Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro writes Despite immense advances in technology, we face the same basic constraints that our grandparents did when choosing what color of rotary-dial phone to get from the Bell System: You can only buy what the phone company wants to sell.
When cell phones were used only for talking, this might not have mattered much. Now phones are the equivalent of handheld computers — but unlike computers, they don’t arrive in everybody’s stores at the same time and with all their promised features intact.
Rob doesn’t offer solutions and frankly there are none as the wireless telecom carriers hold all the cards. However, as you consider buying your next cell phone ask your wireless dealer how much flexibility you have in using the phone and what features you can add/use on your own.
Consider getting a phone with at least a SIM card so you have a bit more flexibility in using a wider range of phones and simply swapping out SIM cards.
In explaining the restrictions users are going through Rob writes about Bluetooth At worst, they’ll offer it only on one or two token phones, and with its more useful features disabled. Neither Sprint nor Verizon, for example support file transfer via Bluetooth. So instead of sending your camera phone’s pictures to your computer via Bluetooth, you’re expected to e-mail them to yourself, running up airtime and picture-messaging charges along the way.