[geeks] Smart phone data usage

Phil Stracchino alaric at metrocast.net
Wed Jul 6 14:52:29 CDT 2011

Soliciting the wisdom of the collective here.

First, the reasons:
Work issued me a crackberry when I was hired, and I (&$@^#^%@%#@ HATE
the )(*@$()*&$#^%^@# thing.  It can reduce me to frustrated rage in mere

I have an alternative.  Work wants me to have a smartphone so they can
reach me via email.  But it doesn't HAVE to be a crackberry.  If I buy
my own Android phone, on Verizon's network, work will pay for the
Verizon service for as long as I work there.

However, if I'm going to buy and Android phone, I want one with a good
physical keyboard.  RIGHT NOW, the best physical keyboard on an Android
phone is reportedly the HTC Merge.


I've handled one, and it's ... not bad.  But I understand the Merge is a
niche phone with limited availability, largely due to unpopularity of
the decision to tie it to Bing for search and location instead of
Google.  (Have you *used* Bing?  It's #%*(&$^! awful.)  Also, by current
standards, it's slow and has a small screen.

There's what looks like an even better upcoming candidate, Motorola's
new Droid 3.


The catch?
The official release date for the Droid 3 is reported to be TOMORROW.
The last day to get grandfathered in on Verizon's unlimited data plan is
(This is possibly not a coincidence.)

The bottom tier in the three-tiered data plan that will replace the
unlimited-data plan tomorrow is $30, the same price as the about-to-end
unlimited-data plan, for 2GB/month.

2GB of *data* per month.  On a *phone*.  That just seems like a hell of
a lot more than I'd ever use.  BUT, I don't know how much data mapping
and navigation (pretty much the only data features I expect I'd ever use
on it, unless I write mobile-specific versions of some of my own web
apps) actually use.

SO.  If you have a smartphone, and you make significant use of mapping
and navigation ...  about how much data do they typically use?  How much
data do YOU use per month?  Assume I won't be streaming music to it,
watching movies on it (movies on a sub-5" screen?  Cthulhu forbid), or
anything like that.  I'll almost certainly never install a single game
on it, and the odds are against me finding a "phone app" I give a crap
about, beyond the web browser and maybe a notepad (though an SSH client
might be useful in rare emergencies).

How likely am I to even *approach* 2GB of data usage per month?  I
really have no idea how much data usage mapping (likely to be
infrequent) and navigation (likely even more infrequent) use up.

  Phil Stracchino, CDK#2     DoD#299792458     ICBM: 43.5607, -71.355
  alaric at caerllewys.net   alaric at metrocast.net   phil at co.ordinate.org
  Renaissance Man, Unix ronin, Perl hacker, SQL wrangler, Free Stater
                 It's not the years, it's the mileage.

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