Friday, January 29, 2010

AT&T Working to Improve Its Network

AT&T Working to Improve Its Network
Everywhere you turn, someone is complaining about their AT&T service, but it looks like the company is getting ready to invest a large amount of money - $2 billion - to improve its network this year. From dropped calls to slow wireless, AT&T receives complaints from all over the country, particularly from iPhone users, many of whom say they love their phone, just not the fact that they are forced to use AT&T. Even the company admits that service in cities such as New York and San Francisco isn't up to what it should be. With Apple's new iPad product going on sale in two months, the company is surely feeling the heat to do something about their problems.

Many industry analysts say that AT&T won't be able to handle the added strain the iPad will put on the network, as it's barely been able to handle the iPhone. In 2009, in the 4th quarter, alone, over 3.1 million new iPhones were activated. However, on the night before Apple unveiled the iPad, AT&T made the announcement about their improvements. Their goal is to convince investors and consumers that they are up to the task and will be able to handle the iPad.

The announcement was made by Chief Operations Officer John Stankey during a conference calls with reporters. He said the company was planning to upgrade cell sites and add 2,000 additional cell sites all over the country, "We’ve got an aggressive plan to benefit everyone."

The iPhone uses ten times the network that other smartphones use, which is one reason AT&T has had so man problems. The iPad will be a much bigger strain. Several models of the tablet computer are being offered; the cheapest one being the 16 GB, Wifi-friendly one priced at $499. The $629 version has a 3G connection. AT&T will be offering a two-tiered pricing system for the 3G model. For $14.99 a month, you can use 250 MB and for $29.99 a month, you can have unlimited access.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top Smartphones for Small Business

Top Smartphones for Small Business

As a business owner, it's important to be connected if you want to be successful. You're not just working 9:00 to 5:00, your job is your life. With this in mind, smartphones are becoming more and more popular for SMB owners and their staff to stay in touch 24 hours a day. But how do you know which one to choose?

Well, Enterprise Mobile Today has figured out their own little formula to narrow down what they consider the "Critics' Choice Top 5 Smartphones." The list is generated by checking out websites with smartphone reviews and seeing which ones receive consistently good reviews and high ratings. According to the article, CNET, Consumer Reports, LAPTOP Magazine, PC Magazine, and PC World's ratings were all used to generate the list.

The list is at follows:

1. Apple iPhone 3GS

Carrier: AT&T

Why it's good for business: it's fast, powerful, has a large selection of apps, and works well as a computer.

2. Motorola Droid

Carrier: Verizon Wireless

Why it's good for business: it has a large, high-quality display, free GPS navigation, it's fast and has a long battery life.

3. Research in Motion Blackberry Bold 9700

Carrier: T-Mobile and AT&T

Why it's good for business: it's slimmer and more attractive than other Blackberry models, and has a great display, keyboard, and optical trackpad.

4. Google Nexus One

Carrier: T-Mobile

Why it's good for business: it's fast, sleek and slim, has lots of extra features, and enhanced voice capabilities.

5. Motorola CLIQ

Carrier: T-Mobile

Why it's good for business: its design and construction are high-quality, as well as excellent call quality, speakerphone, a great keyboard, cloud-based PIM data backup, and syncs with Microsoft Exchange.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Luxury Phones that Use Gears Instead of Chips

celsius luxury phoneCelsius X VI III hopes to establish their place in the luxury phone market with their new phones that incorporate Swiss watch craftsmanship into the phone instead of a chip.

On Thursday, January 21st, Celsius said that they had received funding from one of Europe’s biggest venture capital firms to start things up. Celsius was established a few years ago with the goal to take the 500 year old technology found in hand-made watches and utilize it to make a cell phone that would use moving parts instead of chips and electronics. Celsius has been able to sell their idea to Sofinnova Partners who invested 2.2 million euros, AGF Private Equity who invested 500,000 euros, and several other private investors who together gave 600,000 euros.

The co-chief executive of Celsius, Edouard Meylan, said, “Our target is the man who owns a few sports cars and is an aficionado of Swiss watches.” He wants their customers to be able to keep these luxury phones for decades instead of having to replace their phone every few years.

