Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sony Ericsson's Saito Sales Suspended

Sony Ericsson SaitoThe two biggest mobile phone retailers in the UK, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U, have suspended sales of Sony Ericsson's leading Saito phone after an unusually high number of customers returned their mobile devices to the stores with complaints of software glitches. One of the biggest problems consumers had was the fact that the device would power itself down when people tried to access certain applications. This specific issue deals with a software problem which doesn't allow it to be fixed with an over-the-air-patch. According to Sony Ericsson, a "fairly low" number of phones have been returned in comparison to the amount of phones sold.

Senior Marketing Manager of Sony Ericsson Richard Dorman expects the company to have all the problems fixed by Christmas. He went on to say that despite the number of returned devices, the company will not suspend their high-profile marketing campaign that features people using the device's 12 megapixel camera to take pictures on spacehoppers. This decision by the two independent retailers to cease sales of the phone is a serious blow to to Sony Ericsson, especially with the holiday season and Black Friday coming up.

"This is the last thing Sony Ericsson needs right now. It's a disaster." said CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood. Wood also made a point to say that the company, which is Japanese-Swedish based, has struggled with quality issues in the past and that software problems are becoming more common for mobile phone makers that are under immense pressure to produce complex handsets in an effort to remain competitive. However, the Saito isn't the only mobile to suffer from problems after launch. The original BlackBerry Storm and the Nokia N97 both suffered from some problems at launch as well.

These software glitches come as sad news for the company mainly because the Saito had been selling well due to a large customer attraction to the device's high quality camera. "Sales of the product have been very strong and we expect them to remain strong once the problem has been fixed." stated Dorman who went on to say that the phone will still be available from it's mobile phone partners Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile. Both Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U agreed to offer customers exchanging their faulty Saito a new phone. A speaker for Carphone Warehouse stated, "From time to time we experience issues with new handsets, and their software, which may result in a customer experience that is below our usually high standards." Both Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U say they will work closely with Sony Ericsson to do all they can to fix the problems and restock the handset as soon as possible.

Over the last year and a half, Sony Ericsson has struggled. They have since reported a 199 million EUR loss in the third quarter and its market share has dwindled to around 5%. In addition to this, 2,000 job cuts have been reported on top of 2,000 job losses from last year. With the launch of the X10 next year, Sony Ericsson hopes to return to profitability. The X10 will be Sony Ericsson's first handset based on Google's Android operating system.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cell Phone Radiation Concerns

cell phone radiationThere are many people that have expressed their concern for cell phone radiation, and there has actually been quite a bit of debate over it. Honestly, the thought of my cell phone emitting some sort of radiation has never once crossed my mind until I was reading about why some people feel that their could be some danger with constant cell phone usage.

It is known fact that cell phones do emit a tiny amount of radiation with their cellular radios turned on. Even with hundreds of cell phone calls, the amount of radiation is well within the human limits of tolerance. The thing with radiation though is that it has a cumulative effect over time. There is a theoretical possibility that a small number of people who constantly use a cell phone over a long period of time are more at risk to develop certain kinds of neck and brain cancer, but as of now nothing has been proven.

There have been a few studies done this past year that have raised some questions and caused some concerns. A new analysis of 23 unconnected epidemiological studies were unable to find any indication of a connection between cell phones and tumor development. Unfortunately when those studies were looked at more closely, eight of the cases discovered that there was a 10 to 30 percent increased risk of tumors next to those who do not use cell phones, and the increased risk was directly proportionate to the amount of use.

The Environmental Working Group, who released an online guide to cell phone radiation in September, stated that they believed that with the current standard of cell phones there is an increased risk of a long term user (which they define as someone who has used a cell phone for over 10 years) developing a brain tumor from the radiation of the cell phone.

Most everyone believes that more research is needed before any kind of final statement is made about the consequences of the radiation. There have been numerous independent studies that have failed to link cancer to cell phone usage, but since no study will be able to come out and say that cell phone use is 100 percent safe, there will always be worry in the back of some people’s minds.

