Sun Jun 7 03:11:11 UTC 2009

buying the new jesusphone

I got a Pre! It was A Production.

I woke up at approximately 1030 on Saturday morning, thinking vaguely of hitting the union street sprint store and buying one. I called them, at which point they informed me that Quantities Were Limited, so I changed targets to the pine street store. I arrived around 1200 and played with one of the extensively smudged demo units until a employee freed up. During the purchasing process, she told me to never, never ever take the battery out, since it would erase the memory of the phone. Hilarious, since one of the big PR zings against Apple was that the Pre had a removable battery. The box also warned strongly against using a non-Sprint/Palm approved charger, which was additionally hilarious, since PR zing two was that the Pre had a standard micro-USB port, rather than a proprietary power/data connector.

Transferring the number from T-Mobile to Sprint was, of course, fraught with difficulty. Employee Diana implored me to not turn on the phone until my old phone stopped being able to place calls.

While waiting for my phone to stop working, I went to the Pike Place Crumpet Shop, unwisely drank three cups of tea, then relocated to a place with free wifi.

Keenly detecting that I had walked into a library, Sprint customer service rang me up. Apparently, shock of the ages, there was a problem with transferring my number, and they needed my t-mobile account number. After unsuccessfully grappling with t-mobile's morass of a site, rendered broken by no-script yet still achingly slow, we decided to conference call t-mobile's customer service, and attempt to wrest the account number from them directly.

T-mobile, in the interest of saving money, had outsourced customer service to some benighted hellhole connected to the rest of the world via tin cans and string. After the two CSRs read from scripts at each other, it was determined that they needed a PIN to release the account number to me. That's cool, except I had no idea what my pin was. After guessing several numbers, the t-mobile CSR determined that I had no idea what my pin was, and "transfered" me to another department, where they were allowed to ask me slightly more penetrating questions regarding my identity.

But several critical strands of twine couldn't handle the load of transferring the call, and we were disconnected. The Sprint CSR speculated that my PIN might be the last four digits of my SSN, calling into question why they didn't just ask for the SSN. We called again, the PIN was correctly guessed, and we began the arduous process of transferring a nine digit number between three people, with one of them stopping every thirty seconds to whisper "beg pardon?" and "say that again?" and "holy shit why does a phone company have such shitty call quality?"

Eventually the magic number was obtained, confirmed no less than three times, and the Sprint CSR informed me that basic service would be transfered at exactly 1928 hours Central time, with data service beginning a hour after.

So that's the state of play, as of 1530 hours Pacific. I await disappointment with Sprint, and mild glee with Palm.

UPDATE: 1554 PST My blackberry is now displaying "SIM card rejected", but we're still two hours from the weirdly specific activation time given to me by Sprint. So I can't use the blackberry, but I can't turn on the Pre. Sure hope nobody's trying to call me right now!

UPDATE: 1958 PST It verks! We sustained a flat tyre en route home, and after replacing it, a task made non-trivial by puny nerd muscles, we discovered that the spare was more or less dead flat. While waiting for the AAA tow truck to show up with an air compressor, I booted up the pre and ran through the tedious setup talk with a Sprint CSR.

After playing with it a bit, I discovered that it actually uses a micro usb connector, which is a lot like the mini usb connector, only more fragile, rendering my oddly extensive collection of mini usb cables and chargers from previous Motorola and RIM phones obsolete. Thanks, OMTP.

Also, as reported by Engadget, the Pre adds all your gmail contacts when you first start up the contacts application, which is great when your gmail contacts list is full of useless auto-generated entries.

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