Monday, September 23, 2013

What's Next? Indeed!

Last Friday was the last straw for my Samsung Focus Flash phone. I was marveling over how nice our new app for the upcoming Annual Conference looked in HTML 5. It made last year's app look like something from DOS (see below comparisons, screenshots from desktop of workstation running the web app). I was clicking through our Schedule app and found when I clicked on the Speakers link, it failed to pull data on them. When I checked the same app--it's a web url, not a true app--on my workstation, the links went through. The implication was clear to me: somewhere along the html trail, my $.99 Windows Phone's incapacity to update to Win 7.5 was to blame. (This was confirmed by our support people at Tripbuilder.) I needed a new phone!

I already knew that I was not close enough to the end of our AT&T contract to qualify for an upgrade. I checked on the AT&T Web store and there was this new AT&T Next option. It basically comes down to renting a device on a new line grafted to the old contract for 20 months. After 12 months, you can trade your device in for a new one for another 20 months. The remaining 8 months of "rental" payments are dropped. Or you can go the 20 months and then you just continue with the services. What's nice is that you still have qualified for the Next options, so you trade in the device and work it from there.

Suddenly, I'm studying up on the Nokia phones, which I posted about awhile ago. I knew they've been bought by Microsoft. The Here Maps have been touted as superior to even Google Maps. The wonderful camera abilities are certainly welcome. Windows 8 will handle HTML 5 with aplomb. This looked like a no-brainer. The Nokia Lumia 925, brand new with aluminum housing, was offered at $21/mo., while the 920 with 8GB, was offered at $15/mo. With the cost of the new line, a new data package, and insurance, it was closer to $25/mo. added to our current phone invoice. Yes, there was that one line to the defunct WinPhone that would expire in April 2014, but nothing can be done. A contract is a contract.

With that hesitation, I considered an ASUS Windows 8 tablet, but that was $25/mo, plus the $10/mo insurance. The one neat wrinkle was the way it could rewire our overall plan: Jessie's phone would be granted unlimited texting (as if we ever came close to our previous limit!), and my WinPhone and tablet would share 2GB of data service. I've barely gotten close to .75GB let alone the full 3GB I had with the previous plan, so this looked worthy of consideration. It let me keep a phone that was very serviceable in a number of smartphone ways and gave me something I could take to conference and on vacation that could work with the conference app--my overriding concern for making a change--rather than my laptop.

Guess what? Besides the fact that a more reasonably priced solution was available, I balked at using a Windows 8 tablet. I like that OS on a phone, but I've head a lot of grief over Win8 on computers. I went back to the store, knowing that if all else failed, a Nokia Lumia 920 would be a major improvement over the Samsung FF. But I looked around at the AT&T Next deals on other tabs and found the Galaxy 3 Tab 7. The monthly rate was $15, same as for the NL920. I'd keep the phone and I'd be learning one of the two top operating systems in the mobile device market. I'd be able to help a much larger group of ABA members at conference with their apps. It all fell together nicely. And Samsung gets another chance!

As I described earlier, I will share 2GB between the two smart devices (my other choice was 4GB for another $10/mo.). I have been very good with doing major downloading via wifi rather than AT&T with the phone for 16 months now. Granted there aren't as many apps out for Windows as there are for Android and yes, even fewer since so many won't run on Win7.1. What's really sweet is that I've been able to accomplish a lot of downloading under both conditions, because with the old plan's billing date, I am almost obliged to indulge myself as I will start with a clean slate after just five more days! (Half a Gig already and rolling!) Once I've got my essentials and "give-a-try apps" onboard, I will buckle down and stay out of the Play Store.

I'll have more to write about as I get myself up to speed on this new environment. Needless to say, as I am composing this post, I am listening to Pandora and wearing a Cheshire grin. (I did not, however, compose this post on the tablet.)

Previous posts about my Samsung Focus Flash or in some other way related:

Using TripBuilder's Phone App

My Next Phone

And that's why it's called a smart phone

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