So the easiest way to avoid any possible harm from the radiation or maybe just to put your mind at ease is to use your cell phone hands free. If the cell phone is not up to your ear, than you avoid all possible risks from the radiation emissions. This is easy enough to do with the use of speaker phone and Bluetooth. Hopefully you aren’t too paranoid about the small radiation possibilities, but if they have worried you, I hope that you now understand that there is no proof of cell phone radiation causing any forms of cancer. Soon there should be more research on this topic that will hopefully put all these accusations to rest.

A Health and Environment iPhone App

GoodGuide iPhone appSo once again we have another quite interesting iPhone app that is just being released. The San Francisco based company GoodGuide has just developed the first iPhone app that will allow you to scan a bar code and receive information on health, environmental, and social responsibility ratings of the products and their companies.

GoodGuide has shown to be a very helpful resource in the past when performing such tasks as shopping for toys. Their website will relay the levels of lead, mercury, and chlorine that can be found in different toys.

Now with the new developments that GoodGuide has made, you don’t have to remember to be super organized and do all of your research online before you start your shopping. Now all you need is to have your iPhone on you. You can simply scan the bar code and with this new application you can find out all the information that you might need from GoodGuide.

Now it will be so much easier to compare items side by side and see which one is better for your body and for the environment. I find this new application quite fascinating. It makes me want to borrow someone’s iPhone simply to scan a product and see the app at work. The other great part of this is that the app is free. So what more could you ask for? There is now an app that will help you find products that benefit you and the environment and the service is completely free.

Palm Pre Drops to $80 on Amazon

Palm PreThe Palm Pre from Sprint was a pretty big success when it was first released not too long ago and now what was already a great mobile device just got even better thanks to Amazon.com. In what marks either a slowing of Palm Pre sales or just an extremely generous price cut from Amazon, you can now get the Palm Pre off of Amazon's website for just $79.99. But the good news doesn't stop there. Not only do you get the Palm Pre for just $80, but that price also includes free activation for you Pre right out of the box. The only thing is that this comes with a two-year service agreement from Sprint.

In addition to the cut back Palm Pre, Amazon is also offering the Palm Pixie for a mere $24.99 also with free activation. Compare these prices to Sprint's prices of $149.99 for the Palm Pre and $99.99 for the Palm Pixie and you got yourself a pretty sweet deal from Amazon. Two days ago, Palm did ship an update to the Palm Pre's webOS (1.3.1). This was created with the Palm's hack in trying to get iTunes sync working and it also fixed some bugs in the system and added a few new features.

The Palm Pre is a great device but is nowhere near the iPhone killer it was made out to be. The Pre has faced stiff competition from Apple's iPhone as well as the BlackBerry 9700 and even the hyped up Droid. With companies like Apple, Android and Research in Motion racing up the charts as fast as they are, thanks in large part to Nokia and Windows Mobile, the piece of the smartphone market that Palm Pre occupies is growing thin. However, maybe this new price drop from Amazon can help put some new life in the Palm Pre.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Verizon Wireless Doubles Early Termination Fee

According to reports from Engaget Verizon Wireless has doubled its early termination fee from $175 to $350. It's applied to anyone who has purchased a phone on the "Advanced Device List" after November 14th, 2009.

On bright side, for each month you complete of your contract, $10 is deducted from the $350 total. Unfortunately, even if you complete 23 of the 24 months of a contract, you're still sitting with $120 early termination fee. But that's still better than paying the $350 fee.

Its clear that Verizon is trying to keep its customers and their contracts. The low prices on phones offered to new customers isn't enough to keep them, so Verizon probably felt this is the best way to make sure they're getting their money's worth.

I'm not sure that this will keep anyone from second guessing choosing Verizon as their provider, but if you're looking to get a subsidized price on a Verizon phone just for the sake of reselling it on e-bay, you might want to think again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Walmart Giving Away $100 Gift Card with BlackBerry Purchase: One Week Only!

