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The phone is dead. How to stay reasonably unbound?

So, today an endurance test can be declared as finished.

In early 2008, for the first time, I paid for a cellular phone (as my previous ones were all 100% subsidized by the operator in a fixed plan). I got a Nokia N95. And, although at the beginnning I was quite thrilled with my smartphone (when such things were still a novelty), it didn’t take much to me to start dumbing it down to what is really useful to me: A phone with a GPS. And the GPS only because it is the only toy I want in such a form factor.

Anyway, despite the operator repeatedly offering me newer and more capable models, I kept this one, and as soon as I was free of the forced 18 month rental period, switched to a not-data-enabled, pay-as-you-go plan. I don’t want to be connected to the intertubes when I’m away from a usable computer!

But yes, five years are over what a modern phone wants to endure. Over time, I first started getting SIM card errors whenever the phone was dropped or slightly twisted - As I’m a non-frequent phone user, I didn’t care much. Charging it also became a skill of patience, as getting the Nokia micro-connector to make contact has been less and less reliable. Over one year ago, the volume control (two sensors on the side) died after a phone drop (and some time later I found the switches broken from the mainboard loose) - A nuisance, yes, but nothing too bad. I don’t know how, but some time ago the volume went down when using the radio, and as I can’t raise it again, my phone became radio-disabled. And today, the screen died (it gets power, but stays black). I can blind-operate the phone, but of course, it is really not meant for that.

So, I expect this Saturday to go get a new phone. Between now and then, I’ll be cellphone-deprived (in case you wonder why I’m not answering to your messages or whatever). I would love to get a phone with a real keyboard (as I prefer not to look at the screen when writing messages, just to check if everything came out right and fix what’s needed). I understand Android phones are more likely to keep me happy as a free software geek, and I’d be delighted to use Cyanogen if it is usable and stable — But my phone is not my smart computer and it should not attempt to be, so it’s not such a big deal. I will look for something with FM radio capability, and GPS.

Of course, I want something cheap. It would be great to get it at no cost, but I don’t expect I’ll find such a bargain. Oh, and I want something I can find at the first Telcel office I come to, am I asking for too much? :)

Anyway - I’ll enjoy some days of being really disconnected from any wireless bugs (that I am aware off).


Alejandro Alcaide 2013-03-02 09:45:00

How is it?

Hi, Gunnar.

I got a Huawei Ideos about 2 years ago and the GPS was just horrible, how is this one’s?

Were you able to install the Cyanogen Rom for yours?

How long does your battery last?

Anonymous 2013-01-30 04:03:22

keyboard phone

I have the xperia pro it’s a hardware qwerty keyboard and it’s cyanogenmod compatble

On the free software side you can use a galaxy s2 with a more free android version


gwolf 2013-02-05 14:58:00

Thanks to all - A redux…

I might get around to a full post later on. Yes, I ended up embracing the “smartphone experience” — I got a ZTE V791 phone, running Android 2.3.6, for MX$990 (US$78, €57). I was budgeting for up to double that cost, so I got a second one for Regina as well. And it comes with ~$600 of “air time”, so… I cannot feel robbed :) It feels very comfortable. Lets see how it fits my lifestyle - Of course I can dumb down any smartphone! ;-)

Only gripe: It’s touchscreen-only. I know I’ll get used to it. But I still prefer real keys.

gwolf 2013-03-05 09:19:09

It is like this :)

About the GPS, it works quite well. I guess it is aided by the Wifi (as I often start my GPS sessions still in a Wifi-covered area), so catching up on where it is is quite faster than the Nokia, and I have seen less “jitter” when pedalling through tree- or building-obscured roads.

The battery lasts over two days - I have not yet had it complain about low battery, so I don’t know the specific details. High? Low? Depends on what you compare to. It is at least similar to the Nokia (after six years of service, of course). We shall also see how the battery ages!

And about alternative ROMs, I have frankly not even tried rooting it.

Mie vaan 2013-02-05 15:03:32


I posted a comment at another post about this, but here you go again (at the right place):

Replicant, the fully free Android distribution.

nominator 2013-01-30 02:47:41


As I’m funily enaugh in a similar sitution, but already took a look, I would nominate the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro.

V. 2013-02-02 11:27:25

Today, if you want a GPS chip

Today, if you want a GPS chip + a map software on your phone, you have no choice, you need to embrace the full smartphone experience. There are no more basic phones without all the smartphone things but with GPS and a map like there used to be.

That said, if you can live without GPS, there are still a lot of “feature phones” shipping with an FM Radio, my favorites are the Nokia ones.

If you want the GPS, there are now cheap Android smartphones with a physical keyboard. In Europe we have for example the Huawei U8350 for 50€ more or less. This can be a good option. I don’t know if they sell in Mexico though.

vicm3 2013-02-04 10:20:16

Dump phone and no GPS

But it’s really cheap had FM receiver and full keyboard [1] (BTW on Metro Copilco corridor there are good offers on a small booth) there are it cost me 960, but on december was on 640 on Bodega Aurrera, all around a good phone, the keyboard is a plus is touch screen, but not smart phone, also had 3mpx camera its cheap with a silicone fund I think is a good choice… but I suspect you already chosen one, with GPS.


WebMAAC 2013-01-30 13:29:31

vivo 4.3

Los venden en Palacio de Hierro el Doble Sim es la onda, y que el teléfono este desbloqueado igual