Meylan has been around fine craftsmanship his entire life. His father is George-Henry Meylan who is the longtime CEO of Audemars Piguet a famous Swiss watch making company.

The first phone that Celsius has designed is called the Papillon. The phone contains a mechanism that winds the watch found inside every time the device is opened or closed. The Papillon is also clam-shaped and costs around 200,000 euros. It will only be found in about a dozen watch or jewelry stores around the globe once it is released.

The luxury phone industry was started up by Nokia in 2002 when they launched their Vertu line of mobile phones that cost anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 euros. Fashion icons like Georgio Armani, Prada, and Christian Dior have followed Nokia in this luxury phone industry by releasing their own phones.

Mainly, the most difficult aspect for Celsius will be building a credibility in the very minute luxury phone industry. They will be up against not only other luxury phone companies but also other Swiss watch makers, like Tag Heuer and Ulysses Nardin, who are developing a line of phones as well.

Interestingly enough, Meylan plans to only sell around 50 Papillon phones and 150 of a lower priced version of the Papillon in the first year. Honestly, I don’t know how they could expect to sell anymore with the ridiculously high price tag that it has. It will be interesting to see if this really does as well as Celsius expects. I personally could never imagine putting out enough money to buy a car for a cell phone, but we will just have to sit and watch what people really think of this new line of luxury phones.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nexus One Gets Multitouch Hack

Nexus OneWhen the Nexus One first came out, Google called it their "super-phone" and for the most part it was a very good device. But it was missing one thing that completely shocked most people, multitouch. Being the flagship phone, you would expect it to be decked out with every conceivable thing you could think of and yet, no multitouch.

Google, along with it's partners, have been bouncing back and forth with the idea of multitouch and there is definitely logic behind which of their devices receives multitouch and in which markets. But to not give it to the Nexus One seemed a little absurd to most people.

When asked about seeing multitouch in a future Nexus One update, Android chief Andy Rubin simply said, "we'll consider it." That's it, just a consideration? Well for many people out there the words "we'll consider it" just aren't good enough and instead of walking around and complaining about it some people have taken matters into their own hands.

Senior member Cyanogen over at XDA has successfully hacked the Nexus One browser and added multitouch to its functionality. So now everybody can have multitouch on their Nexus One just like we had hoped for! Reports from users who have already attempted the hack have stated that the browser "is working pretty well and is not too laggy". This is making some headlines across the net and people seem to be excited to get their hands on the guide. One thing people should know though is that by attempting the hack, you will lose all of your settings and bookmarks which seems like a small price to pay for getting multitouch on your Nexus One. Check out XDA for Cyanogen's detailed guide on the hack.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

iPhone Cooking App

iPhone Cooking AppI know that I have talked about a lot of iPhone apps, but I really was excited to hear about this one and wanted to share it with everyone. I love cooking, so this app would be extremely fun and helpful to me and anyone that shares my love for cooking.

NBC’s “Today” morning show has just revealed the new Today Recipes. This iPhone app allows users to download recipes, come up with check lists of ingredients, and use the mobile grocery list while at the grocery store. This could definitely come in handy for me and for most people I know.

The app features a search option that allows the user to find particular types of recipes. Hourly, the app is updated with video features and articles from the Today show that cover a variety of food and wine news.

This app is free for any iPhone or iPod Touch that runs OS 2.2.1 or later. You can find the new cooking app ready to download at Apple’s App Store now.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

The PoolPod: Waterproof Floating Wireless iPod Speakers

poolpodThe PoolPod is the incredible new waterproof speaker system that iPod has developed. They are designed for placing directly into the pool and wirelessly broadcasting music from your iPod. I think that this is amazingly useful!

The PoolPod is wireless, floating, and waterproof. Its perfect while you’re just out relaxing in the pool or while having an all out pool party.

The futuristic design of the PoolPod is actually quite fun and attractive. Its sort of awesome to have a Star Wars-like droid floating in your pool playing your favorite tunes. It has great sound, and the fact that you can have a wireless speaker playing music while your iPod lays safely far away from the water is amazing.

