the Qualcomm conspiracy...

or: why are CDMA phones so much more expensive and still look like crap?

My company, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that we should all switch to a CDMA platform. Now, for some reason I could never explain till now, I've always hated CDMA. Enough that I almost refused the company cell phone, though practical necessity finally won and I toed the line. [I mean, I already have a rep for saying "sorry, your stupid software doesn't work on Linux so I can't use it/join the conf call/whatever"; it would look terrible if I said "sorry, I can't call you at 9pm because I refused a company cell phone" :-)]

Anyway, getting back to my rant for the day/week, I spent a couple days looking at CDMA phones. Invariably, they look like crap compared to a similarly priced Nokia, and their UIs suck golf balls through chem lab pipettes, but meh, I'll manage.

Then I find a Nokia phone that does CDMA; something called the 6275. This has exactly the same features as my 3310 Classic GSM phone, except the camera is 2MP (versus 1.3MP on mine). Cool, I'm in heaven!

The cost? Just about double that of the GSM model, give or take a bit.

Now, some of you know about the long legal battle between Nokia and Qualcomm, and Qualcomm owns CDMA, so you're thinking, well duh! Why would they make it cheap for Nokia?

So fine, back to plan A -- I'll buy a Samsung. I just want MIDP because I got used to being on IRC whenever I'm forced to sit around at a boring place (ahem!).

Well guess what? the cheapest Samsung CDMA phone that has MIDP is more than 3X the cost of the cheapest GSM phone from Samsung.

Now if that is not because of Qualcomm taking their pound of flesh for CDMA technology itself, I don't know what it is.

Damn Qualcomm. And double-damn "Brew", their horrible, proprietary, expensive, apology of an excuse for Java competition. Including their "we have to control what runs on your phone" attitude too. I hope they all burn in hell. So much for market forces, what a load of crap...

Anyway, I have made a decision: I will only buy extremely low end CDMA phones, which do just the bare minimum (voice and SMS only), because I have to believe the profit margin on these can't be much. They'll never get a penny more from me than is absolutely, minimally, necessary.


and now, my "some reason I could never explain" seems vindicated! Dare I think myself so intuitive about these things that even my unreasoned prejudices end up having a rational explanation when you look deeper? Wow... :-)

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