Sunday, March 27, 2011

Is Verizon Really Stealing THAT Many of AT&T’s Customers?

When Verizon Wireless announced that it would be adding the Apple iPhone to its smartphone lineup, analysts predicted that the amount of AT&T iPhone customer base that switched over to Verizon could add up to as many as 50 percent. So has this really happened?

As of now, the figures concerning the iPhone user switch rate from AT&T to Verizon have not yet been released; however, early speculations seem to be saying that about 14 percent of Verizon iPhone preorders were AT&T iPhone owners who were switching over.

Although that sounds like a pretty hefty amount of customers for mere preorders, it really doesn’t seem to be bothering AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets President and CEO Ralph de la Vega. Earlier this month de la Vega said that AT&T’s mobile customer losses were within the company’s expectations.

According to reports from Mobclix, two out of every three AT&T iPhone customers who switched to Verizon’s iPhone paid the termination fee that is required by AT&T. These fees include: $325 for AT&T’s smartphone, minus $10 for every month that a user has been on the company’s two-year contract. This can be quite a chunk of change, and in addition to that users still have to go and buy a new iPhone from Verizon.

Mobclix is also saying that 14 percent of iPhone 4 users are now calling Verizon Wireless their home. Out of all the iPhone users in the world, Verizon’s customer base makes up about 4 percent. All of this information from Mobclix is being pulled from the company’s Mobclix Exchange, which is Mobclix huge advertising marketplace that goes ahead and matches different developers with any interested advertisers in a bidding atmosphere. Mobclix did some research to see why AT&T iPhone customers were switching over to Verizon.

What they found just confirms everything that every other survey about AT&T iPhones vs. Verizon iPhones has discovered. The top reason for the switch was reception quality. In the survey of 600 different Verizon iPhone users, Mobclix found that the second and third most popular reason that customers were deserting AT&T was because of “personal hot spots” and “reputation.” The personal hot spot that AT&T users were missing is a feature that allows the iPhone to serve as an Internet host for up to five devices connected via Wi-Fi, or one single device connected via Bluetooth or USB.

Although this was an initial concern, just recently AT&T released its iOS 4.3 update for iPhones that allows AT&T iPhone users to have the same personal hot spot abilities. Mobclix also went on to research where there were the highest areas of Verizon iPhone usage. They found that Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Chicago and Seattle where the cities with the most usage…big surprise.

I guess we’ll just have to see if Mobclix is accurate when the final official numbers come in. No matter, Verizon really seems to have made a dent in iPhone users that I assume will only increase from here on out.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Top 10 Touch Screen Smartphones

It’s taken a little while, but finally, touch screen interface has become a pretty mainstream thing. In the past it would have been difficult to comprise a list of the top 10 touch screen phones, but with all of the options available to-date, it now isn't an issue at all.

The whole touch screen phenomena began back in 2007 with the release of the original Apple iPhone. I can still remember all of the hype. People pre-ordered their iPhones months in advance. At the time, I couldn’t justify the price tag, but with the beautiful 3.5-inch Multi Touch screen with pinch and zoom features, a sleek, gorgeous design, finger-friendly interface and an incredible Web experience, I understood why so many people were counting down the days until the iPhone’s release.

The iPhone displayed all of the potential that the mobile carrier market could tap into concerning keyboard-free phones. After the iPhone was released, every major mobile phone manufacturer decided to take a chance on designing their own versions of touch screen smartphones. Some were obviously very successful, but others…not so much. There are some smartphones that have users begging to have a physical keyboard back, but there are others who have users saying they’ll never go back to a keyboard again. There are some smartphones that offer the best of both worlds, by having a touch screen and a slide out keyboard, but the top 10 touch screen phones listed below are strictly touch screen with no keyboard. If you’re willing to sacrifice physical keys and go completely touch, then here are some phones to consider.


Apple iPhone 4
The original touch screen smartphone is still going strong four years later. The iPhone 4 is sleek, gorgeous and offers so many different features. It has an incredibly fast processor, tons of apps, one of the best media experiences and a great camera. On AT&T it does have some reception issues and limited FaceTime video calling, but overall it is an awesome phone.

HTC Inspire 4G
Touch screen smartphones can be pretty expensive most of the time, but the Inspire is a very inexpensive exception. It is extremely powerful and features a vast amount of built-in apps and features. There are some issues with the Inspire’s “4G” speeds though. It just seems a little underwhelming.

Motorola Atrix 4G
The Atrix is an incredibly fast and powerful phone. It has a beautiful screen and incredible design. Different optional docks can even easily turn the Atrix into a desktop or laptop PC; however, despite these cool features, the smartphone can be a little buggy and the laptop dock for the Atrix is way overpriced.