The PoolPod has a 900MHz base station and comes with an audio cable and an AC adapter. The spherical speaker and wireless transmitter dock package is available for $79.99.

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Anti-Radiation Blackberry Cases from Pong

anti-radiation blackberry caseThere is still a fierce ongoing debate about how cell phone radiation really affects the human body. For Blackberry Curve owners who don’t want to take any chances, Pong Research has developed a brand new Blackberry Curve Case that should put their minds at ease.

At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Pong revealed their new protective cell phone case that looks very much like any other cell phone case but has been certified by FCC-certified labs to reduce cell phone radiation exposure by more than 60 percent. This case will fit on the 8300, 8310, 8320, and 8330 models of the Curve.

In September, everyone seemed very doubtful about the case, but in October after extensive radiation-testing, it was found to indeed work.

It is very difficult to explain how exactly the technology works, but in Pong’s press release on Wednesday they said, “These cell phone cases exemplify many years of research into precise antenna structure in order to couple with the energy from the phone’s antenna.”

Although difficult to explain, these are the basics to how the cell phone case works. Cell phones send and receive signals from wireless networks by emitting radiation. Now radiation is unable to go to one specific area. It scatters everywhere, and therefore some of it can reach our head. By using what they call “passive antenna coupling,” a second antenna is placed inside of the actual case. This antenna pulls the energy towards itself without having to communicate back to the cell tower.

Essentially, the radiation is redirected up and away from the brain. The case does not lessen radiation levels at all, so while your directing radiation away from your brain, you will not be compromising your cell phone signal. Researchers said, “What we found is the signal strength actually improves, as it is now being directed toward the cell phone tower instead of you head, where it is not improving communication.”

Pong has already released a case like this for the iPhone and it is said that most likely Verizon’s Droid and Google’s Nexus One will be the next phones to receive such cases. Smartphones are the top priority because they have higher radiation levels due to the fact that they have much more data communication to accommodate.

If these cases take off like I think they will, there is definitely a possibility that future cell phones will have this new antenna coupling technology automatically built into the phone.

If you’re at all concerned about cell phone radiation, this is a great way to not worry anymore. The anti-radiation Blackberry Curve case is available for $49.95.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Free Mobile TV Will Be Available Soon

free mobile tvFinally, free mobile TV will be available for laptops, iPhones, and Droids. The head of the Open Mobile Video Coalition said that this should all be ready sometime in 2010. OMVC president, Anne Schelle, says that, “Broadcasters are forming groups to announce national rollouts.” Over 35 stations are already online. By mid-2010, ION Media Networks, who own stations in all of the top 20 U.S. markets, plan to have 10 major markets on the air.

As of now, there are no free mobile TV options. Certain wireless carriers have subscription-based packages, and companies like MediaFlo USA have a very cable-like system where customers can purchase about a dozen channels for $10-15 a month.

Mobile DTV was introduced last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, but it is finally showing its face to everyone this year. What DTV does is it is able to transmit part of the broadcasters’ existing range to the users handheld device. It is cheap and easy for stations to make all of this possible. Installation costs are only costing them about $75,000-$150,000.

TV stations will start by broadcasting there regular programs at the same times that they could be viewed on TV. This means if your on a road trip and happen to be missing the next episode of your favorite show, all you have to do is flip on your phone. Local news and even children’s programs will be available. Some people are saying that eventually DVR capabilities could be possible with Mobile DTV.

No matter what happens or what developments are made, DTV is coming, and I think that it is most definitely going to be a hit.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Best Free Blackberry Apps

free blackberry appsThe Blackberry is the number one smartphone platform in the U.S. It had tons of apps years before the iPhone was even thought up. The issue that Blackberry has had is that there has never been an easy way to find and install these apps. Some of them can be found at the Blackberry App World, where you download apps directly on your Blackberry. Others are available from the independent store GetJar or some are only downloadable from developers’ Web sites. Its harder to find Blackberry apps than iPhone or Android apps, so hopefully this guide will help you to find the top 10 Blackberry apps much easier.

