Motorola phones are garbage. plain and simple. I have Verizon Wirleless and I'm signed up for the Chicgao market. I live in Gary and Verizon does great for me. I now own a Samsung SCH-a650 flip phone and does great for me. You want a camera phone, but this isn't a camera phone. Except for Motorola V710 and Audiovox CDM8900 tri-mode camera phones, the rest of the camera phones are digital only. It's a tough choice, but I heard the Audiovox camera phone is garbage too on the camera. That was the phone I was going to consider had I not spotted the Samsung phone I mentioned above, the only tri-mode phone Samsung makes today for Verizon Wireless.
Tri-mode is still the way to go, but whatever phone you get, if it's tri-mode, it's not likely to go into analog in Indianapolis as Verizon Wireless has service in that area and is digital. In fact, nearly all of Verizon Wireless's network is digital. You'll especially need analog should you roam on another network and that area hasn't been upgraded to CDMA digital yet. I had that experience over Labor Day weekend while in Michigan roaming on Alltel's network (Verizon's extended coverage). Portions of Alltel's network is still on analog though they did spend some additional money up there to make more areas digital to comply with the E911 service, but Alltel has a long way to go before their network comes close to Verizon Wireless's network.
I don't know much about Sprint, but I did know a couple of co-workers I used to work with in the northern suburbs of Chicago complain about a lot of static on Sprint, and they had Kyocera and Sanyo phones, which I believe Sanyo makes good phones, and they got static, and occasionally not be able to make calls due to overloaded circuits, but that doesn't happen as often as it used to. Sprint was my original choice until they discontinued a local plan 2 years ago and the next available plan didn't offer enough anytime minutes for local but the nationwide Verizon Wireless plan offered more minutes at the same price. At that time (March 2002), Sprint was only offering 200 anytime minutes on local for $35, which covered the areas I traveled to the most while Verizon offered 300 anytime minutes for Americas Choice for $35. I had to go with nationwide in order to travelto Michigan and at that time, Wisconsin without roaming. I've had Verizon Wireless for 2 1/2 and like the service. The Verizon Wireless authorzed agents are the ones to watch out for, especially Radio Shack sales people. I find the prices might be lower at the authorized agents rather than through Verizon Wireless, but service isn't always great, the accessories sren't always approved by the manufacturer and should a power plug not approved by the manufacturer damage your phone, that power supply voids your warranty, and one agent near my home sold numerous discontinued phones as new. That's a red flag right there that the agent will rip you off.
I personally think you should keep Verizon Wireless, but ditch the cameraphone idea and just get a regular digital camera and a regular phone. A separate digital camera will give you better pictures than one from a phone. A Verizon Wireless agent at a mall kiosk told me that all of their cameraphones are garbage at producing great pictures. In fact this agent will only sell a cameraphone if the customer insists on wanting one, but otherwise steers them away from their camerphones to recommend other phones that are more reliable. That's why I didn't want extra features like a camera, but I was about to buy the Audiovox CDM8900 just for tri-mode. Audiovox CDM8600 is garbage.
I've been researching the new Motorola v710. On paper, it does everything I want, and then some. I'm not too concerned about the Bluetooth disablement, as I don't anticipate using Bluetooth too often. I AM concerned about persistent reports that the camera is terrible and that it is difficult to hear the voice of the person you are talking to. While I don't expect the camera to be that great, I would expect it to be on a par with other camera phones; I used one in a store, and the picture was SO bad that it's hard to believe they released the phone that way. (To be fair, the phone was out of memory, and I will probably give it one more chance.)
Here's the problem -- I am in Chicago, and have had very good service from Verizon. The only other carrier that I would consider is Sprint, and when I left them two years ago, they were terrible. But, I do want a fairly up-to-date phone that has analog roaming. I do not travel all that much, but I also do not want to be driving to, say, Indianapolis at night, get a flat tire, and be unable to use my cell phone in an emergency.
Any thoughts? Is analog roaming not necessary? Is another carrier better in Chicago than I thought? Does the V710 work better than I've heard?