So, Google announced what we are going to get instead of the gPhone. This is a bit like getting $1000 towards college education instead of that hot new toy for your 12th birthday.

This is excellent news, of course. I really hope this will force the evil cell phone companies in the US to either change for the better or go out of business.

I spent a week in the Ukraine, and experienced what the cell phone experience is like in the rest of world.  I purchased a very nice new Nokia phone for about $60, activated a SIM card that came with it and immediately  received a phone number. It came with enough credits for 100 minutes of non-time-of-day restricted conversation. Later I was able to purchase cards with scratch-off code on just about any street corner that refilled my minutes at very reasonable prices.  The competition is fierce and prices are good because you can change phones and SIM cards at will.  Phone calls and SMS messages in the Ukraine were very cheap, and even calls to the US were only about 25 cents per minute.

On the other hand, Verizon, my provider of choice, increased the length of my contract just because I added a single handset, added extra data “services” to my plan without checking with me just because my phone supports them, made using activation of a third party handset a 4 hour rigmarole, not even counting all the time that I have to spend on the phone with them just to make sure that they are not overcharging me. I hate Verizon so frickin’ much, but at least they have enough towers in the city to actually allow to use my phone to, you know, conduct whatchumacallit — phone conversations. Ironically, the usually more reliable SMS messages are dropped or delivered days late with them.