Friday, November 20, 2009

Blackberry 8530 from Verizon is here and available for free

What's better than free? Getting a Blackberry with WIFI, EDVO Rev 0, OS 5.0, 3G Data, 2-Megapixel camera, and that beautiful QWERTY keyboard RIM is infamous for.  The price is better than I was expecting at launch but its good to be pleasantly surprised. Verizon has the phone for $99 but if you go through a retailer you can get it for free.
Now of course Free is after a 2-year commitment. Without contract the phones is $399.99.

Reviewed here: Crackberry , click image above for details about the special offer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Verizon wants their money, so dont play

If you were planning on going to Verizon, picking up the new Droid and then cancelling your account, paying the termination fee, and then selling the phone for a profit, think again. (who would do that right?)

Verizon has raised its ETF (Early Termination Fee) for all "Advanced Devices" to $350.  Here

If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an advanced device after November 14, 2009, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. (For a complete list of advanced devices, check Otherwise, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete.

The funny thing is, with a $10 a month decrease on a $350 ETF, you will still have $120 at the end of your two-years. I wonder if they'll want that as a check, or money order?

Android welcomes Fring to the App Store

Fring is a social communication app that works with just about every social networking tool out there.  They have just released their fring app for android which will allow you to make free VOIP calls to your contacts without using your cell phone minutes.  The application integrates with your phones contact book, so while in your Fring app, simply find the person you want to contact and select call.

The only limitation is that the other person must also be using Fring for the free calling to work.  But you can purchase credit to enable Fring to call any landline or mobile phone.  Check out for more info.

Sprint News:because when youre #3 you need all the attention you can get

I'm going for a four-fer on this one:

The Palm Pixi is now $25 on Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Wirefly, on a new 2-year contract of course.  You know you care.

The Palm Pre is now $79.99 on Amazon, they are also throwing in free activation on a 2-year agreement.

OTA (Over the Air) updates for the Sprint HTC Hero went out last night, no you're not getting Android 2.0 sit down.  The fixes include, the notorious SMS issue, mute and speakerphone button on screen when you make a call or receive them, and something about Daylight Saving Time.  Your phone should prompt you to ugrade if it hasn't already.

Sprint has done something that no other carrier has done before them: they have eliminated their previous 20 cents per minute charge for conditional call forwarding.  Big deal right, well if you use a Visual voicemail application that is not native to your device you'd know why this matters.  For example: I use Google Voice as my phone's voicemail service, so when callers call me they here a custom greeting, just for them, plus I get an email transcription whenever a caller leaves me a voicemail. Ill be writing a guide for those interested in setting this up for themselves, and if you have Sprint service you wont have to worry about incurring additional  charges on your bill.

AT&T to Verizon: Your company's name starts with a V

Oh, Luke Wilson, you're such a puppet, but thats alright, I'd do an ad for AT&T too if they paid me, id even take an unlocked iPhone, why an unlocked iPhone you ask, to use on T-mobile of course.

Remember that war of words thing I told you about a couple of days ago.  The beef between AT&T and Verizon went before a federal judge in Atlanta to be settled and the winner is...well there is no clear winner yet but this battle goes to Verizon.  The judge ruled that although the ads may be "sneaky" they were not misleading and he could not justify taking them off the air.

To save face AT&T has is airing the commercial above in an attempt to set the record straight.  Their contention in the ad seems to be that they have the fastest 3G coverage, the iPhone, and Verizon starts with a V.  While sidestepping the real argument, namely, what is the point of having the fastest 3G network if users cant access it?  Don't worry this story is far from over, a follow-up hearing is set for Dec. 16, hopefully AT&T will come up with a winning argument by then or they may just accept their faults and do something about them, but we all know some people don't take criticism well.

Wanna make your own theme? Blackberry Theme Studio can help

If you're like me, you download a lot of Blackberry themes trying to find the perfect balance between style and function then end up deleting all of them in frustration, then download them all again a week later, yeah I know.  Usually one theme has the right color scheme but the fonts suck, the right combination of today screen items but not enough icons, you get my point.  What to do, what to do, well you could create your own theme but who wants to go through the hassle of learning how to code.

