unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)

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July 6th, 2011

unixronin: A somewhat Borg-ish high-tech avatar (Techno/geekdom)
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 05:19 pm

Soliciting the wisdom of the collective here.

First, the reasons:

Work issued me a crackberry when I was hired, and I &$@^#^%@%#@ HATE the *@$()*&$#^%^@# thing.  It can reduce me to frustrated rage in mere minutes.  It's an utter mystery to me how in the name of Nyarlathotep Blackberry ever became a commercial success.

I have an alternative.  Work wants me to have a smartphone so they can reach me via email.  But it doesn't HAVE to be a crackberry.  If I buy my own Android phone, on Verizon's network, work will pay for the Verizon service for as long as I work there.

However, if I'm going to buy and Android phone, I want one with a good physical keyboard.  (One of the most frustrating things about the Infernal Device is its almost unusably tiny keys.  It's all but impossible to type on.)  RIGHT NOW, the best physical keyboard on an Android phone is reportedly the HTC Merge.

I've handled one, and it's ... not bad.  But I understand the Merge is a niche phone with limited availability, largely due to unpopularity of the decision to tie it to Bing for search and location instead of Google.  (Have you ever used Bing? It's #%*(&$^! awful beyond words, even when it's filing the serial numbers off of search results from Google.)  Also, by current standards, it's slow and has a small screen.

There's what looks like an even better upcoming candidate, Motorola's new Droid 3.  Faster, more capable, bigger battery (up to 1930mAh), larger screen with 40% higher resolution, larger and more complete keyboard, optional inductive charging.

The catch?

The official available-in-stores date for the Droid 3 is reported to be TOMORROW.

The last day to get grandfathered in on Verizon's unlimited data plan is TODAY.

(This is possibly not a coincidence.)


The bottom tier in the three-tiered data plan that will replace the unlimited-data plan tomorrow is $30, the same price as the about-to-end unlimited-data plan, for 2GB/month.

2GB of *data* per month.  On a phone.  That just seems like a hell of a lot more than I'd ever use.  BUT, I don't know how much data mapping and navigation (pretty much the only data features I expect I'd ever use on it, unless I write mobile-specific versions of some of my own web apps) actually use.

SO.  If you have a smartphone, and you make significant use of mapping and navigation ... about how much data do they typically use?  How much data do YOU use per month?  Assume I won't be streaming music to it, watching movies on it (movies on a sub-5" screen?  That way lies madness), or anything like that.  I'll almost certainly never install a single game on it, and the odds are against me finding a "phone app" I give a crap about, beyond the web browser and maybe a notepad (though an SSH client might be useful in rare emergencies).

How likely am I to even approach 2GB of data usage per month?  I really have no idea how much data usage mapping (likely to be infrequent) and navigation (likely even more infrequent) use up.


Various smartphone users I know elsewhere have reported typical monthly data usage, with fairly heavy data use, typically under a third of a gigabyte.  One responder reports his fiancée's data usage hovers around 1GB per month, which she achieves by more-or-less continuous use of Pandora streaming radio.

So I'd say the odds of me ever needing 2GB of phone data bandwidth in a month are slim to none ... and Slim just left town.  So I see no reason why the end of Verizon's unlimited-data plan should matter one bit to me. (Or one gigabit, so to speak.)