My worst purchases

My worst purchases

After HP killed webOS and put the TouchPad on a deep, deep discount, I couldn’t help but feel like a sucker. You see friends, I did pick up a TouchPad about a week and a half ago … for $400. It was definitely a bad decision in hindsight and it also made me realize that this wasn’t the only one I’ve made when it comes to the mobile world.

Putting my pride aside, let’s take a look at some of my worst purchases in the mobile space.

HP TouchPad

My worst purchases in mobileWhen HP made the first TouchPad discount permanent, I decided it was time to hop on board. Blake had handled our official review of the device and while I spent time with it, I wasn’t as familiar with it as I thought I needed to be. The discount didn’t scare me away, as others pointed out that this was par for the course with HP and its laptops.

My rationale was simple: HP spent $1.2 billion on Palm and webOS about a year ago and while its first products weren’t home runs, one of the world’s largest technology companies probably couldn’t afford to not have a stake in the increasingly-important mobile market. Even if webOS never overtakes Android, iPhone or Windows Phone, HP would push it until it had some form of stickiness. Right?

Well, no. HP killed its webOS lineup and said it is transitioning toward being an enterprise solutions company. Its brief foray into mobile space was over before it really began. Then, it put the TouchPad on deep discount ($99 for the 16 GB and $149 for the 32 GB) and that’s when I truly felt like a fool.

I recently took a little weekend vacation trip (what up, Seattle) and only brought the TouchPad as my main computing device, besides from my smartphone. It was okay – it was fine as a movie player on the plane although I had to pay $7 for a cruddy media player for my AVI files, looking for restaurants on Yelp was good and it made for a good web browsing machine. The thing is, my iPad 1, Xoom or Flyer 4G would have been just as good, if not better and provided more options and a nicer form factor.

It is funny how pricing does kind of set your expectations. If I had paid $99 for the 16 GB TouchPad, the lack of a competent app ecosystem, bulky hardware and the slow, buggy software wouldn’t have bugged me as much. HP insists it will support webOS customers but I still can’t help but feel a little disgusted and embarrassed.

BlackBerry Storm

My worst purchases in mobileThe year was 2008 and I was in the market for a new smartphone. The iPhone 3G was definitely the hot new jazz and I was going to buy it. Then, I saw the massive line at the Apple stores and decided it wasn’t worth it. Additionally, I haven’t had a landline for about a decade and the iPhone 3G was legitimately bad in San Francisco, so I needed something on Verizon which could deliver a similar experience but with more consistent data and voice. Hello, BlackBerry Storm.

The funny thing about the BlackBerry Storm is that many people hated the keyboard but after spending 10 minutes with it a few months before its release, I liked it a lot. I even wrote a post praising it. What I didn’t know at the time is that it’s fine for about 10 minutes of uses but that SurePress screen became extremely annoying as your main input method every day. That clicking screen used to give me nightmares.

It also didn’t help that the BlackBerry Storm launched on Verizon with crappy software which required reboots just to get it to work. The web browser was better than previous BlackBerrys but it still wasn’t as good as the iPhone and the apps were just kind of lame. Some would argue that Research In Motion didn’t nail a full touch BlackBerry until the recently-announced Torch 9850, so I was definitely in a bit early.

Helio Ocean

My worst purchases in mobileIn 2007, there was a lot of buzz about the MVNO Helio, as it was trying to bring 3G-connected devices to young people with an always-on ethos. When I first saw the Helio Ocean, I was in love and plunked down the cash to sign on with a relatively unknown carrier for two years.

The Helio Ocean was awesome: the dual-sliding form factor made it a bit cumbersome but the keyboard rocked and it was an eye-catching device. The unlimited 3G data was solid and the mobile Google Maps saved my bacon more times than I cared to admit. I never really used the Buddy Beacon features because well, no one else I knew was on Helio.

I knew that the original iPhone was coming out a few months after the Ocean but I went with Helio anyways because I wanted 3G and felt I wanted the keyboard. I’m still adamant that the Ocean wasn’t the mistake but signing up for Helio was. The monthly bill was kind of expensive and it’s never a good sign when your carrier fails and is aquired. What’s worse is that even though it was sold off, I still couldn’t get out of my contract without having to pay an ETF.

Am I an idiot?

When I look at these purchases, a common thread comes up: I can be a bit reckless with my mobile purchases but I also like betting on the underdog. I’m also really into mobile, so crapping out on some of these bets are just a part of fun. My experiences with the TouchPad, Storm and Ocean have helped to hone my sensibilities in the mobile world and I wouldn’t want to change that. Well, maybe I’d change the TouchPad purchase.

So, you’ve heard me whining, now let us know what you consider your worst purchase in mobile. It could be the device itself, carrier you signed up with or competing devices that came out after you locked yourself in. We won’t judge.

