Monday, January 14, 2008

Wireless Email Update

It was one year ago we reported on our first entry into the data use of our phones, (Mountain Wireless News, January 5, 2007) seeing how cheaply we could retrieve email from our regular cellular phones. We were seeking the best way to occasionally access our email accounts with the hopes of not being forced to a Blackberry or PDA-like device.

The results were surprising with services available for a little as $2 per month (Remomail) and usage rates limited just to time used, charged by the minute. In that year we found our $2 service was not only a bit primitive, it was also pervasive enough to crash 3 phones.

Last summer I changed to a nicer service for a still-nice price of $2.50 per month (SodaPop mail). Unknown to us, that service was discontinued by the carrier, a fact not to be discovered until we were traveling far from home, right where you'd want to use it most.

So now we're paying the big money, $5 per month, for infrequent use of (POP3) email access (Genesis Vemail). At that price level, you get a really nice email service with slick features like voice response returned by email attachment. But at that $5 level, some carriers offer you real Internet access where you can not only get your (web-accessible) email, but you'd also get wireless access to web sites, sometimes handy for an address or phone number.

For now, we prefer deluxe email features over web access as $5 a month is a big expense in our world. But the big news is that email is still usable with your plain vanilla cellular phone, no PDA phone required. In light of that, the $5 fee seems cheap since a little over a year ago we thought a much more expensive wireless device and its associated air time was required to attach that email ball and chain to our leg.

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