1. AP Mobile News 2.5.5
Download at: The Associated Press;
This news app gives you easy access to local, national, and international news. You can receive up-to-the-minute news, send stories to your Facebook, read stories off-line, or watch news videos. Any news needs will be met with this very convenient app.

2. BBNotePad 1.1.2
Download at: Qin;
The BBNotePad is so much more useful than the Blackberry notepad. It has three different font sizes, gives you the ability to save files as .txt so you can open files right on your computer, and can send memos to other devices through Bluetooth.

3. Bloomberg Mobile
Download at: Bloomberg LP;
Bloomberg is the best free business app for Blackberry. It can provide you with news, stock information, customized lists of stock, market trends, and company descriptions that can be very helpful and is extremely easy to use.

4. BOLT 1.5
Download at: Bitstream;
BOLT is a quick, high-quality browser that can actually download Web pages so they look the same as they would on your desktop computer. You are also able to use all the usual browser features just with a fantastic page views.

5. Facebook
Download at: Research in Motion;
This app can turn your Blackberry into a complete version of Facebook. You are able to view your news feed, lets you view recent status updates and photos, view comments and wall posts, upload or tag photos, a do pretty much anything you can do when using Facebook from a computer.

6. FlashLight 1.0.2
Download at: App Pro Shop from the Blackberry App World
There are a variety of different free flashlight apps to choose from but FlashLight from the App Pro Shop seems to be the easiest to use. The light is bright and you are given the option to adjust the color and the brightness. The manufacturers say that different colors work better for different situations.

7. Gmail 2.0.6
Download at: Google;
You can get so many more features with Gmail. If you choose to read your Gmail through the built-in Blackberry client, you’re going to have a pretty basic experience. If you download the Gmail app, you will be able to access your contact list, sent mail, labels, and stars, and the great thing is that it looks just like Gmail.

8. Google Maps 3.2
Download at: Google;
Google Maps gives you GPS navigation for free. It offers driving, transit, and walking directions. There are even real-time traffic updates that help you get around high-traffic areas. You can easily look up businesses and street addresses and keep yourself going in the right direction.

9. Ka-Glom 1.4
Download at: Magmic;
Finding a fun free game for you Blackberry can be difficult, but Ka-Glom is a puzzle game that will keep you occupied for awhile. It’s a little bit like Tetris, but with some added bonuses. This is a quick, fun-loving game that can give you something a little bit different to amuse you.

10. Opera Mini 5.0

Download at: Opera Software;
The Opera Mini is great for speed. It is able to compress Web pages so that they can transfer more quickly and reformat them so they are readable on small screens. You are able to utilize tabs and bookmarks and can view the page from a desktop view.

These are the top ten free Blackberry Apps. Although Blackberry Apps can be difficult to find, you now have a guide to find the most useful ones easily.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The New Helix Gaming Grip for Your iPhone

helix gaming gripDo you do a lot of gaming on your iPhone? Do you have trouble holding or touching your iPhone just right when your trying to steer your virtual racecar or navigate through an asteroid field? If you do, there is now a solution to your problems.

PosiMotion has developed the new Helix Gaming Grip for your iPhone or iPod Touch. The iPhone was not designed to be utilized like a steering wheel or joystick, so this new gaming grip can really make playing games a whole lot easier. The grip is very easy to use. It has two handles on each side of your device that make it easier to twist and turn your iPhone without risking dropping it.

The Helix Gaming Grip is obviously for those who utilize games on their iPhone or iPod that involve steering, flying, or any other game that requires the twisting and turning of the device.

The gaming grip is designed to fit onto the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS and the second generation iPod Touch. The grip features a swivel clasp that will allow you to fit youyr device in both landscape and portrait mode, in accordance with which game you might be playing. There are also convenient slots in the side and bottom of the grip that allow for cables incase you want to play games while you charge your device.

