Be Smart About Smart Phones

Nor' east Thinkin'

Why it may pay to go slow on switching from AT&T's iPhone 4 to Verizon's

Published on: January 26, 2011

In last week's blog, I explored the potential for smart phones – next-gen computer-phone hybrids with that can connect with any information source short of God. (Okay, that's a slight overstatement.)

The software applications or "apps" hold tremendous potential to boost your productivity. But, as it turns out there are a few more details – okay, more than a few – you should know about.

Consider these pointers from Fox 5 Tech Expert Shelly Palmer at WNYW-TV in New York City. He's also the host of NBC Universal’s, Live Digital with Shelly Palmer.

His biggest question is whether to swap AT&T's iPhone 4 for a Verizon iPhone 4. And his smallest answer is: "No, not unless you really hate AT&T."  Reason: Canceling the AT&T contract won't be cheap and Verizon's introductory cost is steep. So you pay on both ends.

A key difference is the networks. AT&T uses a GSM (Global System for Mobile) network – which works in many countries. Verizon uses a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network – which doesn't.

Since you're used to multi-tasking, there's another difference: You won't be able to browse the web while engaged in a voice telephone call on a Verizon iPhone 4. And, other than the fact that Verizon Network rarely drops calls, there's little difference between the two.

Aside of "eating" the termination fee of an AT&T iPhone and swallowing the start-up cost of a Verizon, there's one other consideration: The two-year commitment to Verizon is to a 3G, EVDO, DCMA device that's not 4G compatible. Verizon will soon be pushing out its new 4G network, and offering 4G mobile devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4G, Motorola’s Xoom, Android smart phones and more.

Palmer says Apple is likely to debut the iPhone 5 this spring/summer. Will it be a compatible to Verizon's 4G system? If not, Palmer thinks it'll have no chance competing with the Samsung, HTC, Moto and other 4G devices that'll be everywhere by then.

So he thinks that signing up for a new Verizon iPhone 4 "is, well … dumb" – at least right now.

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