|An upgrade to the color Palm phone, new uses for old cell phones, and more |
By Joni Blecher
Senior Editor Joni Blecher, a.k.a. the Cell Phone Diva, wants to answer all your questions about cell phones, service plans, and wireless connectivity. Send her a question!
Now or later?
A: This is an age-old question: Should I buy now or wait? When in doubt, I use this rule: If a better model isn't going to be in stores within a month, then I buy what I want now. If there's one thing I've learned covering technology, it's that products aren't always available when manufacturers say they will be. For example, at the Olympics, Samsung announced the SPH-I330, which is the upgrade to the I300 and offers 3G compatibility. While the I330 will work with high-speed data networks, there's no firm date on when consumers will be able to buy it. And by the time 3G networks really get up and running (in theory, by year's end), new models that are superior to the SPH-I330 will become available, and you'll be itching for one of those.
So, ultimately, you made the right decision. The I300 is an attractive, easy-to-use smart phone that offers a decent wireless Web-surfing experience. I'm betting you'll get at least another year of use from it before it starts to seem like yesterday's technology.
Benefits of recycling
A: Don't throw those phones away just yet. Verizon Wireless started a program last year called HopeLine that's designed to benefit domestic violence victims. It works like this: You donate your old mobiles to a local Verizon store or call the hotline number (800/426-2790). The company will then refurbish, recycle, or sell your phone and donate all proceeds to nonprofit domestic violence advocacy organizations that can then purchase handsets for victims. While you won't get any money, you do get a tax deduction and the knowledge that you're doing something to help a fellow human being.
For more ideas on what to do with your old phone, read our feature "New life for your old cell phone."
A: That's one cool phone. I got a chance to play with the digital imaging mobile at CES, and I really liked its color screen, user interface, and James Bond-like design. Unfortunately, there are no plans for the 7650 to land in the United States since it operates on only GSM 1800/900 networks. However, it will hit European countries by June of this year.
A: I got my first cell phone in college, and it wasn't nearly as cool or fashionable as some of the models that are available today. Mine was given to me for safety reasons. I use to drive at night alone, and it worried my parents. Today, many teenagers are getting cell phones for the same reason or because both parent and child need to know that they can be contacted at any time, and having a phone provides some reassurances.
I did a column about this last year where I recommended service plans that are designed to meet the needs of both teens and their parents. The bottom line is that it's ultimately your mom's decision.
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Joni Blecher is a section editor for CNET Reviews.