Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Whatever happened to....

...analog cellphones?

Anybody else have one of those old ones? I guess they're not quite gone yet, but the writing is on the wall. I'd heard some years ago that some cellphone companies weren't even accepting analog cellphone accounts anymore.

I received a notice from my provider, U.S. Cellular, yesterday. They advise that they'll stop supporting analog phones effective November of this year. They say they're actually being generous as many other companies are dropping analogs even earlier. Now what to do?

I have an old Motorola "bag phone" that I keep in my truck. I only use it on rare occasion, but appreciate having it available. It only costs a little over $10.00 a month and I suppose I could do without it completely, but it does give me some comfort knowing I have it if I need it. I've probably had that phone for over then years.

Thing is, I don't want, or even like, all the newer digital cellphones everyone else has nowadays. They're too small to hold easily, seems to me, and I don't need all the bells and whistles. I just need something to make phone calls on very rare occasions. Something inexpensive and durable.

Is there anything available like that nowadays? I haven't seen anything that suits my fancy.

I actually went to E- Bay a month or so ago to see if I could find an older, larger digital cellphone. I found out then that E- Bay had frozen my account a few months earlier for some reason, stating misuse or some such thing. Funny thing is, that was the first time I'd been to E- Bay for quite some time so I'm assuming someone hacked my account and misused it.

Anyway, then I tried to find some kind of cellphone I might like doing a search for cellphones and all that came up was pages with the same crappy cellphones all the rest of you have.

Anyone know of any cellphone manufacturers that make bigger, simpler digital cellphones. If I can't find one, I might just do without.

Sometimes being an old- timer who likes the simple things sucks.

19 Comments:

At 9:08 AM, Blogger The Boy Most Likely to ... said...

You are in luck Fred. You may have to troll magazines that are catered to ... older people... (trying to be delicate here), but there is a company that sells new digital cell phones that are easy to use. They lack all of the bells and whistles that the new phones typically come with. This phone has only the basic stuff, and has a large digits on the key pad for people with poorer vision.

I read Discovery Magazine, and their ads come up on occasion.

So something is out there for you Fred. You are not going to have to settle for a phone that has too many gadgets.

-boy

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Our analog bag phone sits in the attic unused. When our cellphone company was bought out by Verizon, we had to switch to digital. Sorry, to hear that you have to give up your analog, but maybe you can get a camera phone to take pictures of the illegal garbage dumpers.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Thanks, boy, I'll have to look into that. You'd think there'd be at least one company that would break with the way everyone else is doing it.

Too bad there couldn't be a company that just supported analog.

And actually, Carol, while I do have a Canon digital camera, I wouldn't mind having a camera I could have with me all the time. That's one bell and whistle I wouldn't mind having.

If I had one of those on my bag phone I wouldn't of missed the shot I missed the other day- the morning we went to San Francisco last time: Cheri Arkley vacuuming out her car at the gas station at Harris and E streets.

I'd just finished vacuuming out my truck when she drove in and started vacuuming hers. I approached her and said in a jestful manner, "Cheri Arkely vacuuming out her own car...? I never would of imagined...".

She replied, "Yep, I clean up my dog's poop by myself, too...". I told her I knew that and had said such things to others. Not sure that she knew what I meant. She knows me by sight, not by name, I think.

If I could have taken a picture with her bottom half outside while she was vacuuming, I could of posted it here and had a guessing game: "Which famous Eureka personality did I catch vacuuming out his/her car?".

Would anyone have got it right?

 
At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We switched to a smaller digital phone that unfolds so it is not that small like some of them. It can take photos but we don't use it for that. It is pretty simple to use. I had U.S. Cellular program the voice mail and had them get rid of the phone number showing up to anyone that I decided to call. We have two phones but are on a very old plan and won't switch to another as we have no roaming but not at the more expensive rate that you would have to pay now. We make all long distance calls on the cell so it saves a lot. Also pay $10 and can get unlimited incoming calls without those minutes being charged. Used to have only the $10.00 emergency call line but when calculating long distance it became worthwhile to switch.

 
At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phone "the boy" mentioned is advertised on TV with a pleasant jingle. The name is "Jitterbug."

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

I'd had to use some different styles, but I really haven't found one that I like, stay away from the flip-phones, the hinge breaks (and fyi the razor and the like have shitty battery life) I've found the best to be the Nokia "candy bar" or "Bar of soap" style, they have great battery life, no flip and good range. I used a model 3120b, much better than my Motorola DPC650.

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a Tracfone for a couple years with no problems. I pay $100 for 12 months service. There are useage limitations (check their website), but you can't beat the price for an emergency phone. Radio Shack has Tracfones to look at, learn about & purchase, but you'll get a better deal on-line when it's time to renew your minutes.

GB05

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for the tips, guys. I like the Jitterbug, as far as appearance and utility. The Tracfone seems to be cheaper, though.

