New Cell Phone Quest
Mom, Technology

New Cell Phone Quest

I have been on a quest for a new phone for nine months, give or take a month. As a Verizon customer my only options until February were Blackberry or Android. I had a Blackberry, and while it was acceptable for sending and receiving email, there wasn’t an easy way to sync my contacts and calendar. Since I wasn’t on a corporate Microsoft Exchange server Blackberry doesn’t really care about me. I know it is hard to hear, but it is true.

So here in lies my problem; I want to be able to get my email AND sync my contacts and calendar without having to stand on my head, count backward from 100 in Russian, and sell my soul to Blackberry in five complicated steps. I am confident that I am not the only one in the world that needs to do this without being on an exchange server. Before all of you jump up raising your hands saying use gmail and Google tools, I have my own hosted email and I use Outlook.

There are very good reasons why both are important. First, I like having my own email address that doesn’t end in gmail, Hotmail or some other host. It gives me more credibility with my clients and allows me to build brand equity. Second, I don’t want to manage my email through a browser – there are too many moving parts and potential issues, especially for business email. Finally I send my husband meeting requests to block time on his work calendar for family and DeNike business meetings. This way he only has to accept them and we are able to keep calendars up to date.

Now that you understand my issues (yes some are of my making and some are out of my control), feel my pain. No offense Blackberry but I was SO over you a long time ago. So in January the debate began, do I get the Verizon iPhone when it comes out in February, wait for the Verizon Windows Phone 7 (whenever that will be) or get an Android now? For some reason I have never been drawn to the Android phones. Several people I know have them, but I haven’t really played with them, so I ruled that out at least for now.

My thought was that the Windows Phone 7 would be the best option. Even though there aren’t as many Apps, it is a Microsoft product so it should solve my syncing problems… Or so I thought. I know several people, including my Dad, sister and brother-in-law, who all have iPhones, so I have played with them and for some reason I can’t type on them. Yes I have been told that you learn to make it work, but who needs the added hassle of learning to type all over again. And I hate being tied to iTunes.

Are you seeing the writing on the wall? I decided to wait for the Windows phone. So I waited and waited and waited, almost giving up several times. Finally in mid May Verizon announced the release date and I could hardly wait.

A few days before the release date I decided to start figuring out the sync software (remember I assumed that a Microsoft product would sync with another Microsoft product.) Instead of finding sync software I found message boards with endless complaints about how the phone doesn’t directly sync with Outlook. WHAT?!? Seriously? This prompted a desperate email to a friend who works on the Windows Phone only to confirm what I feared. Now, days before its arrival, I concluded it wasn’t even going to do what I needed it to do.

This prompted several days of hand wringing and searching, four visits to Best Buy and so much stress. I reopened my search and quickly was told no Android. That left the iPhone and the Windows Phone 7 (déjà vu anyone?) So again I decide that the Windows Phone was probably the best bet, but I wanted to get it through Best Buy. However they don’t have it in stores yet. Again more days of checking, visits, phone calls and stress, when I finally gave up and went to Verizon.

I walked into the store and walked out with a new HTC Trophy Windows phone 7 in about 25 minutes. It doesn’t directly sync with my Outlook, but with Windows Live I am able to sync them. So it takes an extra step, but for now it works. The phone has been in my hands for about two weeks now and so far so good. The return window has passed so for better or worse we are in it together.

I am in the process of researching Office 365 and using their exchange service for people like me. Stay tuned for my findings and experience with that product.

Note: I have not been contracted to review any of these products and was not paid for making this post.

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  1. Paul Charkiewicz says:

      Good post. Very interesting and informative. I have one question: what is the extra step to sync through windows live?  Do you sync over 3G?

    Also, I’d like to add a little info about the iPhone. I recently got to directly compare an iPhone 4 on AT&T with one on Verizon and was very impressed with Verizons speed. I’m sure most of the speed was due to the fact I only had one to two bars of reception on the AT&T compared to three to four bars on the Verizon phone. Given that Verizon usually has a better signal compared to AT&T I can say that the speed increase would be a good baseline. The only con for Verizon that I can see is that you can only have one connection at a time. So no browsing and talking on the phone. Still, this is rare for me since I don’t like to use my phone to talk to people.


    1. sarah says:

      You have to link your Windows Live account with Outlook (I believe it is called Hotmail Connector Add-in.) It is the same tool that you need to be able to read your Hotmail through Outlook.

      Then you have to use the Windows Live calendar and contacts, instead of the default ones in Outlook. This is a bit of a pain, because you are not able to set the Windows Live ones as the default and Outlook will always opens those first. So when editing or adding contacts or appointments you have to make sure you do it on the correct one. The updates are pretty much real-time from your phone to the cloud. Then they are downloaded to your Outlook once you turn on your computer.

  2. danblack says:

    I have been using office 365 for a while now and I have to say I am impressed. I think that is the way to go especially for small business.

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