The EVO was the first WiMAX phone and is perfect for someone who is always on the Internet. It features excellent Web browsers with some Flash. It also has as great touch screen, two different cameras and Wi-Fi hotspot mode. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the best voice quality and the 4G coverage is pretty limited, but other than that it is a fantastic phone.

LG Optimus S
The Optimus S has tons of great features including Android 2.2, very valuable Sprint ID interface enhancements, mobile hotspot and really good battery life. The issues with this phone are that it doesn’t have the best screen resolution, CPU or camera, and the screen is just a bit small. Overall, the Optimus is a pretty good budget Android phone.


T-Mobile myTouch 4G
The myTouch is incredibly well constructed and has incredible features including: the latest processor, Wi-Fi calling, hotspot mode and voice commands. The only issues with this smartphone are that it has some problems with bloatware and the fact that not everyone may like the UI skin.

Samsung Galaxy S 4G
The Galaxy S is absolutely gorgeous. It also is really fast with 4G HSPA+ data speeds, excellent music and video and a great battery life. The only real issue with this smartphone is that its TV app is a little buggy, but otherwise it’s a fantastic phone.

Verizon Wireless

HTC Thunderbolt
Verizon has been heavily promoting the Thunderbolt, and why not? This smartphone has lightning fast Internet speeds, a gorgeous design, simply elegant interface and lots of storage. The phone is incredible besides the fact that it is a little on the heavy side, occasional bugs and a pretty poor battery life when users are surfing or streaming on 4G.

Motorola Droid X
Droids hit the market as the iPhone’s competition, and they have done a pretty good job of stepping up to the plate. The Droid X features an incredibly fast processor, Wi-Fi hotspot mode, Bluetooth voice dialing, fantastic reception and noise cancellation. For some the Droid is just a little too big and bulky. There also is no way to turn off Blur and it won’t play HD content over an HDMI cable. These really aren’t huge issues though. The Droid X is the most powerful Android smartphone aside from the HTC Droid Incredible.

Apple iPhone 4
So, a short time ago, Verizon broke the barriers and began offering the Apple iPhone 4 right alongside AT&T. Verizon’s version has all of the same incredible features that AT&T’s iPhone offers, except for the lack of 4G on Verizon’s phone. Overall, it functions just as well as AT&T’s iPhone, so I guess it just depends on which service carrier you prefer and whether or not you really want 4G.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

AT&T Plans on Giving Android Users Access to the New Amazon Appstore

Amazon AppstoreSo, the popular online retailer, has just launched their newest service, the Amazon Appstore. The Amazon Appstore is a mobile app marketplace similar to the Android Marketplace and the Apple App Store but completely run by One interesting thing Amazon is doing to attempt to draw customers away from Apple and Android is offering a free app every day that you would normally have to pay for.

The first app they released for free was a new installment in the Angry Birds series known as Angry Birds Rio, which models itself after the upcoming animated movie Rio. Well Rovio, developers of the Angry Birds series, just announced on their Facebook page a few hours ago that "AT&T is also working on enabling purchases from the Amazon Appstore soon."

If this is true, then it would mark a very big move on AT&T's part considering the fact that they have been rock solid in their resolve to keep apps from outside the Android Market off of their branded Android devices. This has been viewed as frustrating and illogical by a lot of AT&T customers. However, AT&T has confirmed to Engadget that they are, in fact, getting access to the Amazon Appstore.

"We're working to give our Android customers access to third party application stores. This requires updates to our systems and finalizing arrangements with Amazon. We will share more info with our customers in the near future," AT&T stated.

However, with any good news usually comes bad and that holds true here. The bad news is that AT&T isn't having any discussions with Amazon about this at all. This may indicate that they are planning on making an exception to their Android marketplace policy for the Amazon Appstore as opposed to enabling sideloading on all of their Android devices.

This could possibly involve some firmware updates which drop the Amazon Appstore in ROM. However, that seems like a lot of work, especially with all the red tape that is involved in pushing just a single update for a single mobile device on a major carrier. Keep checking back here as we will have all the info as it plays out.

Source: Engadget - AT&T planning on access to Amazon Appstore, sideloading still an open question

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are Upload Speeds Being Capped on AT&T Devices?

Something interesting has started popping up around the internet recently, the fact that AT&T may be capping speeds on many devices to speeds quite a bit lower than AT&T's network can support. It is also looking like this may be the case on a plethora of AT&T devices and not just the iPhone 4.

