So we just want "a" phone

On June 27, 2009, in Rants, by

Coding Horror: The iPhone Software Revolution:

So someone at my office wants a phone.  Not a iPhone.  Not a PalmPre.  Not a Windows mobile.  A phone.  One that will just take a cable and sync with her calendar on those occasions she wants that.  But she doesn’t want a data plan.  She doesn’t want activesync capabilitles.  She doesn’t need to send text messages.  Nor tweet.  Nor blog.  Or take pictures.  Or video movies.  Oh and it has to be Verizon as it will get coverage on the coast.

And I cannot tell from the Verizon page which phones are JUST a phone with a little bit of software to support a calender information transfer.

She doesn’t want a mobile computing platform that you can “get an app for that”.  Or one that has a slide out keyboard.  She wants “a phone”.  One that has a battery life of a week or two.  You know… just a phone.

Why is it that you cannot tell from the web sites what EXACTLY these phones do?  And when you do want a phone that supports activeSync, sometimes it’s even hard to tell that.  You have to give Apple credit with their you get one size, one capability model.  You know exactly what it does.  And it will sync with Exchange as well as support pop-ing out to personal email.  But to all other phones offered up by all of the other cell plan providers… boy is it hard to figure out which one is just “a phone”.


8 Responses to So we just want "a" phone

  1. Kevin says:

    Sprint has a product called mobile email work that will sync with exchange that’s available for all non-pda phones. I don’t know if it will work with a cable, or only OTA though.

    I’m pretty sure Verizon has something very similar that you can get for any non-pda Verizon phone.

  2. Rosewood says:

    Why bother with a “dumb” phone when a “smart” phone can do exactly what she is talking about and a lot more and at a little or no extra cost?

    My wife never listens to AM radio but she didn’t go to the dealer and say that she wants a car that doesn’t have AM radio. If she never hits that AM button on her car, does it matter if it is there or not?

    But generally before you buy any phone you want to go into a store and put it in your hand, even when all features are equal. Also generally the dumber the phone, the lower the cost. So start with the free phones and go from there.

    Or just get Jitterbug!

  3. Joe Raby says:

    Nokia S60 phones are probably the smartest “dumbphone” (or dumbest smartphone) you’ll find, and you can sync your calendar with it via a cable. Unfortunately they’re not that common in North America.

    Or else you could just get an El Cheapo flip phone and a nice, colour old-stock Palm Z22 for <$100 in total. The Z22 is one of those devices that may seem ancient, but I think it's almost "the perfect device" because of it's sheer simplicity and not trying to be too much of everything. Plus it's cheap. If you want something simple to just organize your day and create simple To-Do lists, that's the device to get. Oh, and it only has one port, and it's Mini-USB, so getting a replacement sync cable is easy. Try to say that about any cellphone on the market now.

  4. Vlad Mazek says:

    Ok, so two things (pretty obvious):

    1. “Just phone” is the cheapest one available. Usually it’s free.

    2. Edge case. See every comment I’ve made here in the past few months. What’s next? I don’t want a car with A/C. Or this automatic starter. Or automatic transmission. Or E85 fuel. I just want a good old American car like they made them in 1920’s, except built today. No! Bad Susan! You need a category for crap that only seems to bother you dear = Susanville.

    2a. Phone companies suck.


  5. bradley says:

    For the record to the audience.. I’m not asking this question thinking that everyone wants a phone like I’m describing. I’m asking for ONE person.

    In general though, the phone companies web sites suck. Other than the iPhone which I know will grab gmail, yahoo, sync to exchange and you can do apps on it, none of the other descriptions of the phone leave you with enough info that you can definitively state what the do, how they work and if they will fit the requested needs of your client base even if they do want the phone with the a/c, automatic transmission and the bells and whistles.

    I never said this wasn’t an edge case.

    But the web sites that state what the phones can and cannot do suck.

  6. indy says:

    Get an iphone or a g1 and hack it to only show what you need on it.

    Agree with some other posters above though. This is like demanding a $400 typewriter when $200 computers are readily available.

  7. (Sarcasticly said)

    They don’t tell you on their website
    because they want you to walk into their store and have a “SALESPERON” talk you into more than you need.

    However when you walk into the store
    they more than likely can’t answer this question either!
    because they have been only working for 1 week.

    Makes one want to screem!

    This IMO will happen for ever, because Cell phone companies are only in it to MAKE money and service is just something they would like to avoid at all cost. And since they even don’t know what their own phones will do, I can’t expect them to put it on their website.

    Using a Salesperson they can get you to spend MORE!

    Just like the care salesperson that pushes you from person to person, making you tired and accepting a higher price than you wanted.

    Verizon has a Netbook/Data offer that is very good.
    (And could solve 1/2 of the equation.)
    And the Pay as you go the other 1/2
    like T-Mobile 1,000 mins for $100.00 and last for 1 year.