WalmartWalmart has come up with this crazy idea to help shoppers actually save money over this holiday shopping season. The company has promised that it will deliver a deal a week this holiday season to help people keep more cash in their pockets. And in keeping with their promise, Walmart has decided that every customer who purchases a BlackBerry device at Walmart Wireless and signs up for a two-year contract will receive a $100 Walmart gift card.

According to Greg Hall, Vice President of Media Services with Walmart, "We know customers are very focused on value, and we have promised each week to deliver new savings to help them stretch their dollars this holiday season." He goes on to say that, "With our expansion of Walmart Wireless products over the last year, we look forward to providing an exciting offer on our BlackBerry assortment and give cellular customers an extra boost on holiday needs."

Walmart offers BlackBerry devices on all four major carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Smart phones continue to be one of the most selling cellular devices on the market. Walmart has a total of 7 BlackBerry devices on sale: The AT&T Curve 8310, AT&T Bold 9000, Sprint Curve 8330 (Red and Titanium colors), T-Mobile 8520 (Black, White and Frost colors), T-Mobile Pearl 8120 (emerald color), Verizon Storm and the Verizon Storm II.

Walmart also offers this special deal to online customers as well. If you prefer to buy your BlackBerry online at Walmart's website then you will receive a $100 Walmart.com eGift Card. With the tough economic times we are in right now, seeing a company as profitable as Walmart doing what they can to save shoppers money is a definitely cool. The sale starts this Saturday, November 14th at 8 a.m. and runs until next Saturday, November 20th so you better get moving if you want one of those niffty $100 gift cards.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Verizon's HTC Droid Eris

HTC Droid ErisSo as much hype as there has been about the new Verizon Wireless Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Eris, sales have started out relatively slow. Friday was when the phones officially went on sale across the country. There were very short lines or no lines at all outside Verizon stores on Friday morning. Reports claimed that if there were any lines outside one of the many stores, they really only consisted of about 15-20 people.

A Verizon spokesmen said that the lack of lines outside the stores was not a concern at all. He said that what Verizon really wants is not a line but a steady stream of people coming throughout the day and the following few weeks to examine the new phones.

Some people claimed that they liked the look and the feel of the HTC Droid Eris better than the Motorola Droid. Compared to the Motorola Droid, the Eris is basically just a slimmed-down, lighter, less powerful Droid phone. It is based off the HTC Hero that Sprint has, but it has been reworked.

The Eris measures 4.45 x 2.19 x .51 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.23 ounces. The front of the phone features a 3.2 inch touch screen. Below the screen is a navigation trackball and several physical buttons. The Eris does not feature an actual physical keyboard but instead has two virtual keyboards.

Although the Eris and the Motorola Droid share a name and 12,000 Android applications, they are very different phones. The Motorola Droid runs Android 2.0, while the Eris runs Android 1.5 with HTC’s Sense extensions. The differences that these bring up include various things. With the Eris’s Web browsers you use mutitouch pinch-to-zoom, while with the Motorola Droid you double tap to zoom. The Droid Eris has seven home screen panels and some very useful widgets, and the Motorola Droid has only three panels and a lot less interesting widgets. The virtual keyboard is much more accurate and easy to use than the keyboard on the Motorola Droid. You can keep going and going on all the various differences between the two phones, but none of them are really huge. Most of them involve personal preferences.

The Eris handles messaging well. It supports Microsoft Exchange, Google, and POP3/IMAP e-mail. Unfortunately for some, it does not support Yahoo mail. There is an SMS/MMS application for text and picture messaging, but regarding instant messaging there is nothing included but Google Talk. Fortunately, you are able to download a free IM application from the Android Market.

The music player on the Eris is quite decent. It supports tracks in WMA, AAC, and MP3formats. The video player on the phone though definitely has some issues. The playback of most videos is fuzzy and disappointing. The 5-megapixel camera is also very frustrating with the soft images that it captures. If you looking for a good video recorder and camera, the Motorola Droid is definitely the better phone for you.

