The iPhone and I took a little trip to the Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, TX yesterday. We went on a tour and it was all very fun and very tasty (you get ice cream at the end!) but I was concerned about how the iPhone would operate in a small town.
While Brenham isn't exactly a small town, as it has a population of about 13,500, I've lived in Houston (population about 2.1 million) my whole life. I'm used to having a Starbucks on every corner, four shopping malls within 20 minutes, and seeing cell phone towers dot the landscape.On the way up, my mother doubted my navigational abilities. We had been on 290 for about an hour and fifteen minutes when she demanded I check the map. I pulled over in the middle of nowhere, fired up Google Maps and found Brenham. Though I would've enjoyed having built-in GPS in the iPhone, all I needed to do was verify that 290 does, in fact, go to Brenham.
But since I had no idea of where I was, other than "on 290," we did have to turn on our Mio GPS and put in the creamery to get an ETA. If I didn't have that GPS, I'd probably still be hearing about how I got us unspeakably lost, but thankfully I did. As it turns out, GPS successfully lead us to our destination with his cute little British accent.
Around the city, I almost always had five bars of reception while my mother (on Virgin Mobile) had absolutely no service for 90% of the time, and only two bars when she did. While calling my brother from Brenham to our house in Houston, the quality was clear and excellentjust as good as if I were calling from inside the house.
EDGE speeds were pleasantly surprising, too. Inside the creamery after our post-tour scoop, I googled for a restaurant at which to have lunch. Even inside the giant ice cream factory, I had five bars of reception. I quickly pulled up all sandwich shops in downtown Brenham while my mom was still getting verbal directions from the two tour guides cleaning up the ice cream counter. One asked if my phone was the new "iTunes Apple phone" and I offered to let him play with it in hopes of getting another cup of Buttered Pecan. Unfortunately, he was covered in ice cream and didn't want to get any on the phone.
While sitting at lunch, I emailed a picture of my sandwich to a friend. I heard the little wooshy "sent" noise about 10 seconds later, just the same amount of time it takes while in Houston via EDGE. In the end, I was terribly impressed with AT&T's coverage in a small town. It was better there than in parts of Houston.
Katie and iPhone in front of Blue Bell Creamery