We're accustomed to using cell phones as a routine part of our daily lives, but they can also be a real life saver during unexpected occurrences. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to share their thoughts on just how useful a cell phone can be during an emergency. Our next post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from Vikram, check out his devinmoore.com notes blog.
There are two main types of emergency one can consider when thinking of using a mobile phone for emergency assistance:
1. Emergencies involving being lost
Unfortunately, there is one significant myth about cell phones that must be dispelled: in an emergency, despite your coverage, your phone may not be in a location that provides you with a signal. Therefore, the most important way to use a cell phone is to be aware of potential emergency situations, and use the cell phone as a means of letting people know that you are headed into the 'great unknown'. For example, if you are going to hike on a trail in a huge national park, call someone before you head out to let them know where you are, and when you should be back. This way, if you happen to get lost or injured on the trail and your cell phone will not get signal, at least someone knows where you are and can expedite help to your approximate location -- since they also know when you should have been back.
The GPS signal on a phone is great, if the conditions for using that signal are met. Depending on your phone, you may get a true GPS satellite tracking ability even without cell signal. This is ideal for conditions where you are lost in the woods, because you can get a bearing back to the last place you had signal, and then use the cell to call from there. GPS doesn't do you much good if you're trapped under a beam in your own basement without signal, though, which leads the discussion to the other type of emergency.
2. Emergencies involving an immediate threat
In the situation of being threatened in some way, anything from being trapped under a beam to some kind of assault, the cell phone is a useful emergency tool -- again, provided you can safely get signal. Cell phones become increasingly useful in getting multiple collaborating reports of traffic accidents or other public emergencies. I highly recommend adding an ICE "In Case of Emergency" number/contact in your contacts list, so that if you should become incapacitated in some way, and someone happens upon your location and/or your (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Smart phones||GPS|
We're accustomed to using cell phones as a routine part of our daily lives, but they can also be a real life saver during unexpected occurrences. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to share their thoughts on just how useful a cell phone can be during an emergency. Our next post comes from Vikram Deo. To read more from Vikram, check out his Not Another Mobile Phone Blog.
Use of Mobile Phones for safety purposes:
Mobile phone is something that people carry with them day in and day out. If used properly mobile phones can be a good medium to ensure one's safety. GPS function on a mobile phone will let your dear ones know about your location. Also location based services on mobile phones will help you in giving information about nearest Police Station, Hospital, Coast guard. If somebody meets with a mishap on a deserted road in the night, location based services would help him in finding nearest location where he can get assistance.
If your phone has a GPS feature to let other know about your location then travelling with such mobile phone is extremely safe as you would never be virtually alone. Also there are live update services like Twitter, which are also mobile enabled. Twitter lets your friends know what you are doing instantly the moment you update your status. Having Twitter enabled on your mobile phone will help you in keeping in touch with your friends. For example, few months back a guy has wrongly accused and put into a prison in some Middle Eastern country, Twitter helped him in sending out help messages to friends. When you are travelling alone or meet with an accident or somebody is robbing you/your house, you can immediately send a message to Twitter about your situation and it will be displayed to all the people who are following you on Twitter. Though Twitter is a social connectivity service, if used properly, it can be of great help.
Emergency Services for parents:
Nowadays with children carrying mobile phones, it is pretty easy for parent to track them. Use of GPS based mobile phone tracking parents can come to know about the location of their kids. If kids are going to an outing or some camping parents can educate children on how to enable location based services on their mobile phones and use them at the time of emergency. Having a child help line number as one of the hotkey will help parents in taking care of their children during the time of emergency.
Activities to avoid while using mobile phones:
Driving vehicles while using (Read more)
We're accustomed to using cell phones as a routine part of our daily lives, but they can also be a real life saver during unexpected occurrences. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to share their thoughts on just how useful a cell phone can be during an emergency. Our first post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out his posts at Tech.Blorge.
Are cell phones useful in crisis? Here's my favorite story. One family received a call from their mother about an emergency at the gas station. "Can you call them and tell them I'm stuck in their carwash?" The car washing mechanism had simply jammed, and she was pinned inside, unable to drive forwards or backwards.
"The stuff was on the side of the car swirling around," remembered a proud publicist for U.S. Cellular. "It was later at night and nobody was around... She didn't know the number of the station, so she called her home..."
That was when U.S. Cellular was trying to tout the advantages of a cell phone in your car -- but it makes an even more important point. Real life is unpredictable. ("I don't know if she would've gotten hurt if she didn't have a cell phone, " the publicist explained, "but she would've gotten wet!") Cell phones can be useful in emergencies -- but they're most useful in situations which are totally unpredictable.
In fact, even in an emergency, remember to use cell phones wisely -- and know when you shouldn't use a cell phone. In the same interview, the spokesperson also told me the story of a woman who driven into a ravine, and placed an emergency call to 911 saying "I'm in my car and it's sinking." He argued that these stories "make you thankful" for your cell phone. But my first thought was that if my car were actually sinking into a ravine, I wouldn't be stopping to make a phone call! I also remember when I interviewed a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless after a 6.8 earthquake had hit Seattle. Cell phones performed pretty well, but the spokesperson admit that "You simply can't build a network where you can have enough capacity that in a crisis, every call will go through the first time." In fact, it turns out that the standard advice for earthquakes is not to place calls unless they're absolutely necessary -- to free up the lines for those who really need them.
Parents love the ideas of tracking their children with (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Sprint||Parents|
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Driving laws||LG|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our final installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for everyone else on your list. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What to get the City Chic: Shes got a sense of style that comes straight off the pages of Vogue and Elle. So why not give her the cell phone that compliments her fashion savvy? Thats right, the Samsung Behold. Its a slick looking cell phone with a touch-screen, shiny exterior, and slim profile. Everyone will want to know what phone shes using.
A Little Something Extra: Since shes so stylish, shes probably got a social life to match. Help her find the best places to dine with a year subscription to Zagat To Go thats available right on her cell phone.
What to get for Cool College Kids: They went off to school with trunks of clothes and new dorm room bedding. The one thing not upgraded on their college list of must haves was probably a new cell phone. Why not give them one that will help them get to class on time and look good doing it, such as the Pantech Matrix? You might even get a few extra text messages next semester since their so quick to tap out on the sliding QWERTY keyboard.
A Little Something Extra:Theres nothing like releasing a little extra energy after weeks of studying for finals. Why not give them a way to funnel their creative juices by signing them up for an account at ToneMine where they can mix their own ringtones. Best part about this gift: Its free to use and share new tones with other community members.
What to get the Stylish Stud: He looks like he walked right off the pages of GQ or Details. Hes got it all: good looks, his own style and a penchant for the good life. Give him the Samsung Instinct. After all, its a lot like him: easy on the eyes and super slick.
|Topics:||In The Know||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Sprint|
Want to upgrade your T-Mobile phone, but don't want to pay the $18 fee for it? No worries, the company recently announced that the company no longer requires the $18 upgrade fee. So, what's holding you back?
|Topics:||In The Know||Cell phone plans||T-Mobile|
Ever dream of going to the GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles? If you've got a Sidekick, you could be one step closer to attending. T-Mobile and the GRAMMYs just kicked off the "Party with a Friend at the GRAMMYs sweepstakes." Five winners will enjoy an all-expense paid trip for two to attend the 51st GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles on February 8th, 2009.
Here's how it works: T-Mobile Sidekick customers will receive a sweepstakes SMS, allowing them to either enter via their Sidekick or by visiting this Sidekick site. Visit the site to enter. You have until 8:59 AM PST on January 16, 2009 before the contest closes.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Cell phone plans||Sidekick|
Tis the season to download new ringtones and ringback tones (you know, the song people hear instead of a traditional phone ring while waiting for you to pick up the phone.) Verizon Wireless released their list of top downloaded tones and ringback tones. The first song on both list is not a surprise - it's one of the catchier holiday songs. Check out the full lists below and let us know if any of those listed are your favorite holiday song that you want on your cell phone.
Top 10 Holiday Ringtones
1. All I Want For Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey
2. Santa Baby, by Eartha Kitt
3. Carol Of The Bells, by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
4. Chipmunk Song - Christmas Dont Be Late (1999 Dig Remaster), by The Chipmunks
5. Santa Baby, by Taylor Swift
6. This Christmas, by Chris Brown
7. Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, by Andy Williams
8. Christmas Canon, by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
9. My Only Wish (This Year), by Britney Spears
10. All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan, by Kenny Chesney
Top 10 Holiday Ringback Tones
1. All I Want For Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey
2. Santa Baby, by Eartha Kitt
3. Carol Of The Bells, by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
4. This Christmas (Hang All The Mistletoe), by Chris Brown
5. The Chipmunk Song, by Alvin And The Chipmunks
6. Feliz Navidad, by Jose Feliciano
7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, by Luther Vandross
8. Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, by Andy Williams
9. All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan, by Kenny Chesney
10. Let It Snow, by Boyz II Men
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Music|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our next installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for the travelers in your life. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What to get the Connected Commuter: Whether traveling by car, bus, or train, commuters tend to be great multitaskers. It can be something as simple as checking and responding to e-mail before arriving at the office or catching up on news and reading blogs on the way home. The HTC Touch Pro can handle those tasks and more with ease, making it a great fit for the commuter in your life.
A Little Something Extra: Commuters who use public transportation to get to and from work know that having conversations on the cell phone during commuter hours can be a faux paux, but that doesnt mean they have to miss your message. Get them SimulScribe for their cell phone. Its a nifty application that transcribes voicemails into text and then delivers messages via text message or e-mail to your cell phone.
Gifts for a Frequent Flier: Business? Pleasure? Maybe a professional jetsetter? Whatever the reason, these folks probably have enough frequent flyer miles racked up to bring the entire family home for the holidays. So why not get them a cell phone that will work on just about any landing strip? That would be the BlackBerry Storm, which will work on both GSM and CDMA networks. There wont be many places where they wont be able to stay in touch.
A Little Something Extra: If youve got a frequent flier on your list, chances are they probably travel a lot for work and their laptop cant be far behind. Help them stay connected with a Sierra Wireless Compass 597 USB Modem. You can get a free X-Box for you or someone else on your list.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Sprint||BlackBerry|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our next installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for photo enthusiast and those who just can't get enough TV. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What to get for the TV Junkie: They were probably the first person you knew to own a Tivo and years later, they likely have a DVR for each TV in the house. Simply, put they just cant get enough TV. The TV watching experience doesnt have to end when they leave the house. They can take it with them and watch some shows on their cell phone. Get them the Samsung Eternity and theyll have access to live broadcast TV via AT&Ts Mobile TV service and still never miss a call.
A Little Something Extra: Help them watch TV or take calls in stereo with the Stereo headset with built-in Mic so they can listen to their favorite shows in stereo. These headphones are comfortable to wear and deliver audio in full stereo.
What to get for the Photo Fanatic: Theyre in very few pictures, but have a larger photo gallery than most people in your inner circle. Thats right; theyre the person always behind the camera and rarely in front of it. They might not always have their camera with them, but theres no reason they shouldnt have a high-quality camera within quick reach. Thats why the MotoZine Z5 with a 5-megapixel camera and the ability to immediately share and post pictures to the web, its a perfect gift for them.
A Little Something Extra: If they like digital cameras then theyd welcome some additional storage for their pictures. Why not give them this Kingston Storage combo. It comes with a 2GB MicroSD card, plus three adapters including a compatible USB keychain.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||AT&T Wireless||Storage|
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Sprint||Cell phone plans||Windows Mobile|
|Smart phones||Business Use||WiFi||Video|
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our next installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for the kids. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What to get for MySpace Teens: Have a teenager in your life who just cant stop checking out their MySpace page? Consider getting them a Sidekick 2008, which comes with easy access to their own and all their friends MySpace pages. Just be sure to get an unlimited data plan with it, downloading multiple MySpace sites can eat up data quickly.
A cell phone for Texting Tweens and the right plan for you: The kids love to text, so why not help them out with a AT&T QuickFire cell phone. It sports a hidden full keyboard and better yet, all thats needed to get kids texting and checking e-mail is a messaging plan.
A Little Something Extra: Another cool thing about the QuickFire is that it plays music too. Give them something to listen to with a $25 eMusic gift card.
|Topics:||In The Know||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our next installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for the music lovers in your life. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What to get for Kids who Rock: Know a budding musician? They cant help but feel the music wherever they go. Turn them onto the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. Its got an interface thats built to please the younger audience and the best part is its so slim theyll barely feel it in a pocket control. Pretty cool and fun to use - thats hard to beat.
A Little Something Extra: No music phone is complete with out a Bluetooth stereo headset. The Motorola S9 go beyond typical design with an inspired sporty flair. Plus, this particular model comes with an adapter so they can be used with an iPod as well.
What to get for a Jukebox Hero: We all have those special experts in our lives, the ones who we ask for great restaurant recommendations or who we consult when we want to be turned onto the latest in new music. A great choice for your favorite music lover is the Sony Ericsson W760a (available in black and red), a cell phone made for music. It also includes the innovative "shake to shuffle" feature, which randomly chooses another song stored on your phone with just a flick of the wrist.
A Little Something Extra: Music lovers just want to hear their tunes wherever they go and theyre even happier to recruit new listeners. What better way to do that than by getting them the Motorola JBL On Tour Mobile Speaker. They can simply connect it to their cell phone via Bluetooth and voila its a music system to go.
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||Motorola||Music|
|AT&T Wireless||Sony Ericsson||T-Mobile||Bluetooth|
We know finding the perfect gift is no easy accomplishment. In our first installment of holiday gifts, we have picks for the folks. You can see a complete list of holiday picks in our Holiday Gift Guide.
What do get the Desperate Housewife: Shes not the woman who has everything. Shes the woman in your life who does everything. Help her get a handle on her schedule, keep up with all her messages and even show off and snap pics of the kids on a new LG Dare. This touch-screen cell phone is fun to use, but loaded with options such as VZ Navigator and Rhapsody Music Service. Its smaller size fits easily into just about any purse or pocket, so shell never leave home without it.
A Little Something Extra: Does your lovely lady spend all her time in the car? Why not deck it out with the Motorola Rokr T505, a portable Bluetooth car kit, which actually clips to the visor and funnels calls and music from your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone through the car stereo. You can see it in action here. Shell be the envy of all the neighbors and you can even easily use it in your car too.
Something for the Big Daddy of the house: Hes the man of the house and really loves his gadgets. Why not get him a souped up cell phone complete with all the bells and whistles available. The BlackBerry Bold is one sweet smartphone. Its great for fun or for work. It supports multiple e-mail addresses, streaming video over a true high-speed 3G connection (read: smooth streaming media), and WiFi support so he can still be connected when thats the only connection available. If thats not enough this is one sweet multimedia player with truly impressive audio quality.
A Little Something Extra: If he loves his gadgets, hell absolutely love Sling Medias Slingbox AV. Once he hooks this up he could be watching his favorite sporting shows on his BlackBerry Bold wherever he goes.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless|
When in need of support many of us might not consider checking out our own cell phone for help. But in the case of the BlackBerry Bold and Storm that's what you should do first. According to this story, RIM has improved the BlackBerry browser experience to help answer questions on how to use BlackBerry features and more. Simply type in the URL http://mobile.blackberry.com/ in the BlackBerry browser and get started.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless||Customer service|
You may think a stylish cell phone like the Samsung Instinct might not be all about the work apps. Well, that's simply not the case when you pair it with Sprint's Mobile Email Work service, which offers users access to corporate e-mail and contacts. Now the service has an additional feature: the ability to update, create and delete work calendar appointments directly from the Instinct. If your company uses a Microsoft Exhange Server of IBM Lotus Notes calendar, synchronization is just a click away.
So, how do you get it? If you already have an Instinct and subscribe to the service it will come as a software update to your Instinct. If you want the service, you can do it through the email menu on your cell phone. Follow the menu prompts from there to get started.
Note: Mobile Email Works is included as part of many Sprint data plans.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Sprint||Samsung||Business Use|
RIM has revealed a lot of innovative BlackBerry's over the past couple of months. There's the BlackBerry Bold, a more traditional BlackBerry form factor with impressive multimedia features; the Storm, the first touch-screen BlackBerry; and finally the BlackBerry Flip, the company's first flip phone. All of them have a more attractive user interface, but the Flip can do some things that the other models just can't. Watch the video below to find out what I mean.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Music||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry|
|Camera||Smart phones||Business Use||Video|
I don't know about you, but I've always thought a "killer" mobile app would be the ability to schedule recordings from your cell phone. Just think of it, you're out with some friends and someone says, "Oh 24 is starting again." That show has been on a hiatus for over a year. Maybe you want to check it out, maybe you don't. Chances are that you will forget to schedule the recording by the time you get home. No worries. Heard the news, schedule the TiVo recording from your cell phone. Done.
Apparently, if you own a TiVo and have a cell phone with mobile web access, you can do exactly that. All you need besides a TiVo is a cell phone with mobile web access. Enter m.tivo.com in your cell phone's browser and you'll see a quick easy-to-use menu. Now, when will a similar service be able for the cable operator provided DVRs?
What is it? The BlackBerry® Storm 9530 is RIM's first full-touch screen smartphone with SurePress and Accelerometer Technology, creating a true one-of-a-kind interactive user experience. The Storm offers two virtual keyboards -- the Full QWERTY keyboard for long messaging and editing documents and the SureType keypad, as found on the BlackBerry® Pearl, for sending quick texts. Since the Storm is first and foremost a BlackBerry device, you get all of the email functionality you would expect (corporate and web-based email support). The BlackBerry® Storm also offers: a 3.2-Megapixel Camera with flash and Video Record; Enhanced HTML Web Browser and the ability to pan and zoom on web pages; Preloaded editing Software for Microsoft® Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files; Video Streaming Functionality; 1GB Internal Memory and Supports up to a 16GB External Memory (8GB SanDisk microSD Card Included) card; and Built-in GPS with Step-by-Step Driving Directions. Not only do you have these great email and multi-media capabilities, you also get access to the largest 3G network in the U.S. as well as high speed connectivity anywhere in the world.
Why is it such a good deal? The BlackBerry® Storm 9530 combines the latest and greatest cell phone capabilities with BlackBerry's leading email services, and Verizon's largest and most reliable 3G network. If you're not sold yet, see the price at LetsTalk.com!
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry|
|Deal of the Week|
As the holidays approach, there will inevitably be a moment or two that you want to capture, but the camera won't be nearby. Instead, what's always on hand? Your cell phone, of course, and it's probably got a camera. Once the photos are captured in the phone, they typically end up staying there or getting sent to a few friends via picture messaging. However, Verizon Wireless, has an option that lets you capture and share immediately. The company has teamed up with popular photo site, photobucket, to help customers upload photos to the Internet and share them instantly via your Photobucket account. For a monthly subscription fee of $2.99, Verizon Wireless customers with compatible cell phones can download the Photobucket Mobile Uploader application by texting photob to 2777, in the Community and Sharing category of the Verizon Wireless Get It Now catalog or by visiting photobucket.com/mobile.
Incidentally, if your Verizon Wireless cell phone isn't compatible with the service and you have picture messaging as part of your plan, you can also send photos to specific e-mail addresses as well. Just another way to help set your holiday photos free.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Camera|
More and more counties and states are adopting cell phone driving laws. Not everyone wants to use a headset - wireless or not. Well, check out the MotoRokr T505 Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone with Digital FM Transmitter that lets you take your calls over your car stereo and even stream music stored on your cell phone through your car stereo, as well. To show you what I mean, watch the video below to find out just how easy it is to use.
In the market for a compact cell phone with a hidden QWERTY keyboard that's not a smartphone? Check out T-Mobile's latest product arrival, the Samsung Gravity. The cell phone is available in two different color combos: grey and lime and a cool white and aqua. The Gravity sports a 1.3-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth for listening to tunes via the MP3 player, and can easily sync up with a PC for easy transfer of contacts and other pertinent info you want on a cell phone. But the real story here is that it's really a messaging device and with forecasts coming out from ABI Research that states mobile messaging isn't slowing down any time soon, this compact phone coupled with a $19.95 T-Mobile data plan that includes unlimited messaging is a good alternative to a high-end smartphone.
|Topics:||In The Know||Text messaging||Cell phone plans||Samsung|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager for AT&T, Jack Cooper.
What is it? The AT&T Quickfire (available in orange, green, and silver) is next in up in the new line of AT&T quick messaging cell phones. This 3G (that means super fast data speeds) cell phone is the first of its kind with a touch screen display in addition to a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard elevating its cool factor and ease-of-use for the text-first crowd. On top of an optimized messaging interface, a multitasking shortcut key, and a large display, the Quickfire also automatically rotates to landscape mode for typing quick messages. Equipped as well with the best entertainment and navigation apps, Quickfire is great choice.
How much? Get the AT&T Quickfire for FREE when purchased with any two-year AT&T service plan.
Why is it such a good deal? It's hot, it's new, and you can save even more money monthly and meet most of your texting and web-mail needs with an AT&T messaging plan. Plus, were throwing in a 1GB MicroSD card so you have more room to store more of your favorite things on your cell phone.
|Topics:||In The Know||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Deal of the Week|
We've all witnessed the poor etiquette people sometimes use when they talk on cell phones in public places. We even have an etiquette survey about what seems to be "acceptable" talking behavior these days. But what about the people who still talk loudly and often in public places? We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think should be done about that and if there's technology available that can help. Our final post comes from Joshua Howe. To read more from Joshua, check out Maine VRC.
Since the widespread adoption of cell phones, there have been those who use them appropriately and those who do not.
Most people would agree that it is rude to talk loudly on a cell phone in a public place, especially about personal issues such as bodily functions, relationships/ sex etc. However, if people actually acted consistent with their answers we'd rarely have to deal with the details of strangers' lives while we're trying to get a cup of coffee. Many of use would believe that our call is that exception and are likely unaware of how loud we're actually being.
The semi-serious Society for Hand Held Hushing (aka SHHH) has created cards which you can give out to the worst offenders. Some cards are more gentle than others:"Dear cell phone user, We are aware that your ongoing conversation about ____ is very important to you, but we thought youd like to know that it doesnt interest us in the least. In fact, your babbling disregard for others is more than a little annoying."
Whether it's signs at the movie theater or in a waiting room, people tutting, reminder cards, there are always going to be people who ignore this. England just got its first truly "quiet" train carriage. According to the Daily Mail, train cars in which passengers voluntarily comply with a restriction on cell phones and MP3 players had been tried, but did not work. It is a train car where a film on the car prevents cell phone reception, allowing riders to enjoy a ride free of cell phone abusers. That is, unless they're walking through saying "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Where did you go?"
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Etiquette|
We've all witnessed the poor etiquette people sometimes use when they talk on cell phones in public places. We even have an etiquette survey about what seems to be "acceptable" talking behavior these days. But what about the people who still talk loudly and often in public places? We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think should be done about that and if there's technology available that can help. Our next post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from Devin, check out his blog at DevinMoore.com notes.
If cellphone etiquette rules can't be followed in situations where discretion in their use is clearly called for by society, then rather than ban cellphones, cellphone abusers should be banned. There are two important situations that should be considered to determine how I arrived at this conclusion:
1. The well-behaved theater
In a well-behaved movie theater, there are no problems from cellphones interrupting the movie, despite the fact that many people have cellphones and use them before or after the movie. In these cases, it can seem to those moviegoers that a ban on cellphones is unnecessary. This same principle applies to the restaurant or classroom where phone privileges are not being abused.
2. The ill-behaved theater
It only takes one visit to an ill-behaved movie screening, however, to change what I imagine is everyone else's mind along with my own about how cellphone usage should be restricted in such an environment. Without an outright ban and the authority to remove abusing patrons, the movie going experience can be ruined for everyone in attendance. Furthermore, what is supposed to be a nice dinner can be disrupted, and worst of all, the academic integrity of a classroom can be violated via copying answers texted from a cellphone.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Camera|
We've all witnessed the poor etiquette people sometimes use when they talk on cell phones in public places. We even have an etiquette survey about what seems to be "acceptable" talking behavior these days. But what about the people who still talk loudly and often in public places? We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think should be done about that and if there's technology available that can help. Our first post comes from Cody Jackson. To read more from Cody, check out his Common Sense V2.0 blog.
As noted, many people don't like cell phone talkers. For several reasons, people tend to talk louder when using cell phones than when using regular phones. Banning cell phones is the most extreme way of solving the problem. As I see it, there are a couple of ways to remedy the situation.
One way is with technology. The microphones in mobile phones are sometimes not the best quality, leading people to talk louder (consciously or unconsciously) in order to make themselves heard. However, one of the features that landline phones have and few, if any, cell phones have is the user can hear himself in the receiver. This helps control his volume because he can be sure his voice is being received.
Another way is with regulations. The most drastic measure is banning phones from certain areas. The problem with that is that people will always smuggle phones in, especially as they get smaller and smaller. To counteract this, I suspect many places will start searching people as they enter, which will just upset a lot of people. Some movie theaters do this already to stop camcorders from filming the movie.
However, regulations can simply add heavy fines to mobile phone violators, such as people who drive while using them. Again, this won't discourage many people, who will simply put up a fight when confronted; speeding is illegal yet people do it all the time.
An alternative to adding regulations is to simply ease regulations, i.e. have the FCC relax the ban on radio jammers. Originally created to ensure vital services (police, fire, medical, etc.) are able to send and receive radio transmissions, these regulations make it illegal for most people to own and use cell phone (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Etiquette|
What is it? The MotoRIZR Z6tv, by Motorola, has all the entertainment capabilities you could ever want in a cell phone, while keeping its iconic slider design. This sleek handset offers: V Cast TV, Music, and Video; a 2-megapixel camera; Bluetooth stereo support for listening to music via Bluetooth speakers or headphones; and VZ Navigator to help keep you going in the right direction.
How much? The MotoRIZR Z6tv is FREE out-the-door for lines 1 and 2 with any 2-year service plan with a monthly fee of $34.99 or more.
Why is it such a good deal? The MotoRIZR z6tv is a fantastic cell phone thats good looking and fun to use. Not only is the cell phone free with new service, but were also including 2GB MicroSD memory card so you can start storing music, pics and videos from the minute you start using it.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Verizon Wireless||Deal of the Week|
Has getting settled into the Fall semester made you re-evaluate your cell phone choice? Think its time to upgrade to a BlackBerry? Then be sure to check out the LetsTalk.com booth at the UC Davis vs. Sacramento State game on Saturday where you can sign up to get a new BlackBerry and $50 for your existing cell phone. Thats not all, you can also enter to win $50,000 to help pay off your school debt. Its a deal thats a win for everyone. If you cant make it to the game, check out BlackBerry.LetsTalk.com for more details.
|Topics:||In The Know||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
The BlackBerry Bold has finally arrived. It still has all the features we've come to expect from a BlackBerry, it's got a slicker interface and some nice multimedia additions. To show you what I mean, watch the video below to find out what all the buzz is about.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||AT&T Wireless||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
It's a big day in the United States and staying on top of late breaking election news couldn't be easier -- thanks to your cell phone. Verizon Wireless is offering a customers a plethora of ways to stay informed today. If you have VCast service you can watch live coverage tonight on your Verizon Wireless cell phone. Here's the mobile line-up:
Don't have VCast service on your cell phone, you can sign up for the service for a 24-hour pass for $3 or check out the text alerts from Verizon Wireless. Here are some options for race projections:
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||Cell phone plans|
The newest BlackBerry to hit the market is the Bold. While it still has all the workhorse features weve come to expect from BlackBerry, the Bold has a flashy new interface and some new multimedia additions. So we wanted to see how it stacks up against the Apple iPhone. Check it out below.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Music||AT&T Wireless||BlackBerry|
We heard a lot about Verizon Wireless' partnership with Rhapsody and we wanted to know if it would be music to our ears, so we took it for a spin. Overall, it's a good option for people who like to sample music and want a simple way to sync music on your computer with a cell phone. We particularly liked the desktop version of Rhapsody as well, it was an easy way to sample new tunes before committing to them.
We should note this is a subscription service so you can listen to an unlimited amount of songs and transfer them to your cell phone. If you don't think you're going to keep the subscription for long, but want to keep the music you can purchase those songs separately. This way you won't need the subscription to listen to your favorite tunes in the future. Check out how it works below.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Music||LG|
Banking has changed a lot over the years and now, you can even use banking services on your cell phone. But are you ready for that? Maybe you just want to know what you can expect before you put your cell phone to use in this manner. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about their "Banking By Cell Phone Experience." Our next post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out Tech.Blorge.
I remember living in a city in Los Angeles that bordered five other small cities. Washington Mutual gave me a list of ATM locations that was sorted by city -- so I had to read all six pages to determine which one was closest. So I was thrilled when they offered a cell phone application which could pinpoint the nearest Wamu ATM. And best of all, I could do it with a simple text message. (Just type "ATM" in a text message to MyWamu, along with an address, zip code, or city name.)
Mobile banking also solved one of my biggest problems. As an online journalist, I receive a lot of my payments via PayPal. But hitting the "transfer funds" button PayPal doesn't mean the funds have arrived in my checking account. Instead of repeatedly wondering "Are they there now? How about now?" I can whip out my cell phone and get an up-to-the-minute check on my balance. (Again, by text messaging "MyWamu" the simple three-letter keyword "bal".) And if my checking account is running low, Wamu even lets me transfer funds. (And instead of the old-fashioned "Press 1" options, I simply scroll through a list of options.)
Mobile banking is really useful for that quick information you need when you're on the go. But I also like knowing I can "view transactions" if there's an unexpected shortfall that needs immediate investigation. Usually I only view transactions on my PC while balancing my check book, but it's just as easy on a cell phone. It's just like scrolling through any other menu -- which means it's possible to balance a checkbook on a business trip in those spare minutes while waiting for a plane.
Washington Mutual has a unique security procedure which involves going to a unique URL which is created when you register your phone. This prohibits unauthorized access from other phones -- but if someone steals your phone, you'll have to hope they can't get past your pin number. I've heard people argue that an ATM card can be lost just as easily as a cell phone (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Business Use||Security|
Banking has changed a lot over the years and now, you can even use banking services on your cell phone. But are you ready for that? Maybe you just want to know what you can expect before you put your cell phone to use in this manner. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about their "Banking By Cell Phone Experience." Our first post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from Joseph, check out his Joe Duck blog.
In addition to an excellent online interface to banking, Bank of America offers phone call banking with voice activated login and features. As with most voice interfaces it is generally somewhat frustrating to move effectively through multiple choice menus, especially if you have several accounts and want to complete a complex inquiry such as reviewing checks. Generally I avoid voice interface banking in favor of using the online system.
Bank of America does offer a nice quality mobile offering at www.BofA.com/mobile/
Although the mobile system is fast enough on my smartphone under normal connection speeds (in rural Oregon) it it still clunky enough to be really useful only when PC access is not available.
The initial menu screen on the mobile interface offers four choices:
Accounts: Here you can access account details such as balances, deposits, and itemized checking records.
Bill Pay & e-Bills: Online bill payments can be made from the mobile interface as well as setting up and scheduling payments.
Transfer Funds: Here, selecting from different accounts allows transfer of funds from one account to another. User is prompted to pick outgoing and incoming account, then to enter the amount to transfer.
Locations: This odd menu choice seems misplaced as it takes you out of the protected interface and into the non-encrypted site - I think it may have been added in the secure area due to popular demand for a link to this feature even after logging in to access account information.
In terms of security I think mobile has advantages over PC online banking security in that a mobile phone is generally an excellent way to uniquely identify a user. For example cell phones are not shared nearly as much as PCs, so if passwords are saved on your phone it is very unlikely somebody else will ever see them. I don't know if most mobile banking applications identify the device before logging on but I assume those that do not soon will, offering a strong measure of security. Are four letter passwords enough? Probably yes until phone hacking becomes more widespread (as it will as smartphone use continues to rise dramatically). At that time longer passwords are called for though the physical security of a phone and the fact the networks are generally more secure than, say, wireless hotspots offers user protection.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Smart phones||Business Use||Security|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager for T-Mobile, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The Motorola W490 is a good choice for anyone who wants a basic camera phone that is easy to use. It is one of the smallest and lightest cell phones Motorola offers and comes in four great colors (purple, green, pink and black). The cell phone has an MP3 player and supports Stereo Bluetooth so you can listen to music through Bluetooth stereo speakers. Store your MP3's and photo's using a Micro SD removable memory card.
Why is it such a good deal? Not only is this Motorola cell phone free, but you can also make a dent on your holiday shopping since it comes with a free X-Box 360 console with purchase of a 2-year activation.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Camera||Games|
|T-Mobile||Bluetooth||Deal of the Week|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we discuss how to handle a work cell phone and a product that can ease transitioning from one provider to another. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
In short, the answer is yes, definitely still get a personal cell phone. The reason is simple, since your employer has provided the cell phone for you everything you do (pictures, text messages, e-mail) on that cell phone is the property of your employer. Try to think of the work cell phone as you would think about your work computer. What would you do on your work computer? Probably not many of the activities you do on your home computer. Additionally, some employers restrict certain cell phone features such as a camera and accessing personal e-mail, so you might need to get your own cell phone anyway. Finally, when you go on vacation from work do you really want to be tied to your work cell phone where anyone from work can reach you? How much will you enjoy that vacation?