If you just want to make your iPhone gaming a little bit easier or rid yourself of the risks of dropping your phone, the Helix Gaming Grip is just the thing for you. Now the grip is not available yet, but you can pre-order it and they will ship out this spring. For only $20, gaming can be made much easier on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Blackberry Bold 9700

blackberry bold 9700AT&T is now offering the update to the Blackberry Bold 9000, the new and improved Blackberry Bold 9700. It is more powerful, useful, and chic than the previous version, and for $99 after rebates and a two year contract, it’s a very good deal that incorporates everything that you could possibly need for work related business.

The design of the Bold 9700 is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. The smartphone measures 4.3 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches and weighs 4.3 ounces. The back panel is made of faux leather, while the rest of the phone features chrome accents and full-size keys that spread across the entire width of the phone. Although it is not a touch screen, the LCD screen is extremely bright and sharp. The display resolution comes in at 480 x 360 pixels. The QWERTY keyboard on the Bold 9700 is fantastic. It is easy to use, accurate, and very quiet. The optical trackpad is another welcome improvement over the easily broken trackball that can be found on the Bold 9000.

The Bold is credited as a quad-band EDGE and quad-band HSDPA 3.6 device with Wi-Fi. The device uses Wi-Fi for data purposes but does support Wi-Fi calling like a lot of T-Mobile’s smartphones.

When the Bold 9700 was compared to the iPhone 3GS for call quality, clarity, and crispness, the Bold came out on top. I found this very impressive. It also has a fantastic speakerphone that is able to project perfectly. Battery life averages at about 6 hours and 45 minutes of continuous talk time when in 3G mode.

The Bold features a 624 MHz processor and Blackberry OS 5.0. This offers upgraded Web browsers, threaded text messages, and a variety of other enhancements. Included with the phone is push e-mail for accounts including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Exchange. There are about 3,000 apps that are available to buy and download from the Blackberry App World. Included on the phone is AT&T’s Navigator which features TeleNav-powered GPS directions. IM clients are not preloaded on the Bold, but they can be easily downloaded from major accounts for free. With the Documents to Go software, you can view and edit Word and Excel files and even display PowerPoint presentations right from your smartphone.

The list of impressive features just continues on as the Bold is also an excellent music player. It syncs with both PCs and Macs and even syncs unprotected iTunes music and playlists. You can also easily download MP3 tracks from Napster or eMusic. Included with the Bold 9700 is a pair of wired stereo earbuds and a standard-size 3.5mm headphone jack. AT&T even throws in a 2GB microSD card for storing all your media files. The card is conveniently stored underneath the battery cover.

The 3.2-megapixel camera on the Bold 9700 should serve all your purposes well. It features image stabilization, auto-focus, and an LED flash. The photos seems sharp and well balanced. The video is 480 x 360-pixels, 28 frames per second, and extremely sharp and smooth.

The Blackberry Bold 9700 is a fantastic smartphone with a multitude of features. It has quite a bit of competition in AT&T’s lineup, but I feel that it stays towards the top with its low price tag, sleek design, and many impressive features. If your looking for a new smartphone, this is definitely one direction to consider.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Halt To AT&T’s Online iPhone Sales in New York

halt on iphonesOn Sunday, December 27th, 2009, metro-area New Yorkers were unable to buy their iPhones online from AT&T‘s website. An online customer service representative named Timothy said that this termination of sales was due to the “increased fraudulent activity in the area when ordering the iPhone.” Now according to another online customer service representative named Daphne, “New York is not ready fro the iPhone because the city doesn’t have enough towers.” AT&T’s CEO Ralph de la Vega had admitted previously that the phone company needed to “do better” with their network in New York City, but the company has not come out with as bold a statement as Daphne’s as of yet.

IPhones were still available at AT&T stores in the New York metro area even though they were unavailable online, and Apple’s Web site was fully functional for any New Yorker’s purchasing an iPhone online.

On Monday afternoon, online AT&T iPhone sales were once again a go. AT&T released no statement as to why there was a halt in sales, but the stories grew even more. Some claimed that there were network congestion problem, while other AT&T representatives stated that, “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

No one really knows what was going on but the important thing is that anyone in the New York metro area is now able to purchase their iPhone through AT&T once again.
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