  • http://twitter.com/DeadTechnology DeadTechnology

    What’s more idiotic that buying a $400 touchpad?  Not getting the refund being offered by HP/retailers to make up the difference.  What’s more idiotic than that? Writing about it on a tech site and displaying your inability to research to all your readers.

    Now go get your money and shut up.  You’re welcome.

  • http://twitter.com/DeadTechnology DeadTechnology

    What’s more idiotic that buying a $400 touchpad?  Not getting the refund being offered by HP/retailers to make up the difference.  What’s more idiotic than that? Writing about it on a tech site and displaying your inability to research to all your readers.

    Now go get your money and shut up.  You’re welcome.

    • Anonymous

      You’re not nice. 

    • Anonymous

      You’re not nice. 

  • http://www.tehdik.com tehdik

    I’d like to add the Nokia N800 to the list.

  • http://www.tehdik.com tehdik

    I’d like to add the Nokia N800 to the list.

  • Cellularcrazy09

    any droid phone…they all suck…droid x…droid incredible…samsung captivate…motorola atrix…samsung focus…motorola droid….Lg G2x…they all suck and I’ve had them all…the only one that was worth anything was the original g1 before they started rolling out the updates….with every update android has gotten worse.  Only phone worth having? iPhone. It just works compared to the massive glitchiness of android.  Android is the Windows of cell phones.  I don’t care if you can run your pirated copies of apps on your phone.  I don’t want to have to wait because my phone is lagging.  Thats why i dropped blackberry a long time ago.  Stupid hourglass!

    • Anonymous

      Cry me a river

    • Anonymous

      Oh come now. The iPhone still has glitches and flaws too. 

    • http://www.gtdaily.net/?source=disqus George Tinari

      Honestly I’m an iPhone lover myself, and I’d have to say the G1 was probably one of the worst Android phone.

    • Anonymous

      That hourglass still haunts my dreams

  • Anonymous

    Well I’m kinda glad I was not the only fool who bough an ocean. Indeed a great phone. :(

    • Anonymous

      Still think it was a good phone

      • Anonymous

        Loved it till it got a heart attack two day’s after my contract was over :'( I had plans to move it to Verizon or sprint its still in my drawer

        • Anonymous

          I actually had a month span where it was on MetroPCS – no 3G though, so it became pretty darn useless

  • http://lovemynokia.com/ Siraj Soft

    No you are not an Idiot :) We are the proud first adopters :P 

  • Laxwillsch

    I bought the ocean too, then the pre, then the iphone 3g. I consider all of those phones mistakes now, but I don’t regret any if them (maybe the ocean because of the service). They all lead me to android and my new found love for the mobile tech world. I now just bought an unlocked galaxy s2 after owning a few great android phones (captivate, inspire 4g) and have to say this phone is a beast. I think this over may just satisfy me for at least a year. Lol.

    • Laxwillsch

      Sorry about typos I use swype.

    • Anonymous

      I can say with confidence that the Galaxy S II won’t be a regrettable purchase for anyone

  • Filmjock

    I too got scammed by Helio. I bought the Hero when the first launched. Their customer service was the worst I’d ever seen. It took the threat of a lawsuit, letters to the FCC and constant badgering to get out of my contract.

    • Anonymous

      I wanted to believe in Helio. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/prenticejw Prentice J Wright

    Same here too, I got sucked into Verizon’s crappy, piece of S*&T Blackberry Storm. There’s not one good thing I care to remember about that phone. I do recall one day, I was at Panda Express waiting in line to order. I thought my phone was all good and everything, until this 13 year old kid pulled out his brand new iPhone 3G. Boy, I was put to shame, I found out, how it felt to get hit  in the stomach by Mike Tyson. I wanted to take my Blackberry Storm and smash it into ground.

    Now RIM has taken a change for the better and released the new Blackberry Bold Touch 9900. I got a hands on test at my local Sprint store, and this phone is what the Storm should have been years back. The new bold is a really great phone, feels great in your hand. I’m glad to see this phone coming to multiple carriers.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I know the pain of having a Storm while others had an iPhone 3G. At least I could get reception though. The worst part is that the Storm was so crappy at launch that I probably would have traded reception for a smooth usable phone with good apps

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I know the pain of having a Storm while others had an iPhone 3G. At least I could get reception though. The worst part is that the Storm was so crappy at launch that I probably would have traded reception for a smooth usable phone with good apps

  • Anonymous

    I loved my Helio Ocean. And $99/month for unlimited voice/data/messaging was pretty great. It was a mega-hassle getting out of my contract without paying an ETF when Virgin Mobile acquired it, but I did it after several e-mails, phone calls and written letters. Otherwise, the phone itself was great and Sprint coverage was excellent.

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