Thursday, January 8, 2009

So I got this fancy phone ...

All of my cell phone carrying life, I've always had the freebie you get with a new plan or new contract. When the iPhone came out, I drooled with the rest of the world and wanted to get my grubby paws all over it. But my husband and I are with T-Mobile and we've been with T-Mobile for many years. I have never had a problem with their service really but their phone selection was always less than desirable.

Along came the G1, Google's response to the iPhone...and T-Mobile has it! I figured I had found my answer. Rather than leaving a company that hadn't really done me wrong for a new one and a bigger phone bill, I could stick with T-Mobile and still get a fancy new phone (and only slightly bigger phone bill).

The G1 was my 27th birthday present but stores around here don't actually have the phone in stock, so we had to order it. Due to holidays and all, I didn't receive the phone until Jan. 5, but no big deal, that's how mailing stuff works. The nice woman I spoke to when I ordered the phone told me I should wait until I have it in my hands to call and activate the $24.99 data plan so I wouldn't be charged for it without having the phone. Made sense to me.

So I finally have the phone and I call and tell them to slap a data plan on me while my shiny new toy is charging up. Nice woman #2 sets me up and then tells me it could take up to 24 hours for my data plan to completely activate. I think, okay, well I can still use my phone as a phone, I just won't be able to play on the internet or what have you.

Phone is charged, I power it on and attempt to set up my account, which involved logging into your Gmail account (or creating one if you don't have one). I put my log in information and hit "send" and get an error message. Can't communicate with Google servers. Buh?

So I figure this is the whole data plan activation that will take a few hours so I start looking for ways to push the whole logging in thing to the side so I can just make a basic phone call. Er, nope.

For some reason, you absolutely must sign in to your Gmail account before you can do ANYTHING else with the phone. This annoyed me. Maybe because I had been waiting 7 days to get said phone in the mail. Maybe because I think, once I get a phone, I should be able to, yanno, use it to call people. Anyway, I think there is something wrong so I call T-Mobile again and this time get PDA supports. Super nice guy helps me out and explains that the data plan activation is key and can take 24-48 hours. BUH?!?!?! Finally get fancy new phone and cannot use it possibly for 2 days? Sad face!

So I thank the guy and plop back down on the couch with my new pricey paperweight for the time being. I try to log on every 30 minutes. I go to work and keep trying. I look up other people's rants on T-Mobile forums and try every trick in the book: take my battery out for 2 minutes, put it back in, try to log in every 30 minutes...nothing. Finally about 9 hours later, I open my G1 for the nth time and take out the battery and SIM card (the phone came with a new SIM card, which I was trying to use) and I put my old SIM card in, put the battery back in and tried one more time. Success! Not sure if the SIM card had anything to do with it or if my data plan activated at that moment...but it worked! And I didn't have to wait 2 days!

As I played with all the features and made phone calls and texted and e-mailed, my prior annoyances melted away. I love this phone! The applications available for download are pretty nifty. I especially like one where you can calculate tips in restaurants and one where you can scan a bar code of something and get prices in other stores in the area! There is even a visual voice mail application (which was something I wanted most from the iPhone) but I haven't tried it out yet.

It's rather easy to figure out and I love the fact that it has both a touch screen and a QWERTY keypad.

So, despite a rocky start, I'm really enjoying the G1 but I do hope T-Mobile can somehow make the activation process faster. I don't know any other company that tells you it might take 2 days for you to start using your new phone!

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