|My trusty Tracfone just ain’t cutting it…|
It’s getting embarrassing. Mobile content is increasingly part of what I cover in my media consulting work and blogging, yet I have the most bare-bones, behind-the-times cell phone imaginable. It’s an ultra-basic Nokia, and my carrier is the pre-paid service Tracfone. No web browser, and not much else. Currently I really only use it when traveling, although I’m starting to use it with Jott.
But I hate waste, and I’m starting to find little reason to pay for a landline plus cell phone (even a pre-padi one). I’m not really a phone person, and I barely use either one. But I need to have some kind of phone, because, well, that’s just life. So why not just pay for one that does all the main things I need?
Plus, I’m absolutely terrible about listening to voice mail. I generally do so only about once a week. Now that I’m managing all my tasks via e-mail, I find myself just wishing that my voice mail could automatically be routed to my e-mail as an audio attachment. There are services like CallWave and K7 which do that, and SimulScribe offers a message transcription service. Trouble is, these services don’t work with landline voice mail — only mobile providers.
I’ve resisted getting a regular cell phone not just because I generally hate talking on the phone, but because I’m very wary of mobile providers and their billing practices. Those bills are some of the ugliest, most cryptic documents I’ve seen, and somehow you keep getting charged for indecipherable and poorly documents services. My goal right now is to reduce stress, and just thinking about cell phone bills is a stressor.
But I know ultimately if I make a good choice, it’ll be good for me. I’m just starting my search, so if you have recommendations for phones, providers, and deals, please comment below. Here’s what I want:
- Easy-to-understand bills without a lot of unexpected charges
- Easy-to-understand, reasonably priced plan for calls, text messaging, and web/data access
- Intuitive user interface for all basic functions
- Good coverage throughout US, especially in Colorado
- A decent web browser, e-mail interface, and feed reader
- Must synch with Mac iCal (and generally be Mac-happy)
- A keyboard that won’t tie my fingers in knots
- Decent camera (for still and video/audio, at least short movies)
- Good battery life
- Screen that’s easily readable in sunlight
- Reasonably priced optional data plan for my laptop (tether the phone as a broadband modem)
- Customer service that doesn’t make me want to become an axe murderer.
Ideas? Tips? Please comment! Thanks.