I have their web sites bookmarked. I'll check them out further when I have more time.

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Fred.
Take your bag phone out and kiss it good-bye. They can support twenty-five or more digital phones in the bandwidth that one analog phone uses. The F.C.C. sells bandwidth. Do you think that they give a rats ass that you and I have the best phone ever made?

They do make higher power digital bag phones. They have their own faults too.

If you want some more bag phones, we have about fifteen in the back room. We would be glad to give them to you, in fact if you hold out, we will actually pay you to take them.

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been with Verizon (and their predecessor companies) from the beginning, so long, in fact, that our two cell phones have consecutive numbers. Last year we got letters stating that by this month (Feb. '08) they would no longer service analog phone. I thought that a good deal would come along before the cut-off date. Well, guess what! Last December I got a letter from Verizon that offered free digital phones for a time. I rushed down and got one for each number, each with a car and house charger. Now the reception is better and the battery lasts forever, and of course, the free price was right. A feature I especially like is the speaker phone capability. Last month I was on a 30 minute call, with being on and off hold, and was it a relief to have the speaker phone.

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now tell me about the GPS. If I keep my cell phone turned on, does that mean the Federal Government will be able to track my every move?

I don't know why they would want to keep track of my comings and goings, but I guess the mandatory GPS in the new cell phones gives them the technical capability to do it.

Wait! Do these new cellular telephones permit the user to turn off the phone (and the GPS at the same time)? Or will we be observed from the sky at all times as if we were gerbils moving through habbit trail?

So I sound paranoid? Good. That's the exact impression I was trying to convey.

Comments? Answers? Please!

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I don't know, 1:56. Funny you mention that, though. In the FAQ on the back of the letter they sent me one question asks why analog is being discontinued.

The answer they give is that digital is just better technology, works better and provides "improved public safety through enhanced 911 services, which use digital networks to locate a cell phone in an emergency".

I have no idea if e911 works when the phone is turned off, but it certainly sounds like some government edict to switch equipment just because they know what's best for you. I can't help but wonder how much of the push for this came from the Dept. of Homeland Security?

Hey, just because you're paranoid...

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Fred said...

10:33 wrote,"Last December I got a letter from Verizon that offered free digital phones for a time.".

My Motorola bag phone was free, if you signed up for a service contract or something like a year or so.

I'm wondering if U.S. Cellular will offer me free digital replacement? They'd better hurry. I like those Jitterbugs.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I had a nice camera phone until it fell into the goldfish pond. Now I have a more basic flip phone. My younger daughter has a Strawberry Chocolate phone. She plays games and text messages her friends. Her eyesight must be good. I can't even see the thing unless I wear glasses.

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I especially dislike those small ones. Looks like you'd need a pen or pencil just to dial numbers, the buttons being so small.

I really like that Jitterbug phone, but it looks like the Tracphone is cheaper, although Tracphone is more of a service, rather than a phone.

I guess I could buy a Jitterbug and subscribe to Tracphone service?

Another thing with Tracphone is I could keep my current cellphone number. Doesn't look like I can do that with Jitterbug.

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Eel River Ernie said...

Fred,

Here is an obituary I wrote and sent to several of my friends in late December of 2007 when I found out that I too am a victim of advancing technology.

"I am saddened to report the demise of the bag phone in my pickup. We had been faithful companions for the past 15 years and have seen vehicles come and go, been stuck in mud together (bailing each other out), reported accidents, received and sent good news and bad, traveled to Canada and all over the western states and survived my wife’s many threats urging me to “get rid of that old bag.”

A victim of modern technology, “Baggie” as I fondly called her, met her maker earlier this week when her life support system was terminated (unplugged) by her compassionate owner. Baggie will be remembered for her powerful 1 watt capabilities and ability to facilitate contact with the outside world from the depths of Smith River canyons, the plains of central British Columbia, Canada and the wilds of Wyoming territory. Baggie was also noted for her ability to keep a secret by not having any call forwarding features, voicemail or caller ID. While slightly overweight, at 2 lbs, she was still a thing of beauty with her magnetic antenna glistening in the sun, her long lifeline snaked under the carpet of her host vehicle while she modestly hid her sleek gray plastic body from view. She will be remembered by all that knew her.

A brief memorial is planned for Baggie on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at the Slant Bridge over the Smith River at 1600 hours where she will be given the traditional send off (no pun intended). A reception will follow at the Hiouchi RV Park. Calls of condolence may be made to the grieving owner at his new cell phone (707) 599-****.

Eel River Ernie

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Fred
Google RFID tracking devices. There is one in the label on your undershorts. Better get rid of them.

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Ah, what a sweet obit for ERE's bag phone. Maybe we should do something special for Greg's ol' bag phone that is in the attic - have a wake or something.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did Cherie's bottom look anyway? Enough of the phone talk.

 

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