This has been seen on a few different AT&T devices recently including the company's latest set of USB modems like the USBConnect Shockwave 4G and the USBConnect Adrenaline. Both of the aforementioned devices were running upload speeds far below their capabilities in many parts of New York City recently.

It also appears that AT&T devices that should support HSUPA, something that would allow them to enable upload speeds of up to 1Mbps, are also being limited to UMTS, which only maxes them out at 384Kbps, half of their potential speed.

The folks over at PCMag have been running some tests to figure out what exactly is going on. They tested an HTC Inspire 4G, a Motorola Atrix and an Apple iPhone 4. Both the Inspire and the Atrix are supposed to be faster than iPhone 4 overall considering both the Inspire and the Atrix have HSPA+ 14.4 modems whereas the iPhone 4 only has an HSPA 7.2 modem.

PCMag used the Ookla SpeedTest app and connected each phone to the exact same server. Then they ran the test six individual times. Their results? They got the UMTS upload speeds on the Inspire and the Atrix every time. Tests done by PCMag with the iPhone 4 at the same time in the same location showed dramatically higher upload speeds which also correlated to the two USB modems PCMag had tested earlier.

These tests conclude that AT&T is in fact capping upload speeds for several different non-iPhone 4 devices. There are other explanations though. This could be a problem specific to the four separate devices PCMag tested or it could also be a problem with the particular sections of NYC that are experiencing the problems. However, that all seems highly coincidental.

PCMag contacted AT&T and inquired about what was going on but got no solid answer. What do you think? Is there a reason AT&T is doing this? Is it to promote the AT&T version of the iPhone 4 after Apple released a Verizon version? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: PCMag - Is AT&T Capping Upload Speeds?
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Top Rugged Cell Phones

So, right now everyone is into the smartphones with their big, glass touch screens, but we all know that smartphones just aren’t that durable. I have seen plenty of cracked iPhone and Droid touch screens. Haven’t you? Have you ever dropped your phone in the sink, the pool, or possibly even the toilet? I have dropped my different phones in all three!

Have any of you that have had phone problems or that work in high risk situations for phones ever thought about getting a rugged phone that would be able to handle quite a bit more than any smartphone or feature phone? If you work in a rough environment, are an outdoorsy kind of person, or simply are just accident prone, then you might want to check out some of these top-of-the-line rugged cell phones.


Motorola Tundra VA76r

Pros: The Tundra is rugged without giving up all elements of style. No, it’s not chic, but it features fantastic reception, top-notch keypad, web use, GPS options, and AT&T’s push-to-talk.

Cons: It’s rather large for a flip phone, has an external antenna, and features a pretty poor quality camera.

Samsung Rugby II SGH-A847

Pros: The Rugby II is firmly constructed with excellent voice quality and a fantastic speakerphone.

Cons: The earpiece could definitely be much louder and there is too much bloatware.


Motorola Brute i686

Pros: The Brute features great voice quality and a fantastic speakerphone. It also comes with Sprint’s push-to-talk ability.

Cons: The Brute is a very rugged phone, but it feels like it could use a little updating. It looks and feels a little older than some of the others. The phone also has poor Web and video features.

Sanyo Taho

Pros: The Taho features a super extra-rugged design that allows the phone to be run over by a car several times. It also features a very loud speakerphone.

Cons: The issue with this phone is that it has poor reception and to many people’s dismay, the Taho doesn’t feature push-to-talk.


Motorola Defy

Pros: The Defy from Motorola is the very first rugged smartphone to hit the market. The phone is waterproof and has a fantastic speakerphone.

Cons: Now there are definitely some issues with the Defy. The Motoblur does make the OS a bit sluggish at times. It also doesn’t have a hotspot mode or HSPA+.

Verizon Wireless

Casio G’zOne Ravine

Pros: The Ravine is an extremely rugged phone that is nearly indestructible. It features good call quality, a long battery life, and great outdoorsy apps that can be downloaded.

Cons: The only big issue with this phone is that it has a very dated music player, but if that doesn’t matter to you, then this is a good rugged phone to consider.

Casio G’zOne Brigade

Pros: The Brigade is built like a small tank. It has a good battery life, Verizon’s push-to-talk service, and a fantastic QWERTY keyboard.

Cons: The problem with the Brigade is that it can be fairly expensive if you decide to pile on the optional data service. Also, its multimedia performance is poor.

Motorola Barrage V860

Pros: The Barrage is a pretty good phone if you’re looking for something rugged. It’s got good call quality, a long battery life, and it is waterproof.

Cons: However, compared to a lot of the phones on this list, it’s not super rugged. It also just has an average video and camera phone. is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!
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