It was love at first sight. Getting that sexy black iPhone 3G S from Apple was like hooking up with the lady of my dreams. And what a night we had. But when I woke up the next morning with the iPhone beside me, the iTunes in my head had become a symphony of shame and regret.
My wallet was $199 lighter, my feverish advances had drained her battery, and instead of the perky "3G" at the top of her lovely screen, there was the hated "E" -- for EDGE network. And then I remembered that Madame Bell would be coming after me for another 420 bucks this year for data and texts. Oy! What a hangover.
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Enough with the purple prose. But my first few days with the iPhone, coming just before Google dropped the Chrome OS bomb, made me realize how far we are from the mobile, Web-based nirvana so often promised. The technology and the infrastructure are simply not there yet. It's time to lower our expectations.
4G? Don't hold your breath
Check this out: "Although the carriers will never admit that current 3G and 2.5G data services are anything less than spectacular, they are still prepping their networks for the next generation. And wireless providers hope 4G technologies will light a fire under the moribund market for data services on cell phones." Sound familiar? It should. Those lines were written by an InfoWorld colleague in 2003.
That's right, six years ago. If I cared to, I'm sure I could find hype-filled 4G stories going back to the turn of the 21st century. So when I hear Verizon and other carriers go on about yet another superduper telephony technology, I've got to laugh.
There is one very false note in the paragraph I cited above: the bit about moribund market for data services on cell phones. These days, that market is anything but moribund. But the carriers never expected, nor prepared for, the rapid expansion in demand.