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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Broken! [ Sunday, 19 Feb 06 | 15:53 ]

I did it by accident, and I’m not really sure how. But I must have hit my Sony Ericsson T630 móvil on a rock or something. In any case the TFT screen shows an interesting failure.

I bought the phone here in Barcelona about a year and a half ago and had been pleased with it.

I went shopping for a replacement phone the same day that I broke it. I ended up buying a Sony Ericsson K700i, which is similar to the one I broke.

It’s a tri-band phone so I can use it both here and in the US. Also, with Bluetooth connectivity and iSync I can synchronize both contacts and calendars between phone and computer, something that was limited with my T630 before. Thanks to 40MB of memory on the phone. Also, navigation is improved using tabs.

Like the T630 before it, this phone allows pictures to be taken. Here is one from my terraza and shows an approaching rain shower. The Barcelona skyline is partially obscured because of it. I can also create short movies, but haven’t tried that feature yet.

Here in España you can buy a móvil with or without (libre) a contract with one of the three service providers. There always seems to be a lot shoppers where phones are sold even though wireless service is very widespread. The push now is for more media content on phones, including TV. There was a big 3GSM trade show here in Barcelona last week.

The El Masnou Credit Card

My bank, “La Caixa”, offers a Visa credit card of El Masnou with the marina and church of San Pere in the background. Unfortunately it’s only available as a credit card and not a debit card, otherwise I would already have one!

[User Picture]From: beardoc
Monday, 20 Feb 06 | 05:23 (UTC)
I've done that as well.

By the way, is there anywhere in the US that you can't get signal with a tri-band GSM phone? Is it necessary to go quad-band?
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 20 Feb 06 | 06:35 (UTC)

US GSM Coverage

There are still some areas in the US that have no GSM coverage. They have several cellular technologies in the US and most of this is "hidden" from customers. And it's difficult to buy a mobile phone in the US without a contract. Or in your case, to bring in a phone and just buy a "pre-paid" SIM chip. That's difficult to do as well.

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[User Picture]From: beardoc
Monday, 20 Feb 06 | 09:32 (UTC)

Re: US GSM Coverage

The best deal seemed to be the T-Mobile Pay-As-You-Go Plans, which I understand is all GSM, but I wasn't sure whether the service was all GSM 1900MHz or some of it was 850MHz as well (which for me would need a quad-band phone).
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 20 Feb 06 | 13:02 (UTC)

T-Mobile Pay-As-You-Go Plan

Actually that's what I use when I am in the US. And the phone I had to buy is a dual-band 850MHz/1900MHz. Go here http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/?class=coverage to check the coverage of bands.

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[User Picture]From: beardoc
Tuesday, 21 Feb 06 | 10:54 (UTC)

Re: T-Mobile Pay-As-You-Go Plan

I've been looking around, and it seems the 1900MHz should do me just fine.

I noticed something though in the terms and conditions of that Pay-As-You-Go plan though - at least when it is mentioned through Amazon.com - they charge you for the call from the moment that the network starts processing the call, not from when the other person picks up. That means that if you call and it rings out, you end up paying for the call.

That strikes me as pretty poor.
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[User Picture]From: fingertrouble
Monday, 20 Feb 06 | 23:45 (UTC)
ooh looks like a nice phone - I've been looking at the Wifi / data smartphones recently (so I can do email/browse on a reasonable screen) but still very expensive - will get interesting if/when Skype, VOIP and Wifi get widespread on phones...

hello & hugs btw. Love your pics of BCN / El Masnou - I was in BCN at Xmas.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 21 Feb 06 | 05:11 (UTC)

Wifi / data smartphones

There was a several-month test in Barcelona for TV on mobile phones. It uses TDT in DVB-T and COFDM, which of course most of the world uses, but not in the US. The test was successful, but it may be different if you have to pay to watch TV.

For me the standard screen is just too small for e-mail or browsing. Plus, in town there are plenty of Internet "cafés" for 1 € an hour.

There's a trade-off with screen size and phone size. Here in Europe SMS is very popular and cheap, and the phones are well suited for that purpose.

Next time you are in town, give me a holler. I enjoy showing people around.

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