I'm not sure what you're talking about. None of the problems you
mention are anything that I've experienced in using PDA phones for the
past 5 or 6 years.

- Prefs - Date & Time - Disable getting the time from the phone service.
- If roaming, it's you're own fault if you don't turn the phone off and
drain the battery. Hopefully you turned it off before getting on the
plane. BTW turning the phone off doesn't turn the unit off, it just
disabled phone & data connections. You're free to run local programs
all you want.
- What is "data to traverse"? Unlimited data runs $10-15/month or
thereabouts. If you're paying more than that you're using the wrong
service provider.
- Fee for storing contacts? Why would anyone do that? Sync it (OTA or
tethered) with Exchange & be done. Also makes keeping a single contact
list a breeze.
- Get a phone with a real keyboard. Texting doesn't require a data plan
and is meant for short messages only. But texting does usually have a
per message fee unless, again, you opt for a plan with x messages.

As to:
-the best cell phones are the free ones.

It depends. You get what you pay for. Something that is OK for making
calls but that's about it.

With a PDA phone you can do a lot more than that. Check movie listings
while at a restaurant, respond to a page & VPN & telnet to the iSeries
to answer messages, run Google Maps & GMail natively, have a scientific
calculator, click a phone number in the sig of an email message to call
that person instantly, play games when you have time to kill, listen to
MP3s (or watch videos) stored locally or streamed over the Internet, not
only view but edit Office documents, view PDFs, act as a high-speed
modem for your laptop when WiFi isn't available, and much more with
additional programs. To suit your modest demands there are alarm clock
programs and other clocks that do time zone calculations.


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