AT&T denies change while sticking it to loyal iPhone users: Should you switch to Verizon or Sprint?

AT&T Customer Service Memo - Figure 1.

AT&T Customer Service Memo -Figure 1.
(Click through for a great spoof from the old Unix days.)

$250 is AT&T’s new penalty to loyal customers for upgrading with each new release of the iPhone. AT&T’s change in policy to extract this extra fee seems especially unreasonable while they still do less well than their competitors with more dropped calls, slow downloads and spotty coverage in any part of San Francisco with lots of geeks, hipsters or hills.
So if you have an iPhone 4s, what should you do? (Here’s the best explanation I can find for eligibility to upgrade.)
Since the first iPhone upgrade, every year when Apple releases a new phone, AT&T has given it’s best upgrade pricing to those who bought the latest model when it was released.  I know, because I’ve bought that phone for that price every year (except the year Apple had systems problems and had to make an exception and give me one free in order to sell it to me at all). One year they threatened to charge more (for 3GS owners upgrading to the 4), but folks raised so much stink that they went back to the old policy.
Perhaps because it is an election year, AT&T really sounds like a politician here. It simply denies inconvenient truths, and sticks to its guns even in the face of facts.

2010 Year of the App Phone (Android vs. iPhone vs. WebOS)

2008 and 2009 were all about the iPhone. Smartphones were obsolete, nothing else came close. That will be different this year. 2010 is the year of the App Phone.

Last week I looked at the version of a common app on Droid vs. iPhone. The iPhone still won hands down. (Not that a great app couldn’t be delivered on Android, but iPhone has been so much more successful that developers still prioritize it far above the others.) Why will that change this year?

iPhone has the lead in most areas as the most polished and intuitive device with the most apps. But Android and Palm are set to rapidly gain enough market share and maturity of their own to stand up as viable competition.

And they’re all being freed of carrier lock-in. Palm announced WebOS handsets for Verizon. AT&T announced that it will sell Android and WebOS. iPhone may be available on carriers other than AT&T as soon as June. Google has announced its Nexus One, and many more Android handsets are sure to come this year.

For me personally, this means a big change. I am, afterall, the guy who camped at the front of all three previous iPhone lines. Continue reading