I have a Sprint Rumor, but I recently switched to AT&T. Can I use the rumor with AT&T? Do I have to get an unlock code?-dn
Unfortunately, you will not be able to use your Rumor with AT&T service. Sprint and AT&T use different networks: Sprint uses CDMA and AT&T uses GSM. This means the Rumor will not be compatible with AT&T service. You'll need to get a new AT&T cell phone or GSM-enabled cell phone to use with your AT&T service. However, if you'd like to save your contacts and other information (pictures, etc) on the Rumor and port it over to the new AT&T cell phone you can with the Universal DataPilot Kit. That should make the cell phone transition a lot easier for you.
Sprint announced a new service for hearing-impaired customers who own a cell phone with Windows Mobile 6 browser. The new service is called WebCapTell On the Go and essentially it allows you to read the conversation on one cell phone that is occurring on another handset. However, the company press release explains it best:
With Sprint WebCapTel On the Go, users can make calls using two phones -- reading captions on a wireless phone and listening and speaking on a second phone. Prior to making a call, the user would log onto www.sprintcaptel.com on one mobile device to read text captions of what the other party is saying.
The service is free and you don't necessarily need to two cell phones. You can use the web browser on your computer, as well. However, if you plan to read the captions over your cell phone's web browser you will need to have a data plan to connect to the web to use the service.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Sprint||Windows Mobile||Smart phones|
Has getting settled into the Fall semester made you re-evaluate your cell phone choice? Think its time to upgrade to a BlackBerry? Then be sure to check out the LetsTalk.com booth at the San Jose State vs. Boise State game on Friday night where you can sign up to get a new BlackBerry and $50 for your existing cell phone. Thats not all, you can also enter to win $50,000 to help pay off your school debt. Its a deal thats a win for everyone. If you cant make it to the game, check out BlackBerry.LetsTalk.com for more details.
|Topics:||In The Know||Sports||BlackBerry|
Late last year, Verizon Wireless announced the Open Handset Alliance that would essentially allow anyone to submit a CDMA-compatible cell phone for certification to be used on its network. To that end, the company along with Intertek just announced the first independent lab is up and running to certify devices for the Verizon Wireless open development program. That means you can start submitting devices now by following this link to the Verizon Wireless site for more information. It will be interesting to see the first handsets that will be certified by the new lab and if in the bunch there will be a cell phone developed in someone's garage that changes the way we use cell phones today.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Cell phone plans|
What is it? The BlackBerry Curve 8330, now available in both Black and Pink from Verizon Wireless, is the best device for combining your work life and personal life. It's small, sleek, has a full QWERTY keyboard, and sports the popular trackball navigation for easy scroll and selection of menu items. The Curve is also the first BlackBerry to support BlackBerry Media Player and Stereo Bluetooth headset capabilities, which provides a great MP3 player experience. The 2-megapixel camera has a 5x zoom and flash that takes crisp and clear images. There is also a microSD expansion slot capable of expanding up to 8GB for storage of music, videos, games, and many more applications. With the Curve, you can use spell-check in your e-mails, get directions with TeleNav Maps, and even travel in over 125 countries with global voice and data roaming. The ultimate smartphone and technology package are all in one device with the BlackBerry Curve.
How much? The BlackBerry Curve 8330 is free out-the-door for lines 1-2 with any 2 year service plan that costs $50 or more monthly. If you prefer a monthly plan that ranges between $39.99 - $50 service, it's still FREE after a $50 Mail-in-Rebate!
Why is it such a good deal? The BlackBerry Curve on the Verizon network is the best of both worlds. It provides you with the latest and greatest in mobile technologies as well as the most reliable 3G network. Browse the web faster and lose fewer calls! Not only is the Curve absolutely FREE, but it comes with an additional 2GB microSD memory card so you can start enjoying the smartphones multimedia features immediately.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||BlackBerry||Bluetooth|
|Accessories||Deal of the Week|
Google has announced its Android Market for its up-and-coming mobile technology platform, and Microsoft has similarly publicized its SkyMarket for selling applications on its Windows Mobile systems. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to help explain what this means to consumers and what it will take for these "stores" to be successful. Our final post comes from Joshua Howe. To read more from Joshua, check out his Maine VRC blog.
Consumers are hungry for more options in the mobile market. The Open Handset Alliance working on the Android Platform for mobile devices will open the field for developers and its success will be based on whether they take up the challenge or not. Judging by the response to the call for more apps, there will be plenty of developers making applications for the new platform. Competition should increase drive the development of better more useful apps.
Google appears to be trying to bring standards to mobile, and hopefully will bring its awareness of accessibility to this market. With the integration of closed captioning support to You Tube, Google has taken a lead in providing accessible content as well as being a host. Though they haven't gotten it completely right with the lack of ability to add captioning to another user's video or providing captioning services, they are realizing that keeping people on their sites will require a variety of tools. Apple has recently done this with the release of an accessible iTunes 8 and the 4th Generation Nano with spoken menus which will allow blind and visually impaired users greater access to the variety of Apple content, and keep them coming back. Hopefully, accessibility won't be the last thing on developers' and phone makers' minds as the mobile market continues to develop and grow.
|Topics:||Observed||Windows Mobile||Smart phones||Android|
Google has announced its Android Market for its up-and-coming mobile technology platform, and Microsoft has similarly publicized its SkyMarket for selling applications on its Windows Mobile systems. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to help explain what this means to consumers and what it will take for these "stores" to be successful. Our next post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out his blog at Tech.Blorge.
T-Mobile is unveiling their G1 phone, and the first Android phones will reach consumers in October. But are consumers just as hungry for its store of third-party applications?
I predict it'll be a hit. Developers are already excited about reaching millions of consumers on a cutting-edge handheld platform -- and it's not just that the platforms are open. They'll also have major support from industry leaders like T-Mobile. (And there's always a buzz around anything that Google does.) Even Microsoft is now scrambling to create their own application store though the last prediction I saw suggested that "Skymarket" won't be fully rolled out until the end of 2009. That article points out that Apple has already racked up $30 million in the first month of running its own App store. Now that the industry has embraced open platforms, there'll be no going back.
With this kind of major support, it's almost inevitable that we'll end up with some good applications. Yes, if the platforms are truly "open," the stores will end up offering both the useful and the useless -- but it's trivial to sort the applications by "most popular." (If anyone knows how to order search results, it's Google!) And because open platforms allow many more developers, it's more likely that "niche" audiences can be sastified (instead of creating only applications which offer a universal "usefulness".) I have a friend who's a diabetic, and he was thrilled when someone finally developed a handheld program that helped track his blood sugar. There may ultimately be a "long tail" for applications -- with a wide variety of small communities delighted that there's an open platform where developers can reach them.
A lot of the concerns about application stores are based mostly on speculation. Information Week wrote an editorial arguing that the applications apparently will be submitted to the store without an approval process -- but I'm sure that the model will evolve over time. And I have to remember that "security" was always a bogeyman used to discourage people from using open platforms. And the advocates for openness always had a compelling comeback.
With a million eyeballs, all security issues are shallow!
|Topics:||Observed||Windows Mobile||Smart phones||T-Mobile|
Google has announced its Android Market for its up-and-coming mobile technology platform, and Microsoft has similarly publicized its SkyMarket for selling applications on its Windows Mobile systems. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to help explain what this means to consumers and what it will take for these "stores" to be successful. Our first post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from Devin, check out devinmoore.com notes.
The prospects are good for any mobile app store -- people want functionality quickly and easily, and anything that provides a way to get that functionality will easily return a profit. Anything that allows developers easy access to the API's necessary to code for mobile platforms will result in a tremendous boost in mobile funcitonality, as seen in a huge surge in apps available through these portals.
First of all, nothing will prevent apps from having viruses. The michelangelo virus was spread years ago in a commercial, pre-packaged installation, so if that can happen it is impossible to prevent viruses 100% of the time. However, whitelisting software to be sold is a smart idea. That will at least reduce the odds that a particular package didn't get looked at thoroughly before being offered for sale.
Usefulness will be decided by consumer demand, assuming enough developers are interested in developing for the platform. If there is a need, eventually a developer will attempt to fill that need. The "best" applications usability-wise (the ones that are useful enough and not too annoying) will be obvious from the usage statistics off of the app stores.
Eventually every type of "phone" will have an app store, and while apps may not be cross-platform compatible at the source level, there will likely be a verstion of core applications for many different mobile OS platforms.
Diversity of platforms and applications
I encourage all of this development to happen, because in a big way this is the dream of what PC's should have been were it not for a certain monopoly causing many people to have few choices in their applications. The mobile world will be better off for all this diversity.
|Topics:||Observed||Windows Mobile||Smart phones||HTC|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager for T-Mobile, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The new BlackBerry Pearl 8220 Flip has the same smartphone functionality with a brand new flip phone design. The Flip has an external screen that allows you to screen calls and preview messages. Whether you want to watch a video clip or listen to your favorite songs, the BlackBerry® Pearl Flip smartphone delivers visual and sound quality that keeps up with your needs.
Why is it such a good deal? This BlackBerry just became available and you can save $50 on it now.
|Topics:||In The Know||BlackBerry||T-Mobile||Deal of the Week|
While there is a trend of people ditching their landline phones, there are still plenty of folks who want to hold onto that home phone number and lower phone bills. On that note, we decided to try out T-Mobile @ Home to see if it's worth making the switch. We admit it: We thought it would be hard to set-up at home, but were pleasantly surprised with our experience. Check out the results below and if you want to try this at home check out our How To on the topic.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Nokia||Cell phone plans||Samsung|
Has getting settled into the Fall semester made you re-evaluate your cell phone choice? Think its time to upgrade to a BlackBerry? Then be sure to check out the LetsTalk.com booth at the Stanford vs. Arizona game on Saturday where you can sign up to get a new BlackBerry and $50 for your existing cell phone. Thats not all, you can also enter to win $50,000 to help pay off your school debt. Its a deal thats a win for everyone. If you cant make it to the game, check out BlackBerry.LetsTalk.com for more details.
|Topics:||In The Know||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
The Fall TV line-up is in full-swing, with just a few more shows debuting this week. We wanted to hear from Bloggers around the Internet their thoughts about the emerging relationship between TVs and cell phones. Our final post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from Joseph check out his Joe Duck blog.
Surprisingly there has not been as much convergence as one would expect between TV shows and the explosive growth in mobile phone internet access. This is likely to change though I think it will mostly take the form of simple rather than highly interactive viewer engagement - things along the lines of American Idol text messaging, call ins, and ringtones.
Vibes Media is a company that is leading some of the most innovative tie-in experiments. For example they have used Text messaging to increase engagement in a major TV sports event:
Vibes also managed the Warner Brothers Gossip Girl mobile tie-in where viewers were encouraged to text information into the show and invited to purchase music and engage in other brand-building exercises.
One of the most ambitious attempts at converging new media and TV was CSI New York's Second Life episode which was not a mobile event but represented a highly interactive, real time innovative approach we may eventually see in the mobile space as well. The initial free publicity buzz was good though I haven't seen this approach duplicated elsewhere, perhaps indicating it was a commercial flop or perhaps not ready for prime time yet.
Several shows have created tie in mobile games and this appears to be working in many cases. CSI for example has a pocket game, reviewed here:
Viacom, the parent network of Nickelodeon TV for kids, is about to spend 100 million developing hundreds of new games for their online empire. Some will tie in to TV shows like Dora the Explorer, offering a way to leverage the TV brand to gain game traction, although it's not clear if there will be much if any highly interactive elements between the TV show and the game.
As is often the case, Japan appears to be far ahead of the USA in terms of innovative experiments. TV Asahi has developed a TV show called "Hoshi-ichi Owarairyoku Test" that will allow up to 100,000 (that is not a typo!) concurrent mobile users to appear as an avatar on the TV and engage in a comedy contest. In the same way that Asia has been the most fertile testing ground for mobile gaming innovation I think we'll see the same for TV to Mobile convergence even though Asian mobile successes don't always translate into US success.
More about the TV Asahi project: (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Games|
The Fall TV line-up is in full-swing, with just a few more shows debuting this week. We wanted to hear from Bloggers around the Internet their thoughts about the emerging relationship between TVs and cell phones. Our next post comes from Matt Jansen. To read more from Matt check out his metaViper blog.
Mobile devices continue to trend toward providing tons of content in a small form factor, but video will remain an accessory media until screens become physically or virtually larger. Larger screens could take forms like malleable fold out sheets of electronic paper, or heads up displays that fit snugly over the eye that provide a virtually immersive experience. Until then, users will watch videos on their mobile phones in places where there aren't other good options like in airports, elevators, taxis, buses, subways. But, they will seek a larger screen for longer viewing sessions and an overall more satisfactory video experience.
That accessory status is one of the very reasons YouTube and other slapstick video sites are so popular on mobile devices. They provide brief spurts of entertainment that are easily digestible in the few spare moments someone traveling or waiting has before their next move. Also on a side, drivers also watch videos on their mobile phones which can easily be as distracting as sending a text message.
But what about TV shows that integrate text messaging into their viewing experience. They're pushing the envelope from passive entertainment to interactive, which also happens to be the most addictive aspect of online entertainment. The problem is that shows often don't offer incentives good enough to lure large quantities of participants, and that's what makes the cost of prizes worthwhile. Of course, for some TV shows quantity isn't their goal. For example, the Stargate Atlantis series on SciFi channel often will run text message promotions slipped in between commercials to reward viewers that don't skip through them (they want to make all of you Tivo users feel like you're missing out! Is it working?)
One exception to that rule of thumb seems to be reality TV, especially talent competitions like Amercian Idol and it's spinoffs like America's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance. In those cases viewers quickly become fans of their favorite rising star and feel a sense of loyalty and obligation to vote that's hard to replicate in other genres.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Video||Games|
In case you missed the Presidential debate last night or just want to see it again, you should be able to catch it on a Verizon Wireless' V Cast-enabled cell phone. The company broadcast the debate live last night on its V Cast service via CBS News and will do the same for the next Presidential debate on October 15th at 9:00 pm EST. No worries if you don't have the monthly service (cost $15 a month for unlimited basic video service). If you have a Verizon Wireless V Cast-enabled cell phone you can check out the service (and catch the debate) for 24 hours for $3.00. This is just another way that TV is making an extension to the cell phone.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Video|
The Fall TV line-up is in full-swing, with just a few more shows debuting this week. We wanted to hear from Bloggers around the Internet their thoughts about the emerging relationship between TVs and cell phones. Our first post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David check out his blog on Blorge.com.
Right now it's possible to experience the ultimate TV tie-in: watching the actual shows on your cell phone! NBC's mobile site lists 37 different programs that are mobile-ready, including Saturday Night Live, Heroes, and y Name is Earl. They've even reached into their vault for canceled shows like Las Vegas, The A-Team, and the original Battlestar Galactica.
But cell phones are still overlooked when promoting popular shows at least judging from the networks' web sites. CBS's mobile site offers some wallpaper promoting their shows including Survivor and CSI, plus the stars of various NBA basketball teams. (And they've tapped their archive for wallpaper images and ringtones from classic shows like the original Star Trek, plus The Brady Bunch and Happy Days.) But for some reason, the biggest feature on the network's mobile site is a large, but completely unrelated, collection of pop music ringtones. And the biggest feature on ABC's site is the ability to peek in on your favorite show...via text alerts!
It's a pretty unglamorous way to promote a series, but at least ABC has alerts for seven different shows. The other networks are only offering a limited selection of TV alerts, mostly about news (though NBC will also send alerts about soap operas like Days of Our Lives and Passions). ABC does also have the standard ringtones and wallpapers but you have to click around their site to find them.
I was really surprised to see that the networks aren't creating more mobile content around their shows. NBC's mobile site offers a few games based on Deal or No Deal,plus a Heroes trivia game, and one based on Law and Order. But it's obviously going to be much more compelling to simply watch video. (I'm still amazed that you can watch Jay Leno's Tonight Show monologues in their entirety.) NBC has tried to differentiate themselves further by creating original digital content, like a science fiction program called (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Video||Games|
Following the unveiling of the first Google Android cell phone, the HTC G1 for T-Mobile, we asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on having multiple open-source platforms available for cell phones. Our next post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from Joseph, check out his Duck blog.
I think open sourcing Symbian was probably a good strategic move given the explosive potential for Google Android to shake up the market as it becomes widely adopted. Nokia appears to be trying to maintain the market share for Symbian at some initial cost - Symbian gets about 2.50-5.00 per mobile device and this may go down, perhaps even to zero, with the competitive pressure from Android.
I think initially there will be competition but as developers work with both systems there will be pressure to adopt increasing levels of standardization, so I see Symbian and Android as the two key mobile OS flavors going forward. Users should be winners here as the pressure from Android and consumers and the abundance of new mobile devices force all players to create highly innovative new devices. With the iPhone as the *starting point* of the new innovation, look for large numbers of great new phones to hit markets by Christmas of 2008. Sprint's new touch phone is a quality addition to the landscape, and many more will be coming soon. Rather than device differentiation, I think there will be a lot of attempts to bring every possible feature into single devices - sort of the Swiss Army Knife approach. I think this will succeed thanks to the small form factor innovation we have already seen, where very powerful phones can be packed very tightly and stylishly.
How will the closed software systems fare in a landscape where "open innovations" are the new "proprietary innovations"? They will open, and probably fast. iPhones have already opened somewhat and this trend will continue.
As the key market leader for mobile operating systems Symbian is likely to be around for a long time, but it will face increasing challenges from Android to innovate and work with developers to bring users a great mobile experience.
Lastly, note the following consumer technology benchmarks which are a very clear indication of how much broader this market will become in the coming years:
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Nokia||BlackBerry||Symbian|
Following the unveiling of the first Google Android cell phone, the HTC G1 for T-Mobile, we asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on having multiple open-source platforms available for cell phones. Our next post comes from David Mould. To read more from David, check out his Orient Expression blog.
Direct parallels between movements towards open source mobile operating systems and Linux can be drawn. How many consumers think to use Linux over the traditional offerings of Windows or Mac OS? it's still very much the remit of technically minded individuals. Despite the best efforts of communities like Ubuntu with their more user friendly solutions the take up is low.
The reason is that of time and effort spent making it all work together. Having many versions of seemingly similar operating systems will confuse the average consumer. Cell phone usage is so ubiquitous that the vast majority of users want something they buy, charge up, turn on and start using. They don't want to or even know how to reinstall a component that hasn't worked properly. The average user's approach to upgrading their operating system (if they care at all) is to buy a new phone, not to update the firmware.
Some form of standards will be required if true interoperability is to be achieved but this doesn't even happen in the well established Linux communities.
The net effect will be the major players sticking with what they know, or an open version of it, i.e. Symbian. Potential uptake of niche handsets for the uber-geeks that want to play with features, assuming they will work on their network.
The bottom line is that a phone is designed to be used. Many operators with branded handsets disable some phone features as they know they won't work on their network. Therefore any open source projects will need to either limit the functionality they deliver or run the risk of their applications only working on one (or limited numbers) of operators around the world.
At some point open source phone operatong systems will be absorbed by the phone companies. This is already happening with Linux (Suse to Novell, MySQL to Sun etc) so any open source movement will have a finite life. I would question the need to add to the momentum.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Smart phones|
Following the unveiling of the first Google Android cell phone, the HTC G1 for T-Mobile, we asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on having multiple open-source platforms available for cell phones. Our first post comes from Matt Jansen. To read more from Matt, check out his metaViper blog.
Open Mobile Platforms are Worthless Without a Vibrant Community. Even though a clear cut recipe for success may not exist for building and growing an open source community, there are some common patterns that emerge when considering currently successful projects. Though mobile devices really are a different and unique medium, many concepts that drive open source overall apply here too, especially as platforms like Google Android, Symbian and Openmoko continue to seek new talent and expand their communities.
First and most important, any new open source project that's looking to add quality members needs to seek them out in sufficient numbers to create a diverse set of perspectives. Once that's in place the conversations tend to take on a life of their own. Google Android began its community by relying on the search giant's ubiquitous reputation in creating easy-to-use and free software. Google generated lots of buzz by making an announcement that it would be supporting an open source mobile platform and people flocked toward the idea.
But, even with Google's name behind the project, Android is facing delays.
Another feature that Google emphasizes in most of its projects is easy communication between members. That's key because then the exchange of ideas and points and counterpoints encourages innovation and the discovery of new efficiencies.
A problem that occurs more frequently with open source projects than with their commercial counterparts is the availability of documentation. How will a new user learn to use the system? Are there easy-to-understand manuals that speak in a language anyone can understand? Sometimes open source projects have a very active and large communities but they begin to ignore new visitors, instead just expecting everyone to begin at their water level. Nothing will push a new visitor away faster than a difficult to understand interface with no appropriate documentation.
Here is a list of items that will significantly influence the success or failure of an open source initiative -- including mobile open source platforms like Google Android, Symbian (new to the open source landscape) and Openmoko.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Symbian||Smart phones|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager for AT&T, Jack Cooper.
What is it? The AT&T Mercury USB Connect wireless modem provides enhanced mobile broadband performance for quick and easy access to email, the Internet and business applications from your computer while on-the-go. AT&T Mercury USB Connects compact USB drive form factor is designed with the latest in wireless data technology for use on the nation's fastest 3G network. The integrated microSD card slot provides a portable file transfer and storage solution, eliminating the need for additional hardware. The Mercury is backwards compatible to the national EDGE network ensuring network coverage wherever you roam.
How much? Get the AT&T Mercury USB Connect for FREE when purchased with any two year AT&T wireless data service plan.
Why is it such a good deal? The AT&T Mercury USB Connect wireless modem puts AT&T's 3G network at your fingertips. Don't let its small size fool you, the Mercury USB Connect wireless data modem enables you to surf AT&T's 3G network on your laptop at monster speeds!
|Topics:||In The Know||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans||Deal of the Week|
This past July, hands-free driving laws went into effect in California. However, one item action seemed to be missing from the laws and that is texting while driving. Well, that soon will change according to this LA Times article. Starting January 1, 2009, all drivers in California will not be allowed to text and drive. If a driver does get caught texting while driving they will have to pay a $20 fine for a first offense and a $50 fine for any subsequent violation. Just like the other cell phone usage while driving offenses, I'm betting that $20 fine won't just be $20 after additional county and state fees are applied.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Driving laws|
Check out ShopSavvy on the HTC G1 for T-Mobile. Use it to find out the best price on a particular item, just by snapping a pic of the barcode.
The T-Mobile G1 launch event was packed today. Everyone covering cell phones and tech in general seemed to be on hand at the New York event. There will inevitably be a ton of different takes on the G1 floating around the web today, well, let's face it for the next few weeks. Instead of reiterating the specs (which I will list in a separate post), here are my top 5 picks of what makes the G1 such an interesting cell phone:
1. Google maps on steroids. OK, this is just cool and really needed on the Amazing Race. If you already like Google Maps this will floor you. Not only is the application already on this cell phone it's also a compass with pictures to help improve navigation. So you can essentially stand in one spot and get a picture of where you are with arrows of where you need to go. In short what you see on the phone is what you see on the street.
2. The price is definitely right. T-Mobile announced pricing will be $179 for the G1 cell phone. That is a pretty competitive price, but more impressive are the data plan costs. Though there were no details about the $25 data plan, except to say that it includes unlimited data and some messaging, the next plan up is quite reasonable at $35 for unlimited data and unlimited messaging. Of course, you'll still need a voice plan.
3. Touch and tap keyboards - a heavy texter's best friend. While I do like the slickness of a touchpad, there are moments when I yearn for a QWERTY keypad as well -- especially, for those longer messages or emails. That's why I particularly appreciate that both are available on the G1.
4. The cell phone is not re-inventing the Web, it's working with it. A huge issue with the mobile Web has been that it's just not functional on a cell phone. There, of course, have been work arounds such as creating mobile web sites. As Senior Vice President, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Cole Brodman mentioned in his opening remarks it's "bringing the phone and the Internet together." He's right, it is. I do think it will take people a little bit of time to get it: that you can easily zoom in on a page, or move around a page, or even open multiple pages. In many ways, it's probably how people would expect to deal with the Internet on a cell phone.
5. We only have to wait a month before it arrives. Unlike many other cell phone launches, the G1 will be available to the world fairly soon. That's right next month on October 22nd you'll be able to buy the cell phone.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Smart phones||GPS|
The T-Mobile G1 launch event is barely over and already there are videos all over YouTube showing off the first Android cell phone. This video should give you a good idea of how the G1 works. Check it out:
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager for T-Mobile, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The Linksys Hi-Port Router does all the heavy lifting for the T-Mobile @ Home service. You can use this router with the right telephone $9.99 a month T-Mobile @ Home service to dramatically cut your home telephone service and you can even transfer your landline telephone number to the T-Mobile @ Home service. Thats not all, you can also use the router to set up a wireless network for your home.
How much? The router is free when you sign-up for the $9.99 T-Mobile @ Home service.
Why is it such a good deal? WiFi routers are far from free and the Linksys Hi-Port Router can be used for more than just setting up a WiFi network in your home. Coupled with the $9.99 a month T-Mobile @ Home service, you get unlimited nationwide calling from home without using your minutes while improving service at home if you also have a WiFi-enabled T-Mobile cell phone.
|Topics:||In The Know||WiFi||T-Mobile||Deal of the Week|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we explain sending text messages from the Internet and if deleted text messages can be retrieved from your cell phone. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
Can you send text message to a T-Mobile customer by from the Internet? Heather
The answer is yes. You can send a text message to a T-Mobile customer's cell phone from the Internet. You can do it directly from this link. In fact, all the carriers have a way to send a text message to a cell phone customer from the Internet. Ive provided links to each carriers offering below. Just be sure they have a text messaging plan, so they don't get billed extra for receiving it.
Unfortunately, theres nothing you can do on your cell phone to retrieve them yourself. However, you should check your online account to see if theres a copy there or call Sprint customers service and see if theres a way for them to restore the messages for you.
|Topics:||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Sprint|
The political race is all over the news, but you shouldn't have to be tied to your computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to stay on top of it. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to discuss options for staying apprised of race details via cell phone. Our final post comes from David Cassel. To read more from him, check out his blog on Tech.Blorge.
It's the election of a lifetime -- and it doesn't have to end when you're mobile.
If you're rooting for Barack Obama, why not put him on your phone? His official campaign site offers 12 slick ringtones, including Obama himself saying "Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?" and a hip-hop mix that chants "Go go go -- Obama." Instead of just a ringing phone, you could be hearing the charismatic candidate shout..."It's time to change America!"
And that's just the beginning. RingTones08 offers ringtones for all political persuasions, including "It's raining McCain," "the Ron Paul revolution," and JibJab's hilarious song parody about the entire 2008 primary season. (And, yes, several variations on Obama's "Yes We Can" speech.) Visitors to the site are even encouraged to create their own political ringtones and share them on the site. Elsewhere another enterprising entrepreneur has specifically registered the domain JohnMcCainRingtones.com. And of course, Barack Obama's site is also offering Obama-themed wallpaper for your cell phone's background.
But it doesn't have to end there. If your phone runs the SymbianOS or the Mobipocket eBook reader, you can even download books by the candidates onto your phone. eBooks.com is offering both Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope and John McCain's Why Courage Matters for downloading, along with other books by the candidates (and biographies about them.)
I've been following this campaign closely, and was fascinated by the anecdotes posted on Reuters new campaign blog, "Tales from the Trail." I was delighted to discover that it has an RSS feed -- but more importantly, Reuter's created a full web page collecting all of their mobile RSS feeds, including one for all of their political news. Most of the top political blogs have mobile-friendly feeds, including Time magazine's Swampland and the poll-watchers at Political Wire.
In fact, (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||Ringtones|
The political race is all over the news, but you shouldn't have to be tied to your computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to stay on top of it. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to discuss options for staying apprised of race details via cell phone. Our next post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from him, check out his Joe Duck blog.
As Twitter use explodes into the mainstream I find it to be an interesting mobile source for politics, especially breaking news which is increasingly reported on Twitter before even CNN or local news outlets. As a microblogging service Twitter is easy to use from mobile or computer, and there is a fair amount of lively political discourse there though it is not particularly well organized.
Twitter and mobile messaging have also captured major attention from the campaigns. Obama is *by far* the most followed person on Twitter (even though his entries are, I think, always by a staffer not Obama). In fact Obama's VP announcement was supposed to be messaged and emailed before it was announced on mainstream media though I'm not sure if that system worked or not.
Perhaps more important than the campaign use is the fact that Twitter has moved dramatically into CNN's frame of reference, which means that you can sometimes use Twitter to communicate with CNN anchors. This is powerful as it connects "real people" with media moguls and gives a voice and interactivity to the political process. On Twitter, @andersoncooper is really Anderson Cooper of CNN and @RichSanchezCNN is really Rick Sanchez. Both seem to be using the service more and more within their broadcasts to "crowdsource" opinions.
Although the site is not specially optimized for mobile browsing I think RealClearPolitics.com is a brilliant site with by far the best unbiased, overall picture of the political landscape, regularly updated and with an emphasis on polls. One could pretty much stay totally informed on most election issues by simply reviewing the RSS feeds here: http://realclearpolitics.com/rss/
More mobile politics can be found at the major political disscusion site Politico: http://mobile.politico.com/
The Huffington Post is also a huge watering hole for a liberally influenced read of politics, and they have a mobile environment here: http://m.huffingtonpost.com/
Want more of a conservative lean to your mobile politics? Try the Druge Report, Mobile edition here: http://www.idrudgereport.com/
What do you think of these suggestions? Have you tried them? Got any good sites you use regularly? We'd love to hear about them. Submit a comment.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging|
The political race is all over the news, but you shouldn't have to be tied to your computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to stay on top of it. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to discuss options for staying apprised of race details via cell phone. Our next post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from him, check out his blog.
Sites like http://mobile.twp.com/ and other mobile editions of newspapers are a great way to follow political news from a mobile device.
Sites such as http://race08.go2.com/ compile and list out election-specific information to help expedite having to filter through tons of RSS feeds for the latest information.
Obama has his own mobile site: http://www.barackobama.com/mobilev2/
While McCain doesn't specifically have a mobile site, this is just as good for GOP b(i)ased news:
There are various SMS services you can subscribe to in order to receive information from candidates, but I will not list them as I disapprove of candidates issuing statements that might automatically charge you money in order to receive the statement (some SMS plans charge for incoming messages).
What do you think of these suggestions? Have you tried them? Got any good sites you use regularly? We'd love to hear about them. Submit a comment.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging|
The political race is all over the news, but you shouldn't have to be tied to your computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to stay on top of it. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to discuss options for staying apprised of race details via cell phone. Our next post comes from Matt Jansen. To read more from him, check out his metaViper blog.
Usually the best approach to discovering mobile content is to check with the source first. In the case of hot politics in the United States, Barack Obama has a text message subscriber list that keeps recipients in touch with his campaign. While John McCain has no comparable system in place he does comment on Barack Obama's text messaging. That's an obvious difference in approach to mobile communications when comparing the two major political camps. Each candidate is targeting a different audience, so perhaps those approaches make sense.
Text messages are one way to access content from a mobile device but there are others too. Jott provides a text-to-speech service that vocalizes feeds using artificial intelligence. Essentially that puts any political blog at your ear if a site feed is available.
Mobile social networks are another option that will facilitate information between friends. The drawback? Information you read is only as good as the friend's recital so facts can get discombobulated. The plus side is that mobile social networks enable immediate conversation which can result in new insights. Examples are Whrrl, Loopt, and Brightkite. They can also be a good way to develop new friends who share similar (or opposing) viewpoints on politics. Those friends could then transform into organized groups of people working toward a common political goal because they can easily communicate with each other.
Moving to the next vendor of mobile content, there's the current king of microblogging: Twitter. Following the right usernames can put information at your fingertips faster than any other source. Of course, with microblogging the same issue arises; it can be difficult to determine which microbloggers are authentic versus sinister or whimsical. For example, searching for "Obama" on Twitter yields 404 usernames with widely varying intentions. A search for McCain yields 97 usernames. Pick your poison!
Pushing content from these microblogs to your mobile phone is very easy because that is a basic foundation of Twitter's functionality. That, plus its breadth of information available earn Twitter a standout position in this lineup.What do you think of these suggestions? Have you tried them? Got any good sites you use regularly? We'd love to hear about them. Submit a comment.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging|
What is it? The Verizon Wireless Chocolate 3 (LG VX8560) is the latest and greatest in music-centric handsets. This recently launched flip phone has 1GB (roughly 250 songs) of internal memory with the ability to support an additional 8GB microSD card. It's an MP3 player on the outside, complete with control wheel, FM transmitter, dual speakers, and Bluetooth® for wireless stereo sound. The innovative FM transmitter feature allows you to play your favorite songs wirelessly through your car speakers! You can also use it with the companys recently released Rhapsody music service. The Chocolate 3 comes in Blue or black and is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera/camcorder.
