Technology Bleg

OK, a 25-point toss-up for those of you out there who are more tech savvy than I (which is to say, all of you). You may know that I am still sans smart phone, and am thinking I would like to stay that way: for me, the downside of not having mobile access to email and Internet is more than offset by peace of mind that comes from not being plugged in at all times. And paying $80 to $120 a month for service is just completely untenable. So I don't really mind carrying two devices in my pocket at all times: a dumb phone (i.e. all it does is make calls), and a dumb PDA (i.e. it doesn't make calls and it doesn't connect to Internet or email).

But I may have to make a technology purchase in the near future, and am wondering what to do. My phone is kind of falling apart: the "3" and the "5" button don't work anymore, I have it on "vibrate" but when it rings it sounds more like a dying duck, and the battery poops out after two or three calls. I use it little enough to get away with a $20 a month plan, which gets me 75 anytime minutes and 500 weekend minutes.

My PDA hopefully will not poop out any time soon, but neither will it last forever. I use it extensively for calendar, tasks, notes, and contacts, and very little else; and I sync it daily to my MS Outlook at work. It cost me something like $99 three or four years ago, and because it's not tethered to anything, there are obviously no ongoing charges.

My default is to wait until my phone is completely dead, and then walk into a T-Mobile store, announce that I'd like to re-up my calling plan, and walk out with whatever handset is the cheapest for doing so (hopefully it would be free). And as for my PDA, I'll just try not to drop it anymore and hope it lasts for a few more years (I had my other PDA for eight years). So that would mean minimal if any financial outlay in the near future, the same monthly phone bill, and a few more years before I have to worry about another big financial outlay to replace my PDA when it poops out.

Anyone out there have a better suggestion? Hopefully, I have provided enough information as to my regular uses, preferences, and budget.

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