I crossed over to the dark side

About a month or so I gave up my Treo 700P that was working just fine for me.  I had stayed with the Palm o/s because of an application that is important to me and for which I had not found a suitable replacement in the Windows Mobile world.  Anyway, a month ago my brother found the replacement application for me and he turned me on to the HTC Touch Pro which he has been using.  I bought a Touch Pro and I have to tell you – it took me at least a week just to get a mental picture of where the various programs and utilities were. I did finally get it and I do like the phone a lot.  I have been a Palm user for a long, long time.  About two years ago I bought a Windows based phone and I was shocked at how STUPIDLY designed it was.  A large criticism of mine was concerned with silencing the phone.  It required using the stylus because the touch item on the screen was too small.  And, worst of all, giving the silence command made NOISE.  What engineer thought that this was a good idea.

Joyce and I are now getting ready for a vacation to Firenze, Italy.  I got Joyce a world phone (CDMA + GSM)  last fall. This week when I was talking to the Verizon guy to make plans to activate the international service it dawned on me that, especially because of my business, it would make a lot of sense for me to have a world phone too.  I had planned on using one of the inexpensive unlocked GSM phones we got several years ago for our travels.  We would just get a local country prepaid SIM card when we went and enjoy very inexpensive local calling.  We would handle international calling with a global calling card.  This worked pretty well for us making calls but it wasn’t very easy for our family to reach us.  It required international dialing which in our circles wasn’t second nature plus it was much more expensive when done ad hoc.

The global phone idea seemed to make a lot of sense for me being able to keep in touch with business back home.  Verizon had a couple world phones and I picked a blackberry that might be called a curve (not sure).  It was going to be $170 minus a $70 rebate and I figured for $100 it would be worth it to me to just use this phone when I travel.  I went to the Verizon store, picked out a nice looking Red phone and went through the stuff with the sales person.  When she rang up the sale she looked up and said ‘Oh, your phone is free!’.  That was a nice surprise.  She said she thought it might be because of a buy one get another one program even though the one I bought (for Joyce) was 5 months ago.

Oberservations – I have always been kind of anti BB – because of the fact that it is not an open system.  I liked the ability with Palm and Windows to be able to find tons of 3rd party apps. from independent sources.

I first tried something called AstraSync – which is supposed to be software to do wireless sync of email/calendar/contacts for a lower price than the BB enterprise server.  In the last several months I tried to install and configure this software for 2 other peoples’ BB phones.  I was unsuccessful in this endeavor and found AstraSync’s technical support to be worthless.  They only have user supported forums for technical support.  Now, with my BB, I decided to try this software again.  I actually did get it to start sync’ing with my phone which is farther than I had gotten before.  HOWEVER, the sync’ing ran for hours and when it completed it started sync’ing again.  There was an ever present twirling icon in the center of my screen indicating that the sync’ing was going on.  This was annoying AND slowed down the operation of the phone.  Since I have an Small Business Server running in my office – I downloaded and installed the BB server software.  I got this running and sync’ing in a well behaved manner and think life is now good.

While I still do miss having all the nice 3rd party applications for the BB phone – I do find that some of the things it does are extremely FAST.  I’ve got an enormous contact list and all I have to do is type in a couple letters of a first name or a last name or a company and the result is immediate.

I do still plan to go back to my HTC Touch Pro when I return from this trip. I’ll keep the BB for a foreign travel phone.