How much? Get the Verizon Wireless Chocolate 3 for FREE after a $50 Mail-in-Rebate with the purchase of any Verizon Wireless two-year service plan.
Why is it such a good deal? The Chocolate 3 is the latest, stylish, music-centric device on the market. With any two-year Verizon Wireless service plan, it's FREE after $50 Mail-in-Rabate!
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Music||Camera|
|LG||Bluetooth||Deal of the Week|
The political race is all over the news, but you shouldn't have to be tied to your computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to stay on top of it. We asked Bloggers around the Internet to discuss options for staying apprised of race details via cell phone. Our first post comes from Rick Frauton. To read more from him, check out his FeedLion blog.
mJetz is a mobile web browser that combines feeds, web sites, and widgets (mJetz) into a streamlined interface. The UI is unlike any other application I've seen. Content is arranged in a hierarchy format, which is actually quite intuitive and lets users move quickly from one area to another. Widgets include email (Yahoo!, Gmail, etc.), social networking (Facebook, myGamma, etc.), weather, sports, and lots more. mJetz provides an open SDK to the independent developer community, so new widgets are added regularly and are very diverse in nature. Web-search functionality is also neatly integrated and allows users to choose among categories of results including feeds, full-web sites, mobile-web sites, and widgets. As a result, this is one of the most comprehensive mobile search tools available!
mJetz users can choose to add any of the aforementioned content to their Favorites, which are essentially mobile bookmarks, for instant access upon launching the app. One of my Favorites is a web feed that follows news regarding the US presidential race as it happens. This is perfect-bite sized content for being productive in short segments of downtime. Each new article is summarized in a glance-able paragraph to make the experience even more efficient.
Since mJetz is a free application, I would recommend that anyone with a web-enabled phone (Java, MIDP 1 & 2) should take it for a spin. Point your mobile device to mJetz.com to download, then use the Search function to find 'Presidential Race 2008' content.
The LG Dare for Verizon Wireless is a compact touch-screen cell phone that has more to offer than just it's sleek design and slick touch-screen interface. To show you what I mean, watch the video below to get a better idea of why this cell phone is more than just fun to use.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||LG|
For those of us belonging to more than one social networking site, Verizon Wireless seems to have an answer on how to better manage them from your cell phone. The company announced a new application today called SocialLife. The new application, which costs $1.49 for monthly access, is basically a one-stop shop for managing and updating multiple social network sites from a Verizon Wireless cell phone. You can view messages, approve or deny friend requests, post comments, and update status or profiles. If you have a camera phone, you can even take a picture and upload it to your social networking site right from the application. Supported sites include: MySpace, AsianAve, BlackPlanet, FaithBase, GLEE, LiveJournal, MiGente, Photobucket, Rabble and MTV Tr3s. However, you'll likely want to have an unlimited data plan to go along with this application as data usage fees are extra.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless|
Ever wonder which cell phones are good for synching with the Mac? It's a question that I hear more and more frequently these days. There's a great article from PC Magazine on just that topic. When people ask me that question, I often refer them to Sony Ericsson cell phones, it's one of the few that have been compatible with Macs early on in the phone company's history. But there are others on the list that some users might not consider initially such as the BlackBerry with a little extra software help, and even the Motorola Krzr. If this PC Magazine article doesn't have enough options, check out Apple's list of cell phones compatible with iSync.
|Topics:||In The Know||Sony Ericsson||BlackBerry||Windows Mobile|
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about personalizing the latest Sidekick at sidekickshells.com. This isn't just some sticker you can put on the Sidekick to set it apart, you actually get a whole new shell. Not being particularly artistic, I asked my friend who does stencils if he had anything that might be a good fit and sure enough he did. I used one of his stencil images to create the shell shown below. If you like the image you can see it here. About a week later I got the new shell in the mail. Besides the fun I had creating it and the anticipation of finally receiving it, I submitted the design to the Sidekick shell community for others to vote on it. If you've got the new Sidekick, you gotta give this a try.
Its that time of year when the summer heat begins to wane and kids of all ages get ready to go back to school. Deciding to get your child a cell phone doesnt just stop with picking the cell phone, the plan is equally as important. Of course, we're here to help you navigate through the decision making process with the tips below. Not sure which cell phone to get? Check out our Back to School Guide, for picks for all ages.
1. Not ready to spend a lot of money on a new cell phone for your child? Treat yourself instead. If you think your child is ready for a cell phone, but arent quite ready to give them a brand new cell phone; if yours is in good working condition consider giving them your existing cell phone and get a new one for yourself. You can probably even get a new model at a discounted price if youre willing to extend your contract with your existing carrier.
2. Keep it in the family. In many situations, a primary reason to give a child cell phone is to stay in touch with them. Consider getting a family plan where everyone in the family shares the same plan and minutes and unlimited calling to each other.
3. Out-of-state kids, dont have to mean more out-of-pocket phone expenses. Depending on when you first signed up for cell phone service with your carrier it may or may not include roaming. This is a good time to review your cell phone plan to see if where your child is going to school is part of your included coverage area and vice-versa for your childs plan. If not, adjust the plan accordingly to include the appropriate coverage areas for your family so youre not hit with additional roaming fees in your monthly plan.
4. To include text messaging or not to include text messaging? Absolutely get a text messaging plan, and an unlimited plan if possible. Kids text. Its a fact. To send one-off text and picture messages can add up quickly. Additionally, many cell phones have instant messenger (IM) services built-in. Each message sent over IM from a cell phone is billed as an individual message. Do you want to pay 10 cents for every LOL sent? (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||Parents||Cell phone plans|
It's that time of year, where summer comes to a close and the kids head back to school. We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how a cell phone might help with back to school and types of services that could make the back to school transition a little easier for students. Our final post comes from David Cassel. To read more from him, check out his blog at Tech.Blorge.
The economy's in trouble, and college has gotten expensive, so the most obvious piece of advice is simply watching your cell phone bill. In China, Unicom even offered 56,000 college students $200 apiece $50 for each college year after a May 12 earthquake in Sichuan collapsed several schools across the province. And in the U.S. there have been rumors of a mysterious company that would pay your cell phone bill or most of it by running a phone network that was supported by cell phone ads. But in February, one service had failed to materialize after 14 months (and an unfortunate SEC investigation). Maybe the lesson learned is simply that there's no such thing as a free lunch.
But there are lots of free services for students with cell phones. Google has a whole suite of mobile applications on a cell phone-ready page at M.Google.com. They're now even able to deliver search results based on Google's approximation of your location, with the matches displayed on Google maps. (And of course they're touting their mobile support for YouTube videos.) Google Talk works on the iPhone (as well all the major cell phone brands, including Nokia, Sony, Motorola, and Samsung), and they store transcripts of your chats in your Gmail account, letting you access them later via the web. The service even lets you make free long distance PC-to-PC phone calls. And don't forget their Google Scholar (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||Cell phone plans||Smart phones|
It's that time of year, where summer comes to a close and the kids head back to school. We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how a cell phone might help with back to school and types of services that could make the back to school transition a little easier for students. Our first post comes from Vikram Deo. To read more from him, check out his Not Another Mobile Phone Blog.
Mobile phone services can be really helpful for students so that they are familiar with their classes and their mates out there. Students can connect with their would-be friends in the new school using the mobile social network. School or college community on the mobile phone social network would help students in connecting with like minded guys and girls so that they get along well when their sessions actually begin.
Lot of students go to schools and colleges located in places with which they are not familiar, for them mobile maps, locations based services would be of greatest help. Having the location of the restaurants, popular hang-out joints, police stations, hospitals on their mobile phone will help students to easily access these services. Popular weekend spots in that area can also be one of the services. Also locations map of the school/college campus on their mobile phone can be an added advantage for students.Other value added services can be, students getting tips on subjects they have chosen on their mobile phones. Student can send the relevant data (subject list) to the service provider and in-turn they get tips on how to study these subjects and also links to useful resources, this can make studying a really fun thing to do.
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Aaron Horowitz.
What is it? The Verizon Wireless Blitz, which launched this week, is Verizon's latest step toward true customer satisfaction. The Blitz is a compact, text-centric device, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It's perfect for big texters and those who want a PDA style device without the expensive business data plan. This cell phone makes it a breeze to blog, web browse, or send messages with a touch of the My Messaging key. The Blitz has a bright, high-resolution screen, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and is both V-CAST and VZNavigator capable. It also supports Stereo Bluetooth® so you can listen to your favorite music or have a conversation hands-free.
How much?Get the Verizon Wireless Blitz free out-the-door with the purchase of any Verizon Wireless two-year service plan.
Why is it such a good deal? The Blitz is the latest, stylish, text-centric device on the market. It's absolutely FREE out-the-door. Plus, it comes with a free 1GB Kingston MicroSD card.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||Bluetooth|
|Deal of the Week|
It's that time of year, where summer comes to a close and the kids head back to school. We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how a cell phone might help with back to school and types of services that could make the back to school transition a little easier for students. Our first post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from him, check out his DevinMoore.com notes blog.
1. Easy access to my entire schedule, advisor numbers, etc. on one page. I want to get to one thing on my phone and be able to leave it there to have access to the things I need the most, especially where my next class is and reminders for that next class so I don't miss it playing Frisbee on the green.
2. School class maps. At a big college, it is confusing to be fiddling with a map to where all the classes and rooms are to get turn by turn directions inside the buildings would be sweet.
3. Local search for the college specific functions. I should be able to get access to what's going on, on-campus, for tonight. Without knowing this in advance, the social prospects for new students are greatly reduced because they'd have to go to the building to see the flyers for the event. To post all that in one place and make it available on a mobile makes the events accessible to everyone at any time.
Kids younger than college probably aren't allowed to have their phone in class, but a homework tracker for their classes would be great. I was always having trouble keeping track of which assignments were due when, and that could all be online now.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||GPS|
Loyal football followers are probably already watching Monday night pre-season games on the big screen. However, Sprint users have the opportunity to be a little bit more connected to the latest NFL updates this season with the company's NFL Mobile Live application. Basically, this application lets users listen to the live radio broadcasts of every NFL game throughout the 2008 regular season. Users can also watch all eight of the Thursday Night Football telecasts carried by NFL Network live beginning on November 6th. Additionally, users can follow their NFL.Fantasy teams and even have their favorite team's latest information and quick links to live broadcasts for that team on game days to appear first on the log-on screen.
What's the best part about this application? It's included as part of Sprint's Everything Plans or part of the $15 a month Data Pack service, so there's no special subscription fee. Interested? Check out nfl.com/mobile or sprint.com/nfl for more information.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Sports||Sprint||Cell phone plans|
If you're interested in getting a smartphone, but have been intimidated by the idea of one, check out the Palm Centro. It's got all the power of a smartphone with an operating system that's intuitive and easy to use out-of-the-box. To show you what I mean, watch the video below to get a better idea.
|Smart phones||Business Use|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Michael Cera.
What is it?The BlackBerry Curve 8330 from Sprint is the smallest, lightest QWERTY BlackBerry to date. It features the very popular trackball navigation for easier use. This Curve also support BlackBerry Media Player and Stereo Bluetooth headset capabilities so you can listen to music from your BlackBerry through your home stereo. The 2-megapixel camera has a 5x zoom and flash that will take crisp and clear images. There is also a microSD expansion slot capable of expanding up to 8GB for storage of music, video, games, and many more applications. With the Curve, you can spell check your e-mails, get directions with TeleNav Maps, and even travel in over 125 countries with global voice and data roaming. The ultimate smartphone and technology package are all in one device with the BlackBerry Curve.
Why is it such a good deal? BlackBerry's reputation and the technology embedded in this device are only a fraction of what you get with the Curve.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Sprint||BlackBerry|
|Deal of the Week|
Ever wonder what you can expect to see on you cell phone bill at the end of the month - especially if you're on a family plan? If you have Verizon Wireless, you may not have to wonder any longer. The company's new service, which costs $4.99 a month for each subscriber line allows you to set limits on cell phone usage per line on your account right from the My Verizon web site. Some of the features you can limit are as follows:
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Cell phone plans|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on how to check remaining Sprint minutes from your cell phone and compatibility issues. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
The good news is that the Motorola ic502 will technically work on the nTelos service. However, youll need to check directly with nTelos to see if they can program it to work with their service. If it will work with the service, we should note you will not be able to use the Nextel Direct Connect feature.
If you want to check out the amount of minutes youve used in your plan for the current monthly billing cycle and find out how many you have left in that cycle, simply dial *4 from the phone application and press send. Youll get all the information you need.
|Topics:||Motorola||Sprint||Cell phone plans||Customer service|
This post comes from LetsTalk.com Merchandising Manager Michael Cera.
Another Sprint Roadmap here. This one was found at Boy Genius while searching for more about Sprints presence in the news today. Sprint has made some drastic changes in the recent past and it seems like they are going to be doing the same into the near future and through Q1 and Q2 of 2009 with some new and very exciting handsets.
For starters, one of the more exciting devices they will have coming out most likely in Q4 is the BlackBerry 8350i. This is a BlackBerry Direct Connect device that is based off the BlackBerry Curve design. There is an internal antenna, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Nextel Direct Connect, and a 2MP camera that is optional (they have one with it and one without so you can choose). This will be an awesome cell phone for those looking to keep their direct connect capabilities, but want to step further into the 21st century.
Some of the other cell phone releases mentioned in the Boy Genius blog post consist of the Motorola i950 that will be first, then the Motorola i576 and i776, which are reported to launch in early Q4. There is not much about the i950, but the i576 and i776 will both be built to military specifications and will have Direct Connect, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities. In early Q1 of 2009, we will see the Motorola Monolith, which is a sure-type device (two alphabet letters per key) that is similar to the Motorola V8, and a Sanyo handset that will be an iDEN/GSM device. Further into 2009, most likely in Q2, there is rumored to be a Samsung slider with music capabilities, the Immersion by Motorola built to military specs, and the Sanyo Pro410. This is going to be a great end to a good year and an excellent beginning to a new one.
Note: We have no confirmation of the dates or products mentioned in the Boy Genius blog post, however, when and if these products become available through LetsTalk.com well be sure to let you know.
The 2008 Olympics will be going on over the next couple weeks, so we decided to ask Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how to best use your cell phone to follow the events. Our final post comes from David Mould. To read more from him, check out his Orient Expression blog.
It's an exciting time for mobile media coverage of the Olympics. For the first time there are a plethora of tools and a real saturation of online access that will allow the closest coverage of an Olympics yet.
It will be interesting to see how the coverage to your phone will be achieved.
Points to consider:
2. Choice of channel will be controlled by timezone, technology choice and cost
The biggest winner in this will be micro blog services, Twitter, Jaiku etc. They all have phone based interfaces and I can see several channels springing up to cover the three dimensions.
These will become used as typically Olympic coverage is controlled by popular choice (Track and Field, Football) and skewed by broadcasting country (UK follows UK athletes, as do USA, Australia and New Zealand). This leaves minor events and minor countries with little to no coverage.
And one for the kids.... what about the (Read more)
The 2008 Olympics will be going on over the next couple weeks, so we decided to ask Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how to best use your cell phone to follow the events. Our next post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from him, check out his Joe Duck blog.
Will NBC cover everything?
NBC has promised to cover all the events via online or broadcast media - a remarkable event in and of itself and I think unprecedented in Olympic history. Although there is more to the Olympics than just the actual sporting events NBC is also planning to cover opening ceremonies and certainly will do many of the athlete profiles that are fun to watch, so as a fan of some of the more obscure sports like Table Tennis I'm very excited to be able to follow things in a way I have never done before.
What do you think of Yahoo's mobile services for following the Olympics?
I have a feeling Yahoo's been so overwhelmed with corporate challenges that their mobile Olympics will be underwhelming. So far Yahoo's offering a few unimpressive links with old news at their mobile Olympics online spot:
Fring is the really intriguing Web 2.0 player at the Olympics, and I'm anxious to see what they put out. From the Fring site we learn they've assembled a team of "reporters" who are now applying for this this:
We will happily provide the fring Olympics commentators with a 3.5G mobile phone with GPS, camera, local SIM card and (almost) unlimited data plan. In return, the fring commentator will regularly micro-blog with quick updates & pictures (the winner, the loser, the cutest flag-bearer, the poor girl who lost her swimsuit, the poor guy who dropped the baton in the 4×100 meter final you get the idea). If youre a real sports enthusiast you may focus more on the records; if youre more of a night owl, we may all live vicariously through your night-time escapades in the Olympic village - pics & videos most welcome!My guess is that Fring will be weak on the sports but much more interesting than NBC on the night life, especially if the Fring reporters get clever about getting out pictures and stories from Olympic Village and other Beijing nightlife venues. Celebrity spotting is a lot easier if there are legions of smartphones in the house, so look to Fring for the stuff you can't get elsewhere.
In terms of mainstream sports coverage I'm guessing it'll be NBC all the way. Veteran sportscasters will offer more insight than a microblogger standing at the finish line, and NBC appears primed to deliver great reports from dozens of venues.(Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Sports||Smart phones|
The 2008 Olympics will be going on over the next couple weeks, so we decided to ask Bloggers around the Internet for their thoughts on how to best use your cell phone to follow the events. Our first post comes from David Cassel. To read more from him, check out his Blorge.com blog.
NBC paid over $600 million for exclusive rights to cover the Olympics and they're not ignoring cell phone users. NBC is promising steady mobile alerts through NBCOlympics.com. I don't know if it's cell phone-ready, but NBC also has an online video site [requiring "Windows Media Center"] with a whopping 2,200 hours of live and interactive video (also available through NBC Olympics.com.) "Watch full length events" the site urges even offering the downloading of video for repeat viewing offline. But the site's already drawing mixed reviews, so remember: they're not the only site for Olympics news.
ESPN Mobile has created a dedicated Olympics page, where they're promising a medal tracker, athlete information, news, recaps, and analysis. Meanwhile, ESPN.com has a complete schedule of all the events, and even created "Olympic Central." And yes, they'll be offering their own original reporting from China. ("ESPN forced to work Beijing's backstreets," read one headline.) ESPN reporters will interact with the athletes (without cameras), and they'll be allowed to use video highlights for news recaps but only after they've aired on NBC.
But the Twitter feeds could become especially significant this year bypassing the restrictions created by NBC's exclusive rights and the tight controls of the Chinese government. (Last month the Chinese police stopped interrupted a live interview on the great wall of China.) One San Francisco blog did a great job of collecting Twitter comments about the protests when the Olympics torch passed through San Francisco. A web site called Global Voices Online is already offering Twitter updates with Olympic news story (and the blogger at 2008 Games Beijing.com is (Read more)
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic for T-Mobile is an awesome cell phone for music lovers that comes in three different colors: orange, purple, and red. A two-stage stereo headset is included to use with the 3.5mm headphone jack (that can be used to listen to music using headphones that you might use for an MP3 player). It offers up to 18 hours of music playback, with memory for up to 3,000 songs on an optional 4GB microSD card. The handheld also comes preloaded with two exclusive new hits - one from rock sensation Panic! At The Disco and one from Phantom Planet.
How much? The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic is free out the door with a new two-year T-Mobile service contract. Plus, you make $50.
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||Music||Cell phone plans|
|T-Mobile||Deal of the Week|
I like to call the LG Voyager for Verizon Wireless the SUV of cell phones because it's a tad bigger than your average handset, but it's fully loaded with all the luxuries you never knew you wanted. To show you what I mean, watch the video below to get a better idea of why this cell phone has everything you might need.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Music||LG|
This week we asked bloggers around the Internet for ideas on how a cell phone can help while on vacation or help plan a vacation. Our final post comes from Matt Jansen, to read more from Matt check out his metaViper blog.
As mobile phones continue to add features on top of their core calling functionality, more and more they're resembling fully functional mobile computers. Smartphones are the beginning, but some devices like Apple's iPhone and Sprint's Instinct are stretching into new territory. And that evolution is great for vacationers because it means that the same access to information and applications that's available at home follows them everywhere.
But which of the comforts of home are most relevant to someone on vacation? Certainly a lot of that depends on the individual but I'm willing to bet that there are some frequent requests, the most obvious probably being good phone coverage and Internet access.
Can anyone even remember when you had to be at home or work to make a phone call?
Cell phone carriers are offer a variety of packages that include Internet access. With AT&T it costs about $130 per month for an unlimited data plan, and Sprint is making waves with its $100 plan that includes unlimited data plus unlimited access to most of its other services.
Here are some other services that might be useful while on vacation, organized by task:
This week we asked bloggers around the Internet for ideas on how a cell phone can help while on vacation or help plan a vacation. Our first post comes from Bill Burke, to read more from Bill check out his Wireless Speech blog.
Windows Live Mobile Search is by far the handiest and most full-featured traveler's assistant. It's available for free download to Windows 5.0 & 6.0 Smart Phones, Blackberry devices and Pocket PC's - and it's hands free (speech recognition enabled)! The service also uses Global Positioning System (GPS) data on GPS-enabled phones, to provide location-aware local search for customers.
In Microsoft's last release of Live Search for Windows Mobile they built in a very forward looking feature:
Allowing users to send feedback directly to the engineering team.
Many requests were for new functionality.
Here's what's built in now:
Weather By far the most often-requested feature: get current weather conditions, and a four-day forecast by clicking the Weather icon.
Map a contact:
Open up a contact, press Menu, and then press Show On Map to view that Contact's location on a map!
Delete a recent location:
Simple, yet effective. Click the label showing your current location
to display the list of recent locations, scroll to the item you want to delete,
press Menu, and then press Delete.
These were the most common asked-for features;
but Microsoft received additional requests for custom, personalized content.
Consequentially, Microsoft built a way for users to access even more relevant content, on the go.
Search the Web, news, images, and more just by clicking the Web icon.
Increased traffic coverage :
Piggy-backing on great work done by Live Search Maps, view up-to-the-minute
traffic info for more cities, like Indianapolis, Oklahoma City or Memphis.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||BlackBerry||Windows Mobile||Smart phones|
This week we asked bloggers around the Internet for ideas on how a cell phone can help while on vacation or help plan a vacation. Our first post comes from David Cassel, to read more from David check out Blorge.com blog.
I remember when Stonebriar Country Club in Texas bragged they had the first Bluetooth-enabled golf course. (Tee times could be reserved straight from the bar, and they even talked about an application that would beam golf scores to the clubhouse from the 18th hole.) But sometimes on vacation, the biggest concern about your cell phone is how to keeping it working! Here's some cell phone tips to make sure that you and your cell phone have a wonderful vacation.
This week we've asked bloggers around the Internet about cell phones and vacation plans. Seeing as I just got back from vacation, I thought I'd start it off with my own blog post on the topic. Typically, when I hit the road I usually have a couple of cell phones with me for different reasons. This time, I only took one cell phone because I was going on vacation. Though I knew there was a lot I could do with the cell phone I had with me (I had the LG Voyager, which I was reviewing) such as get directions, stream music stored on the cell phone over the stereo, go online to find a restaurant in a nearby area, check my e-mail, hook it up to a Bluetooth headset so I could take calls while driving - I ended up not doing any of those things.
In fact, I did fairly little, but found it extremely helpful to have for simpler reasons. I actually used the cell phone to call ahead to try and get a room at a hotel, snap pictures (see below) to send via mms to friends, and that's about it. Not too cutting edge when you think about all the ways in which a cell phone can help you out on vacation. Although, this week we'll see a lot of cool things you can do with cell phones to help you either plan or make the most of a vacation it's always good to have one with you since you'll never know what you might need it for, however, check your plan first that you'll be covered wherever you roam. No one wants to see unexpected charges when they get home. Check out the pics - I must admit taking pictures on the fly with the cell phone probably helped me catch more moments than expected.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Cell phone plans||Camera|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Jack Cooper.
What is it? The black Sony Ericsson W580i for AT&T. This music phone has got an interface thats built to please the younger audience and the best part is it has a Shake control. No need to press controls to skip to the next song, simply Shake the cell phone while the music is playing and go to the next song. It comes equipped with stereo Bluetooth so you can listen to tunes over aBluetooth speakers or headset. You can even snap and send pics on-the-go with its 2-megapixel camera. Pretty cool and fun to use - thats hard to beat.
How much? The black Sony Ericsson W580i is free out the door with a new two-year AT&T service contract. Plus, you make an additional $25 after a LetsTalk mail-in rebate.
Why is it such a good deal? We know its a popular cell phone, but its not the newest music phone available. However, theres still plenty of reason to check it out since its one of the more interactive models with its Shake controls. We wanted to remind people to give it a look.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||AT&T Wireless||Sony Ericsson|
|Deal of the Week|
There's been a contest going on over at Tonemine.com that involves people releasing their inner DJ and mixing their own tones. At the end of the contest, DJs with the most votes will win one of these BlackBerry prizes. Without further delay, here are the top three contenders as of this post:
1st Place: Holding steady is The NoiZe by ControlTheNoize is in the lead with 50 votes.
2nd Place: Heaven in Bina by travis134 has 48 votes.
3rd Place: Spyjazz by mchlgv is gaining on 2nd with 47 votes.
It's not too late to enter the contest or participate by voting for your favorite tone and even download it for free from Tonemine. There are just 10 days left in the competition, so don't wait, get started now.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Music||Ringtones||BlackBerry|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on cell phone plans for kids and screens that work best in direct sunlight. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
How old do you have to be to get your own plan because I want my own cell phone, but my parents dont want to pay the bill? So, I want my own plan. Kristi
If you want to get your own cell phone plan you really will need to discuss this with your parents, since you typically need some form of credit to get a cell phone plan. That said, there is the option of pre-paid cell phones where you pay as you go or just refill cards. However, youll end up paying more per minute and probably for texts as well. The bottom line is youre better off discussing this with your parents. If they are concerned about the bill or that you might use too many minutes, there are lots of plan options that carriers offer now for young adults, such as AT&Ts SmartLimits. This plan helps deter bill shock at the end of the month, since you wont be able to use the phone to make calls or texts once youve hit the pre-allotted minutes. Plus you can always talk to them about you paying your portion of the bill. Its a great way to show them how responsible you can be.
Which cell phone has an easy-to-view display in the daylight (outdoors on a sunny day)? -Thanks, Jo
In the past year, there have been advances in screen technology. Samsung for example has introduced a new technology that adjust the screen to the environmental surroundings. Simply put it is called Automatic Brightness Adjustment and you just need to look for that feature in the specs of a Samsung cell phone. The LG Dare also sports a similar feature to help keep the display bright. Typically what you want to look for is a cell phone that has a QVGA screen and a lot of colors, those screens tend to perform best in direct sunlight.
|Topics:||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans||Samsung|
I attended an event this week where the latest member of the T-Mobile Sidekick family was unveiled. The new Sidekick world phone is all about personalization. In the box you get a green and black case, but the real fun is making your own case. (Note: I'll be making one later this week and display a picture of it on the blog when I receive it - which takes about 5 days to receive.) You can design your own shells via SkinIt at www.sidekickshells.com. The shells cost about $15 each, but the better deal is to get 2 for about $20. The shell actually replaces the shell of the Sidekick - it's not a stick-on.
As for features, it's got most of what you'd expect including a 2-megapixel camera and room for storage via the included 512MB MicroSD card that comes in the box. The real draw here is the personalization and the event was all about self-expression. Check out some pics from the event below:
Close-up of the new device
Wall of Sidekick Shells
Art created at the Sidekick event
Sidekick strikes a pose
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Camera||Sidekick|
I was recently on a cross country flight on one of the airlines that have TV (Virgin America or JetBlue) and there was a marathon of Kathy Griffin My Life on the D-List. After 5 hours of watching Kathy Griffin (by the way, she should at least be on the C-List by now), I was hooked. Naturally, upon returning home, I quickly programmed it into my DVR. I thought this would ensure I wouldnt miss any episodes of Kathy. Alas, the one episode I really wanted to see didnt record. I scanned the programming guide to see if a rerun might appear, but I was out of luck. Whats a girl to do? Turn to the cell phone, of course.
Im in the middle of reviewing the LG Voyager for Verizon Wireless and have the V Cast TV service and video service enabled. I quickly scan the V Cast listings and there was a full version of the episode in the video section that my DVR didnt record. I was thrilled. I started watching it, though the picture is tons smaller than my big TV, the content is the same. Instead of stopping for commercial breaks (there are none), I just had to stop to load the next segment of the episode. For me, this is one more reason to have video on a cell phone especially, since its got the content I want to see. The moral of this story: Check your phones video service what you want, just might be there.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||LG||Video|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Aaron Horowitz.
What is it? Just launched this week exclusively by Verizon Wireless, the Motorola Adventure V750 is a tough, yet ruggedly refined cell phone thats ready for anything, indoors or out! The Motorola Adventure V750 is perfect for your summer plans and the on-the-go lifestyle, with its dust and shock resistant body, Push-to-Talk capability, 2-megapixel camera, and its support for up to an 8GB microSD optional removable memory card for all of your favorite music! This handset also provides you with VZ Navigator for directions, V CAST Music with Rhapsody and V CAST Video capabilities for watching videos on-the-go. Stay in touch and never get lost wherever you go!
Why is it such a good deal? The Motorola Adventure V750 is a truly versatile phone with all of the capabilities you could ever need. Plus, heavy-duty cell phones such as this one dont come along often and theyre rarely as affordable as this model.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Verizon Wireless|
Voice mail is a feature we've all encountered and how we use it can vary from person to person. So, this week, we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on voice mail and tips for how to make the most out of the feature. Our final post comes from David Cassel, to read more from David check out Blorge.com blog.
I'm surprised how bad voicemail interfaces are. One provider's voicemail service
couldn't even tell me what time the message was left. (And another insisted on making me review messages from the oldest to the newest so I'd have to scroll through 10 saved messages before playing back the most recent one!)
Visual Voicemail solves this problem, but cell phones still have the same problem with voicemail that they do with web-surfing tiny screens and tiny keyboards. That's why I like the idea behind GotVoice. My computer can handle the playback just as easily as my cellphone and the interface is a lot easier. YouMail also lets you retrieve message online and they've added some spiffy new features. There's really no reason to be locked into one outgoing message when you know you'd like to leave different messages for different friends.
Today's services prove that it's technologically possible to create many new and exciting options for voicemail and I'm glad we're getting some choices. But at the same time, I have to laugh when I hear about services offering to convert a voicemail message into text. (For example, SpinVox in England.) A voicemail converted to text is really just an email. Why buy a cell phone if you're not going to listen to the audio?!
I remember the standup comic who offered the ultimate critique of voicemail. "Without it, you can delude yourself that you're popular, and you're just missing the incoming phone calls. But with voicemail, there's numerical proof of your isolation. 'No, no one called you...'" There's a hint there for developers of voicemail applications. Most people don't get that much email so there's no pent-up demand for a lot of their new features. The standup comic seemed to suggest that what's really needed is a service to generate voicemail.
I've heard it said that in our lifetimes, there'll be a massive convergence of everything. Television and movies will become one more form of digital entertainment, along with podcasts, videos, web pages, and Twitter feeds. There'll be less distinction between TVs, computers, cell phones (Read more)
Voice mail is a feature we've all encountered and how we use it can vary from person to person. So, this week, we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on voice mail and tips for how to make the most out of the feature. Our next post comes from Matt Jansen, to read more from Matt check out his metaViper blog.
Generally, voicemail comes from three sources:
Traditionally that meant checking three voicemail boxes using various dialing sequences and audio menus. But now that landscape is changing because consumers are increasingly impatient with accessing messages through ungainly menus and wading through sprawling lists of unread and read messages.
Visual voicemail addresses these complaints effectively by transforming the voicemail user experience into a mimicry of e-mail. According to Pew Internet, 52% of the people who access the Internet use it regularly to send or receive e-mail. That's over 74 million people all with established expectations about how easy it should be to send and receive information. They also are accustomed to e-mail interfaces so a system that provides a similar look and feel will seem instantly familiar to them.
Ease of use in mind, companies like AT&T, through its adoption of Apple's iPhone, and Sprint with its licensing of visual voicemail from Samsung Mobile are providing efficiency gains for their users and the net effect will be an increased use of voicemail as a communication medium.
But visual voicemail isn't alone, transcription services are also making data initially generated by voice more accessible. Transcription begins to blur the line between sending an e-mail and sending a voicemail because the end result is text. This still is an emerging technology though because often the transcriptions aren't completely accurate. For example Jott allows its users to create entire Wordpress blog posts using its technology, but transcriptions errors arise often enough to make professionals hesitant. Or at least obligated to indicate there may be more errors in an automatically transcribed post.
Still, transcription services are typically accurate enough right now to communicate the gist of an idea, and often that's adequate for people receiving the message.
