Well, it has been a long time coming, but I finally said goodbye to Sprint this past weekend. I have jumped over to Cingular with a Treo 650. I've been a lifer with Sprint, so why the change? I actually thought the service was decent, the prices reasonable, and I was happy with my phone (Samsung I500). The reason I switched was because there's no coverage in Big Sky, Montana. Boy, I'd hate to be a carrier: you spend all this time and money working on your service and you meet the expectations of your customer except for one little thing. Oh well, sorry Sprint.
Oh, their new logo gave me heartburn, too:
Less than a week after the Treo 650's release, a genius named shadowmite has patched the Bluetooth manager to enable BT Dial-Up Networking. He changed two bytes. Hmmm, makes me just a little skeptical about Sprint's claims. As Gameboy70 speculates:
My theory is that Sprint originally wanted to portray DUN as nonexistent on the 650, and since all carriers are concerned with bandwidth hogs, Sprint expected Cingular and T-Mobile to disable the profile likewise. But they didn't, and therefore made Sprint's DUN profile conspicuous by its absence. What's followed has been a public relations conundrum.
Of course, this could all be a big conspiracy theory, since the word is that the patch is not terribly stable ... but really, has Vision DUN ever been "stable"?
So now I'm in a quandary. Do I stick with Sprint and get the Treo 650 now, or do I wait until next year for the GSM version and jump ship to Cingular? I'm leaning towards making the switch next year.
Okay, I swear I'm going to leave you, Sprint. Just as soon as another carrier offers the the Treo 650 and gets a signal in Big Sky, Montana, I'm leaving you.
It didn't have to be this way. All you had to do was enable me to connect to Vision through Bluetooth for occasional access on my laptop. But no. Due to your short-sightedness, you're gonna lose me, a customer for the past 8 years or so.
That's the kind of positive message I'd like to hear from my wireless provider's COO:
"People don't want open access, that's not what our customers tell us they want," he said. "Anyone in their right mind who tries to do anything on the Internet with a screen that size has to be nuts."That's from wireless operator 3's COO Gareth Jones. I'm sure he can point to countless emails from his customers saying "Please don't give us open access ... that's not what we want!"
Cool ... flash mobs for fans. The cool band "The Others" used a forum posting and SMS to announce an impromptu performance in a London underground train.
Anything that strengthens the relationship between the artists and the fans sounds like a good idea to me. Especially if you can cut out the middleman.
Here's a great mobile app from Nextel that I think will actually drive (no pun intended) handset sales: NASCAR PitCommand:
PitCommand, a wireless Java(R) application that delivers real-time race data in an exciting, full-color, visual display. PitCommand is available as part of NASCAR.COM TO GO, which packages NASCAR.COM's exclusive content in an easy-to-use service available on Nextel phones. PitCommand creates a single view of all the critical race elements - including speed, RPM, throttle/brake indicators, lap counts and more - the same live information that crew chiefs receive at their command stations, or "war wagons," at the pits.
It's exactly these kinds of apps that will make the general public start to look at their "phones" differently.
As an aside, I'm guessing that the intersection of people interested in the i736 NASCAR Driver Series handets and those interested in the Russell Simmons Phat Farm II Signature i733 is probably zero.
An excellent and very appropriate use of RFID tags. In fact, the last time Dick and I went to Vegas we said that there were two killer apps for RFID: luggage tracking and casino chips. Looks like both might be coming to pass.
So there are these new watches from Microsoft ... "SPOT Watches" that display all sorts of cool semi-personalized information. But holy crap, have you seen how big these things are? It's totally laughable. It's like strapping a Blackberry sans keyboard to your wrist. Obviously, the engineers didn't invite the product designers to the party.
Hey, I have an idea. Could someone please make this exact feature set the screen saver for my phone? I mean, my phone is already networked, so, like, you wouldn't need this spanko-new radio spectrum to make it work.
Source: MSN Direct
See? See the kind of cool things you can start to do once we all start using standards like Bluetooth and FOAF (Friend of a Friend) files? It's just a small hack, but cool nonetheless.
Kind of a "Straight Dope for the Geek Guy", here's an attempted explanation for the ban on electronic devices at certain times during your flight. Still seems a little dubious to me, but what are you going to do? Some airlines are better than others. I'm never flying Iberian Airlines again with their "ningunos dispositivos electrónicos permitidos" policy: flying from Chicago to Barcelona without being able to use your laptop, MP3 player, or even noise-cancelling headphones s-u-x sux.
As suspected, the reason you can't use your cell phone has nothing to do with potential interference with navigation in the air, but instead with the ground-based infrastructure that isn't equipped to deal with a phone having line-of-sight to hundreds of cell towers at once.
Huh. Well, I thought I had Nextel's marketing strategy figured out, and there they go keeping me guessing. Introducing the "Russell Simmons Phat Farm II Signature i733" from Nextel. It's on every enterprise sales manager's and construction site foreman's Christmas list!
- Customize your phone's idle screen with the pre-loaded unique Wallpapers such as R.I.P Jam Master Jay image, Old skool logo, Phat Farm painter image, Fall 2002 ad campaign image, and the RWS signage logo!
- Get access to pre-loaded ring tones like Beautiful (Snoop Dogg), Big Poppa (Notorioius BIG), Dilemma (Nelly), In Da Club (50 Cent), One Minute Man (Missy Elliott)!
- Phat Farm logo illuminates to indicate an incoming call, Phat Farm mission statement with Russell Simmons’ signature laser etched on battery door, “EST. 1992” laser etched on housing near port, Phat Farm branded escutcheon and keypad!
And my favorite:
- Pre-loaded applications include; Advanced Calculator, Basketball, Boxing and Blackjack.
This posting by Sean Neville (Macromedia guy) talks about a lot of the things that I find exciting right now. Atom/RSS! Formalized content model for things you can by with Atom/RSS namespaces! Wireless! Macromedia Central! Mystery! Intrigue!
There's some convergence of a lot of these ideas that's just waiting to emerge ... what it's going to be and who's going to find it is anyone's guess right now. But it's going to be a Big Idea.
Good story told by Diego Doval from Ireland. Nice to see that operators are universally clueless. It's the same thing here: the way the operators treat their existing customers is just horrible.
Really, the only thing keeping people from jumping from carrier to carrier here in the U.S. is the lack of number portability. Gee, you think that's why Alltel, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, and Sprint have been fighting the Nov. 24 wireless number portability mandate? And why they want to charge customers $1.10 - $1.55 a month for this "privilege"?
Here's an idea, operators: why don't you put your customers first? Why don't you compete based upon your offerings and service instead of relying on manufactured switiching costs. In the Chicago area, U.S. Cellular has really marketed heavily over the past year or so, and their tagline is "Award-Winning Customer Service". And you know what? It's working. Even though they don't have the coolest phones, the forums are filled with fans.
How about creating some more incentives to stay with my carrier? A points program, maybe, or how about encouraging upgrades for those high-margin customers that pay their bills on time?
Diego is right: when everything goes IP, it's all gonna catch up with them. And it won't be pretty.
For a flash mob of a different color, there's "dogging": large, anonymous orgies organized via Internet and SMS. Seems to be most prevalent in the U.K., but if it follows the "rave lifecycle", I figure it should hit the states in a year or two.
You gotta wonder what the audience is like ... could be frightening if the "mix" isn't quite what you expected.