We had our company holiday brunch today, and it came as no surprise that when the crowd was gathering, the talk turned to cell phones.
The conversation was very different from four years ago when I first became a Realtor®, but a little history is in order first
Back in that ancient time of 2006, there were phones and there Blackberries or Crackberries as we often called them in the Washington, DC area. Being a long-time Apple employee, I had used AT&T for my cell phone service for a good part of my nearly twenty years with Apple. Even when we lived in Roanoke, Virginia, and I worked in the Reston, VA area, I found AT&T service less than desirable. I tried a number of phones, but none made a significant difference.
As a family we took care of the problem by having my wife carry a Verizon phone. When we moved to the Southern Outer Banks, my wife’s Verizon phone hardly worked at all. My AT&T phone worked from our front porch, but mostly it missed calls in our home in Bluewater Cove. The real estate market was less than busy for those three years so we just lived with the missed calls and used the office voicemail. We still had our home in Roanoke so keeping my wife on Verizon made sense for a while, but we eventually we got her a family plan line on my AT&T service.
Last spring I started to miss more and more calls with my AT&T flip phone. I had long resisted the Blackberry or even the iPhone which Apple had introduced after I left the company. Finally we got a mailer from AT&T about their 3G MicroCell™ which provides additional coverage for their phones in your home. One rainy afternoon in March, we headed off to Morehead City to investigate the 3G MicroCell™. It did not take me long to figure out that by getting one those I was basically paying extra to fix AT&T’s terrible network coverage.
On a lark, we stopped in at the Verizon store to see if their service had improved any in the last three years. They pointed out that they had bought the towers of a local cell phone company, and that they believed their coverage was now excellent on the Crystal Coast. They offered us a trial. My son, who works for SAP in their division which moves text messages from one carrier to another, had gotten a Droid not long after they came out. His experience seemed to be great, so I took the plunge and bought a Droid. We got my wife a regular 3G phone since she only uses her phone occasionally. Actually she claims the only reason she has one is so that I can find her when we go shopping. My comment is we will get her a smartphone when GPS is more accurate, and I can really track her in SAMS Club.
Getting into the world of smartphones was probably a good thing. I have run into more and more customers who are smartphone savvy which brings us back to our holiday party. My Droid has a very useful tool in the world of real estate.
With that background we can get back to our holiday brunch phone conversations. Some of our company’s original Blackberry users are now contemplating their next phones. It seems most are looking at something besides Blackberries.
I listened with interest as a couple of iPhone users talked about how much they loved their phones. One even told me how great her phone service was in her home. It did not take long for her husband to chime in that they had to buy one of AT&T’s 3G MicroCell™ towers to get that good service. I related the story of a visiting friend from Canada with an iPhone. He had complained about getting no calls in our house, and I had suggested he take his calls on the porch which seemed to help. However, when we went for a walk in our subdivision the morning they were leaving, he did get a call on our walk, but he lost the signal three times. I don’t think there is much of a case for iPhones in Bluewater Cove where we live.
Later at our brunch, I heard a couple of stories of people trying to call iPhone users who they could actually see in their cars. The calls invariably went directly to voicemail. Yet these folks who are missing their calls still love their iPhones. As one person said, it seems that Apple could bundle up almost anything and add “i” to it and some people would buy it. While I might agree to an extent, I do have a new I5 iMac on my desktop, and it is a very good though not perfect computer.
The iPhone is a great piece a technology, but if you need a cell phone along the Crystal Coast, your iPhone will be one useless bookend for much of the time.
My Droid has turned out to be a great phone. Even if Verizon were selling the iPhone, I would stick with the Droid. There are great choices on the Droid platform. If you want an iPhone, you will get what Steve wants you to have.
I even have some complaints on iMac, but I have too many skills and years on a Mac to completely give it up.
Somehow the photo of the sailboat being towed down the Intracoastal Waterway reminds me of the iPhone and AT&T’s 3G MicroCell™.
On a closing note, my Droid works great from my skiff.