Today I'd like to answer a reader's recent e-mail to me in detail.
Q: I have been a subscriber of the Verizon Wireless cell phone service for years and have had great service and coverage. I would never switch to another carrier. However, I'll admit I'm getting Apple iPhone envy, as so many of my friends use the device and love it. Will Verizon ever get the iPhone? If not what other phones do they offer that can compete with it?
A: Well, it may take the Wizard of Oz to answer the first question, and the answer to the second one depends on your needs. So, let's see...
It seems likely -- although not certain -- that Verizon will eventually carry the iPhone and probably the iPad tablet as well. Apple is a fierce competitor and wants to expand the iPhone's reach. Also, the main complaint with iPhone users seems to be with its carrier AT&T, although this seems to be changing slowly as the company upgrades its service.
You'll hear rumors of a Verizon iPhone every time Apple gets close to an upgrade for the device, so many people obviously share your interest in such a phone.
In the meantime, Verizon offers a number of excellent phones now, many of which are considered by some to equal or surpass the Apple iPhone in features but not in available applications. Probably the strongest contenders are phones using the Google Android operating system, at least right now.
The HTC Droid Incredible is getting lots of attention. It appears to be the front runner in the Android line, and it looks great based on its specs.
The Palm Pre Plus is another excellent phoone. Palm has announced it will sell out to another company at some point, and this week rumors of a security problem with the Pre Plus' Web OS were everywhere online. The Palm Pre was well-received when it was announced last year, and many still believe it is a fine phone suffering from poor marketing. Be sure the security issue is resolved before you consider this phone and be aware the future of the company is questionable.
A friend of mine acquainted me with our final Verizon contender and perhaps my next phone: the Samsung Alias 2. This phone offers a unique design. It opens normally as a flip phone when held upright, but flip it on its side and it opens there to reveal a multifunction keyboard and another screen.
The keyboard can be set to act several different ways, including providing a regular QWERTY configuration for texting and e-mailing. My attraction to this phone is that I am being coerced in its direction by the need to be able to return texts and e-mails in a timely manner. The normal keyboard means no more having to press buttons more than once to type a particular letter or number.
These represent only a small sample of available Verizon phones. Since the Apple iPhone has your interest, it's probably best to wait to upgrade until after the next generation iPhone is released this year. Whether or not Verizon offers the iPhone, you can then compare the latest model to whatever new phones Verizon has to offer.
E-mail Donnie Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his Facebook page at tfpdonniejenkins.