Year In Review: Mobility

2009 was the first time in so many years that I desperately wanted to change my mobile service provider. It started with the problems I was having with Airtel once my phone connection was changed from corporate billing to personal billing. This number has been with me, in my name, for close to 8-years now and it was a bit crazy to know that every time the billing changes, they register you into a new customer ID, forcing you to start fresh from credit limits and whatnot. This just fails on so many levels on rewarding customer loyalty. Thankfully, for them, the other providers are no better.

There were not many other changes on that front. I have stuck steadfastly to Nokia E71 as the platform. The phone is getting a bit long in the tooth now and as the joke goes, even the milkman has one of these nowadays, but it is built like a tank, works reasonably well and I have gone through only a single intentional factory reset to fix the regulation Nokia sluggishness. At its current price levels the phone is a great value-for-money proposition, only if we could slap something like a decent operating system on it, than the mindlessness called S60.

Usage of the phone is limited largely to voice (~70% for local outgoing calls in billing), lower single digit percentages in text and data is covered by the Rs 99 plan which has a bundled 250 MB per month free usage limit with it. I do intend to change my call plan, which should see a marginal drop in total billing. Data will remain the same since I've not felt the need for the Rs 500 unlimited plan and I've never run afoul of the 250 MB download limit.

One significant switch that has happened through the year is my switch away from the paid applications in the GPS segment. I've tried all three paid products — Nokia Maps, MapmyIndia and Satnav — and found all to be weak in different ways. The Nokia license is really expensive even if the UI is the best of the lot, MapmyIndia search is useless (which is a crucial part of a GPS app, especially when it can hook up to a server to do the same) and Satnav, while cheap, suffers from both problems. Besides, it does not work on my E17 with a QWERTY keypad. The winner this time around is Google Maps and it is a pity, because I will more than happily pay for the licenses and I don't want Google running every part of my life, but it is an opportunity lost for the others. For my normal travel, I got myself a Mapmyindia Lx device.

The apps that have remained on my deck:

Opera Mini 4/5. (sustained heavy usage, for mail mostly. I don't use push email)

Google Maps (sustained heavy usage, mostly within the city)

Nokia Sports Tracker (Tracking my walks/run)

Gravity (Tweeting, usage trending downwards now)

Putty (Rarely used, one of those things you have with you for the 'just-in-case' scenarios)

Never mind.