly, my wife just doesn’t complain about her BlackBerry. She wishes web browsing wasn’t such an utterly crappy experience, but she’s in love with her phone still. It gives her her constant Google Chat, email and Facebook notifications and that’s pretty much what she wants from a personal access device. She has 300 voice minutes per month and seldom goes over. When she does, Virgin Mobile just charges me $10 for 100 minutes. That’s an okay deal. She thought incoming calls were free until recently, but that misunderstanding didn’t make her want more minutes. Is $35/month worth it? You bet! It’s just right.

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My daughter has her first loose tooth today. Front, bottom right tooth (from her point of view).

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Last night, my T-Mobile Comet Android GSM smartphone was waiting for me when I got home.
I activated it on T-Mobile’s $30/month prepaid plan and popped that SIM into my iPhone. SO I’ll have 1500 units to share between texting and voice (way too much for me) and 30MB of cellular internet (just enough). Plus if I go over my inernet, I can order a 24-hour internet day pass at any time and my account will be debited $1.49. Perfect!
Looking at my current T-Mobile bill, I used 34MB of data last month (perfect!), 184 text messages and just under 200 minutes of talk.
There were cheaper plans but they didn’t work out for me. It was easy to see how I’d save a few bucks every once in awhile but probably go over $30/month more often than not. Not worth the trouble. This plan is the best fit for me at this time.

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My wife and I have a T-Mobile monthly family plan. We have this deal where my internet is $10/mo and our shared unlimited text messaging is $10 or $15/mo total. Plus we have unlimited voice minutes. For some months now she’s had a Samsung Vibrant and she likes it alright. Though it may not be the perfect phone for her, she’s told me that she isn’t going to go back to a phone without a data plan, now that she’s tasted the always-connectedness of a data plan.
Enter Virgin Mobile.
Virgin Mobile now (and probably for some time now) has an Android phone available and some really attractive month-to-month, no-contract service plans. So we switched her from T-Mobile to the Virgin Mobile $40/mo plan Tuesday night, 1 Feb 2011. For $40 (no BS fees or taxes on top of that) she gets unlimited internet, unlimited texting and 1200 voice minutes per month. Wow. The Android phone we got for her is a Samsung Intercept. It comes up short of her Samsung Vibrant in many ways (screen size, resolution, colors and camera quality. And the internet is EvDO, not the speed she’s become accustomed to with her T-Mobile plan and phone. But at the price we’ll be paying for service, who can complain. And she doesn’t use the camera.
I’ve been hard pressed to find a similar “budget” service plan with a GSM carrier — Virgin Mobile USA uses Sprint’s non-GSM network. But at Best Buy buying my wife’s VM phone, i discovered that T-Mobile has a plan that’s attractive to me, which I didn’t find when searching the web for general GSM-based prepaid plans.
The T-Mobile plan I found costs $30/mo. For that, you get 1500 units per month, where a unit can be used as a text message or one voice minute. Plus 30MB/mo of internet. That’s a little light, even for me, but it’ll do. The only thing it really means for me is that I’ll be more inclined to use my Garmin GPS unit instead of my iPhone’s horrible built-in Google Maps app. That’s not a problem for me.
I ordered a T-Mobile Comet Android phone for $120. It comes with a $50 top-up card and the phone, so the phone winds up costing me $70. That’s worth it for me to have a backup smartphone for going to the beach or the like — places I wouldn’t want to bring my iPhone 3G S, which would costs hundreds of dollars to replace.

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