Some services avoid the challenges of transcription by simply forwarding an audio file of all received voicemails to an e-mail address. This method at least reduces the number of places to check for new messages, but it still requires the appropriate place (quiet enough to hear) and equipment (speaker of some sort) to play the message.(Read more)
Voice mail is a feature we've all encountered and how we use it can vary from person to person. So, this week, we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on voice mail and tips for how to make the most out of the feature. Our first post comes from Karl Gechlik, to read more from Karl check out his Ask The Admin.com blog.
I used to hate voicemail with a passion.
This wasn't just an arbitrary decision on my part either. To give you a feel for my reasoning let me bring you back to the early 1990's. We were all rocking our Motorola Bravo beepers or perhaps you had the express or the plus. Either which way you could only get numbers to show up on these cutting edge wonders of electronics. But for those important calls I also had voicemail on my pager. Someone could either key in their number or leave a voice message. The Voice Mail would show up on my pager with just my pager number requiring me to call in and check it. This irritated me back then and hasn't changed much to this day. Don't get me wrong we are all walking around now with portable communication devices that we could never have imagined back then. But enough is enough and it is time for Voice Mail to evolve as well.
I am obviously not the first nor the last to think this. There has been lots of hoopla surrounding the visual voice mail feature that has become popular because of the iPhone. The service was here before the iPhone and has continued evolving after it as well. I have been using PhoneTag since it was called SimulScribe and I love it. What is there not to love about Visual voicemail with transcription.
Visual voicemail is great because you can see all your messages at a glance by just looking at your phone. But it does not transcribe and email them to you. PhoneTag has made my life easier. Isn't that what voicemail was supposed to do? Well as the services pop up and their niche market is created it will get better and better.
But, lets look at the facts. 2 years ago when I got a voicemail and I was on the train all that would happen is I would get a little voice mail indicator notifying me that a message was on my phone carriers server waiting to be heard by me. No other information was offered up. Now when that message comes in I get an instant text message telling me a message came in, its duration and who it is from, If the person is in my address book the name is displayed instead of the number. That text message is followed by an email of the entire transcription of the message. Phone numbers are highlighted and the contacts email address is linked to the message.
If someone left a phone number for you to call back on your voicemail you had to scurry to grab a pen and paper or something other than your mobile to jot it down on. Now I just click on the phone number in my email message and call the person back. Or how about just replying to the "PhoneTag" and have it sent to that contacts email address.(Read more)
BlackBerry smartphones are well known for being great devices for e-mail and performing other office productivity applications, but the latest versions of the device offer multimedia applications such as video and music as well. Getting music on to a BlackBerry is easier than you might think with the Desktop Media Manager software powered by Roxio. Check out our How-To for details. But once you get the music on the BlackBerry what else can you do with it besides, of course, save tunes as ringtones? Well, with the BlackBerry Stereo Music Gateway, you can even stream tunes on your phone over your home stereo. So why not put those high-end stereo speakers to use with a BlackBerry. Check out how easy it is to get the music playing in the video below!
Verizon Wireless customers who are fans of the teen band Jonas Brothers can win tickets to see one of their summer "Burning Up" concerts. Entering to win two mobile tickets is simple. If you download any Jonas Brothers songs, purchase ringtones or ringback tones from a Verizon Wireless V CAST-capable cell phone, you're already entered to win a pair of mobile tickets to see the concert. Super simple.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Music||Ringtones|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager Michael Cera.
What is it? The LG Rumor for Sprint is the ultimate device for anyone who loves to text, listen to music, or take pictures. The Rumor comes with a full sliding QWERTY keyboard for faster and more convenient typing of text messages. It also supports many major Instant Message services such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo! As a music lover, you are in heaven with this phone. Using a microSD card with up to 4GB of memory, you can store over 400 songs and listen to them whenever you want. Use the 1.3-megapixel camera/camcorder to capture those spontaneous moments in life or to create video ringers for when friends call. All of this and it comes in Black, White, or Green?
How much? The LG Rumor is free with a new two-year Sprint service contract.
Why is it such a good deal? Music player, camera, and text messaging make this all-in-one device a steal at a price of free, but thats not all. It even comes with a free Kingston 1GB memory card and USB card reader making it easy to store up 24 music albums on this cell phone.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Sprint||Storage|
|LG||Accessories||Deal of the Week|
As we mentioned last week, there's a contest going on over at Tonemine.com that involves people releasing their inner DJ and mixing their own tones. At the end of the contest, DJs with the most votes will win one of these BlackBerry prizes. Each week we'll be providing a contest update. Here are the top three contenders as of this post:
1st Place: The NoiZe by ControlTheNoize is in the lead with 31 votes.
2nd Place:Ribit BEAT by basscreators has 26 votes.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Music||Ringtones||BlackBerry|
This post comes from LetsTalk.com Merchandising Manager Michael Cera.
After perusing around Engadget Mobile for a little while, I came across some very interesting and exciting news: a leaked Sprint roadmap. From the post we can see an abundance of new, cool cell phones coming from Sprint in the coming months. It is claimed that a new, blue-colored Rumor and the Palm Treo 800W will be coming out later this month, while the Motorola RAZR VE20 Vegas and Katana Eclipse will arrive next month. September is said to bring the Samsung M220 and M320 flip phones, as well as the HTC MP6950, which is assumed to be either the Touch Diamond or Touch Pro. It looks like the next few months should be really amazing for new and existing Sprint customers.
Note: We have no confirmation of the dates or products mentioned in the Engadget blog post, however, when and if these products become available through LetsTalk.com well be sure to let you know.
Maybe you've seen them, or maybe you haven't - we're talking about coupons on your cell phone. So we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on the latest coupon delivery method: the cell phone. Our final post comes from David Cassel, to read more from David check out Tech.Blorge.
Mobile coupons will be huge. 75% of shoppers already use regular coupons, according to one marketing study and that's across all income brackets! But cell phone coupons bring some very exciting new possibilities, like new offers that are based on your position, and a handy way to clip digital coupons automatically. (Coupons could even be timed to arrive at the exact time of the day when they'd be most useful!)
So if mobile coupons are such a good idea, what's holding them up?
Before users can even sign up for Cellfire, they have to click through several screens to check their carrier and cell phone for compatibility. And MoVoxx takes the opposite approach, encouraging advertisers to upload a single JPG for all their offers and hoping their units will be able to display them properly. Mobile coupons will benefit from widespread mobile standards, just like developers in every other industry. But until then a mobile coupon isn't very compelling if you have to squint just to read the logo!
Cell phone users are thrilled that their units can display full-motion color video. But too few advertisers are taking advantage of it. Maybe they're adopting a "soft sell" approach, but it's more likely that they just haven't grokked that mobile coupons can do things a regular coupon can't. In the end, they're only hurting themselves. An interactive coupon can list a series of choices on the cell phone and even lead the user to a second coupon with offers that are targeted even more carefully. Plus, for years advertisers have been dreaming about customizing their ads based on a consumer's actual position in real-time. It's the holy grail of advertising and it's about to arrive so developers should already be thinking about how to make mobile coupons more sophisticated.
Consumers want coupons that are targeted to their interests and so do advertisers. But until more advertisers use mobile coupons, it's not possible to do the careful targeting that we've enjoyed with regular coupons. It seems like everyone's getting the same batch of generic mobile coupons from the same big video chains and coffee stores. When mobile coupons actually start to key in on the unique interests of each and every mobile consumer they'll be irresistible.
I like how Cellfire let's you use a web interface to manage the coupons. (No matter how much I love my (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging|
Maybe you've seen them, or maybe you haven't - we're talking about coupons on your cell phone. So we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on the latest coupon delivery method: the cell phone. Our next post comes from Matt Jansen, to read more from Matt check out his metaViper blog.
Companies are continuing to search for other ways to market to younger generations as traditional broadcasting channels decline in relevance. Delivering coupons to mobile devices makes sense for a variety of reasons, but there are some drawbacks too.
Most people who grew up with the Internet have a 6th sense that detects pushy marketing that is irrelevant to them. Generally it inspires a recoiling response and the visitor/viewer will quickly look for other products, content, or services that aren't so belligerent. In this sense, mobile coupons are no different. It's critical to earn the consumer's trust first, then provide marketing messages that are relevant to the segment's interests.
On a related tangent, it's important to realize that effective segments won't target all aged 15-23 years, or all consumers with brown hair. Smaller segments that coincide with current micro-trends will provide valuable content to interested people. Conveniently, this fits well with the speed and flexibility mobile coupons inherently possess.
After a good rapport is established, procuring relevant content becomes the next challenge. Mobile coupons will only draw consumer interest if they provide deals for stores that they're interested in. Companies like Cellfire and ZiXXo provide a limited selection which summarily ignores whole swathes of consumers.
Another challenge for mobile coupons is tracking the success of a campaign. That means somehow capturing which coupon codes are being redeemed. To automate that process some sort of screen bar code reader is necessary, which can quickly add costs for companies with lots of brick and mortar locations. The alternative is to ask employees to enter the codes, which introduces a larger margin for error.The Good
Mobile coupons can provide a cheap way to push information out to any segment comfortable with text messages, if the marketing company is willing to enter coupon codes manually.
Delivery is almost instantaneous and requires no paper or physical transportation costs. That means it's easier to respond quickly when micro-trends erupt, capitalizing on the peak of interest. It also means the campaign is environmentally friendly.
Tracking who's redeeming coupons is more accurate because the unique codes provide running tallies. That's a lot more compelling then gathering paper coupons, weighing them on a scale to estimate how many were turned in (common practice at retail stores), then reconciling that with electronic records.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging|
Maybe you've seen them, or maybe you haven't - we're talking about coupons on your cell phone. So we asked bloggers around the Internet for their take on the latest coupon delivery method: the cell phone. Our first post comes from David Mould, to read more from David check out his Orient Expression blog.
All of the current services that offer mobile coupons share a current theme. They have shifted the relationship from push to pull. Where traditionally coupons have been pushed out to customers now customers pull the ones that are of interest to them. This gives some of the smaller more niche businesses a more cost effective distribution channel as the costs for inclusion in large print runs could be prohibitive. By using the cell phone as the channel you increase the opportunities for likely customers to find your coupon.
Most of the services start as web based offerings, as such there are easily linked with (and searchable) using ad-sense or similar tagging.
Such services typically give you an option to print the coupon yourself (your paper, your ink, your cost) or receive a SMS based coupon.
By intertwining this with GPS on phones you get an extension of location based services. LBS (Location Based Services) is one of those technologies that is still very much looking for the killer application over and above the usual yellow pages listing approaches. I'm not convinced that a LBS that allows you to find all of the coupons that can be found in your current location, or for those national chains the nearest store that will accept a coupon already on your phone is that killer application. At best it's an aid to those few that probably use mobile as a coupon platform, it wouldn't be a compelling reason to suddenly start using coupons on mobiles.
In general the current "show the coupon on the screen" approaches should be treated as a proof of concept only. Further evolution into the mobile as the container but other transport mechanisms for handing over the coupon would better serve the concept.
Using Bluetooth transmit, RFID contact or IR send supported with a Symbian (at minimum) application that "hands over" the coupon would give a more traditional feel to the customer and business and go along way to mitigating some of the potential concerns around over supply of coupons in the market, and the impact on the bottom line of the business offering the coupon.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Symbian||GPS|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Site Merchandiser, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The new Motorola ROKR E8 is a great T-Mobile cell phone for anyone who wants a sleek, cutting-edge music device that offers its own special touch. This full touch-screen cell phone uses Motorolas new ModeShift technology to instantly transform from a digital music player to cell phone to an image-centric device. Use the FastScroll wheel to easily navigate through songs, contacts and images with your thumb. There is also 2GBs of internal memory available for storing music and multimedia files. Not enough room? No worries, you can always add an optional 4GB external memory card.
Why is it such a good deal? This is a brand new, high-end, full touch-screen music phone that you can get free with new service.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Music||T-Mobile|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on family plans and help define the Sidekick. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
I am curious to find out if I can add another line to a family plan through LetsTalk.com? Thanks for your time - Dustin
You can add another line to a family plan through LetsTalk.com. However, there may be changes made to the contract depending on your carrier. That said, typically, with most carriers the added line will not increase the contract on the existing lines and only the new line will have a 24 month contract.
Is the Sidekick LX a smartphone? -David
Technically the answer is No. The Sidekick is not a smartphone, but it does support many features of a smartphone such as calendar and support for multiple email accounts. Smartphones tend to have even more business-centric features such as the ability to view and edit documents.
|Topics:||Cell phone plans||Sidekick||Q&A|
We tried out the new Jawbone headset to see what it had to offer. In our tests, we found pairing the headset with a LG Voyager to be a little more complicated than is the case with other headsets. The first pair is super simple because it's ready to pair immediately. However, if you want to pair it to another device you have to press the talk button and the button on top of the headset, too. About those buttons, there aren't any that are visible, which gives the headset its cool, stylish look. However, the talk button is pretty much where you'd expect it to be and there's a little slit in the headset about the same spot where it flashes red and white. The area where the headset really shines is with call quality. We found sound quality to be extremely clear and loud. One caller even commented that they couldn't hear the radio playing in the background. Check out how stylish it is below, it almost looks like leather.
Want to learn more about headsets? Check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide for tips on picking a headset.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Driving laws||Bluetooth||Accessories|
We tried out the Motorola Rokr T505 with a myriad of cell phones including the BlackBerry Pearl, the LG Voyager, and the Motorola Q Global to name a few. We even tried it riding around town on a scooter. It worked great with all these cell phones, which is kind of the point of the Motorola T505. The device is designed to funnel calls from your cell phone through the products speaker or even your car stereo. Pairing it a breeze and when you leave the car the device automatically disconnects from your cell phone, so you don't have to remember if your Bluetooth is on or off when receiving/making calls.
We found calls to be loud and clear on our end whether we used the internal speaker of the device or the stereo (a real plus in convertibles). Additionally, callers thought the quality was impressive as well. If that's not enough for you, you can also play music stored on your cell phone when through your car stereo. When a call comes in the song stops and resumes where it left off when you finish your conversation. But what's my favorite part of this device, the lady with the English accent that announces the phone number of the incoming call. I also like that I can take it from car to car no installation necessary.
Want to learn more about headsets? Check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide for tips on picking a headset.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Motorola||Music||Driving laws|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Aaron Horowitz.
What is it? Get a free Sprint Palm Centro and enjoy life both inside and outside of the office! Take advantage of this amazing deal and experience this fashionable smartphone for the masses. The Palm Centro allows you to stay in touch wherever you go through voice, text, IM, email, and web capabilities. The Centros touchscreen and full keyboard make staying connected even easier. This sleek smartphone is also an ideal choice for your summer travels, with its 1.3 megapixel camera, 2x digital zoom, and video capture!
How Much? Get the Palm Centro for free out-the-door on all lines, when purchased with any two year Sprint contract.
Why is it such a good deal? The Sprint Palm Centro, which normally retails for $459.99, is free on all lines with no data requirement. You also dont need to deal with mail-in-rebates because its free out-the-door!
|Topics:||In The Know||Cell phone plans||Palm||Camera|
|Smart phones||Deal of the Week|
We tried out the Plantronics Discovery 925 headset to see what it had to offer. In our tests, we found pairing the headset with an LG Voyager to be extremely intuitive. We just turned it on, pressed the main button, and pairing happened almost instantaneously. As for call quality, it sounded pretty good. Callers didn't even know we were using a headset.
There are a couple of "big deal" features with this headset. First, you can pair it with two cell phones simultaneously and send/receive calls from each phone - this is a plus for people who have both a work and cell phone. Also, we particularly like the case that comes with it. It's about the size of a lipstick case and when you leave the headset inside the case you can charge it on-the-go, since it has a built-in charger as well. A definite plus, if you run out of juice while on the road. However, putting the headset in the case is not exactly intuitive. It needs to go in on an angle. Good thing there's a diagram inside the case to show you how it's done.
Want to learn more about headsets? Check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide for tips on picking a headset.
Have a hidden or maybe not so hidden DJ talent? It's time to release your inner DJ. Check out the new contest at Tonemine.com. The idea is that you mix your own ringtone, share it with others in the community, share it on your favorite social networking site, accumulate the most votes to win a BlackBerry. Check out the details in the video below and then enter the contest.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Music||Ringtones||BlackBerry|
Today, the new driving laws for the state of California go into effect, which means that the way Californians talk and drive is about to change. While there are a lot of details involved in the new law, here are some of the highlights:
We'll have reviews of headsets all week here at PhoneTalk, as well as provide helpful tips for using a cell phone while in the car. In the meantime, check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide for tips on picking a headset.
Symbians understanding of the probable evolution of smartphones over the decade ahead is guided, first and foremost, by the extraordinary insight we gain from the trusted relationships we have built up and nurtured over many years with the visionaries, leaders, gurus, and countless thoughtful foot soldiers in our customer and partner companies. As the history of Symbian has unfolded, these relationships of customer intimacy have deepened and flourished: our customers and partners have seen that we treated their insights and ideas with respect and with due confidentiality and that has prompted them to share even more of their thinking (their hopes and their fears) about the future of smartphones. In turn, this shapes our extensive roadmap of future enhancements to Symbian OS technology.
To provide additional checks on our thinking about future issues and opportunities for smartphones, Symbian is inaugurating an essay contest, which is open to entries from students at universities throughout the world. Up to ten essays will win a prize of £1000 each essays need to be submitted before the end of September, and winners will be announced at the Symbian Smartphone Show in October. Essays should address the overall theme of The next wave of smartphone innovation. For details of how to enter the contest, click here.
As a guide for potential entrants, Symbian has announced a set of six research sub-themes, which are also areas that Symbian believes deserve further investigation in universities or other research institutions:
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Symbian||Smart phones||International|
This week celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Symbian, so we asked Symbian Executive Vice President of Research, David Wood, to provide thoughts on the evolution of the OS and how far it still has to go. His post will appear in two parts. Tomorrow, we'll get a peak at just how much more we can expect from smartphones.
This June, Symbian is celebrating its tenth anniversary. As someone who has been a core member of Symbians executive management team throughout these ten roller-coaster years, Id like to share some of my personal reflections on the remarkable smartphone innovations that have taken place over that time and, in that light, to consider what the next ten years may bring.
It was on 24 June 1998 that the formation of Symbian was announced to the world. The industrys leading phone manufacturers were to cooperate to fund further development of the operating system known at the time as EPOC32 (this name dates from the inception of the OS, four years earlier, inside the UK-based PDA manufacturer Psion). The funding would enable the operating system to power numerous diverse models of advanced mobile phones known, in virtue of their rich programmability, as smartphones. The news echoed far and wide. In time, the funding repaid investors handsomely: more than 200 million Symbian-based smartphones have already been sold, earning our customers substantial profits. Its not just our direct customers that have benefited: a fertile ecosystem of partner companies is sharing in an ongoing technological and market success.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Nokia||Symbian||Camera|
A while back, I wrote about a friend finder service available on Boost Mobile cell phones called Loopt. The idea behind the service is that you can find out where people are physically located on your cell phone. In order for it to work, you both have to be Loopt members and opt-in. The service is now available on many Verizon Wireless phones and can be accessed directly from your phone via the Get It Now/Tools On The Go menu. If your cell phone supports the feature it will appear as an option in services you can download. Takes the guess work out of it for you. The service costs $3.99 a month.
This week celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Symbian, so we asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us their thoughts on the OS, how far it's come and just how far it can go. Our next post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out the Tech.Blorge.
In 2001, I interviewed Symbian's CEO, Colly Myers.
He was intensely committed to cellphones he was using an Ericsson R380 smartphone
but he said he hoped someday to have the option of using a fold-out keyboard.
Myers envisioned a future with more processing power on phones and a lot more development for the mobile platform, I read later. At the time Symbian was locked in a battle for survival with Microsoft and less than a year later, Myers resigned suddenly.
It's a different world now. Fold-out keyboards are plentiful, cell phones can play full-color video and Symbian has the dominant smartphone operating system. In 2006 Symbian announced they'd reached a milestone 100 million Symbian smartphones, shipped to over network operators. (Ironically, this was two years after the the first reports of Symbian worms like Caribe). But the biggest threat to Symbian now isn't Microsoft it's Google.
In the short-term, Symbian is secure. Android hasn't been released yet, and its final release date is still hard to nail down. (The last rumor I heard suggested September of 2008.) Even then, Android will need to grow a community of developers. Android ultimately needs a critical mass of users, developers, and installations and I can't see that even starting to happen until sometime near 2010.
Remember that Symbian enters this battle with a head start of 100 million phones. That's important, because ultimately the prevailing operating system will be determined by a handful of key players. Symbian can still boast that they're the industry standard and if nothing else, there's an inertia that works in their favor. And Symbian's developers have to be happy knowing that they're developing for such a huge user base.
That's the good news for Symbian. But the bad news is the cell phone market is definitely changing. It's always been competitive, and Symbian has real worries that an Android developer will someday create a killer app that Symbian can't replicate. Apple's iPhone also raised the expectations consumers had for the interfaces on their phones. (And the (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Symbian||Smart phones|
We hear a lot about 3G cell phones and all the services they have to offer. We wanted to see just how well it would work if we paired a 3G cell phone with a Mac via Bluetooth and used it as a wireless modem. So we took a Samsung SGH-A737 cell phone, signed up for an unlimited data plan, paired it with a Bluetooth-enabled MacBook Pro, and put it to the test. Check out the results below, and if you want to try this at home, see our How-To on the topic.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans||Samsung|
This week celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Symbian, so we asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us their thoughts on the OS, how far it's come and just how far it can go. Our first post comes from Derek Kerton, who provides a pretty good Symbian overview. To read more from Derek, check out the The Kerton Group.
The Symbian OS is probably a mystery to readers of the LetsTalk blog. US smartphone users are more familiar with PalmOS, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry OS devices. But while we've been tapping away on our Treos, Tilts, and Pearls, the rest of the world has been witnessing the steady progress of Symbian.
The story of Symbian actually runs deeper than the ten years it has been called Symbian. In 1980, a company called Psion began making desktop productivity software for PCs. By 1984, the company launched its first handheld computer or PDA. By the late 80s, Psion had built the EPOC OS to run their PDAs. Through the years, Psion offered a number of full-featured handheld computers, leading to the 1994-97 creation of the 32-bit EPOC OS.
Around the same time as the modernized EPOC OS was ready, other PDAs were hitting the market, such as the popular PalmPilot from inventors Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky. The first Windows PocketPC devices were also coming out from Compaq and Dell. The writing was on the wall that these powerful PDA OSes would someday all be integrated into devices with radios (or radios integrated into these PDAs, if you wish). The European mobile handset (Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens) crowd were prescient in spotting this trend, and realized that they did not like the PC market case study wherein the hardware was commoditized, and the OS layer (Windows) ended up capturing all the profits. They feared a repeat with their hardware and mobile Windows OSes, or Palm, or whatever.
Instead of becoming the next Compaq, Gateway or Dell, led by Nokia, their strategy would be to mutually embrace one mobile OS, to make sure it had scale, and to make sure it was not dominated by one player, or even worse, Redmond. Thus, in 1998, a consortium including Siemens, Motorola, Ericsson, Psion, and eventually Panasonic and Samsung bought Symbian and spun it out from Psion.
Thus, the goal for Symbian was to be the dominant smartphone OS in the world, to provide a reliable alternative to MSFT or other OSes, and to offer low, reasonable licensing costs that wouldn't squeeze the hardware vendors out of the profit equation. And by every indication (despite the obscurity here in the US), Symbian has succeeded: In 2007, Symbian had 67% of the smartphone market by shipping volume, compared to MSFT's 13% and RIM's 10%.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Nokia||Symbian||Smart phones|
A decade ago, I worked for a magazine called Mobile Computing and my beat was cell phones. At the time, the most exciting thing about cell phones was that they were becoming more and more portable. You could carry them in your purse or pocket pretty easily and the displays were all monochrome. Texting wasnt popular back then, but it was still limited to 160 characters. The killer app of the day was getting stock quotes sent to your cell phone and still you had to be a bit savvy to even do that. Around the same time, the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) garnered all the excitement: there was Palm, Psion, and Windows CE (which eventually turned into Pocket PC and later Windows Mobile). Ten years ago, that was the cool technology beat. There was so much that could be done on a PDA, and about the only thing you could do on a cell phone was make a call. And then, ten years ago today, I went to a press event that would change the way we thought about phones.
I remember the room clearly because there wasnt much in it. It was in a loft space down in Silicon Alley (you know, New Yorks take on Silicon Valley). There were chairs set up to face a podium that had a back drop of white sheets to highlight the news at hand. Really, it was nothing fancy at all. I think they had coffee, but that was about it. It was the announcement of a new cell phone OS called Symbian. I thought to myself at the time, OS, shouldnt that be a PDA? And, I wasnt far off. Symbian was an OS that incorporated many of the aspects of Psion and was going to be open so anyone could develop apps for it. And get this: one of the first Symbian phones had a touch screen. At the time, I knew I liked what I saw. It had potential. I hoped it would do well. And it has, its just not as popular in the United States as it is in the rest of the world. I still like it. Whenever I test a Symbian smartphone, Im constantly in awe of how many things this it can accomplish with ease and pure style. You wont always know youre using a Symbian phone because its that customizable, which in my book is another plus for the OS.
So to help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Symbian, well have posts about Symbian from a myriad of guest bloggers throughout the week. In the meantime, check out how far Symbian has come:
One of the first Symbian phones, the Ericsson R380 (You read it right, it's Ericsson not Sony Ericsson)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Nokia||Sony Ericsson||Symbian|
What is it? Get a free Sling Media Slingbox AV with the purchase of a new PC data card with AT&T service. Whether you need a data card that works with a PCMCIA slot or the new Express Card slots found on newer notebooks, weve got a model for you. If you travel a lot and need to constantly be connected to the Internet, a high-speed data card is just the ticket. Once you make a connection, access your Slingbox at home and start watching your favorite shows on your laptop while on the road.
How much? Get a data card free along with a Sling Media Slingbox AV when you sign up for a new 2-year AT&T service contract.
Why is it such a good deal? The Slingbox AV costs $139.99 when purchased alone and were throwing it in free because we know what a cool combo the Slingbox AV is when paired with a high-speed wireless data connection. You can learn more about the magic of Slingbox by reading this post.
Sling Media Slingbox AV
|Topics:||In The Know||AT&T Wireless||Video||Accessories|
|Deal of the Week|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on cell phones with large fonts as well as rugged mobiles. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
My mother (86) is losing her eyesight and needs a cell phone with large buttons and a large display. She has an AT&T plan through November. Do you offer such a cell phone? Or can we purchase such a phone and add it to her AT&T plan? Cheryl
Honestly, it sounds like the best cell phone for your mom is a Jitterbug. These cell phones are designed specifically for these needs. The numbers and text on the screen are larger than most large fonts available in cell phones and the numeric keys are large, well lit, and spaced far enough apart that misdials are highly unlikely. If you dont want to switch carriers, your best option is to probably go with a Motorola Razr. The numbers and screen are both fairly large by todays cell phone standards. If you go this route be sure to go into the display settings and increase the font size to Large.
What is the best phone for rugged outdoor use, and text capabilities? - Ron
When it comes to text capabilities most cell phones are pretty much on par, so Id start with choosing a rugged cell phone and then narrow down your choice based on how comfortable you are using the text input method. For example, maybe you prefer iTap over T9, which are both forms of predictive text that people tend to have difference preferences. As for a rugged cell phone, you cant really go wrong with a Nextel cell phone since that was one of their original design characteristics. Nextel cell phones can really take a beating and keep on going. However, if you dont want a Nextel cell phone you should look at the G'zOne for Verizon wireless thats pretty rugged, as well.
|Topics:||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Q&A|
As we've all been watching the price of gas continue to rise, we couldn't help but wonder if there's a way a cell phone could help in some way. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us how they use cell phones to find the best price on gas. Check out Joseph Hunkins' suggestions for finding competitive gas prices. To read more from Joseph, check out his Joe Duck Blog. Got any tips for finding inexpensive gas using your cell phone? We'd love to learn about it. Leave a comment below.
MobileGasPrices.com is probably the best mobile enabled fuel price finder. It has a good interface and features, and is associated with GasBuddy.com which is probably the best online resource for fuel cost conscious drivers. MobileGasPrices relies on legions of member drivers who input price data for thousands of cities around the country.
Many other fuel price resources such as Mapquest, MSN, Microsoft, Garmin, Dash, AAA, Sprint, Verizon, and Nextel all tend to use the OPIS Petroleum pricing database, which is an industry managed service that collects data from stations all over the country, based on the stations own inputs. OPISNet Website.
Surprisingly FuelGo.com, a mobile fuel finding service started last year is already offline! FUELGO.COM IS CURRENTLY DOWN. We are currently looking for a partner to offset some of the costs of providing the cheapest gas prices to your mobile phone.
My favorite use of mobile local is using Google Maps driving directions on a Treo 650 to find my way in big cities. I expect this service to broaden over time to include better hotel and restaurant information. In my view the iPhone does the best job of making mobile search easy simply because the larger screen size allows map based navigation. Hopefully the Google Android iPhone copycats coming next year will offer the same large screen and excellent online mapping with data points highlighted and linked as is done with the AT&T mobile applications on the iPhone (Read more)
As we've all been watching the price of gas continue to rise, we couldn't help but wonder if there's a way a cell phone could help in some way. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us how they use cell phones to find the best price on gas. Check out how Andrew Chapman uses his cell phone to find competitive gas prices. To read more from Andrew, check out his ECM, SharePoint & Compliance blog. Got any tips for finding inexpensive gas using your cell phone? We'd love to learn about it. Leave a comment below.
I have a Blackberry Pearl with an external Bluetooth GPS adapter and Telenav v5 running as a GPS client. As well as giving me turn-by-turn voice instructions it will also find me the cheapest gas on a specific route. My complaints are that the prices can be up to 2 days old which is a huge issue in this day and age, also some stations are not represented at all! I read something on the Telenav support page that said that gas stations are only obligated to update the system every 2 days.
One thing I use it for is to get a comparative price - if I need gas I'll look up on the system to see if that price is reasonable or not...
The system is reasonably useful but not current enough to be a really valuable feature - I'd say that the traffic snarl-up avoidance system saves me more gas than I save shopping around these days!
To get the update on your T-Mobile Sidekick LX simply follow the instructions provided in the alert. The new additions will not affect the cell phone's memory and is pushed to your Sidekick LX over-the-air - super simple for users.
What is it? The Titanium BlackBerry Curve 8310. This BlackBerry is ideal for people who want a multimedia-centric smartphone thats fun to use. The Curve comes with software to automatically transfer media files (movies and music) from your PC to your Curve. If thats not enough you can also listen to streaming music, ID songs you hear on the radio via the Music ID service, and store your favorite digital images in the BlackBerrys media library.
How much? Free after rebates when you sign up for a new 2-year AT&T service contract.
Why is it such a good deal? You dont just get a BlackBerry Curve, but were also throwing in a 30-day free subscription to XM Radio Mobile. Thats right, you can listen to XM Radio over the BlackBerry 8310.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||AT&T Wireless||BlackBerry|
|Deal of the Week|
As we've all been watching the price of gas continue to rise, we couldn't help but wonder if there's a way a cell phone could help in some way. So we asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us how they use cell phones to find the best price on gas. Check out David Cassel's ideas for finding competitive gas prices as well as a few other good uses for Mobile Search. To read more from David, check out Blorge.com. Got any tips for finding inexpensive gas using your cell phone? We'd love to learn about it. Leave a comment below.
Cell phones could be changing our lives. We're basically carrying the Internet around in our pockets, with cell phones ready to receive crucial information for our real-world interactions. Where's the cheapest gas? Which restaurants are still open? Can I see "Speed Racer" after 10:00?
I've already discovered a few futuristic situations where cell phones make life easier than ever before. Here's a list of my ten most crucial situations for mobile-local search along with some comments about where we are today.
When it comes to local mobile search, developers often seem to be missing the opportunity as evidenced by the lousy choices for finding cheap gas with your cell phone. On your home PC, there are at least five major sites.
But guess what? On your cell phone, they all look awful!
This should be a no-brainer for developers. Purchasing gas is something you only do in a mobile situation and there's now a nationwide hunger to identify the cheapest gas. It's ultimately just one example of how there's a real need for good mobile local search products and currently, a lack of good options.
Up-to-date traffic information is extremely useful when you're mobile and I'm surprised there aren't better options available. Forget searching for someplace to shop I just want a way to get home!
Right now I'm using a phone-based workaround. At least (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||GPS|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite cell phone games and where to find them. Check out Joe Hunkins' picks for finding games below. To read more from Joe, visit his cell phone games you use play regularly? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below.
1) Sports and Leisure Sports Games: These games involve simple simulations of popular sports and leisure sports. Games include baseball, golf, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, racing games such as Nascar (though racing games are sometimes considered a separate genre) and even fishing. In fact EA's most popular title in leisure sports category is the ESPN Bassmaster fishing simulation followed by Sims bowling and pool. Very popular sports games are Tiger Woods Golf, NBA Basketball, and Madden Football.
