Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lovin' my iPodTouch

Last week, a study showed that the British valued their communications tools more than holidays and buying clothes. Only buying groceries, toiletries and cosmetics rated higher than having a phone at home and a broadband subscription.

Mobile subscriptions were also deemed to be essential, rather than desirable. Only 19% of respondents put mobile subscriptions 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a list of items they would cut down on in the recession.

Now I happen to think that mobile phone charges in UK are extortionate. No wonder mobile phone companies appear to be doing so well. I, for one, would not countenance paying £40 a month for 24 months, just to get an all-singing, all-dancing phone such as the Nokia n97, which will be out of date by the end of the contract, irrespective of the generous allowance of minutes.

I just don't talk on mobile phones that much. Having said that, I managed to exhaust my humble £12 a month tariff in only one week whilst I was stuck in hospital in July. I haven't used the mobile since, and won't until the new monthly allowance of minutes becomes available. There are other ways of contacting people.

I did look at that £40 a month contract, I must admit. The Nokia n97 is an exceedingly powerful pocket machine with 32Gb memory and a 5 megapixel camera. But my new Nokia 6220 has a 5 megapixel camera too, and I have a little netbook which is easy to carry around and easy to use for someone of my ilk with arthritic fingers.

What finally turned me off the n97 was that the mobile operator would not carry Skype. I could have bought the phone and gone with a SIM from 3mobile, but I'm wary of 3 after I had to get REALLY angry when the call centre simply refused to let me not renew my contract. I gather I'm not the only one. I had to let off steam by writing to head office. They haven't replied.

I suppose the carrier might not be able to do anything about using Skype on the Nokia n97 when it's connected to wifi, but I didn't want to pay all that money just to find out.

Quite by chance, I discovered that Apple's iPodTouch 2nd generation enables web browsing, and Skype, when it connects to a wi-fi connection.

Reader, I bought one. Not new, mind you, but a refurbished model offered on the Amazon website. I wanted to find out what it would be like before committing to expensive mobile technology which I might not be able to use.

What is there not to like about the design of Apple products? Sleek, slim, futuristic, even holding the ipodTouch gives one a vicarious thrill. The screen resolution is brilliant.

I still have a problem with the keyboard. I can't imagine typing in emails other than one-fingered and slowly, and it's easy to hit the wrong button, which holds things up even more. Perhaps someone has made an app which provides a virtual keyboard on the desk. I shall have to find out.

So at the moment, my new gadget is a gimmick. I haven't found a wifi network I can connect to yet, other than at home, which rather defeats the object. I want to be Skype-able on the move.

But I've just checked back with FON and discovered numerous BTFon connecton points which should make life rather easier. This was what I was hoping for almost two years ago when I wrote about BT and FON teaming up. Check out BTFon and what it offers.

I've even found directions on how to connect to a BTfon hub on the ipodTouch. So there!