After soliciting your advice here and here, and waiting til I was done with my project, yesterday I bought a new phone/pda.
I went to Wireless Wave, rather than a Rogers store, so I could see all my options.
I considered the LG Rumour, because I love the look and the sliding full keyboard. But even if I could manage without a pda now, I really don't want to. And I don't want to switch providers.
I also briefly considered the Samsung Jack, but apparently a lot of people have been complaining about them. They sound unreliable, so I ruled that out.
So it quickly came down to a choice between the Blackberry Pearl and the Blackberry Curve.
I prefer the look of the Pearl: smaller, trimmer, looks more like a phone. Downside for me: it doesn't have a full keyboard, it uses predictive text. The Curve has the full keyboard, so it's a little bigger and chunkier, and looks more business-like, a drawback for me.
I thought I didn't want to buy something without a full keyboard, but I didn't really understand that the "smart phones" don't use T9. My iPAQ uses predictive text, and I got used to that very quickly. And now predictive text is even smarter: the phone learns your vocabulary. That makes a big difference.
So I went with the Blackberry Pearl. I'll make sure I type on it a lot during the "buyer's remorse" grace period. If I can't get the hang of it, I'll exchange it for the Curve. But I think it will work out.
As you know, I don't want email push, and I don't want to pay extra for a data plan. Both these devices were quite expensive without a plan, upwards of $400. My helpful Wireless Wave guy suggested getting the phone free with the $25/month plan, then after a two-month minimum period, cancelling the plan and playing a termination fee. It brings the cost of the device down from $449 to $150.
And of course, extra bonus, as Alex pointed out: made-in-Canada technology! Some of the hardware is actually made in Canada, too, amazingly enough. Although this had nothing to do with my decision.
Thanks for your help, everyone. I still think it's ridiculous that I succumbed to perceived obsolescence and am recycling a perfectly good working cell phone. I recently added this book to my to-read list: Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.