2) Casino Games and Card Games are often gambling simulations of real casino games. Texas Holdem, slots, and (non gambling) solitaire are very popular now. Casino suites of games such as roulette and slots and blackjack are also mainstays of this genre.
According to our recent PhoneTalk poll, which asked How much do you think you will spend on your next phone? the majority (82%) of consumers who participated in the poll expect to pay something for a cell phone. Although, that leaves 18% of consumers who expect to get a new cell phone for free. Depending on the type of phone they want and their willingness to sign up for a new contract theyre not necessarily wrong. There are a ton of cell phones that you can get free with a new 2-year contract. However, I do wonder if the 18% of consumers who think they can get a new phone for less than a $100 are aware of contract extensions. Its a good way to get a new cell phone at a great price just by extending your plan. Take my friend's story, for example, she managed to buy a new BlackBerry Curve on LetsTalk.com for $80 just for extending her AT&T contract for two more years. Not too shabby.
Heres a recap of the survey results:
Nothing, I think I can get a new phone free 18%
Less than $100 18%
$100 - $199 20%
$200 - $299 20%
$300 - $399 11%
More than $400 13%
Thats this months results; please participate in the new poll, posted on the right.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite cell phone games and where to find them. Check out David Cassel's top picks below, to read more from David, visit his blog at Blorge.com. Got any favorite cell phone games you use play regularly? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below.
Cell phones are on the cutting edge of game development. But there's a very rich history of cell phone games that often gets overlooked.
Ironically Namco Games made headlines when they released cell phone versions of classic arcade video games like PacMan, Burger Time, Galaga, and Dig Dug. And they're not the only one with a fondness for "retro gaming." In 2006 one geek even created a phone version of the 1977 text adventure Zork. (And he also toyed with the idea of a voice-enabled game that could be played while waiting on hold. The more points you scored, the sooner your call would be answered!)
With your cell phone you can sample the best digital games of the last three decades or even longer. There's a reason why "falling block" games like Tetris and Bejeweled became household words they were simple but challenging, exciting and fun. And you can think of backgammon as the result of thousands of years of game development. After several millenia of "beta testing," we can finally play Nokia's backgammon or other downloadable versions on the web. Some sites even let you compete against other cellphone gamers in a wide variety of games.
So it's interesting to remember that developers first imagined that you'd play cell phone games (Read more)
What is it? The Plantronics Voyager 815 Bluetooth headset. This high-end headset has got it all: a sliding boom to easily start/end calls; an earbud that helps seals out external noises; Plantronics AudioIQ technology that enhances the audio quality based on your environment so you dont have to constantly adjust the volume to compensate for your surroundings. If thats not enough this Bluetooth headset is ideal for people who have two cell phones since you can seamlessly transfer between calls with one headset.
How much? Originally priced at $139.99, weve reduced the price to $74.99.
Why is it such a good deal? Were offering great deals on Bluetooth headsets all month to make it easier for customers to get ready for the new hands free laws going into effect in July. You can see a complete list of states with hands free laws in effect or about to go into effect here. Not sure what kind of headset to get, check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide.
Plantronics Voyager 815 Bluetooth Headset
|Topics:||In The Know||Driving laws||Business Use||Bluetooth|
|Accessories||Deal of the Week|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite cell phone games and where to find them. Check out Alexander Casasssovici's top picks below, to read more from Alex, visit his Mobitrends blog. Got any favorite cell phone games you use play regularly? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below.
Finding a mobile game is easy: in France at least you can open any newspaper that is more or less about technology, gaming or even just the TV news and you'll get a few ad pages about logos, ringtones and games. If you missed those, you can still catch up with the TV-ads showing some low-end games. Those games are usually low-budget and not that good.
If you want to get serious about mobile gaming, the way to go is to go on your operator's mobile portal where you have a wide selection of the latest EA games, Gameloft and more mobile games and where you usually can get demo version for free for a dry run. That's where experienced mobile gamers usually head to, it's the one stop shop to discover, test and buy new games. But this approach is really limited to advanced users as getting on the operator's mobile portal and navigating to the desired section still remains a pretty tough job for most of the end users around here (I had the perfect example with a co-worker of mine trying to buy a ringtone - was a painful experience).
The last place you find cool games are online on video games websites that now all have a dedicated mobile games section where they review the latest killer games. In that place you're almost sure to find high-budget mobile games with some good movie licenses (Marvell heroes...). If you're really an addict, you can even go directly to the top mobile games makers' website (EA and Gameloft) where you can discover their latest releases.
Did you know you can't even talk on your phone while driving a car in commercials? Apparently, that's the case with a recent commercial for a LG cell phone that came under scrutiny according to this Textually.org article. The interesting thing is that while there are quite a few states with handsfree driving laws already being enforced, California is about to join those ranks starting July 1st. If you're a driver in California and don't have a handsfree option for your cell phone to use while driving, it's time to start considering a headset or even Bluetooth headset if you don't want the wires. Bluetooth confusing to you? Check out our Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide to learn more about it.
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite add-on cell phone applications. Check out David Cassel's top picks below, to read more from David, visit Blorge.com. Got any favorite applications you use regularly? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below.
Cell phone applications are getting very interesting but not in the ways you'd expect. I'm not attracted to any of the voicemail-to-text services. (After all, my cell phone can connect me to both text and voicemail equally well!) I might be tempted to use the service if I were silencing my ringer, since I could silently read the messages without bothering anyone around me. But here's a dirty secret about cell phones: even when it's set to vibrate, the vibrating is still pretty loud.
But I'm fascinated by a clever service offered by Triple A called AAA Mobile. It uses your phone's GPS data to identify the closest restaurants and hotels but it also offers the auto association's own quality ratings. (And it even identifies which ones offer special discounts for Triple A subscribers.) Verizon offers a similar service called VZ Navigator (which reportedly makes it easy to find the closest movie theatre.) But the most compelling scenario for cell phones has always been "What if I break down somewhere on the highway?" With AAA Mobile, your exact location is automatically transmitted when you call for a tow truck.
This is where cell phones are a good fit: you use mobile phones when you're mobile. Google Maps is handy when you're planning a route across town but it's even handier to have it on your cell phone. And now instead of guiding the way to stationary objects, cell phones can use GPS locators to identify the current location of your friends. Services like FindWhere's "Live Contacts" will tell you how close your friends are (as long as they're using the same services). Ten years ago, no one would've dreamed of an application like this because it simply wasn't technologically practical. But we live in interesting times...
A few years ago MobilRelay tested a service that actually turned the cell phone into a movie ticket. After buying a ticket online, the theater would transmit an image of a barcode which could be scanned for one movie admission. I thought of that when Microsoft announced (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Travel||GPS|
What is it? The Motorola H9 MiniBlue Bluetooth headset fits snugly in your ear. The form fitting design helps reduce surrounding noise and if you have long hair, you can easily keep wearing the headset hidden from view. This Motorola headset boasts over 7 hours of talk time and it comes with a styling charging base. You can learn more about this high-end headset here.
How much? Originally priced at $149.99, weve reduced the price to $99.99.
Why is it such a good deal? Were offering great deals on Bluetooth headsets to make it easier for customers to get ready for the new hands free laws going into effect in July. You can see a complete list of states with hands free laws in effect or about to go into effect here.
Motorola H9 MiniBlue
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Bluetooth||Accessories|
|Deal of the Week|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite add-on cell phone applications. Check out Matt Jansen's top picks below, to read more from Matt visit his metaViper blog. Got any favorite applications you use regularly? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below.
With a smartphone and mobile internet connection it's easy to take advantage of some compelling phone tools. But, most services still cater to the masses and that means interacting through voice or text message.
This is a list of mainstream phone tools that will help you stay connected and informed. While creating this list it became obvious how aggressively Google is pursuing the mobile space.
Mosio (Jott, text)
Google 411 (voice)
Google Calendar (Jott, text)
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on what to do if you lose a cell phone and info on the Iron Man cell phone. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
There are actually two Iron Man cell phones. The first one seen in the movie is the LG VX9400, which was actually one of the first Verizon cell phones to sport VCast Mobile TV. All and all its a pretty fun phone to use. That particular cell phone is only available with Verizon service. However, there is another Iron Man cell phone that was announced at CTIA this year. Its also from LG and its actually a GSM cell phone so it that model wouldnt work with Verizon Wireless service. You can see more about it here.
I lost my cell phone, how do I lock it? -Nuthan
Unfortunately, if your cell phone didnt already have software on it that will automatically lock it so no one unwanted can access/see your information or even use the cell phone there isnt much you can do to lock it once its lost. However, you can at least keep people from making calls on your lost cell phone, by calling your carrier and asking them to freeze or turn off service. Before you do that, you might want to give a try calling the cell phone, you never know, a good Samaritan might have found it and will return it if you call them.
You might hear me on the radio today discussing at what age it's appropriate to get a cell phone. There's lots to think about with this topic and many people have an opinion on it. There are already bans on cell phones in some schools across the country. We here at PhoneTalk wanted to know what you think about the topic, so voice your opinion by participating in the poll or posting a comment below. Ask yourself, how young is too young to get a phone? We'd love to hear any stories you want to share about kids and cell phones (good or even not so good).
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Parents||Cell phone plans|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite add-on cell phone applications, which we'll be featuring this week. Got any favorite applications you use regularly? Post a comment below. In the meantime, check out Kevin Stapp's take on Google Maps for cell phones.
Google Maps Mobile is a viable substitute for subscription based GPS functionality for occasional, ad hoc user. Google Maps approximates your location on a map based on the signal strength of your phone even if your phone isn't equipped with GPS (see http://www.google.com/mobile/gmm/mylocation/index.html). In areas with good cell coverage I found the 'approximate' location is usually within a block of my actual location.
I use Google Maps on my Blackberry Curve to provide directions when I travel rather than paying a premium fee for GPS in a rent-a-car. After setting a starting location you enter the street address of your destination (or pick a destination on the map). Google Maps Mobile gives accurate turn-by-turn directions with frequent updates of your current location along your planned route. As you reach each way-point of the directions you can click on that way-point to zoom in on that portion of the mapped route. This is extremely useful for tracking where you are along routes with many turns.
While this feature is useful it is not without its shortcomings. Generating directions is limited to recognized street addresses or selected locations on the map. For example, you can't enter the name of a restaurant as a destination; Google Maps won't resolve that to a location. This 'free' service does have a cost, depending on your data plan. Google maps are data intensive so I wouldn't recommend it unless you have an unlimited data plan for your cell.
For users who only occasionally need on-the-go driving directions this is a cheap alternative to subscribing to a GPS service.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet to tell us about some of their favorite add-on cell phone applications, which we'll be featuring this week. You'll notice there will be quite a few mentions of Google Maps, but that just shows the mobile apps popularity. Got any favorite applications you use regularly? Post a comment below. In the meantime, check out Rick Frauton's mobile apps suggestions. To read more from Rick, check out his FeedLion blog.
I use a Samsung SPH-A920 on Sprint and I am always trying to add value to my unlimited data plan with various third-party applications. What follows is a summary of the applications I use on a regular basis and would recommend to others:
What is it? The BlackBerry Pearl 8100 has a 1.3-megapixel camera with 64MB of internal memory to store tons of pics and videos that you capture on-the-go. It really has many of the features of the later generation BlackBerry Pearls, such as multiple e-mail account support and the ability to save MP3s as ringtones. The only thing its missing is the built-in GPS functionality found in later models.
How much? Buy the original BlackBerry Pearl with a new two-year service contract from AT&T and make $50.
Why is it such a good deal? This is the original version of the BlackBerry Pearl and once theyre gone, theyre gone. If youve been thinking about taking the Pearl plunge, it doesnt get better than this.
|Topics:||In The Know||AT&T Wireless||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
|Deal of the Week|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on WiFi cell phones and why you cant necessarily use a cell phone from one carrier with service from another. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
Can AT&T turn a Sprint Palm Centro smartphone into a pre-pay plan? VicAlthough both AT&T and Sprint offer Palm Centro models they are not the same. The big difference is that the AT&T version works on its GSM networks and the Sprint version works on CDMA networks. Basically, this means that you cant use the AT&T version with Sprint service or the Sprint version with AT&T service. If you want to use a Palm Centro with AT&T, youll need to get a new model.
I'm interested in getting a cell phone with WiFi. My intent is to keep my same service plan which does not currently have the data capability and use the phone's WiFi feature for web surfing and e-mail. Will this work? I'm aware that I will need to be within range of the WiFi hotspot for Internet access. StevenYou can get a WiFi-enabled cell phone, such as the T-Mobile Dash or the AT&T Tilt, and use it in the way you describe in your question. However, you should be aware that there really arent a lot of WiFi-enabled cell phones available from which to choose. Additionally, if you plan on using the WiFi feature in your cell phone to surf the web in a Starbucks, for example, you will have to pay a fee to access the service. So while you can do what you want, you should ask yourself which is more cost effective: an unlimited data plan or WiFi access. Only you know where and when you'll be using the WiFi service.
|Topics:||AT&T Wireless||Sprint||Cell phone plans||Windows Mobile|
BlackBerry smartphones are loaded with functionality and the more you use one, the more things you discover it can do. Don't keep that information to yourself, let other BlackBerry users in it on too by visiting the recently launched Official BlackBerry Support User Forums. Maybe you just want to know how to do something on your BlackBerry, for example, this user wanted to find out how to send pictures to a BlackBerry if you don't have an e-mail address. Other users wrote in with answers and better yet, you can even see in the forum which solution was chosen. Check it out for yourself. It's shaping up to be a great resource.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Customer service||BlackBerry||Smart phones|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Rosie Myers.
What is it? The Katana DLX SCP-8500 for Sprint is a cool, stylish (available in champagne, silver, and pink) easy-to-use cell phone. The Sanyo Katana phones have always been a popular model among users because they are simple to use and still have everything you need: Bluetooth capability, a decent 1.3-megapixel camera, and access to Sprints Power Vision service. And the Katana DLX is no exception, it has all those features and more. If you like simplicity and want a cell phone that doesnt require you to use a whole lot of brainpower to figure out how to do something basic, then check out the Katana DLX.
How much? Buy the Katana DLX SCP-8500 cell phone with a new two-year service contract and make $50.
|Topics:||In The Know||Sprint||Cell phone plans||Camera|
|Bluetooth||Deal of the Week|
"Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony."
I started listening to Pandora online several years ago. Their cost-free, commercial-free streaming music service allows users to provide feedback for each song played in the form of a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Over time the station that you created gains a better understanding of the music you like based on the feedback you provide. I must say, after years of using Pandora almost every day, my personal stations are astonishingly well tailored to my discriminating musical tastes. What's more, I have discovered several artists whom I may never have been exposed to elsewhere.
When Pandora announced that they had built a mobile application for streaming my custom stations on-the-go, I was really excited. I can now listen through my phone's built-in speakers, through my headphones, or even connect a cassette adapter and listen through my car stereo. I do all of these things practically every day. I already have an unlimited data plan on my phone (Samsung SPH-A920 on Sprint) so the only cost of the Pandora Mobile application would be the $2.99 monthly fee to run the mobile application. For me this small fee is well worth having Pandora on my phone. However, I should mention that Pandora's mobile solution would be less cost-effective for users who don't already subscribe to an unlimited data plan, which is required.
If there is a drawback to Pandora it's the fact that one cannot choose a specific song or artist to play on-demand. This is due to artist and record company royalty restrictions. Pandora could not legally be free if users were allowed to choose content on-demand. In that regard, Pandora is more of a traditional radio station than an on-demand music service. Of course there are times when I know exactly what I want to listen to, so I turn to MP3s or CDs. However, most of the time when I am working or socializing and I want good music playing in the background for hours at a time, I turn on Pandora.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Music||Sprint||Cell phone plans|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we give advice on unlocked cell phones and how to keep your cell phone safe from unwanted scratches. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
I need an unlocked GSM quad-mode cell phone to use anywhere in Europe with pre-paid SIM cards. I dont need a U.S. plan or special features, just the best value phone that can make and receive calls. Thanks, Renato
Check out the Nokia 6085. It does have a camera included, but you dont have to use it. Youll have more options once you travel to Europe and can buy an unlocked cell phone there as well. Just make sure it supports all four modes of GSM. In Europe, there doesnt tend to be a lot of support for GSM 850, which is used in the United States.
I just recently ordered a Verizon LG enV2 cell phone in maroon and I wanted to know if a full cover is available for it. I want it so the phone will be protected at all times. I don't want a pouch because that means taking the phone in and out. I just want something that will remain on permanently. Thank you. - Nancy
There is actually a translucent screen that you can buy that you can use to cover the LG enV2 from a company called BodyGuardz. Basically it resembles the clear covering that initially comes on the cell phone screen, only its a more permanent covering that helps protect the wear and tear of the entire cell phone. The good news is that as permanent as it is you can still remove it. If you just want to protect the screen of the LG enV2 check out ScreenGuardz. Its the same idea.
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Site Merchandiser, Gary Kishida.
What is it? The Samsung SLM SGH-a747 a great AT&T cell phone for music lovers. This cell phone has all the basic features you need in a phone as well as the ability to purchase and play MP3s through Napster over the air. This Samsung cell phone is slim and has a sleek metal finish that is extremely eye catching.
How much? Buy the Samsung SGH-a747 cell phone with a new two-year service contract from AT&T and make $84.99. With the purchase of this cell phone, you will also be entered to win an ultimate 3 on 3 pick-up game with a few NBA stars.
Why is it such a good deal? It is our cheapest 3G (great for high-speed web surfing) cell phone while still having a 2-megapixel camera and MP3 player.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Samsung||Deal of the Week|
This week AT&T announced nationwide availability of the LG Vu. It's a pretty sweet device that's all about the touchscreen experience and 3G data speeds. But don't take our word for it, we got a sneak peek of the LG Vu when we attended CTIA this year and took this video of the demo - check it out below.
Note: For anyone who ever wanted to know what attending CTIA (which is where we took this video) is like for us, this is pretty much the demo's we get of the new cell phones coming soon.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||AT&T Wireless||LG||International|
Textually.org points out the results of a Nationwide Mutual Insurance survey of 1,200 drivers that states a third of Gen Y-ers admit to always multitasking while driving and 37 percent send text messages while driving. These are young drivers who at this point probably have more experience with their cell phones then they do driving cars. That doesn't mean just because you've mastered one task you've mastered them all. Still, I wonder if they are aware of the changing laws around cell phones and driving. It's not just that you can't talk on cell phones. More and more states and counties are being more specific about the violation stating that you can't text or interact with a mobile device while driving - especially young drivers. However, young drivers are not necessarily in the GenY age group. Check out this story to find out if you're in an area where you shouldn't be talking or even texting on a cell phone while driving.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Driving laws|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on social networking sites for cell phones. We wanted to know what it would take to make them as popular on cell phones as they seem to be on the Internet. Our final post comes from Matt Jansen. To read more from Matt, check out his MetaViper blog or check out Blorge.com:
Social networking sites continue to grow as top destinations on the web. Three out of the top five most visited sites on the Internet are social networking sites: MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook, according to Alexa. Interest in these sites is typically driven by a desire to stay connected with existing contacts and expand social networks.
Just as social networking sites continue to grow in popularity, demand for access to those sites on mobile devices will continue to grow as users manage more of their lives online. That in mind, mobile social networking apps may taking the shape of enhancements for portals to existing sites like Facebook, will be the most popular.
So what compels users to choose one mobile social network over another, and where do additional opportunities for mobile social networking apps exist?
Well-organized contact lists that allow users to quickly separate work contacts from social contacts, and search functionality to find any given snippet of contact information instantly.
Entertainment. Does the site allow for playful or serious interactions between users in a fun and effective way? If not, a mobile social networking app could fill in the gap.
Expanding networks is a key activity for these users, and finding others with similar interests or goals is usually the first step.
Mobile syncing would empower users to access social networking sites while offline. An application that allowed caching and syncing at a later time would provide immense value.
Images, video and text are the primary ways users communicate online, so an application that simplified any of those functions would provide efficiency gains on a daily basis.
Popular local events and destinations help users meet in person, and drawing that information into a social network helps bridge the gap between virtual and real life. After users arrive at a local event, connecting them via Bluetooth (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Camera||Video||Bluetooth|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we help Mac users use their cell phone as a modem and offer cell phone choices for people who dont want a lot of bells and whistles. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
The good news is that you can likely use your Samsung cell phone as a modem. I do think you'll need to get a cable, however, since your cell phone is not listed as an applicable model for a Mac connecting via Bluetooth. If you had a PC, it would be no problem to make the connection. You should be able to just get a cable and use that with the VZ Access software, which you'll need to download from Verizon Wireless onto your Mac. Also, if you do plan to use your phone as a modem, you'll need to get an unlimited data plan. Megabytes add up really quickly when you're surfing the web or watching video with the cell phone doing double duty as a modem.
I would definitely suggest a flip phone for a first time cell phone owner since you can easily randomly dial calls on a candy bar-style cell phone if you dont know what youre doing. I would suggest either the Motorola W315 or the LG VX8600. The Motorola model is a durable cell phone that has got all the basics covered and doesnt have a lot of extra features such as an integrated camera. While the LG VX8600, on the other hand, is a good looking cell phone that does have a few extra features such as camera and music functionality, but its easy to use and has impressive call quality.
What is it? The Samsung SGH-T719 cell phone for T-Mobile is a solid world phone that you can take on trips abroad. It doesnt have a lot of frills, so if youre in the market for a cell phone that does all the basics well, this is a great fit. Additionally, you can sync this phone with your computer, which will help you stay up to date on important calendar appointments and it even has a 1.3-megapixel camera; great for snapping spontaneous pics during your travels.
Why is it such a good deal? Our inventory on this cell phone is almost sold out and when the last one is sold, its gone.
|Topics:||In The Know||Cell phone plans||Samsung||Camera|
|Deal of the Week|
Tonight Madonna will be performing songs from her new Hard Candy CD at New York's Roseland Ballroom. Clearly, it's a hot ticket. If you can't get in or make it to New York for the performance you'll be able to watch 4 songs being performed live on your Verizon Wireless V Cast-enabled cell phone. That's right the performance will also be streamed live to Verizon Wireless customers tonight starting at 10pm EST. After the show, you can still watch four songs on the V Cast Performance channel.
How to check it out: Just visit the V Cast Performances channel on a Verizon Wireless V Cast-enabled cell phone and select Madonna. In the meantime, you can text MADONNA to 8933 to download a mobile underground remix of Madonnas 4 Minutes featuring Justin Timberlake.
Note: Verizon Wireless customers who don't currently have a V Cast VPak monthly subscription, can still watch the performance by purchasing V CAST Video for $3.00 for 24-hour use.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Music||Video|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on social networking sites for cell phones. We wanted to know what it would take to make them as popular on cell phones as they seem to be on the Internet. Our next post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out Blorge.com:
It's an exciting time. T-Mobile's "Fave 5" campaign proved cell phone companies are
finally getting serious about social networking. Cell phones have reached a critical mass,
and in the next stage they'll provide a platform for some unbelievably cool networking applications.
But there's already some clear signs about where we're at and what to expect in the future.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||T-Mobile||Bluetooth|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on social networking sites for cell phones. We wanted to know what it would take to make them as popular on cell phones as they seem to be on the Internet. Our first post comes from Steve Litchfield. To read more from Steve, check out his blog:
This is indeed a big issue. In fact, it's just about the Holy Grail of mobile communications. Our lives, on both desktop and mobile, are so fragmented. What's needed is a way of integrating (in approximate order of importance)in a sensible way.:
But, like Facebook, it needs to reach a certain critical mass before it'll take off properly.
In fact, it's tempting to quote the mobile sites of sites like Facebook (m.facebook.com) as the most popular mobile social network. But these are hosted by a web browser, have limited (or no) syncing to phone native Contacts and Calendar, and have no concept of presence (i.e. where in the world you are).
Think of what's needed (the five points above). Then think of who is the biggest Internet and mobile company in the world. Google. And then remind yourself that Google bought a little Finnish company called Jaiku last year. Jaiku was an S60-native (OK, so not every phone in the world runs S60, but it's a heck of a good start) social network client, pulling together contacts, chat, feeds and presence (in every sense). But it was a tiny company crying out for big boy attention.
And then Google bought it.
Not quite job done though, since Google have either been planning Jaiku v2 or using the expertise from the Jaiku engineers to further their mobile plans using other Google applications. And, despite Google's inexplicable six month's gestation of their acquisition, Jaiku remains by far the closest thing in the mobile world to the aforementioned 'Holy Grail'.
So we have a killer (but fairly small) mobile social app, plus the largest Internet company in the world - what else is needed? Heard of Open Social? It's Google's next generation attempt to solve the silly fragmented situation in the online world. We're talking one login, one set of contacts, one set of feeds, and so on.
I believe that we're within six months of all this coming together - I predict both S60 and Java clients released by Google for general download and for inclusion in phone firmware builds. The solution name? Google Friends? Maybe. It will encompass all of Jaiku's current functionality, while being easier to use, Open Social-compatible, linking in and from every other major social source using RSS technology AND it will be backed by the 800lb gorilla in the Internet room, backed with the might of Google.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Etiquette|
What is it? The Altec Lansing InMotion Earphones iM616 and iM716 headphones. These headphones work with a 3.5mm jack, which means when youre not using them with your cell phone you can still use them with your portable MP3 player, since the majority of music players sport a 3.5mm jack. You can use these earphones with a BlackBerry Curve, even a Nokia 5300 and more. These earphones use Etymotic Research technology, which means you get amazing sound quality and an extremely snug fit. The iM716s offer Enhanced Bass and High Definition Audio Modes, as well as an in-line volume control.
How much? Originally priced at $249.99 for the iM716, weve brought them down to $79.99; While the iM616s are originally priced at $199.99, were selling them for $59.99.
Why is it such a good deal? Cell phones arent just for talking; theyre great for listening to tunes as well while on-the-go, so we wanted to make it easier for you to get a pair of these high-quality earphones.
Altec Lansing InMotion earphones
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||BlackBerry||Accessories|
|Deal of the Week|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on cell phone driving laws. Is it a good idea? We also wanted to know if they thought there might be a better way to enact such laws. Our final post comes from Servaas Schrama, who provides insight to how these issues are handled abroad. To read more from Servaas, check out his Tech Interest blog:
Is using a cellphone dangerous while driving in traffic? From a European point of view, things are different. I live in the Netherlands. Using a cellphone without a hands-free set is illegal here. The fine is $215 (140 EUR). Studies show that making a phone call is distracting while driving. Therefore the advice is not to call at all. But from experience we know that holding a cellphone makes driving even more difficult, as it prevents you from driving your car with both hands. With the immense popularity of manual transmission in cars in Europe it is actually hard to use a cellphone (I drive automatic, I hate stick shift).
So we could probably all agree that it is better to use hands-free equipment while driving. Bluetooth headsets are very popular here (much cheaper than a fine) so the necessary technology is within reach. Personally I don't believe in in-dash gear. You would have to switch SIM cards, or use double SIM cards, have different numbers and if your car is in the shop you are back to where you were. I believe the current trend in wireless (BT) technology for personal devices is the way to go, as it liberates you from what vehicle you step into, and it is very usable when you are not even driving. For instance, I am making and receiving phone calls using a bluetooth headset from home, from the office and even when I am outside or shopping, simply because you still have your hands free to do work, carry things or whatever you are doing.
|Topics:||In The Know||Driving laws||International||Bluetooth|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we received a couple of questions about BlackBerry smartphones and went straight to the source to tackle setting and adjusting tones on a BlackBerry. This weeks answers come from RIMs BlackBerry Guru. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment. Want to learn how to do more with your BlackBerry? Check out BlackBerry 101.
How do I adjust the ringtone volume on the Curve beyond the audio adjustment feature found in the main menu? - Rosie
You can easily adjust the volume on ringtones for both when the phone is in or out of the holster. To make such adjustments, follow these steps:
1. Choose Profiles from the Main Menu and scroll down and select Advanced.
2. Highlight the profile (Normal, Loud, Vibrate, etc.) you want to change, press the Menu Key (the button with the dots on it) and select Edit.
3. A list of applications will appear, scroll to the application you want, which in this case is Phone and press the track ball.
4. A screen will appear that provides two types of settings for each feature. The top half is for when your device is not in a BlackBerry Holster (Out of Holster) and the bottom half is for when your device is In Holster. You can make changes to both. In this case, youll want to scroll to Volume and press the track ball and there you can choose the volume (Mute, Low, Medium, High, or Escalating) you want. Once you select an option, press the trackball to set it.
5. Once youve made the changes you want, press the Menu Key and choose Save or press Escape (the button with an arrow on it) and youll be prompted to save changes.
How do I change the ringtone for all incoming calls, not just for a specific contact? - Marissa
1. Choose Profiles from the Main Menu and scroll down and select Advanced.
2. Highlight the profile (Normal, Loud, Vibrate, etc.) you want to change, press the Menu Key (the button with the dots on it) and select Edit.
3. A list of applications will appear, scroll to the application you want, which in this case is Phone and press the track ball. (Read more)
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on cell phone driving laws. Is it a good idea? We also wanted to know if they thought there might be a better way to enact such laws. Our next post comes from Matt Jansen, who provides a great overview of the many issues related cell phones an driving. To read more from Matt, check out his metaViper Blog:
We need to teach drivers how to use mobile devices safely.
Safe drivers know that the best way to arrive alive is to pay attention to the road while filtering out distractions. Mobile devices provide a lot of functionality and can easily pull attention away from the road, but essentially they're just one of many potential distractions. Turning on the heat, adjusting the radio, or having a conversation with a passenger all require part of the driver's attention, and using a mobile device is no different. It's important to educate drivers on how and when it's appropriate to look away from the road, and to prioritize what's happening in front of the windshield as most important.
To be most effective that education belongs in driver training, and using a mobile device while on the road should be part of the live driving test. If a student driver swerves a lot, misses stops or doesn't notice pedestrians then "live mobile device" would appear as a restriction on the driver's license just like with a person who wears glasses now.
Later, drivers could retake the test and potentially remove the "live mobile device" restriction as they gain experience.
But outside of modernizing driver's training there are some easy ways to simplify using a mobile device, which makes them less distracting. Drivers handicap themselves by holding a cell phone to an ear while steering the car with their other hand. But that's an easy fix, right? Run out and buy a headset and the problem is solved.
Maybe, but headsets are a risk too because they impair the driver's ability to hear. It's hard to listen carefully with a headset blocking your ear canal. Florida realized that and requires that one "ear must be kept free to hear surrounding sound".
Ironically, though young drivers have less experience than older drivers, typically they're more adept at operating mobile devices in the first place. Whether an inexperienced driver is slightly distracted by using a device or an experienced driver is significantly distracted by that same device, both situations result in a slower reaction to emergencies.
|Topics:||In The Know||Driving laws|
This weekend is the NFL draft and if you're a huge football fan the draft picks can provide insight into what you can expect this season. If you can't get around to watching the draft on TV, you can watch it live (April 26 & 27) on your video-enabled Sprint cell phone. Don't have a video-enabled phone, no worries, you can always get text alerts that let you know when your team is making its picks. Sprint is also offering a lot of other NFL draft coverage to its customers such as behind-the-scenes blogs, player interviews, player bios and more.
So how do you get the service on your Sprint cell phone? You can download it by texting NFL to 7777 or check out the Sports section on your Sprint Vision- or Power Vision-enabled cell phone. The service is free if you already have a data plan. If you don't have a data plan for your video-enabled phone, you can still get it, you'll just have to pay a little extra on your bill next month.
I don't know about you, but I'm currently reviewing the Motorola Q9c for Sprint and I won't be leaving home without it this weekend. I'm an Oakland Raiders fan and we all know they can use all the help they can get.
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about their thoughts on cell phone driving laws. Is it a good idea? We also wanted to know if they thought there might be a better way to enact such laws. Our first post comes from David Cassel, to read more from David, check out his blog at Blorge.com:
There's a dirty secret that no one wants to acknowledge. Cell phone
conversations while driving are dangerous no matter how you do
them. The New England Journal of Medicine performed
study. They identified 699 people who'd been in car accidents, and then
checked the time of their accidents against their cell phone records.
"The risk of a collision when using a cell phone was four times higher,"
the study reports, and even hands-free units "offered no safety advantage over hand-held units."
Cell phones are a great technology but they just don't mix with driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving is about as dangerous as driving drunk, the study's author concluded. "It's about keeping your mind on the road, not just keeping your hands on the steering wheel," he told Wired News. The only advantage? After you're in a car accident, the cell phone makes it easier to call for an ambulance.
"As humans, we're only good at doing a certain number of tasks at a time," another research scientist added. He performs studies at the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa, and notes that driving requires focused attention. And this idea is becoming more widely accepted. Six states, including California and New York, have already banned all handheld cell phone conversations while driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But there's an inconvenient truth. There would probably be fewer accidents with fewer in-car phone systems.
