|Setting up your laptop, choosing a color phone, and hanging onto your number |
By Joni Blecher
Section 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!
Q: I'm having a struggle. I want to have wireless-anywhere connectivity with my laptop. Is there any other way to achieve that besides investing in a cell phone?
A: A cell phone isn't the only way to go. Consider investing in a modem through your carrier. Check out Verizon Wireless Express Data Network service or Sprint PCS Business Connection and a 1xRTT PC Card modem from Novatel or Sierra Wireless. You'll get minimum surfing speeds of about 56K and a maximum of 144K. But cell phone carriers aren't your only option.
The speedy Ricochet Network is making a comeback. Anyone who used this wireless service (speeds of 176K or more) with a laptop in the past--myself included--knows that's good news. Initially, service is available in San Diego from NetHere Internet Services, but with any luck, we'll see it offered in other cities next year, which means you'll be able to get a PC Card modem for your notebook and use the Ricochet service for your wireless connection. It probably won't work nationwide, but hopefully major cities will be covered.
Q: I understand there is an attempt to pass a new regulation that allows you to keep your cell phone telephone number even if you switch to a new carrier. Is this true, and if so, when will this be a reality?
A: It's true. In fact, the mobile portability number regulation was supposed to go into effect this past November. However, it has been bumped yet another year. As much as I'd like to say that we should have this capability by this time next year, don't hold onto your number in hopes of this happening. I wouldn't be surprised if the deadline gets pushed back again; it's been delayed at least twice already.
Color or color?
Q: I am at the end of my T-Mobile contract and have been offered a phone upgrade. I have been researching both the Motorola T720 and the Samsung SGH-S105. They both seem so similar in terms of functionality. What are the differences? Which would you recommend?
A: The main difference between the two models is the color screen. The T720 supports only 4,096 colors, while the S105 shows a brilliant 65,000 hues. Neither phone offers fabulous battery life; the S105 has better talk time and comes an extra battery. I like the display on the S105 but prefer the keypad on the T720. Honestly, it's a tough call. Your best bet is to go into the T-Mobile store and try out both of them. Fortunately, no matter which one you choose, neither will disappoint.
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Joni Blecher is a section editor for CNET Reviews.