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Monday, February 26, 2007

Carphone Warehouse still thinks BT owns O2.....

Went out to get a new SIM card, to replace the one in the phone I lost last night. Amusingly, O2 is still on Carphone Warehouse retail stores' systems as "BT" despite being demerged more than 5 years ago & subsequently bought by Telefonica.

On a related issue - it looks like the replacement for my lost SonyEricsson K800i may end up being the first handset I purchase at full retail price, as I wasn't insured. Leaving aside my professional awareness of the "real" unsubsidised cost of phones, I have to say it's a quite significant jolt to my usual consumer buying behaviour to be thinking about stumping up £220-£270 for a new one.

Do I really need another $500 phone? Or should I get a slim, basic device and also a separate unconverged pocket-sized digital camera - imaging being the main selling point of the K800i? It's made me think of all the expensive bits of hardware & software that were in the phone that I resent paying for - infrared obviously, but also the MP3/FM/music stuff I've used a total of twice. And... heresy here.... 3G, which I switch off most of the time to improve battery life.

And it's got me thinking that as phones get more like PCs, they should come with the same user-defined options that you get if you spec a computer on Dell's or a similar company's website. I mean, a basic PC is about the same price as a top-end phone, but much more easily customised.

So, for my next handset, I'd add an extra 512MB of onboard memory (+£10); delete 3G (-£20); pre-load a decent browser (free); delete charger as I already have one (-£5)..... now obviously this has a whole bunch of supply chain issues for the normal operator/retailer channel, but it shouldn't be impossible for an Expansys-type distributor to work with the manufacturers to make phones more modular. I guess the limiting factor is the physical accessibility of the interfaces, and the fact that changing the radio elements would probably need the device to be re-certified.

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