Buy Cell Phones

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Most Americans buy cell phones as often, or in fact more often, as they buy new cars, new computers, or even new shoes. It's not that we need new phones. We, in our Silicon Valley wonderland, want them. Technology moves along at a delightfully frenzied pace. We try to keep up with it.

Camera phones, for example, which started life just a little while back at 0.5 megapixels, are now at 2.5 megapixels and making good progress toward six. Text messaging has morphed into email and internet access. To keep up with all this we buy cell phones more often than we probably need to. But that's okay because it helps keep the economies of a number of countries rolling along, our own included.

Whether you buy cell phones just for yourself or for your family, you want to shop before you buy. What you buy, of course, will depend on your carrier, and visa versa. Americans are at a great disadvantage in this respect, compared to everyone else in the world. There's a price to individuality. This one is steep and--to me at least--four steps beyond silly. If you switch carriers, you're forced to buy a new phone. It's that simple.

Beware the Restrictions as You Prepare to Buy Cell Phones in America

Wireless technology evolved more quickly in Europe and Asia than it did in the United States, in largest part because landline networks were less well established. In Europe, Asia, and Africa, phone companies provide service on a removable circuit board called a SIM (subscriber identification module). In America the companies buy in bulk from manufacturers and build the circuit board into the phone, where it is hard coded when you subscribe to the service.

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