NPR's popular "Car Talk" DJ's even launched a campaign called "Drive Now, Talk Later." ("Sick and tired of having your life endangered by drivers who are too self-important to put their phones down and pay attention to the road?" they ask on their web site. "So are we.") They've assembled a web page collecting studies (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Driving laws|
I hear a lot from people that Bluetooth is still a bit scary and it makes sense to me. Usually things that make a connection without any kind of wire feels more like magic than technology and that can be pretty intimidating. Theres no need to be intimidated, Bluetooth has come a long way since its development about 10 years ago. Its pretty easy to use, especially on a cell phone. Seriously, these days the cell phone does most of the work for you. While theres no one single way to pair (thats what its called when youre setting up your Bluetooth-enabled device to work with another Bluetooth-enabled device) your cell phone with a Bluetooth headset, these secrets should help you navigate through making a connection.
1. Figure out if you have a Bluetooth cell phone. Although most cell phones these days support Bluetooth, you should first check to see if your cell phone supports Bluetooth. Theres no need to mess with a manual, you can find this information in your cell phone. Depending on the cell phone you have there may be a Bluetooth option in the main menu. If its not there, check under Connectivity, Settings or Tools and there should be an option to turn on Bluetooth.
2. Deciphering when Bluetooth is activated in your cell phone. In order to make a pair, youll need to activate the Bluetooth feature on your cell phone. The good news is that when Bluetooth is activated, the (Read more)
According to our recent PhoneTalk poll, which asked How new is your current cell phone the majority of respondents (39 percent) have had their cell phone for over a year, while just six percent of folks have had the same cell phone forever. While the majority in this pole have owned their cell phone for over a year, Im curious about the upgrade cycle for them? Will it be when you can get a discount on a new cell phone, or when the existing cell phone finally places its last call or eeks out a final SOS text message? Maybe, the year+ owners will join the ranks of the Ive had it forever group. What do you think? What makes people want to get a new phone and how long do you think people hold onto old phones? I know I still have my first cell phone a Nokia the size of a brick. I just cant bring myself to recycle it (as was the theme of this weeks guest blogger posts). Do you still have your first cell phone?
Heres a recap of the survey results:
Just got it 17%
3-5 months old 20%
6-12 months old 18%
Older than 1 year 39%
I've had it forever 6%
Thats this months results; please participate in the new poll, posted on the right.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about cell phone recycling including why it's important and how to do it. Our next post comes from Gary Straus, a contributor and speaker on electronic recycling. To learn more about cell phone recycling check out The Wireless Source.
The BEST way to dispose of an old cell phone is any method that is the most convenient for you, as long as two important criteria are met. First, you must be sure that all personal data is erased (your phone may contain pictures, text messages, phone numbers, addresses--some people even keep their account numbers and PINs stored in their phone or PDA). Second, your phone should be disposed of with an organization that will re-use the device, or properly recycle it if it is no longer usable (broken or too old). A good recycler will be registered as an ISO 14001 organization, which means it has been audited and found to have the highest standards relating to disposal of electronic wastes, batteries, and device chargers. A great recycler will be carbon neutral (see below).
Once those criteria are met, you can choose your disposal method. Most good organizations have a mail-in system, whereby you can mail in the devices you wish to dispose of. Many have a postage paid envelope for you to use. Other organizations provide drop-off locations where you can drop your phones in person. Some mobile carriers have both types of collection; for example, T-Mobile provides a postage paid mailer bag in all their new phones, whether sold on line or sold in their corporate retail stores. You can also leave your old phone in any T-Mobile corporate store (or drop them off there) and the devices will then be data cleared and re-sold to provide funds to Huddle Up (T-Mobile's excellent charity partner.) All phones and PDAs collected by T-Mobile have the data erased, so this is safety and security for the person making the donation. All scrap is recycled by an ISO 14001 partner. This is the BEST way to dispose of your phone after you buy a new device at T-Mobile.
There are other excellent charities that accept donations of (Read more)
We asked Bloggers around the Internet about cell phone recycling including why it's important and how to do it. Our first post comes from Mark Milliman, who offers quite a few places where people can recycle their old cell phones. To read more from Mark check out his blog:
U.S. consumers typically replace their cell phone once every 18 to 24 months according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That fact means that we discard over 125 million phones per year in the U.S. alone contributing 65,000 tons of waste per year assuming that we do not recycle or refurbish any of those phones. Fact is that approximately 70% of all cell phones are either refurbished or resold leaving 37.5 million phones for landfills or recycling centers. The truth is that most of those cell phones sit in closets or basements in a heap of electronic debris.
Recycling or reselling these phones is often more difficult than it is worth so many people choose to toss them in a box instead of disposing of them properly. People tend to take the path of lease resistance so if the processes are too difficult, they won't do it. The easiest way to ensure that almost 100% of the phones are being recycles or refurbished is to have the retailers take responsibility for collecting the old phones. Some retailers including Sprint are now accepting old phones and sometimes giving credit towards the purchase of a new phone. If you make it easy, then consumers will adopt the practice of recycling their old phones. Dell will take back an old computer when a consumer purchases a new one from them. They even send a shipping container for it. The retailer can then sell the old phones to a recycler who will properly dispose of the items. Manufacturers relate the IMEI (international mobile equipment identifier) of the phone to a web site that details the proper dismantling procedure. The IEEE has standards (IEEE 1680) that describes how to recycle personal computers. This same standards process can be extended to cell phones and other mobile devices.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless||Sprint||Smart phones|
What is it? The Motorola Smartphone-based Navigation System T815. This nifty little system turns your smartphone into a full-functioning GPS device for the car complete with maps highlighting local spots (ATMs, supermarkets, gas stations etc.), and voice-activated directions.
How much? Originally priced at $279.99, its now $179.99 for this week only. Were taking an additional 10 percent off the already discounted price.
Why is it such a good deal? After watching the recent video blog our Editorial Director, Joni Blecher, did on the product and how easy it is to use, we thought youd want one too, so we're offering 10% off the already discounted price.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Windows Mobile||Smart phones|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle using your cell phone as a modem and cell phone security features. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
You have a few options, your basic Internet service at home is probably not going to work for you on the road. If your wireless PC has WiFi, all you need to do is enable the WiFi feature on your laptop and search for WiFi networks nearby. If youre in a Starbucks, for example, you can log onto its WiFi connection for a nominal fee. The other option is to use your cell phone as a wireless modem. You would need a data plan for your cell phone and then you can either connect the cell phone to your notebook via a cable and start accessing the Internet using your cell phones data connection or if your computer and cell phone both have Bluetooth it can be done by making a Bluetooth connection as well. However, you probably wont want to try this unless your cell phone supports EDGE data networks at least this will give you close to DSL connection speeds. An HSDPA connectivity option would be ideal for this scenario since it can provide cable-modem like speeds and youd still be able to take calls on the cell phone without losing a connection. If it supports GPRS your connection will resemble more of a dial-up connection.
I have a Nokia 2160 and a friend of mine got ahold of it and when I got it back it was locked and I can't unlock it is there a special technique i can do to unlock it or what? Aileen
It sounds like the lock code is set. Youll need to enter the unlock code to access the memory and features on your cell phone. To enter the unlock code choose Menu and then press Security Options and Automatic Phone Lock. Youll be prompted to enter a code at Enter Lock Code. If you havent set a code, try 12345. Once you enter the number press Ok. If that doesnt work youll need to contact your carrier to reset the code for you.
We see a lot of Bluetooth headsets that focus on enabling more calling features, however, the Sound ID HD300 is all about increasing the audio functionality. The HD300 headset automatically reduces the disturbance in noise that can be caused by a heavy gust of wind, adjusts the volume automatically to accommodate the noise level of surrounding sounds. But if you want some control over the headset, you can select your own listening mode or download applications to your cell phone that let you adjust the audio controls even more. Another plus? It works with most mini-USB chargers so you don't have to pack an extra charger when you hit the road if your cell phone uses a mini-USB charger.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Bluetooth||Accessories|
In the market for portable speakers? Check out the Motorola EQ3, it runs on 4 AAA batteries and folds up for easy transport. We got a chance to listen to it and it sounded pretty good. Read: We could still hear the song playing clearly in the midst of a busy trade-show floor. While these are not Bluetooth-enabled, they do sport a 3.5mm headset jack so they'll work with most music players.
MotoRokr EQ3: Now you see it
Now you don't
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Motorola||Music||Accessories|
When we reviewed the HTC Touch, we liked it, but probably would have liked it more if it came with a numeric keypad. Now there's a model that does that and supports HSDPA for smooth streaming of videos. This is a GSM version, so it won't be available on Sprint. However, the company also announced a white version of the Touch, which looks cool. To see the HTC Touch Dual in action, check out the video below. Note: For anyone who ever wanted to know what attending CTIA is like for us, this is pretty much the demo's we get of the new cell phones coming soon.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Music||Windows Mobile|
It's no surprise that there were a lot of Bluetooth headsets on display at CTIA. Most cell phones support Bluetooth and more and more states are passing cell phone driving laws, which combined are transforming headsets into more than just a convenience. Cardo Systems had quite a few on tap including the S2 stereo over-the-ear headset that you can use to easily listen to music from a Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player and answer a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone when a call comes in. The S2 can also fold down so they can stow away in a backpack. Also shown was the S640 unit, which is a clip-on Bluetooth headset (clip it onto your jacket - doesn't have to be in the ear to use) that actually rings in the unit, so your cell phone doesn't have to be located in a place that you can hear it in order to receive a call (it does have to be in Bluetooth range).
But the real head turner in Cardo Systems' line-up is the S800. For starters you can pair it simultaneously to two cell phones so you can take calls from two different cell phones, which is good for people who have a work cell phone and a separate personal cell phone. It's pretty tiny, so it doesn't interfere with earrings and there's a pager functionality so you can find it if it's buried in a purse. We got a picture of it in black, but it will be available in chrome too.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Bluetooth||Accessories|
This week's deal comes from LetsTalk.com's Merchandising Manager, Rosie Myers
What is it? The Nextel i760 is a true work-horse cell phone that does double duty as a walkie talkie to other people who use the Direct Connect network via Direct Talk. This no nonsense cell phone doesnt have a lot of bells and whistles, but excels at making and keeping a connection. If youre in the market for a Nextel cell phone, the i760 will let you see incoming calls via its external display and supports multimedia messaging.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Sprint||Accessories|
The cool thing about the Samsung Access is that you can actually watch TV on it over the super high-speed HSDPA network (basically what that means it's a pretty fluid experience, not a lot of screen jumping). The new world phone will be available next month for AT&T Wireless. In addition to TV, it also has a camera and plays MP3s. However, you might want to see it in action or yourself, so check out the video below. Note: For anyone who ever wanted to know what attending CTIA is like for us, this is pretty much the demo's we get of the new cell phones coming soon.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||AT&T Wireless||Samsung||Video|
While Plantronics showed off Bluetooth headsets that accentuated the boom, Jabra's approach is all about keeping it small and showing some valuable information on the actual headset with its new BT4010. This tiny headset weighs just 0.35 of an ounce - that's small, you'll barely feel it in your ear. Jabra even managed to incorporate an LCD screen that displays battery and signal strength. The new headset is also compatible with Bluetooth 2.0, but is also backward compatible with previous versions of Bluetooth so it should work with older Bluetooth-enabled cell phones as well. Additionally, the tiny power house headset boasts up to 6 hours of talk time and 150 hours of standby time - so it's likely that you'll need to recharge your cell phone before recharging this headset.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Bluetooth||Accessories|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle BlackBerry myths and cell phone usage issues. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
Thats absolutely not true. Heres the deal: you can buy a BlackBerry phone without the BlackBerry data service and still use it as just a cell phone. In some cases, however, depending on the BlackBerry model and the carrier you might initially pay more for the smartphone when you purchase it than you would if you added the BlackBerry data service at the time you bought it. You should be aware that without BlackBerry data service you cant get email or surf the web on your smartphone. Text messaging can be iffy as well, but some carriers will allow you to add a separate text messaging plan to the BlackBerry without having to purchase the BlackBerry data service.
Can two cell phones use the same number? Just like if we both answer the landline phone at home and it was for her or me the other person hangs up the extension. Andrew
That would be a cool trick, unfortunately its not possible. Thats just not how cell phone works.
|Topics:||In The Know||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry|
When people lose their cell phones or even upgrade to a new model, the big issue is always about maintaining names and numbers in the contact book. BackUp-Pal aims to solve this problem. Basically how it works is that you connect your cell phone to the device (it comes with connectors for most cell phones) via the included adapter and press the Backup button on the device. When you need to restore the numbers, press the restore button. If you have multiple phones or are just getting a new model, just attach the compatible connector, press the restore button and the names and numbers will appear in the new cell phone. BackUp-Pal, which is powered by 3 AAA batteries, can store information for up to 4,000 contacts. It really just handles text so this isnt going to work for the pictures you might associate with people in your address book.
The product can fit in the palm of a hand, but you might not be able to wrap your fingers around it so its really more of a desk accessory. According to the company even if youre changing to a different model with different fields for entering info, the device will figure it out and enter the data in the appropriate places. This device is really only for contacts in a cell phone, so you cant use it to backup your text messages. Its a good idea, especially if you lose your cell phone a lot or just change models frequently. It costs $49.99 for the complete kit, but if you need to transfer or save numbers it seems like an easy solution to a potentially big headache.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Storage||Accessories|
The Motorola Q line got a few additions as well. For starters, there's the Green version of the Q9c, which will be available for U.S. Cellular and Alltel. It's actually a nice looking green (see below). Additionally, Verizon Wireless announced the Q9c, which is basically the Motorola Q9m, without the Verizon music-centric features. You can still play music on the Q9c via the Windows Media Player in the smartphone, however, you won't have access to features such as Song ID. The Q9c has something the Q9m doesn't and that's GPS and the company's VZNavigator software.
Going Green: The Motorola Q9c
Going Places: The Motorola Q9c with built-in GPS
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Motorola||Verizon Wireless||Windows Mobile|
Iron Man the movie, starring Robert Downey Jr., is coming to theaters next month on May 2nd. As is the case with many big blockbuster films its got its own cell phone. In this case its an 18kt. gold and maroon (designed to match Iron Man) LG slider phone decked out with Iron Man-themed content and a 2-megapixel camera. If you look at just the back of the phone, because of the position of the lens, it looks more like a camera (ala the short-lived disc camera) then a cell phone. While this special-edition GSM cell phone costs about $2,000 it wont be coming to stores, its just for the super hero and his friends.
LG's Gold Phone
Is it a cell phone or a disc camera?
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Camera||LG|
Verizon Wireless announced quite a few new cell phones at the beginning of the show. Two of them are upgrades to popular existing models, as is the case with the LG enV2 and the Samsung Alias. If the Alias looks familiar, it should: its essentially the Samsung SCH-u740. The main difference between Alias and the SCH-u740 cell phone is that the numeric keys are a lot more defined. If you always wanted a clearer numeric keypad for making calls, the Samsung Alias delivers.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||Samsung|
Theres no denying that WiMAX is big news at the show. The WiMAX Forum can explain the technology in great detail, but essentially, it provides data access that extends for miles instead of just feet, which is the case with WiFi. To really demonstrate the benefits of WiMAX and how the companys N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX edition takes advantage of the long range connectivity, Nokia had a huge crane in the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot that hoisted 20 people in the air to demo the units by surfing the Web or even watching TV over WiMAX. It really was quite a site. The N810 is actually a pretty cool device and not as large as you might envision when you hear the word tablet its actually probably a little smaller than a portable gaming device. It has its own Skype application on it so that you can make calls using voice, but the big draw here is true web surfing and multimedia. The real head turner here had to be that crane lifting people into the sky for a very unique experience at Nokias Internet in the Sky Café.
Nokia N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Nokia|
LGs ENV is a pretty popular phone even Scott Baio uses it on Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant its nice to see the new model, the LG enV2. The major upgrades include a thinner profile and while I wouldnt say its half the size its definitely noticeably thinner. The keyboard is a bit smaller but theres still plenty of room in between keys. However, the internal screen is much bigger. LG kept the 2-megapixel camera but ditched the flash and camera lens cover, making the back completely flat. Of course, the LG enV2 will be available for Verizon Wireless service later this month. What do you think of the new enV2?
Same lens, slicker design
Smaller keyboard, bigger screen
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||Camera|
BlackBerry-toting Guitar Hero fans can now sharpen their skills by playing it on the smartphone. The game is available for download directly from the BlackBerry by visiting www.bplay.com/guitarhero or online at www.guitarheromobile.com. While users should be able to access over 50 songs within a year, whats available now isnt too shabby. The game has four authentic guitars and three venues with 15 tracks. Im about to try it for myself and will provide more in-depth info about the experience next week after I have a chance to see just how easy or hard it is to play.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||BlackBerry||Smart phones||Games|
Shopping: some people cant get enough of it, while others would prefer to avoid it at all costs. This new shopping experience for the smartphone from Digby seems to have something for everyone. Its essentially a mobile mall that lives on your cell phone, complete with e-commerce storefronts (such as Barnes & Noble, FTD, Godiva, etc.) that are similar to those found on the Web. You can search, get recommendations, purchase right from the phone, and even find out if a local branch of that store has the product in stock if shopping face-to-face is more your style.
While weve been hearing a ton about shopping on your cell phone, what makes this product compelling is that the actual check out seems fast and painless. For starters, it integrates with your address book, so if you want to send Godiva candy to someone in your phonebook just look them up and the fields auto populate. It also stores your credit card info on your smartphone and it wont save it unless you provide a password to protect it. Not secure enough for you? Not a problem, the way the information is actually saved on your smartphone is similar to how it appears on a receipt: a ton of ******* with the last four numbers of the account. You might have noticed I keep saying smartphone; thats because it currently only works on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile 6. This could be a very dangerous app for shopaholics, but pretty convenient for everyone else especially during the holidays.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||BlackBerry||Windows Mobile||Smart phones|
As more and more Bluetooth headsets shrink, Plantronics is not only accentuating the earpieces boom, its also giving it some bling. The Discovery 925 is the latest in the companys high-end line of the Bluetooth headsets, which means it has Digital Sound Processing (DSP) for minimizing background noise and automatically adjusting the volume of the caller as the environment dictates. For anyone who really wants to have a mic closer to the mouth when using one of these headsets, this one comes pretty close without being too obtrusive.
Then theres the headsets case, which looks an awful lot like a lipstick case. Hidden inside that case is room for an AAA battery so you can charge the headset on the go and get another 5 hours of power if needed. Of course, theres also a miniUSB slot if you want to use a wall charger.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Bluetooth||Accessories|
Revue software from Smith Micro is all about giving more functionality to the multimedia apps included on Windows Mobile 5 and 6 smartphones. For instance, you can view photos by album, remove red eye and noise from pictures. Music becomes more searchable with Revue and videos are easier to transfer and organize. If you wish the multimedia software on your Windows Mobile device could do more this product might help (especially if you have a lot of files on your smartphone), but we should note that it doesnt add audio centric MP3 player features to manipulate or improve the sound of music files.
|Topics:||New at CTIA||Windows Mobile||Smart phones||Accessories|
It's that time of year where manufacturers, carriers, and application developers display what will be hot in cell phones this year. That's right, it's time for CTIA and we're heading to Vegas to see what's going to be in store for cell phone users. So check back for daily updates to find out more about new phones, accessories and trends we see at the show.
|Topics:||New at CTIA|
Verizon Wireless is offering customers a chance to win one of 20 tickets to Keith Urban concerts around the country as well as the opportunity to win a private backyard concert with nine of their closest friends in Nashville. Here are the details of how to enter:
You have until May 3, 2008 to use Song ID on a Verizon Wireless V Cast-enabled cell phone to identify Keith Urban's songs, "Everybody" or "I Told you So." If you don't have the Song ID application on your cell phone download it from the handset and start listening.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Music|
We hear a lot about GPS and cell phones and wanted to see just how it all works together. So we took a Motorola Q9h and a Motorola T815 GPS receiver and hit New York City to see just how well it worked navigating one-way streets and how it would handle all those tall buildings. Check out the results below and if you want to try this at home check out our How To on the topic.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Motorola||Windows Mobile||Smart phones|
What is it? The mullet cell phone (its a good thing) is making another appearance on PhoneTalks Deal of the Week series. The Pantech Duo (available in red or chrome) is a dual slider, which means it slides up to reveal a keypad and slides sideways to display a full QWERTY keyboard. The Duo slides sideways for the keyboard and business and slides up for partying with the numeric keys. In addition to having a serious and playful side, this AT&T smartphone runs Windows Mobile 6 and supports video share so you can see something, share it and talk about it all at once with anyone else on AT&T and a video share enabled cell phone.
How much? Free with a new two-year service contract plus a free 1GB MicroSD memory card.
Why is it such a good deal? We have a temporary great deal on the Pantech Duo and want to pass it onto our customers.
|Topics:||In The Know||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless||Windows Mobile|
|Smart phones||Business Use|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us more about GPS and cell phones. We wanted to know how they use it and even location-based applications they'd like to see available on cell phones. Our final post comes from Dameon Welch-Abernathy. To read more from Dameon, check out his blog, PhoneBoy:
We like to think--perhaps naively--that nobody can track where we are on our mobile phone. The fact of the matter is, the cell providers have to know where you are in order to provide that information when you call 911. Even without GPS, they have a good idea of where you are based on cell tower triangulation.
Location based services are a whole different beast. In exchange for some service, you are having to provide your exact location--via GPS--to someone. I personally find that creepy. I don't necessarily want people that don't have to know exactly where I am to know. There are relatively few applications where needing to know my exact location is required. Cell tower triangulation is accurate enough for most of the applications I've seen, though not all handsets provide enough information to application developers for triangulation.
Micro blogging services like Jaiku support the concept of location, but it's fuzzy at best. It uses cell phone towers to determine location. Since users can tag areas themselves, it can be as general or as specific as you want.
One location-based service I've found where the GPS actually makes sense is Trapster. This service allows you to report speed traps, red light cameras, and the like. This allows other drivers to be aware of where they are and provides warnings much like a radar detector. It's a neat application, but given the battery issues with GPS-enabled mobile phones and the lack of GPS-enabled mobile phones, this service might be just a bit ahead of it's time.
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tell you how to save a song as a ringtone and discuss reading text messages on other peoples cell phones. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
You should be able to set a song saved on your cell phone as a ringtone as long as the audio is saved in the right place, which is the Downloaded Audio folder found in the Ringtones/Audio folder. But Im getting ahead of myself. Once you have a MP3 song stored in the right place, simply choose My Stuff from the main menu. Next, scroll to and then select ringtones/Audio and then do the same thing to get into the Downloaded Audio folder. Once there, highlight the song you want to use as ringtone and press Options (lower left hand corner of the display), choose Set As and then select Ringtone. Once thats done, when prompted just press Yes to save it as the incoming call ringtone. Then have someone call you so you can hear your work in action.
In short, the answer to both questions is "no." While I have heard many stories of people who have just straight out glanced at their mates cell phone to see who called or read through text messages sent and received theres rarely a happy ending. Either you find what you suspected or turns out its nothing and you have to live with knowing that you invaded their privacy. Not to mention the laws are still unclear if this is even legal activity for spouses. That said, there are expensive devices available that can help with this, but again they don't work with all phones and they technically should only be used with cell phones that you own. I haven't tried any of these products so I can't really recommend them.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Etiquette||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless|
According to our recent PhoneTalk poll, which asked What do you do with the pictures you take with your camera phone? the majority of folks (28 percent) who took the poll dont do too much with the pictures they capture. The results are not too surprising to me, when I talk to people who own and use camera phones they usually forget to do something with the pictures they have in their cell phone. What I do think will change in time is the amount of people who upload a photo to a blog or their FaceBook account. With social networking becoming more and more integrated into our cell phone experience with apps like FaceBook for the BlackBerry its just a matter of time before people begin to do more with mobile pics. Remember you dont need a large megapixel camera to snap pics that can be posted to the web.
Associate the picture with a contact in the phonebook 12%
Send it to a friend's cell phone 16%
Save it as a background screen 16%
Send it to a friend's e-mail address 11%
Leave it in your cell phone's picture gallery 28%
Upload it to a photo sharing site 11%
Post it on a blog or Facebook 7%
If you want to know more about what you can do with a camera phone, check out our Camera Phone Buying Guide or if you want to learn how to take better pictures with your camera phone, check out this How To article with tips from a professional photographer.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Text messaging||Camera|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us more about GPS and cell phones. We wanted to know how they use it and even location-based applications they'd like to see available on cell phones. Our next post comes from Steve Litchfield. To read more from Steve, check out his blog:
Although navigation is an obvious and valid use for GPS in a cell phone (especially Nokia's new 'pedestrian' focus in their latest version 2.0 of Nokia Maps), there are a host of other uses which aren't so obvious. The fact that Nokia paid (literally) billions of dollars for Navteq last year shows that there's more to GPS than yet another tick box on a phone's spec sheet.
I've been using Geotagging more and more on my photos, for example. Armed with Nokia's free Location Tagger utility, GPS fix information is put into the Exif header of each JPG photo. Set Flickr or Google Picasa Web up to 'import' this information and you've got one heck of a photo browsing system, with each snap overlaid exactly on a map or satellite image. For holidays and day trips, this is a great way to bring photos alive. The actual tagging bit happens automatically, with the GPS being fired up, used and closed down without manual intervention.
Also automatic will be GPS use in searching. At the moment, there's no true (and native) GPS-enabled search utility for any phone platform, but it's surely a matter of time. Already Google and Yahoo! have next-gen mobile search pages that let you enter your location and will then presort results where necessary, to give relevant local matches. Surely using GPS information for your starting point can't be that far off. I give it 3 months!
What about real time presence information? Google took over Jaiku last year and nothing much has been seen of that - but Jaiku's a fabulous base on which to build a real-time, location-aware social network. For example, you're friends with Fred and Jaiku is showing him as 2km away and that his phone is 'active' (i.e. he's used it in the last 5 mins). Say that his latest Jaiku message was "In town for a meeting at 2pm", and that it's now 12.30 - it's the perfect time to call him and arrange an unplanned but very probably convenient meeting.(Read more)
What is it? In honor of St. Patricks Day, were spotlighting the green LG Rumor. This LG is ideal for people who are big on texting since theres a full QWERTY keyboard hidden inside this candybar cell phone. In addition to that hidden keyboard, the LG Rumor also sports a 1.3-megapixel camera, MP3 player and comes preloaded with Sprint Navigation software that you can use for turn-by-turn directions when youre on the road.
|Topics:||In The Know||Sprint||Storage||Camera|
You've probably seen people wearing clothes with some clever word with "red" highlighted, such as INSPI(RED), DESI(RED) or even DIAP(RED) on baby clothes and might have wondered about it. In case you didn't know (PRODUCT) RED launched about two years ago, first in the UK and then here in the states. The idea behind it is essentially they team up with various manufacturers to create (RED) branded products. For example, the GAP line of (RED) clothing or even a (RED) inspired line of jewelry from Emporio Armani. When the product is sold up to 50% of the gross profits are given to the Global Fund to invest in African AIDS programs. But the (RED) products aren't all fashion centric, there's even a (RED) cell phone: the Red Motorola Razr V3m. It's a classic. Whenever you purchase this cell phone $8.50 is contributed to the Global Fund. Even stylish cell phones are INSPRI(RED).
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Sprint|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us more about GPS and cell phones. We wanted to know how they use it and even location-based applications they'd like to see available on cell phones. Our first post comes from James Durbin. To read more from James, check out his blog, Brandstorming:
I've had the good fortune of having friends with excellent knowledge of the cities I've lived in. When lost, I tend to call them up and they tell me where I need to go. I've never had to use the cellphone for GPS navigation, but I've printed out plenty of maps from MapQuest for trips. The major problem you face is up-to-date maps. There is a difference between reading something on two-dimensional screens and understanding where to go when driving. That said, I think my use of GPS would be most effective when I'm planning the trip (or when I forgot directions at home).
As for most popular uses - that's a space where I can add some ideas. The first thing that has to be understood is that the applications of mobile marketing are secondary. The list is the most important. Consumers still think of their phones as private (they've given up that hope on e-mail and for home phones). If you're going to drive location-based campaigns, smart opt-in strategies that are targeted, direct, and don't cross over the bounds are needed. If you don't have permission
Mobile Marketing Rules
1. Have permission
2. Don't overdo it. (Track what you send and how many times)
LOCATION BASED USES
This is the easiest and the most common idea cited. When a user has their mobile phone near a store or restaurant, a coupon is sent to the phone for 10% off or a free appetizer. It sounds great, but this campaign is difficult to pull off. It's hard to target people based on their geographic movement, and no one has hard metrics on what works. I'd suggest starting small, using displays in stores to pitch specific products, or encouraging people to sign when they are at a location (using POP), then sending them notices the next time they are near. An example would be a Qdoba gathering names at a store, and then when the people are within 800M or so, offering a $1 off a burrito when the software recognizes the phone. This would work especially well in areas where there is a lot of walking traffic, like outdoor malls places with delivery. Broadcasting coupons should be done on a very small, very limited basis (10M around a display)
2) ATM's for Banking:
Banks should be using mobile alerts that customers can look for cash machines.
3) SmartMobs (organizing):
This is a killer app for conferences. Getting (Read more)
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle taking cell phones with you to different service providers. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
AT&T is my wireless carrier and I do not want to change. I want a Motorola i580. Do you know is it offered for AT&T and if not, could I buy one and use my SIM card with it?- Kenny
The Motorola i580 works specifically with Sprint Nextel service. While the cell phone does have a slot for a SIM card, the SIM card used in Motorola Nextel cell phones is different than typical SIM cards. Additionally, the AT&T SIM card provides service on cell phones that work on the GSM networks, whereas the Motorola i580 works on CDMA networks. However, if you want to stay with AT&T, check out the Motorola V365; its got many of the same features, has a rubber casing for durability, as well as push-to-talk capability.
nTelos works on CDMA networks, so youll need another CDMA cell phone if you want to use it with nTelos service. If your Razr works on CDMA then technically, yes, you will be able to use it with nTelos service. However, its probably locked so youll need to get the unlocked code for it. Additionally, you should be aware that if you get the cell phone unlocked and get nTelos service working with it you may not have access to all the features to which you are accustomed to using.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Motorola||AT&T Wireless||Sprint|
Here's something you don't see everyday: an armrest that's got a built-in speakerphone that you can use with your Bluetooth enabled cell phone. We caught a glimpse of the perCushion over at Textually.org and couldn't really believe it. Turns out this Bluetooth enabled pillow does more than just let you take calls through it, there's also volume control, redial, and even a washable cover.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Bluetooth||Accessories|
What is it? The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 with Sprint service. This smartphone has all the benefits of the original Pearl, plus a few added bonuses, namely text messages can now be stored in its own folder and not combined with all other messages in the main mailbox. Plus with EVDO service, this BlackBerry could be used as a high-speed portable modem.
Why is it such a good deal? With the recent announcement of Sprints $99 unlimited plan, we want you to have a chance to try out a smartphone that would be a perfect compliment to this plan.
|Topics:||In The Know||Sprint||Cell phone plans||BlackBerry|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle creating personal ringtones and unlocked cell phones. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
While you can create voice recordings on your cell phone, theres no guarantee youll be able to save it as a ringtone. However, if you have a microphone on your computer, you can record your kids saying Pick up the phone and save it as a MP3 or .WAV file. Then you can upload the recording to ToneMine. Just create an account (takes less than a minute), save your tone and then send the recording to your cell phone as a text message. Once its there, you can use it as a ringtone. The price? The cost of receiving a text message. Another bonus: You and your kids might have fun creating your own ringtones once youre at the ToneMine site.
Currently, unlocked cell phones work on the GSM network and require a SIM card in order for them to work. Verizon Wireless cell phones work on CDMA networks, so you will not be able to use your existing Verizon Wireless plan with an unlocked GSM phone (which, as noted above, is what the unlocked phones are these days).
However, you might be thinking about Verizons recent announcement to open its network to other cell phones. If thats the case, you can learn more about it from reading this post, and you would still need an unlocked CDMA cell phone.
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think about mobile browsers and how they can be improved in time. Our next post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out his blog, Blorge.com:
People get emotional about browsers. That's because eventually mobile browsers will bring the final chapter to a fight that's been going on for over a decade.
And the mobile space won't see a replay of the desktop market's early browser wars. Netscape's biggest mistake was announcing early that the Netscape browser might someday be used as a platform. Microsoft immediately sought to destroy Netscape, and that battle wasn't pretty. In 1999 AOL swallowed a troubled Netscape, and Saturday AOL will discontinue their support for the browser altogether. But fortunately, the mobile browser market won't be a simple battle between two unevenly matched opponents. In fact, Wikipedia already lists over 17 browsers being used by major vendors!