So to pick between the Motorola Droid and the Droid Eris, you really just need to consider what it is that you want in a phone. Your decision should be purely based on preferences. They are both great phones from Verizon and are both going to serve you well. I hope you are able to figure out which phone suits you best and then go on to thoroughly enjoy your new Droid smartphone.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Touch-Screen Phone Usage Soars

Touch-Screen Phone Usage Soars
According to market research firm ComScore, touch-screen cell phone usage is on the rise and continues to grow at a rapid rate. Between August 2008 and August 2009, touch-screen mobile-phone usage grew by over 159%. The number of touch-screen mobile-phone owners also doubled. In August 2008, just 9.2 million people were using touch-screen phones, but by August 2009, over 23.8 million people were using the phones.

The overwhelmingly rising numbers aren't limited to just touch-screens; it appears as if smartphone usages in general is growing throughout the United States. From August 2008 to August 2009, the number of smartphone users grew by 63%. In August 2008, there were about 20.7 million people using smartphones compared to over 33.7 in August 2009.

So what was the most popular phone? Not surprisingly, it was the iPhone, of course. With 32.9% of the touch-screen market using an iPhone, it was the top device for users ages 13 and older. With 8.7% was the LG Dare came in at a distant second. Other ranking touch-screen phones included the LG Voyager (7.8%), BlackBerry Storm (7%), and the Palm Treo (6.5%).

Another interesting tidbit ComScore found was that touch-screen users tend to be younger than standard cell phone users. Over half (51.4%) of smartphone users are under the age of 35, with a whopping 57.7% of touch-screen users being in the same age range. About 20.6% of touch-screen users are between the ages of 18 and 24, while only 5% of touch-screen users are over 65.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Mood-Based App for Your iPhone

moodspin iphone appHow many iPhone apps can they come up with? Well here’s a new one! As if status updates weren’t enough to inform your friend how depressed, ecstatic, infuriated, or bored you were, you can now let them know exactly what you are in the mood for.

Moodspin is a social-networking add-on that has just been endorsed by the iPhone App Store. Currently you are only able to use Moodspin through Twitter, but through it you are given the capabilities to broadcast exactly how you feel to everyone that follows you.

To make Moodspin even better, it is not just text that appears when you set your mood but a mood-related emoticon is added to your photo. This allows people to see how you feel no matter what it is that you just tweeted about.

So the big question about this app would be…is it useful at all? Honestly, not really, but it doesn’t have to be useful for you to enjoy it. It is interesting how Moodspin will track your moods. Every time that you update your mood status it will be charted on a timeline. This can show others what you have been up to throughout the day if you wish to display such information. You can easily compare and contrast your mood graph with your friends or everyone else on Moodspin.

Moodspin is relatively easy to use on your iPhone. You simply select your in mood in three taps and it instantly becomes a personalized Twitter update. It also will tack on a URL that can lead others to your Moodspin profile so they can view your moods in the past 24 hours.

Supposedly sometime this month Moodspin will update to also allow Facebook users to access their service. This way you can include your mood right along side your status.

So no this isn’t the most incredible app for your iPhone, but for those that obsess over social-networking sites this could be an app that can add some flair to your constant tweets and updates.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scan Your Business Cards On The Go

If you have a huge amount of business cards sitting on your desk, or in your wallet waiting to be entered into your contacts list on your iPhone, you're not alone. Well a new app for your iPhone will take all the hassle out of entering business card information The Business Card Reader for iPhone/iPod Touch makes the process simple and virtually pain-free.

The app, available on iTunes for $5.99, and scans/"reads" your business card information from a picture you take of the business card you want to enter. It uses ABBYY’s text recognition technology to read the business card image and enters it directly into a new contact in your address book. It will read names, phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses. Before finalizing, you can check to verify that all the information is correct and hit save and its done.

The Business Card Reader will also read in a few different languages including: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish business cards. Another great feature is that it has a built-in browser and its possible to make LinkedIn search of a contact you've just scanned, all without leaving the program.

For a quick and easy way to enter all your business contacts into your iPhone, this app is a great choice to get the job done.
AirCards and Mobile HotSpot Rentals