Well, the buttons on my old cellphone are getting kinda worn out, so I've been thinking of exercising the (long past) biennial update option, and maybe getting one of these newfangled flippyphones and probably also one of them blue-in-the-tooth headsets in case the phone rings while I'm driving after the first of the year ('cause trying to hook up and put on a wired headset while driving seems a bit suicidal).
So, this flyer shows up from Verizon; they're pushing the RAZR V3m. Do a little googling; it sounds spiffy. Except....
It seems Verizon is in the habit of installing special Verizon-branded firmware that locks out a lot of the standard functions of modern fancyphones, and attempts to lock the user into lots of fiddly pay-per-use and/or pay-per-month Verizon-branded services.
I'd noticed earlier, when looking into EvDO, that Verizon sells a lifestyle rather than a product - lotsa advertising for the add-on services for spiffing up your life, and no useful information about the actual connectivity.
So, this gets me to thinking... Verizon makes a wonderful poster boy for why network neutrality (weak form) is important. It's like the bad old days of Ma Bell, only more so.
Consider my land line. Now that Ma Bell's monopoly has been broken up, I can go out and buy any standard telephone and plug it into the phone jack, and it will Just Work. (Back in the monopoly days, this was technically possible, but illegal.) I can call anyone who's got a phone, without worrying about what phone company he uses. I also have DSL service. It routes packets to and from my ISP of choice, and thence to the Internet at large. The phone company doesn't try to shove premium content (nor, indeed, any content) down my throat.
Consider electrical applicances. When you buy one, you just have to check the technical specs: voltage, current, number of phases. For small applicances, you probably just assume it's 120V, single phase, and won't trip your breaker. There's no such thing as, for example, a TV that only works with Calpine-branded electricity, nor does the electric company limit you to using only their brand of appliances.
In the wonderful world of cellphone service - and, it seems, Verizon in particular - things don't work like that. Ya gotta have the special branded phone to use their network, and they try real hard to tie you to their branded services, beyond simple connectivity and bandwidth.
So where am I going with this? I dunno. Most likely, down to the Verizon store eventually, to have a look at that razzer. And to ask about transferring my stored numbers... though I should really check them against my PDA anyway, and maybe then just enter the ones I actually use into the new phone.