The long development cycles speak to one overlooked fact about the browser market: it's hard to develop anything for mobile devices. This is why some of the top browsers either come from companies with a huge amount of resources or from companies that have been in business for many, many years. (Opera reports there are now 100 million phones using its mobile browser, including phones made by Nokia, Samsung, T-Mobile, and Motorola.) And yes, Opera Mobile's zooming and panning is very handy on a tiny mobile screen!
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think about mobile browsers and how they can be improved in time. Our first post comes from Sean Tierney takes a good look at the mobile browser landscape. To read more from Sean, check out his blog:
So how do mobile browsers compare?
Will mobile browsers become important deciding factors for smartphone purchases?
Absolutely. But the influence will be even more dramatic once the 3G networks are firmly established in the US. While the iPhone browser has significantly improved usability, it's still hobbled by the speed of data transmission and therefore the speed at which web pages load. Fortunately the prevalence of open WiFi networks and the iPhone's ability to connect via WiFi mitigates some of this when in proximity to an open WiFi network. The majority of the time though, I'm connecting via AT&T's edge network at painfully-slow speeds. As the browsing experience gets better from both improved usability of the browsers and improved data transmission speeds from the network, this feature of the smartphone should become a greater determinant on the purchasing decision.
How will mobile browsers evolve differently from the desktop browser market?(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||AT&T Wireless||Palm||GPS|
What is it? The newest Motorola Razr for T-Mobile, the Razr2 V8. This cell phone has a rocking 2GB of internal memory, so you dont need to buy a memory card, Stereo Bluetooth, and a huge external display. Want to know the difference between all the Razrs? Check out our "Which Motorola Razr is right for you?" story.
Why is it such a good deal? This is a pretty cool cell phone that doesnt seem to be getting the attention it deserves, so Im dropping it to a price that customers seem to know and love, free.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Storage||Camera|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle retrieving deleted messages and 3G benefits. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
I have several old text messages on my Nextel Motorola i580 that I deleted that I would like to recover now. I'm not very tech-savvy, is there a device I can buy for this purpose (hopefully not too complicated)? Thank you Jane
There are software and services available (such as Pro Data Doctor) that are designed to retrieve deleted data stored on a SIM card. Although Nextel cell phones have SIM cards, they typically only store address book information and they are not the same as GSM SIM cards. Unfortunately, these text message recovery products are really designed for the SIM cards found in GSM cell phones. So there really isnt a way to retrieve the deleted messages from your cell phone.
Will replacing my old SIM cards in my AT&T cell phones with the new 3G 64K SIM card improve my talk quality? What are the benefits of upgrading your SIM card to the new 3G card? Thank you - Marc
First, upgrading to the new 3G SIM card will only have benefits if your existing AT&T cell phone will work on the new 3G networks. For anyone looking at the specs of a cell phone, check out data or network technology and look for HSDPA (UMTS is also considered 3G, but HSDPA is a lot faster). If your cell phone supports HSDPA, then youve got a 3G cell phone, and if youre in an area where HSDPA has been deployed (you can see coverage areas here) then you should absolutely upgrade to the 3G 64K SIM card. Heres a few highlights as to why:
That said, if youre phone doesnt support HSDPA or youre not in an area where the service is currently available theres no need to change the SIM card at this point.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Music||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think it will take for mobile payments (the ability to pay for an item using your cell phone only) to gain traction. Our final post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David, check out Tech.Blorge:
The future always arrives before anyone realizes it. MasterCard now has more than 20 million PayPass cards (and some mobile devices) distributed around the world. Unfortunately, they're only interoperable with 80,000 merchants.
Merchants should be the ones pushing for mobile payments. They could speed up transactions, which studies show will mean fewer discouraged customers leaving at the sight of long lines. Nokia was testing mobile fast food payments back in 2001 at a Taco Bell in Raleigh, North Carolina, and they learned another interesting secret. When customers pay with virtual cash they buy more. (Sometimes as much as 50%.)
And consumers are apparently ready for the technology. One MasterCard survey found complaints about carrying cash around (and presumably, the hassle of counting it out). In December USA Today even found an Ohio 20-something who shops with his cell phone's browser, complaining that "I wish that we had more ways to pay for things via your mobile, such as in stores like in other countries."
I think we've just now entered the phase where mobile payments start catching on in a big way. McDonald's and 7-11 are already accepting MasterCard's PayPass solution, and top banks (including Bank of America, Citibank, and Washington Mutual) are all issuing some kind of PayPass solution. (The NASCAR crowd will even begin seeing it at some NFL and baseball stadiums.) The technology is now in place for secure transactions, but more to the point, real mobile payment solutions are already springing up in different corners of the world. This September Tanla Solutions launched their Payforit service England, compatible with all the top carriers. And in India, over 100,000 people are using PayMate. Last week U.S. Bank and Nokia even teamed up with Nokia to implement another PayPass program in Spokane.
I've always thought that the killer app for mobile payments would be parking meters. (Though unfortunately, city governments are usually the last to adopt new technologies.) There were similar stories about vending machines accepting cell phone payments, eliminating the need to fumble for the correct change. But ultimately I think the idea of an instantaneous transaction will be sufficiently appealing by itself. Is there a killer app for mobile payments? Yes it's mobile payments! (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Nokia|
We've got some crazy, crazy cell phone deals that only go through Feb 29. How crazy? We're talking Daniel Plainview crazy. It's the type of cell phone sale that would stop Anton Chigurh. Smoking hot cell phone deals that could get the Cohen Bros to comb their hair. There are too many great deals to list, but here are a few highlights:
Want to see more great deals? Hit this link to see them all. So get them this week because they aren't coming back anytime soon.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think it will take for mobile payments (the ability to pay for an item using your cell phone only) to gain traction. Our next post comes from Michael Long. To read more from Michael, check out his isights.org blog:
Ultimately, it's largely a chicken and egg problem. You have to have the technology in the phone to make the payments, and you have to have some place that will recognize your payment system and accept funds.
In Japan, there's a large number of vending machines, subways, and so on that will take electronic payments, but by-and-large Japan is a special case, as the Japanese are already used to buying practically anything and everything out of a machine. Including relatively expensive items like iPods and other electronic devices. Further, you have a high population density packed into a relatively small landmass. The investment in infrastructure, while large, wasn't overwhelming in scope.
Here in the United States, vending machines are largely relegated to dispensing chips and candy, cigarettes, soft drinks, and bad coffee. All in an area of 3,537,441 square miles. Not good.
Phone payment systems also suffer from what I like to call the "Matrix problem," as everyone involved wants to be "the one" through which all payments flow, and from which they can extract their cut of the transaction. Everyone is aware of this, of course, and so all of the players actively work to undermine each other so that no one individual can become dominant. Much as Apple did with iTunes when no one was looking.
In fact, the situation may need someone like Apple to take the iPhone and do an end-run around the existing players and setup agreements with specific vendors, like Starbucks. If and when that occurs, the industries may realize that it's in their best interests to get off the fence and start collaborating.
Or, again like iTunes, they might hesitate just a bit too long...
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||International|
A piece about technology in our lives in the Washington Post, spotted over at Textually.org, states "we've passed a watershed of more than 3.3 billion active cell phones on a planet of 6.6 billion humans in about 26 years." Now that's a lot of cell phones in use worldwide.
I can't help but wonder about ownership breakdown. Sure that's one cell phone for every two people in the world, but what is it really? Is it two cell phones for business professionals (one for personal, one for work)? Maybe it's three cell phones per household (one for each parent and one for a teenager in the house)? At any rate, one thing is certain cell phones embody the social technology of choice. We all have something to say to someone and cell phones let you do it easily in many different forms (pictures, calls, texts, videos, etc.).
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us what they think it will take for mobile payments (the ability to pay for an item using your cell phone only) to gain traction. Our first post comes from Scott Loftesness. To read more Scott check out his blog or PaymentNews:
The first big challenge for mobile payments at POS is upgrading the POS acceptance infrastructure (e.g., POS terminals, ECRs, etc.) to be able to "talk" to NFC-equipped handsets. From a business case point of view, why would a merchant want to spend money for that upgrade? The customer is highly likely to still have a payment card in their pocket - so the purchase can still happen without upgrading the POS.
In addition to the POS infrastructure upgrade challenge, there's the handset challenge - how to you get payment card data securely onto the handset? Visa's Mobile Platform effort is trying to set standards in that regard - enabling "over the air" provisioning of payment card data from the card issuer to their customer's mobile handset.
Finally, there's the issue of the mobile operator's desire to participate in the transaction economics of mobile payments. Those economics are much "thinner" than what mobile operators are used to with commerce such as ring tones, etc. As a result, there's really not much to share - and the card companies are loath to cut anyone else in on those economics.
Mobile banking is a very different opportunity - and is happening now. There's no POS infrastructure issue with mobile banking - and for browser or SMS-based mobile banking there's no requirement to cut the mobile operator in on the economics. Most major US banks will have launched their mobile banking services in 2008.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Customer service|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle family plans and International travel. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
If you have a family plan, can you change from that family plan to a single line plan? Eric
The short answer is yes, however, you will ultimately end up with a new plan. The good news is keeping your existing cell phone number shouldnt be a problem. Basically, what you have to do is separate your existing family plan into two separate plans: one plan would be for the single line and the other plan would be for the remaining lines in the family plan. This would give you a separate single line plan. If you would like to keep just one line from an existing family plan and terminate the other lines on the plan, you can do that, too. However, if youre not at the end of your existing family plan contract you will have to pay an early termination fee to turn off service to the other lines.
I'll be doing extensive International travel over the next couple of years and am searching for an International phone and service plan, which ideally would work back in the US. Ill rely heavily on e-mail for routine communications, and so shouldn't be chatting a great deal. I will be uploading to my blog frequently (text and pix), and want ready access to the Internet so that I can upload a pic and some text wherever I am (within reason - not looking for satellite phone). The main requirements are: a good quality camera, easy-to-use keyboard (probably QWERTY), dependable connection abroad, WiFi, and a plan that won't break the bank. Any suggestions? Thanks. - John
Wow, this is a hard question. The first phone that comes to mind is the Nokia N95 because it has the great 5MP camera, WiFi, VoIP software so you can place calls over a WiFi network, which would be the cheapest way to make an International call. You can post text and images to your blog easily. It supports multiple e-mail accounts and it even has document software if you wanted to write anything lengthy and store it on the cell phone. The only thing it doesnt have is the keyboard, however, you can get a collapsible wireless keyboard that you can use and it wont take up much room in your bag. As for plans, if youre going to be out of the country extensively, I would get service cards in the countries that you visit. You can get prepaid cards or monthly plans depending on where you are visiting and that will be much more affordable for making calls locally. If you want a US number for texting purpose, you may want to consider T-Mobile. You can get a (Read more)
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||Cell phone plans||Camera|
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile announced "all-you-can-eat" plans this week. Here are the basic details of each plan. Just because these are "all-you-can-eat" offers it doesn't mean they offer what you want and use most.
The T-Mobile unlimited calling and messaging plan: Starting Thursday, Feb. 21st, customers can talk and text (even picture messages and IMs) nationwide all they want for $99.99. This would be a good option for heavy texters and talkers who don't consistently call the same group of people.
Verizon Wireless' $99.99 plan include all calls, Mobile Web (so you can check your web-based e-mail such as AOL, Yahoo, or MSN) and Internet access. So you'll need to add a messaging plan if texting is your thing or step up to $119.99 plan, which includes all of the above and unlimited messaging. There are more unlimited plans that include global travel and data services. If you're a big texter and talker and like browsing the web a lot from your cell phone, the $119.99 plan is probably the better deal.
There's AT&T's $99.99 plan, which just offers unlimited calling with no domestic roaming or long distance charges. I'm thinking it's good for people who are heavy talkers and travel a lot.
But are these good deals?
In short with all these plans there are pros and cons. In some ways it makes picking the right plan for you a little harder and not necessarily easier. I don't know about you, but as a shopper I've been trained to think anything with 99 cents at the end is a great deal. Thus, as a shopper, I know that's not necessarily the case. A great deal is only a great deal if you're getting something you want and use at the best price possible. So, I'll cut to the chase, if you already use way too many minutes, then consider one of these plans, if you don't you're probably better off with the plan you currently have. Still not sure what to do? Here's some help when picking a plan:
The best thing you can do is start with your existing bill. It will tell you exactly how many minutes you use and when. It may turn out that an unlimited plan isn't going to be the best deal for you. Also, you should be able to see who you're calling. If it's the same few people, get a plan that allows unlimited calling to those people.
Next, look at your messaging behavior. Do you go over a lot? Remember, any text you receive is counted towards your allotted number of messages. If so, unlimited messaging is the way to go. Messages aren't cheap at as much as 25 cents each they can add up to dollars pretty quickly.
If you're the kind of person who doesn't like sticker shock at the end of the month and like to know exactly how much a bill will be, then even though an unlimited plan might not be the best value for you it will give you peace of mind and as they say in the credit card commercials, that's "priceless."
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||AT&T Wireless|
|Cell phone plans||Business Use||T-Mobile|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us about their favorite software for synching contacts and calendar appointments with their cell phone. Our next post comes from Craig Froehle. To read more Craig check out his blog, GearBits.
I've been using digital PIMs since 1996, when the first US Robotics Pilot came out. I've tried several PIMs on various platforms -- PCs, handhelds, phones, and web-based -- and the one that consistently works best for me is ClearSync. I wrote a full review of ClearSync late last year (see it at myTreo.net: ClearSync Review), but I'll summarize why it works so well:
1) It allows for sharing my PIM data with my wife (and vice versa) -- anyone with a spouse or significant other (or even a secretary) with whom one needs to regularly share calendar and contacts data knows that making sure everyone has the latest info can be a pain. ClearSync is built to allow multiple people to share and edit common PIM data sets (with privacy functions; not everything needs to be shared). I really can't imagine going back to a life where I have to constantly ask my wife what her schedule looks like or reminding her to update the computer with our friends' new addresses and phone numbers. Now, we each can see (and edit) each other's data from our Treos (the multi-calendar view is simply indispensable for us).
2) It has multiple access methods -- As I mentioned, it works on our Treos. But, it also works on our desktops with a nifty Java client that syncs to ClearSync's web server and/or a local copy (via Palm's HotSync). Finally, we can view our PIM data using just a browser by logging into ClearSync's server. This is ideal for sharing some calendar and/or contact info with others that you don't want to have editing capabilities (e.g., extended families and friends).
3) It uses non-exclusive contacts categories -- Typically, a PIM system lets you assign a category to a contact. This is all well and good until you discover that a new contact actually fits more than one category. Do you put the colleague from work with whom you also go out to dinner with under "Work" or "Friends"? Multiple categories also lets you make a separate subset across multiple primary categories. For example, take holiday cards. We send them to friends, family, and some co-workers (but not all). ClearSync lets us set up a distinct "Cards" category to which we can assign any mix of contacts already belonging to other categories. Then, come the holidays, it's easy to print out address labels.(Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Palm||Smart phones|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to tell us about their favorite software for synching contacts and calendar appointments with their cell phone. Our first post comes from Steve Litchfield. To read more Steve check out his blog.
I'd like to be able to say Google, Google, Google. But I can't (quite) as Google has so far only opened up APIs into its Calendar module. And even then we're not talking SyncML, so it's not possible to sync directly to Google.
However, I can heartily recommend GooSync, a third party service which handles SyncML two-way sync between any modern phone's Calendar app and Google Calendar. Just as importantly it handles SyncML syncing of your phone's Contacts to its own online PIM, along with a foolproof export system to Google GMail Contacts. This has been working well for me for 3 months now. And when I switched devices last month, I simply had to sync (over the air) to GooSync/Google and all my data was loaded up nicely.
The benefits of getting my data onto Google are that it's then virtually bomb-proof as Google is unlikely to go bankrupt, and that I can access the data from any cell phone or any computer in the entire world, if needed.
GooSync's also noteworthy in that they're beta testing a Tasks/To-do module as well. Assuming that Google start up their own Calendar/Tasks module and perhaps open up Google Notebook APIs, there's tremendous potential here to get close to full phone/Google synchronization.
And no, 'Google' does not equal 'the cloud' (the mythical Internet cloud) - but it's pretty darn close in reality!
What is it? The Alltel LG AX 8600 full-featured cell phone, which sports a MP3 player with external controls so you can change tunes without ever having to flip open the phone, 1.3-megapixel camera, GPS to keep you from getting lost, and of course Bluetooth. The LG AX8600 is available in green, red, and blue. As expected this Alltel cell phone is available with the companys MyCircle Plans.
How much? Free with a new 2-year service plan, plus you make $50 after mail-in rebates.
Why is it such a good deal? Were offering this great deal on all three colors, but if you still want the Blue one you better get one while its still available since Alltel isnt offering that color.
|Topics:||In The Know||Music||Cell phone plans||Camera|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to voice their opinion about the possibility of Dell entering the cell phone market and discuss if it would make sense for them as a company and how consumers might react to a Dell phone. Our final post comes from David Cassel. To read more from David check out his blog at Blorge.com:
Dell has always competed on price (and customization) rather than cutting-edge form. That's why they're doing better in business markets and struggling in consumer markets. (While Dell's losing the consumer market to Apple, Dell has already captured more than 28% of the market for small- and midsized businesses.) I'd expect them to offer a smartphone that's attractive to their business customers cheap, customizable, and probably a little stodgy.
Even in the consumer sector, Dell made it clear that they're targeting the low-end. (Partly because Apple is already dominating the high-end!) Dell's new consumer strategy involves direct sales through Walmart, so they'll definitely try to keep prices down rather than dazzle consumers with cutting-edge and expensive features. This could lead to a smaller device, like HTC's playing card-sized Touch. I'd expect Dell to go with a cheaper screen, maybe leaving out video entirely or offering the option of a cheap two-color screen (for business customers who only need its text messaging capability.)
But that strategy leads to an interesting wrinkle. Dell recently announced a deal with Fonality to offer business customers a a VoIP solution. Maybe they'll try to entice consumers (as well as businesses) by offering a cellphone with a cheap VoIP network plan!
There's one big problem: the cellphone space is crowded. Dell may be smart to target the last section of hold-outs, those consumers who resisted cellphones over fears about cost and Dell's new retail outlet partners can definitely help them reach those consumers. But even if they can scratch up a new vein of customers, it's still hard to realize significant profits. When you compete on cost, your margins are always low. Dell's always compensated for this with volume but volume will be hard to achieve since they're the last player to enter the market.
Given Dell's history, I predict that they'll support Google's Open Handset Alliance eventually. I'm sure they'll offer it as an option down the road, when there's a mass of customers who request it. But remember that it took Dell nearly seven years just to pre-install Linux on their machines. (And there were rumors that Dell knuckled to pressure from Microsoft to avoid supporting the more open operating system.) If Microsoft (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Cell phone plans||Windows Mobile||Business Use|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle Nextel Motorola cell phones. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
Can you provide me with information and instructions on how to utilize the voice record feature on the Nextel i560? - msloop
Your Nextel i560 can save up to 20 voice recordings. Creating a recording is as easy as selecting the VoiceRecord option from the Main Menu. Once there, youll need to choose New VoiceRec and then you simply speak your recording into the microphone. When youre finished, press 0. To playback recordings, youll need to be in the VoiceRecord menu and then you simply highlight and select the recording you want to playback.
I am a new user of the Nextel Motorola ic502 and I was wondering if it is possible to change the memory card on this phone? I read on the Sprint-Nextel specifications that the memory card is not removable, do you know if I am able to do it? -edgar
That cell phone doesnt support removable memory. The only thing that may be removable is the SIM card, but you really shouldnt touch it. The SIMs in Nextel phones are not exactly like SIM cards for GSM phones. While the SIM card does provide a way to store additional contacts for your cell phone, thats about where the similarities end. Therefore other SIMs wouldnt work with the Nextel model and you shouldnt try to use one with this phone. In short, the closest thing the ic502 has to removable memory is the SIM card, which shouldnt be removed and doesnt act like traditional MiniSD and MicroSD memory cards.
We asked bloggers around the Internet to voice their opinion about the possibility of Dell entering the cell phone market and discuss if it would make sense for them as a company and how consumers might react to a Dell phone. Our next post comes from Servaas Schrama. To read more from Servaas check out his Tech Interest blog:
Dell is a pretty solid company in it's field, which is cheap mainstream computers. I believe Dell offers a good range of computers and related equipment. Dell also offers a range of PDA's, and it is only a matter of time for Dell to release a cell phone. I would not buy it though. Let me explain this. Although embedded Windows (Windows Mobile) is a much better product than *regular* windows, if you look at efficiency and ease of use, windows is not the mobile platform you want to go for.
Personally, I am a heavy blackberry user, which is exceptional in this part of the world (Western Europe). After having used Palm devices, which were superior years ago, and Symbian devices (Nokia E61 is a sweet phone), I know that nothing can touch Blackberry. You might say I am biased, but understand that I have tried many devices prior to switching to BlackBerry, so I believe my opinion is worth something.
As Dell might release a cell phone, possibly running Windows Mobile, but probably also supporting Google's Open Handset Alliance, I would recommend this handset to users of *regular* mobile phones, as there will be added value like extended address book functionality, internet synchronization (email!!) and more. It will empower anyone to keep online blogs, pictures of family and friends and more. it will make you part of the social network the internet is becoming. On the other hand, I would never get one, besides for testing purposes maybe. Why? I need the professional services a BlackBerry offers. I rely on it and run my business from it.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||BlackBerry||Windows Mobile||Palm|
Whether youre going out with a new crush, old flame, true love or just flying solo this Valentines Day, your cell phone can help you make the most out of the holiday. These applications and services are geared to help you in all aspects of dating.
1. Get the 411 on your date. A new service called PlayerBlock lets you use your date's cell phone number to find out just what kind of person you're going out with. For $4.99 a month and your potential date's cell phone number, you can find out what others think of your date and post your own thoughts on the way they conducted themselves with you.
2. Ditch the traditional card and send a comic instead. If you have a Verizon Wireless cell phone you can log onto "Create your own comic" (located under the Get It Now Pix or Wallpaper menus) and say how much you care in a more artsy way. This application lets you create a comic of your very own and send it off to anyone who can receive picture messages on their cell phone.
3. Release your inner love song. Create a custom ringtone for the one you cherish. Simply log onto ToneMine.com and start mixing your own track. You can even upload your own sounds to make it even more meaningful and then send the newly created ringtone off to your date.
5. Picture perfect. Its said A picture is worth a 1,000 words, so why not send one to your sweeties cell phone? Simply visit Yowgo.com, and either upload your own photo or use the search engine to find a picture of something you want to send. Once you choose an image you want, click "Send to phone," enter the phone number and then voila in seconds a text will appear on the cell phone with a link to download the picture right to the handset.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Etiquette||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to voice their opinion about the possibility of Dell entering the cell phone market and discuss if it would make sense for them as a company and how consumers might react to a Dell phone. Our first post comes from Johan Hjelm. To read more from Johan check out his blog:
Is Dell technically capable of developing and manufacturing a phone?
First, developing, the answer is no. It is different to develop a phone and a PDA, and there are many more pitfalls in making a phone work than a PDA (viz. the HP combination smartphone/PDA). Unless you have specialized engineers working very hard for a long time, and license specialized parts (which anyone can do, of course) it is not likely that you can make it. And it is hard to see Dell make this investment for something which can be marginal to them at best, at least initially.
That said, they can always license a smartphone from someone else, like HTC. So they could easily provide it.
Can they manufacture?
Of course they can. Manufacturing a phone is no more difficult than manufacturing a PDA, as long as you do not have to develop it. And the Dell logistics would be well suited for this type of delivery, although it is doubtful that you could get economics in the razor-thin margins of the mobile phone industry manufacturing them on order instead of in small batches. There is less reuse of components between models (you could only use a limited set of the components in the phone in a PC, but large parts of a PDA can be re-used in a PC).
That also partly answers the "can they compete" question. It is probably very hard to compete with the established phone manufacturers in this area. They have huge economics of scale and very optimized production processes. Given the thin margins, it is hard to see how the Dell process could make money.
Would consumers trust the Dell brand?
Answer: As long as it is cheap enough. Dell has established itself as a brand which presses down the price for high-end items, and it is hard to do that with a smartphone. So consumers trust Dell to do reasonably good stuff at decent prices, with customer service to match. They would probably trust the brand.
Would customers trust it so much that they would choose Dell as their primary provider of a cell phone?
Has Dell earned this trust? No, probably not, especially not in the face of established competitors such as Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson. Samsung is more trusted when it comes to phones (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Motorola||Sony Ericsson||Samsung|
|BlackBerry||Smart phones||Business Use|
What is it? The Motorola Q Global for AT&T is the latest version of the popular Motorola smartphone that runs Windows Mobile 6, has HSDPA so you can surf the web on the Q while simultaneously taking a call. This smartphone even works with BlackBerry Connect so you can get all types of work e-mail on it.
How much? Just $49.99 after rebates with a new 2-year service plan.
Why is it such a good deal? When I try something I like a lot, I want to do everything I can to give everyone a chance to check it out for themselves. I took the Motorola Q9 Global with me to the SuperBowl and couldnt get over how much I used it for both entertainment and work. Thus the good deal on this high-end smartphone that users love.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||AT&T Wireless||Cell phone plans|
|Windows Mobile||Smart phones||Business Use|
First spotted over on Textually.org, Nutrition on the Go from Diet.com got my attention. It's a great new service for your cell phone that can provide calorie count, fat grams and more info about the food you're either wondering about consuming or are about to start eating. All you need to do is send a text message to DIET1 (34381) of the food you're about to eat and you get back basic nutritional information back. To get quick results include the restaurant name and food choice. For example, you should text Starbuck's blueberry muffin to receive the information shown below.
The service is free to use, meaning there's no charge from Diet.com. However, as is the case with all text messages, you will pay for the cost of the message and in some scenarios you may receive more than just one text for a given topic. Read: If you don't have a text messaging plan, this can be a costly service to use.
One last thought, if you think you're going to be using this service and you have a smartphone or SureType keypad (two letters to each key), add the text code as a contact in your address book. If you try to type out DIET1 on a QWERTY keypad or SureType keypad, it doesn't sync up and you won't get a response.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging|
The short answer is that in many cases youll be able to download and use your own music for ringtones on most Sony Ericsson cell phones and BlackBerrys that support music such as the Curve and Pearl There are other cell phones as well, but it can saving songs as ringtones can vary by models, for example you absolulely save songs as ringtones on the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic. To learn more about getting music on your cell phones check out our How To Turn CDs Into Tunes for Your Phone with a PC story.
How do I get my computer to recognize my Samsung Blast is connected? I'm trying to copy songs from my computer to my cell phone using a USB cable. I have installed the driver that came with the cable but I still can't get my computer to recognize the cell phone is connected when trying to sync. Thank you. - Family
It sounds like you have a driver problem, which is easy to resolve and you should be able to connect the Samsung Blast to your computer using the cable that you purchased. Since you bought the USB cable separately, the software you loaded probably wasnt for the Samsung cell phone you have. In the future, if you find yourself in the same situation before loading the software on your computer, first go online to the phone's manufacturer website and download the correct drivers for your cell phone and then connect the phone via the USB cable. However, no worries, this can be remedied. Itll take a few steps, but basically you need to update the drivers on your computer so that the Blast can talk to your computer. Heres (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Nokia||Music||Sony Ericsson|
Last week, we asked guest bloggers to discuss what they think it would take for Mobile Ads to take off on cell phones. This week, there's news of just such a venture from Loopt and CBS Mobile. According to this New York Times article mobile ads should start rolling out on the CBS Mobile News and CBS Mobile Sports sites on Loopt-enabled cell phones. These ads will be geared toward specific locations via GPS-enabled phones that are currently using the Loopt service. The ads will be opt-in meaning that a user will have the option to "view the ad" or continue on with their mobile experience.
I'm particularly interested in finding out how consumers respond to this particular mobile ad strategy. There's been much talk that mobile advertising is inevitable and perhaps it is, but what this news really tells me besides the fact that mobile advertising is finally happening (I've heard the gospel of location-based mobile ads for years), is that more and more consumers are using mobile services and logging onto mobile sites from their cell phones. This in itself is exciting, but I still worry about the potential bill a consumer can face if they don't have the right data or messaging plan to support these initiatives. Ultimately, unlimited data is the way to go since you won't have any bill shock at the end of the month, but I know that's not realistic for everyone and each person will have to find the data plan that works with their budget. I'm just saying we have to start thinking about all the effects of mobile advertising.
Perhaps Cyriac Roeding, who runs CBS Mobile, said it best in the NY Times article: The key is to add value. At the end of the day, if the consumer doesnt win in this game, there is no game.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Sprint||Customer service|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to voice their opinion about cell phones on planes and how they would implement such a feature. Our next post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from Joseph check out Joe Duck:
Mobile voice and data have become an integral part of the lives of most Americans. Therefore it is no surprise that airlines are now working hard to bring voice and data on to the airplane. Some have suggested this will create more trouble than convenience, turning the normal few hours of downtime into work hours and unleashing loud, rude, or obnoxious callers and web surfers in forced close quarters.
My take is the opposite. We are past due for this type of in flight service and the only challenge is that most callers may not have VOIP capabilities, so they'll only benefit from the data services and will still have to wait until touchdown to make cell calls.
What should consumers and airline passengers look forward to?
In terms of voice communications I do not think on board networking will involve much change because few phones will be able to make the VOIP calls and even those with VOIP phones or laptops may not want to configure them to the new network for the benefits of a few hours of call time. However for those that do have the capability this will offer a significant perk, especially on very long international flights.
I think the move to networking in flight will have very little effect in terms of distractions or inconveniences to other passengers. Even if voice calls become common in flight the number of rude and loud callers will be minimized by social forces and the fact people don't want to share their calls with others. Also, Airplane architecture tends to localize verbal noise to a few rows anyway. No big problems looming at all.
The major big "plus" of on-board networking will be the ability to catch up on email and surf while flying, turning a few boring hours of downtime into highly productive work time. Also, since much travel is often to and from business events, flight time offers a good environment to process meetings and conferences, making notes or following up on contacts via voice and email.
Will there be mandatory phone etiquette rules during the flights?
I doubt there will be much need for any additional rules, though perhaps Airlines will initially make the "suggestion" that on-board phone conversations be kept at a low volume. Even if you happen to be sitting next to a loud talker you'll have the option of using your own ear buds to screen out their noise.
How might in-flight calls be regulated?(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Etiquette||Text messaging|
We asked bloggers around the Internet to voice their opinion about cell phones on planes and how they would implement such a feature. Our first post comes from Timothy Lee. To read more from Timothy, check out his blog at The Technology Liberation Front:
I'm more supportive of cell phones on airplanes than a lot of people seem to be. In my view, the ability to get useful work done during long flights far outweighs the minor annoyance of occasionally having to sit next to a chatty neighbor. After all, many people complain, with some justice, about drivers on cell phones, yet being able to talk on the phone while driving is so useful that a lot of people still do it. The same may be true of travelers. However, clearly a lot of people disagree, so it's important that an airline find ways to add value for the customers who want to be able to make phone calls in-flight while minimizing the annoyance of those who prefer silence.
Ultimately, the airlines will only discover how travelers feel by letting them vote with their dollars. Passengers who may support the ban in the abstract may discover that it's not as annoying as they expected, or that they value the opportunities to make calls in flight. So an airline considering rolling out a policy allowing in-flight calls should try a variety of options that give passengers more control over the policy on airlines. I suggest three strategies.
First, airlines should start with a small "cell phones allowed" section at the back of the airplane. This might be limited to three or four rows and pitched to passengers as an experiment. Passengers would be seated outside of this section unless they specifically requested to be in it. This would allow airlines to gauge the actual demand for phone-friendly flights. If demand for seating in that section is strong, then it could be expanded. If few passengers requested seating in the section, that would be a sign that customers really do prefer phone-free flights.
A related strategy for high-traffic routes would be to designate a few flights each week as phone-friendly. These would be clearly marked when customers purchased tickets, and so passengers would have the opportunity to select a different flight if they preferred. Again, airlines could gauge the actual demand for phone calls on airplanes by observing whether ticket sales were stronger or weaker on the phone-friendly flights.
Finally, an airline might establish designated times during a given flight when cell phone were allowed. For example, on a 3-hour flight, the pilot might allow a 15-minute window at the beginning and end of each flight for phone calls, with 2 hours of silence in between. That would allow people to check in with the office or their families or arrange rides home from the airport, but still ensure that the cabin was quiet for the bulk of the trip.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Etiquette|
What is it? The Motorola Rizr (available in blue or rose) is a slick, sleek, sliding cousin of the Razr. It plays music, sports a 2MP camera and is just fun to use. It comes with a great $39.99 monthly T-Mobile value plan, which includes 1,000 minutes. Add $10 for 1,000 text messages monthly.
Why is it such a good deal? The Motorola Rizr has a lot going for it and is a great fit for parents and kids alike, so we wanted to give you a reason to try it out for yourself.
|Topics:||In The Know||Motorola||Text messaging||Cell phone plans|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on mobile advertising on cell phones. Our final post comes from David Cassel, who discusses the downside of mobile ads for consumers. To read more from David check out his blog at Blorge.com:
SkyGo did a test of mobile advertising in the year 2001, and their delighted users actually requested similar advertisements in the future. They were testing clever "incentive-based advertisements." ("Bring your cellphone into Starbucks and show them this message, and we'll give you $1.00 off on any drink.")
I can see that being very effective. If I've just placed a call to 777-Film, maybe an ad offering discounts on paid-in-advance movie tickets might entice me. For lack of a better word, "Mobile cyberspace" is still a developing virtual environment with its own rules. People still have some flexibility about what they're willing to accept. But what happens in the next few years may establish the rules for a generation to come. So first mobile advertising really needs to become attractive to consumers - or it won't happen at all.
A mobile consumer is even less-interested in advertising than someone surfing the web with a desktop PC. If I'm mobile, I'm going some place -- I'm out in the world, probably moving from one location to another. If I've snatched a few minutes (or a few seconds) to look up some online information, advertising's going to be annoying. The very last thing I want is for part of my screen space to disappear behind a banner ad selling soft drinks!
I can barely read most ads on the limited pixels of my cellphone screen. Why would you want to put a banner ad there anyway?
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle the upcoming analog switch-off and how to add new phones to your account. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.I'm currently with Verizon. I want to add 2 lines with new phones. How can I choose the cell phones from your listings. - Windows
Simply choose Add Additional lines from the Service Plans menu at the top of the LetsTalk home page. Then pick Verizon from one of these drop down menus: adding on a family plan, changing to a family plan, or adding a new phone and plan. Once you select that, a list of available cell phones will appear and then simply follow the steps from there.
Verizon tells me all carriers are dropping the analog signal and will be 100% digital starting mid Feb 2008. I was told not to waste my time looking for a new tri-mode cell phone since they said the whole country is going digital anyway next month. I wanted a tri-mode phone because I travel in the rural area quite a bit and Im always concerned about the lack of digital signal out in the country. Can you confirm what Verizon is telling me is true--going digital 100% for all carriers next month? - Yww168
Sorry to be the bearer of unfortunate news but according to the FCC (and they would know), As of midnight on February 18, 2008, cellular telephone companies will not be required to provide analog service. So, in this case its likely you wont be able to get analog service in the United States. This helps explains why trying to find a cell phone that will work with analog networks (AMPS) probably hasnt been easy. Though it might seem sudden, the change has been in the works for quite a few years now. If you want more information, check out this Fortune article.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Cell phone plans|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on mobile advertising on cell phones. Our next post comes from Vincent McBurney, who discusses what it would take to make mobile ads a feasible proposition for consumers. To read more from Vincent check out his blog at ITtoolbox:
Sometimes browsing for information on a smart phone is like going back to the old days of dial up internet - switching between pages can be slow, images slow to load, scrolling slow and requiring a lot of clicking. Most forms of pop-up and banner advertising have the potential to be far more annoying on a phone than on a computer. I get annoyed at news services that have too big a header or too many flashy logos that prevent me from getting to the news headlines.
With the way some phones load pages you can be half way through reading a text headline or paragraph before a slow image load suddenly pops up and pushes your text off the screen.
So the limitations of a phone screen size and slow bandwidth and high cost of bandwidth can make mobile phone advertising quite annoying and damage the brand it is trying to promote. You have to be sensitive to how big and intrusive advertising becomes on a tiny screen.
To make it all less annoying:
1. Advertising shouldn't cost the mobile phone user any money. It needs to be delivered as free content regardless of any bandwidth allowances or limits.
2. Advertising shouldn't get in the way of what the phone user is trying to do unless it is a gateway to some free or beneficial content. Pushing news headlines or page content off the screen - requiring a lot of scrolling to get past a banner - loading slowly and causing a page to jump around - popping up on top of content. These are all things that will get the user cursing at the advertising and the phone provider. Banners that can fit beside or slot between content will be less annoying than banners that take up the full width of the screen and at least half the height. Advertising that shows up at the bottom of pages is no inconvenience at all and if it's related to the content it could be welcomed.
3. The user shouldn't have to see the same advertising over and over again. With small screen real estate and mobile users who are in a hurry to get to content you don't want to show the same ads over and over again. You want a small amount of changing offers rather than a lot of repetitive offers.
4. Forget about boring advertising. Straight out branding advertising is fine on a billboard or a TV as we can kind of tune out, but taking up valuable real estate or scrolling time on our phone is a path to hurting the brand rather than promoting it. Tiny logos are okay but big boring banners are out. (Read more)
|Topics:||Observed||Text messaging||Smart phones||GPS|
According to this textually.org post, there's a new Nokia cell phone that can turn any text on a photograph into a readable format. So say you take a picture of a menu with the cell phone, the phone can then read the items listed on the menu back to you. Uses for the application are geared toward those who are visually impaired. It's a kind of cool application that I'm sure we'll see more uses for in the future.
I think the only way mobile ads could work is if they follow the current contextual ads like Google currently does. This means they need to be relevant to the user's location and possibly what a user is doing. Walking down the street with your phone constantly ringing to tell you that a shop you're walking past has a coupon available will only irritate people.
I could see this working more like: I'm using my phone to look up movie times or the location of a restaurant. While I'm looking, I would get ads for nearby movie theaters showing the movie I'm interested in or nearby restaurants that serve the same type of food. If I'm just looking up something generic, like the nearest hardware store, the ads can be more sales-like, showing discounts, sales, or coupons.
Any ads sent to a mobile phone must not use any minutes or data time from a user's account. I'm paying the bill for my phone; I don't want some company bombarding me with ads while also using up my minutes.
Alternatively, the phone could be subsidized by various ad agencies; I allow ads to appear on the phone but I don't pay for minutes (or something like that). I know this idea didn't work a decade ago when computer companies were giving away free computers to people willing to look at ads but maybe the time has come. For example, for people who don't need a complete smart phone and just want something in case of emergencies, an free phone is probably ideal. They don't want to pay for minutes they aren't using but don't want to worry about pre-paid minutes expiring. And as they realize they aren't paying for it, chances are they will use the phone more and more.
Finally, ads shouldn't appear to be normal calls or text messages. I used to receive SMS messages from a phone company and it was very irritating because I would think someone was actually sending me a message. If ads are being sent to my mobile phone, then the alerts need to be different from my regular ringers. I don't want to be awaiting an important call then stop everything to answer my phone and find out that it's just another ad.
|Topics:||Observed||Cell phone plans||Smart phones||GPS|
What is it? The Nokia 6126, a model that we recommend for anyone who asks, Whats the best basic cell phone? It has its fair share of features: memory card slot, 1-megapixel camera, and even plays MP3s. But it's also got a nice large color screen inside and out, good size keys, and it's slim. The handy rubberized coating around the top of the flip helps prevent it from slipping out of your hand and there's an ultra cool button on the hinge that you can press to flip it open ala Star Trek style.
Why is it such a good deal? We wanted to give this Nokia cell phone a little more attention to help it stand out in the crowd. If you want a similar deal for T-Mobile service instead, we're offering the same deal on it's sister phone: the Nokia 6133. Check it out.
Nokia BH-200 Headset
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||AT&T Wireless||T-Mobile|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle questions about Bluetooth. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
We checked in directly with Samsung to get you the correct answer to your question. Heres the scoop:
1) Ensure that the headset is off.
2) Press and hold the multi-function button until the blue indicator light stays on after blinking.
3) Set your Bluetooth phone to discover the headset by following your cell phones user guide. Typically, the steps involve going to a Settings, Conncection, or Bluetooth menu on your phone and then selecting the option to discover Bluetooth devices.
5) Enter a passkey or PIN, 0000, then press the Yes or OK key.
If pairing was successful, the indicator light will flash in blue 10 times rapidly before flashing every 3 seconds. If unsuccessful, the light remains on, and you will need to re-attempt pairing.
|Topics:||In The Know||Samsung||Bluetooth||Accessories|
I went to CES this year armed with three cell phones: Motorola Q9m, Nokia N95 8GB, and the Samsung SCH-u900 FlipShot. While I was on the road, I also decided to test out a cell phone application on the Q9m called PocketExpress, which is chock full of good stuff for travelers, but more on that later.
First, why the three cell phones? Well, I've been to CES quite a few times and it has always been my experience that you should have a backup phone from a different carrier and this is quite simply because there are so many people in Vegas using their phones and sending messages simultaneously that you can't always get through. Second, camera phones have comes a long way and I thought this was a great time to let readers see for themselves just how well or poorly these camera phones performed. Third, as a veteran cell phone reviewer I really like to see how much easier or harder the newer technology makes my life and if I really will use it. Although, I know I could have just used one phone for all my purposes, it's just more fun to have multiple products on hand. So here's my take on all four products I used:
Motorola Q9m Music: This is the phone I decided to use as my main cell phone at the show, where I received messages and calls. On this front, the Q9 worked really well for me. Once I manually set the phone to save messages I sent, texting was a breeze. I even chuckled quite a bit at some of the predictions the phone made for me as I typed out texts. For example, it often suggested "surfing" when I would enter the letter "s." On the other hand, it did manage to learn and predict common phrases I use as well, which made sending messages much easier - especially since the keyboard is a bit cramped making typing a bit sluggish. One thing I didn't like, however, was that I couldn't get a time stamp on any of the messages. A feature that comes in handy in a city like Vegas where people are up all hours of the night. The other reason I decided to use the Q9 as my main phone was because I could sync it easily with my Outlook calendar on my desktop. This is the first year that I didn't have a paper backup with me and on this count the cell phone (Read more)
|Topics:||New at CES||Motorola||Verizon Wireless||Music|
|Samsung||Windows Mobile||Camera||Smart phones|
What is it? The Samsung A437 is a lightweight flip phone that you can use around the globe. While it doesnt sport a ton of extra features found in cell phones these days, it does have a 1.3-megapixel camera, the ability to check e-mail as well as send/receive instant messages (IMs).
How much? When purchased with a two-year AT&T plan, you get $50 back with rebates.
Why is it such a good deal? This is a solid, feature-rich cell phone that we got a great deal on that we want to pass on to our customers. Plus you can have your pick of any one of three colors: gold, grey, or red.
|Topics:||In The Know||AT&T Wireless||Samsung||Camera|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) and when/if it might take off. Our final post comes from Joseph Hunkins. To read more from Joseph check out Joe Duck:
What do you think of mobile VOIP?
In two words: Not much.
An exception may be if WIMAX takes off, which is not looking very likely at all right now. In this case ubiquitous availability of VOIP mobile might make it an alternative to normal plans, but I'm not counting on this at all. and I don't even think Sprint's intention with WIMAX is to offer an alternative substitutes to their normal services and EVDO - rather to enhance their total offering.
VOIP technical problems remain even as the technology has seen great improvements in the last few years. However in the wireless realm mobile VOIP is even *more problematic* than home based VOIP which continues to struggle, faced with marketing challenges, capitalization issues, and consumer ignorance.
If VONAGE and SKYPE can't gain broad acceptance for home use they are also going to have trouble in the mobile space.
Even to be marginally valuable as a mobile offering, mobile VOIP would need to provide seamless logging on and off *without call dropping* when WIFI or other wireless internet was readily available and legally obtainable. Given that most wireless plans offer "all you can eat" services it's not at all clear that even a seamless wireless login would be worth much if anything to consumers.
Even the ultimate innovator in mobile and IP data processing, Google, is about to bid in the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. Here's a company that can run one of the most robust VOIP networks in the world, but still recognizes that Voice Over IP isn't currently a major factor in the space and probably won't be for several years.
I just don't see how mobile VOIP would offer much to users. Perhaps an exception that would apply to a modest number of users would be those who a lot of international calls from their mobile phone, and thus could avoid high cell charges in that fashion. However it would seem they'd prefer making the international long distance more from a dedicated VOIP rather than mobile both for privacy and technical and quality reasons.
Another problem is that users are unlikely to want to do any configurations even when VOIP is available to them via mobile. Simply using the normal signal will usually be preferable to a VOIP unless the transition is completely seamless, and that is not technically feasible or even possible in most areas and with most phones at this time.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||WiFi|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) and when/if it might take off. Our next post comes from Servaas Schrama. To read more from Servaas, check out www.tech-interest.com:
VoIP is a technology that has been around for some time now. With the global availability of the SIP protocol, regular VoIP has become available to equipment other than computers, such as phones and mobile devices. The latter is the most interesting one, as it brings us cheap (often free) communication, where ever we are. There are a few obstacles though. I first started looking for a mobile VoIP solution (SIP based) quite some time ago. The first serious package I found is fring (www.fring.com). This is a software package, available for many (mobile) platforms that allows you to make use of Skype, SIP based VoIP and chat protocols like jabber (useful for gtalk) and MSN. The latter are less interesting, although this package combines them all.
But there is a little problem. These packages need a data connection to your mobile device. And that's the catch. Either you use mobile data plans over GPRS or 3G, or you make use of WiFi. Fring enables switching between these for uninterrupted connectivity. The problem is, however, that GPRS is simply too slow for good VoIP quality, and most data plans are not cheap. Fortunately, more and more providers offer flat fee data plans, enabling us to make proper use of mobile VoIP.
So how will the providers reach the general public? First of all, no provider uses the ability to use VoIP as a sales pitch, because if people start using VoIP on a daily basis, the providers will see a steep rise in usage of bandwidth, which will cost money. They forget however that providers of home-based VoIP or VoDSL offer the same thing with a flat fee attached, and they don't go bankrupt.
If providers start offering VoIP on mobile devices, support will not be difficult. There is not so much difference between a DSL connection to your home that you use for VoIP and a mobile (wireless) network that uses VoIP. As long as certain standards such as SIP are followed, we are dealing with known technology which can be supported easily.
I think the general public will start using mobile VoIP when providers start offering it as a product. Right now mobile VoIP is an added value, but imagine buying a PDA with mobile connectivity, but without a GSM contract. It would be perfect as a phone using VoIP software and a flat fee data plan....I would buy one!
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||WiFi|
Film makers have headed to Park City, UT this week to attend the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. But you don't have to be left out. If you have a Verizon Wireless cell phone you can view Sundance shorts and get news updates from the festival.
So how do you get it? Well, if you have a V CAST-enabled cell phone and $15 VPak monthly subscription, you already have it. Don't have the VPak plan? No worries, you can access the same service for $3.00 for 24-hour use.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Verizon Wireless|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on what mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) and when/if it might take off. Our next post comes from Rob Newby and discusses challenges mobile VoIP faces in the market. To read more from Rob, check out his blog:
Mobile VoIP 'should' be a huge hit. There are 2 problems with it at present however:
1. Those that do know how it works know that the quality of service is variable at best, terrible at it's worst.
2. The rest of the world just doesn't have a clue what it is, how it works, what it's for, or why they need it. In my experience the marketing of VoIP has been confused, too many people trying to push too many 'value add' features instead of focusing on what is important - i.e. your normal voice calls for free if you have an internet facility.
I use Skype all the time, and half of the time I can't hear what the person on the other end of the line is saying. That's usually because my service provider is messing with the lines, but I'm an ex-network engineer turned Product Manager, so I understand the issues and give some slack. 'Normal' customers will not. Many have had a poor experience of Skype, and so have gone back to what they know, calls at a cost - besides, they pay a company to install the phone lines to run their broadband internet, so why not use the phone on them as well? Why run phone lines over the internet over phone lines, there seems to be diminishing returns there, so no wonder there's a diminishing service.
Why do we have to use so many buzzwords? Who cares what it's called, whether we're going to have a text service on our PDAs as well as Skype calls. Why not just tell me I can get free calls, wherever I am, if I have an internet connection? That works for me just as well as it will for Joe Bloggs on the street. Personally I'm sick of hearing/seeing '1000 GB ADSL for only $2.99 a year' type of adverts. I never really cared about feeds and speeds when I was in networking, and they are more or less meaningless to me now. Who really buys a laptop because it's got a 'Dual core Pentium processor for only 299'? I certainly don't. I buy one because it's what I can afford and it's got a lot of USB ports for all my peripherals, etc.
The same goes for phones. I never use my camera, I don't know what most of the menu does apart from text and find numbers. That's all most people need. If I have an internet phone, I want to use the internet, for sure, but I don't need it to do anything else except make calls if it's a mobile device. The average consumer will only start to look at VoIP when it becomes this simple. Dedicated handsets for VoIP, GSM cards pre-installed, contracts sorted out simply and not more expensive than their existing service. Wireless operators will need to support mobile VoIP by making GSM more reliable and widely available for a much lower price - perhaps introducing VoIP QoS or a dedicated service as a loss leader to introduce it to the market.(Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||WiFi|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on what mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) and when/if it might take off. Our first post comes from Mark Milliman and provides a good overview of what's happening with mobile VoIP. To read more from Mark, check out his blog:
Mobile VoIP is more of a technology than a service just like VoIP is to landlines. It will disrupt the mobile market just as VoIP is disrupting the landline market, but follow a quicker path. The meta-trend is that all services are migrating to IP because bit transport is cheap. Special purpose networks for voice or mobile voice are not required because the service can transport it with IP packets. IP is a great leveler because there are a variety of transport options. Wireline or wireless; it is just another medium to transport packets. Without a special purpose network, cost of transport goes down. Voice and data can be mixed to provide new services over the same infrastructure. In the mobile world, there are typically 3 or more "traditional" mobile providers, municipal Wi-Fi, private Wi-Fi, and WiMax. With VoIP users are no longer locked into "traditional" mobile providers. They have choices.
Landline voice is currently experiencing the same evolution. Voice over broadband providers saw an opportunity for a new business by tapping into the $500 billion market for fixed line service by offering flat-rate and inexpensive long distance calling. People who consistently make long distance phone calls quickly adopted VoIP to dramatically reduce their bills. Eventually other consumers started jumping on the VoIP bandwagon because of its attractive flat-rate pricing and unlimited long-distance service. Adoption was fairly easy because people could use their same handsets with an adapter that the VoIP provider sent. Most customers tolerated the lower quality service due to latency and jitter for the cheap price they were paying.
Next the cable providers got into the act with VoIP over their networks. Since they could control the quality of service, they labeled it digital voice instead of VoIP to avoid being associated with Vonage and their ilk. They offered a higher quality service with a full-feature set at a price much less than the ILEC. Now the ILEC had to get into the act of providing VoIP as a competitive response. This year U.S. consumers are expected to spend around $1.2 billion on VoIP services. A similar response occurred in the business space as ILEC watched their business customers switch to VoIP to reduce toll charges and achieve greater business efficiencies.
Now let's look at the mobile market. Residential and business customers would like to find ways to reduce their monthly phone bills. For 45 million people in the U.S., Germany, U.K, and South Korea the mobile phone is their only phone. They are surely looking for alternatives to using their minutes especially for international calls. Skype, fring, and other companies are taking advantage of smart phone capabilities to bring the same inexpensive calling to the mobile world. They rely on unlimited data plans to provide voice service without consuming costly mobile minutes. Some applications take advantage of ever increasing Wi-Fi enabled (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless||Sprint|
|Cell phone plans||Smart phones||WiFi||T-Mobile|
What is it? The Nokia 6133 has all the basics of a cell phone covered: impressive battery life and great call quality. This is a good bet for people who want a basic, stylish flip phone that also happens to have a built-in camera. It gets high marks from experts and users.
Why is it such a good deal? This is a sold cell phone that we got a great deal on that we want to pass on to our customers.
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||Cell phone plans||T-Mobile|
There's always a lot going on at the booths at CES, but we particularly appreciated the appearance of the BlackBerry mascot being on hand to take photos with anyone passing by. It doesn't say much, but it sure is friendly. Check it out (Note: Photo taken with the Nokia N95):
|Topics:||New at CES||BlackBerry|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle questions about prepaid plans. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
So long as your T-Mobile Samsung cell phone has a prepaid SIM card inserted with available balance for making calls you should have no problem downloading ringtones and getting picture mail. In order to download ringtones on the Samsung cell phone just click on the t-zones area icon in the main menu and you should be able to listen to and purchase ringtones there. You can also create your own ringtone at ToneMine for free and send it to your cell phone (You will have to pay the standard text message fee, however, when you receive it.)
As for sending/receiving pictures so long as your cell phone supports multimedia messaging (MMS) and if your cell phone has a camera then it probably does you should have no problem accomplishing this task. However, since you can't purchase a text messaging plan picture messages will cost you 25 cents each time you send and receive one. In order to send a message from your prepaid camera phone, simply choose the picture you want to send and choose options. There will be a selection for Send, choose that and follow the directions from there.
|Topics:||Verizon Wireless||Text messaging||Cell phone plans||T-Mobile|
Motorola unveiled the next generation of the Rokr, the E8. It looks a lot like the Slvr but with a glass face. As you might guess, the Rokr E8 is all about the music, it comes with 2GB of internal memory so you can store well over 200 songs on it and works with Windows Media Player (so you can upload songs to the cell phone from your computer). More importantly, it has a 3.5mm headset jack so you can use exisisting stereo headphones that you might use for an MP3 player with it to listen to music. This cell phone is expected to be available by April of this year.
Motorola Rokr E8
Next up is the Motorola Z10, which is all about the video experience. While the cell phone might looks like it's got a touchscreen it doesn't, but it is a pretty sharp display. This cell phone is HSDPA compatible so it supports high-speed data (DSL speeds or better), which will be important if you want to upload the video you snap with the 3.2MP camera/video camera to YouTube. In addition to shooting video, you can also edit what you have and even add a soundtrack using songs you have stored on the cell phone. Since the Z10 is all about the video, the cell phone will accept up to a 32GB microSD card (a card with this capacity is probably not too far off since SanDisk just announced at the show a 12GB MicroSD card).
|Topics:||New at CES||Motorola||Music||Camera|
Nokia also showed off the 3110 green phone. No, it's not actually green, but a lot about it is environmentally friendly including the biodegradable packaging, which is smaller than many cell phone boxes. So what's so environmentally friendly about the 3110? Well, about 50% of the cell phone's shell is made from renewable material (plants and other natural items). It also comes with a charger that uses 94% less energy than Energy Star requirements dictate.
Note: Photo taken with the Nokia N95.
|Topics:||New at CES||Nokia|
It's clear with the introduction of the Pearl and the Curve that owning a BlackBerry Smartphone is decidedly cool. Now, you can make it look even slicker by decking it out with a tattoo designed by Scott Campbell. Check out the design for the Pearl below:
|Topics:||New at CES||BlackBerry||Accessories|
Talk about bling: Motorola unveiled the 18kt gold Razr2 V8 Luxury Edition. The GSM world phone sports all the same features as the Razr2 V8 with 2GBs of internal memory, so you can store plenty of songs and pictures on it. The back of the fairly heavy Razr (it is real gold after all) is rubberized with a crocodile print. But what really gives this 18kt gold cell phone its Vegas feel? It's gotta be the 4-way navi key that looks an awful lot like a poker chip up close.
|Topics:||New at CES||Motorola|
Verizon Wireless announced new additions to its V CAST service and the new line-up seems to have shows for everyone: Beauty secrets from Ford models, Hip Hop news, men-centric shows from Break.com, videos from TOKYOPOP, highlights of England's Barclays Premiers Soccer league, and animated films and clips from the Sundance channel. In addition to these services, Independent movie lovers will also be able to get daily updates from the Sundance Film Festival, which starts just next week (January 17-27).
Access to all of these services are available on V CAST-enabled cell phones for $3.00 for 24-hour use or by signing up for the $15.00 V CAST VPak monthly subscription.
Sundance on the small screen:
|Topics:||New at CES||Verizon Wireless||Video|
Samsung showed off the WEP500 Bluetooth headset (which should provide about 3.5 hours of talk time and 80 hours of standby time - according to the specs)at its booth. The noise canceling headset is about the size of a quarter and fits snugly in the ear. This model will be of particular interest to people with longer hair who could easily conceal the presence of the headset.
Samsung WEP500 with portable case:
|Topics:||New at CES||Samsung||Bluetooth||Accessories|
Shure showed off its new Music Phone Adapter, which while it will work with other 3.5mm headphones, it's designed to work with the SE line of Shure headsets. There are just two models available: a 3.5mm version for the iPhone and the BlackBerry Curve and a 2.5mm for the Palm Treo. The idea is that it's an attachment that goes into the phone jack, which has the voice piece of the headset. Then there's a 3.5mm jack at the end of it which you can use to plug in a pair of your own 3.5mm headphones or one of the SE Shure models, which have about the right cord length making it a good fit for the cell phone.
The Shure Music Phone Adapter. Note: Photo taken with the Nokia N95.
|Topics:||New at CES||BlackBerry||Smart phones||Accessories|
Sony Ericsson showed off three new GSM phones that are expected to be available in the second half of this year. The big news is the Sony Ericsson W760 with its "accelerometer." Yes, that's a word. Basically, it means that you can get the cell phone to do things based on what you do with the cell phone when it's in your hand. For example, if you're in the music player (which has gotten a sweet face lift, by the way) and want to fast forward to the next song, simply flick the cell phone forward and the next song will play. The company didn't stop there. Of course, there are fun games included as well and those gaming controls at the top of the cell phone are back too, so that when you turn the cell phone into landscape mode, it can easily transform itself into a gaming device. Seriously, you will not be bored with this cell phone. It will support up to a 4GB MemoryStick Micro, has GPS on board with Google maps mobile preloaded and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
Sony Ericsson W760
Next up is the Sony Ericsson W350. This cell phone is all about the music and sports a slim profile (just 10.6mm, which is as thin as about a few quarters in a pile). When the cell phone flip is closed the W350 looks more like an MP3 player with its music centric buttons than a cell phone. Since it's about the music the W350 will support up to an 8GB MemoryStick Micro card, so you can save well over a 1,000 songs on one of those cards.
Sony Ericsson W350 closed.
The last of the three cell phones is the Z555 that's a bit on the sparkly side (it will be available in black and a dusty rose) and will just be fun to pull out of a purse while out for a night on the town. Like the W760 it's got a sensor feature that's not as robust as the one found on The W760, but it's got its perks. For example, there's a lens on the cover of the cell phone and when a call comes in and you glance at the caller ID and don't want to take the call, simply wave your hand over the lens and the call will go to voicemail. It's your very own magic trick.
Sony Ericsson Z555
|Topics:||New at CES||Music||Sony Ericsson||Camera|
Crocs aren't just for the feet anymore. A new line of Croc cell phone holders were announced today at the show. Of course, these plastic cases are all about the Jibbitz (you know, those things you stick in the shoes). Well, any Jibbitz you can stick in a shoe you can stick in a case. Only the small version is available for $19.95, but there will be a larger model available that should work with smartphones. We were able to put a Motorola Q9m in the holder, but it was a little too snug, however, our Samsung FlipShot fit perfectly, with some room to breathe. There's also a removable plastic casing that's great for storing credit card, some extra dough and photo ID. If you don't want to wear the crock on your belt, you can always wear it around your neck via the included landyard. I don't know, you gotta see it to believe it.
Note: Photo taken with the Samsung FlipShot
|Topics:||New at CES||Accessories|
Music phones have been around a while now and it's exciting to see that more stereo headphone companies are getting into game. Case in point is Skullcandy. The company announced the iPhone FMJ speakers (which will cost $89.95). These noise isolating earbuds sport an aluminum housing and support high-end micro switch connect/disconnect feature. They'll be available in 3 colors: chrome, black, and silver matte. Unfortunately, they have a 3.5mm connector so you can use them only with a handful of cell phones. The company has tested it with the iPhone and the BlackBerry Curve. A bonus feature the Curve supports is that if you hold down the talk button for a few seconds it turns on voice-activated dialing.
Note: Photo taken with the Nokia N95
Skullcandy iPhone FMJ headphones
|Topics:||New at CES||Music||BlackBerry||Accessories|
Ever want a Bluetooth headset to do more than just help you make calls? Say, for example, you'd like it to read you the caller ID info of an incoming call, so you can decide to take the call or ignore it. Maybe you've thought, "It would be cool if I could find out the remaining battery life on my cell phone without having to fish it out of the bottom of my bag." BlueAnt announced just such a product. According to the company it's the first voice-control Bluetooth headset. When they say voice-control they me something quite different from just voice-activated dialing. With this headset you can request to call your first five favorite numbers stored in your cell phone, simply by saying "Call 1" and there you go. In addition, it's on par size with many of the smaller Bluetooth headsets currently available on the market.
The BlueAnt V1 headset will be available in April and cost around $119.
Note: Photo taken with the Nokia N95
The company also showed off a nifty new Bluetooth portable speaker, called the M1. In addition, to playing back any music you have stored on your cell phone over a Bluetooth Stereo connection, you can even plug in an MP3 player, such as an iPod in the back of it and listen to the music over the speaker as well. We also should note the design is pretty cool with a nice 70 retro look and feel. The portable Bluetooth stereo speaker is expected to cost around $199.
|Topics:||New at CES||Bluetooth||Accessories|
In addition to announcing the Nokia N95 would be available in red and that there would be an 8GB version available for the United States the company also showed off other cell phones that we should be seeing stateside as well. Of particular note are the two new XpressMusic phones. Admittedly, these two cell phones were announced a few months ago, however, they weren't available in the United States and we were able to play around with them a bit here at the show. First up is the Nokia 5310. Can you say slick? It's an uber-thin candybar music phone that is so light in the hand, you barely know it's there. In fact, actual candy bars are decidedly heavier in the hand. Besides having a 2MP camera, it really is all about the music experience because it sports a 3.5mm headset jack, so you can use standard headphones with it to listen to tunes. And of course, it'll support up to a 4GB MicroSD card.
Thin profile: Nokia 5310
The other XpressMusic phone is the Nokia 5610. Also sleek, though not quite as slick as the 5310. This is a slider model with a sliding button that you can use with the music app. Unlike the 5310, it sports a 3.2 megapixel camera, but unfortunately only has a 2.5mm headset jack so you can't use your regular music headphones with it.
|Topics:||New at CES||Nokia||Music|
We're heading to Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so check back for daily updates to find out more about new phones, accessories and trends we see at the show.
|Topics:||New at CES|
In this installment of Questions and Answers, we tackle setting up ringtones and synching the Samsung SGH-a737 with your computer. Got a question you want answered? Submit your question here. Got something to add to the answers below? Leave a comment.
Unfortunately, the Verizon Chocolate only allows you to add new ringtones from the Get It Now Verizon menu option, which means youll need to purchase them. In short, you cant save songs you may have uploaded to the LG Chocolate or recordings you made on the fly as ringtones on that particular cell phone. In the future, if this is an important feature for you, look for a cell phone where you can save songs or recordings as ringtones.
I have a Samsung SGH-a737 cell phone. I am using a USB cable so I can connect to my computer. When I do that it doesnt recognize the USB device, which is my phone? I bought the cable online. When I got the cable it had a USB data cable disc I loaded that on my computer. Thanks nrtt
First, yes the USB device is your cell phone. The good news is that theres a solution and you should be able to connect the Samsung SGH-a737 to your computer using the cable that you purchased. Since you bought the USB cable separately, the software you loaded probably wasnt for the Samsung cell phone you have. In the future, if you find yourself in the same situation before loading the software on your computer, first go online to the phone's manufacturer website and download the correct drivers for your cell phone and then connect the phone via the USB cable. However, no worries, this can be remedied. Itll take a few steps, but basically you need to update the drivers on your computer so that the cell phone can talk to your computer. Heres a (Read more)
|Topics:||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless||Samsung||Ringtones|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on what 2008 will hold for the cell phone industry based on all the announcements of 2007. Our next post comes from Devin Moore. To read more from Devin, check out dmanswers.com:
The largest change for the cell phone industry is Verizon opening up the network to all devices and apps. This has the potential to recruit tons of new developments, such as phones that provide tons of great WiFi functionality. It may also usurp some of Google's power over their own phone, as consumers will likely use the gPhone with the Verizon network vs. trying to use Google's (yet to be implemented) private network.
The second-generation iPhone will raise the bar again for everyone, and phones like the Verizon Voyager, LG Venus, gPhone, openMoko, and a whole lot of unlocked iPhones will appear on the newly open Verizon network. Pairing a smartphone like these with Verizon's premium data plan represents the most common future configuration of smartphones -- unlimited data/voice with seamless nationwide coverage.
Consumers will continue to vote with their dollars as contracts expire, moving to networks with more choices and features. Plans will continue trending towards unlimited everything (data/voice) for a flat rate, while phones continue their trend towards full music, video, and WiFi computer-like applications.
|Topics:||Observed||Verizon Wireless||Smart phones||LG|
We asked Bloggers around the Internet for their opinion on what 2008 will hold for the cell phone industry based on all the announcements of 2007. Our first post comes from David Cassel. To read more from Rick, check out Blorge.com:
I'm expecting the next year to bring good things for cell phone consumers.
|Topics:||Observed||Music||Cell phone plans||Games|