In comes Blackberry with Blackberry Theme Studio, the first full feature theme building software from the manufacturer.  As the name implies, this software allows you to build custom themes to use on your Blackberry, so finally you can make that really awesome Scooby Doo theme you've been conjuring in your mind.  Assuming you have a Blackberry device with OS4.2 or higher and a couple hours to spare you can start by downloading Blackberry Theme Studio Here.  Then I would suggest reading Part 1 and Part 2 of RIM's theme building tutorial.

After that the world is yours, chico and everything in it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Verizon to AT&T: "The truth hurts, so stop crying"

The war of words started by Verizon several weeks ago continues.  This all started around the time the Droid was announced and Verizon started airing it's "Droid Does" and "Theres a map for that" commercials.  AT&T sued Verizon claiming that its "There's a map for that" advertisements are misleading to consumers, AT&T's response.  Verizon's response was to create additional ads, including this one labeling the Apple iPhone as a "misfit toy" hobbled by its AT&T coverage or rather lack of. Ouch.
The round is not even over and Verizon is throwing another shot at AT&T.  In a rebuttal filed on Monday in a Georgia court, Verizon stated, and I quote:
"AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's "There's A Map for That" advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon's ad's are true and the truth hurts."
Damn, son, I love a good cat-fight. Oh theres more:
"AT&T seeks emergency relief because Verizon's side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparison of its own 3G coverage with AT&T's confirms what the marketplace has been saying for month:  AT&T failed to invest adequately in the necessary infrastructure to expand its 3G coverage to support its growth in smartphone business, and the usefulness of its service to smartphone users has suffered accordingly, AT&T may not like the message that the ads send, but this Court should reject its efforts to silence the messenger."
Thats the gist of it, more to come later.  What do you think?  Who's side are you on?

T-mobile: the Sidekicks are back, no no no, they're cool now

The Sidekicks are back, the sidekicks are back.

T-mobile had an embarrasing month last month.  What had happened was: Danger (the company that takes care of the Sidekick data) was bought by Microsoft and Microsoft went and hired a third party company to come in and upgrade Danger's systems.  So while they were doing their thing, something went wrong and a whole bunch of Sidekick users started losing their s&%/stuff.
When T-mobile caught on they stopped selling Sidekicks and told current Sidekick owners to keep their phones from shutting off until they figure out a way to restore their data.  Needless to say a lot of people were pissed, and some probably dropped T-mobile and their Sidekicks into a gutter.  T-mobile said it was sorry and offered unhappy customers, a $100 credit, but the damage is done.  As if that wasn't bad enough California and Washington may be suing poor T-mobile over the data loss.
T-mobile seems to be ready to move on, the carrier has resumed sales of the Sidekick line of devices once again, with a slight ($25) drop in price of course.  So if you've been waiting, go grab your favorite Sidekick device, go ahead, good luck, and do a backup every once in a while, you know just in case.
Check out: T-mobile.

Droid Camera issue, noted and explained, fix coming soon

For those of you fortunate enough to own a Droid, if you weren't too busy showing off, you may have noticed your devices inability to auto-focus when taking stills.  In an Engadget posting earlier today Google's Dan Morrill explains:

"Yes, this is exactly what is happening.

There's a rounding-error bug in the camera driver's autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it'll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.

The 17th is the start of a new "works correctly" cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works."

So I guess what that means is that you have another 24.5 days of proper auto-focus on your Droid, so snap away, hopefully a permanent fix appears soon.  Seems like an honest mistake on Google's part, this is the kind of thing that goes unnoticed until it actually becomes an issue, big ups to Google for getting to the bottom of this.

Blackberry BIS down, all over the US, please be patient

FYI, Blackberry BIS seems to be having some problems right now. The issues started late last night and has continued on to this morning. Carriers are said to be working on the fixes for the issue so consumers are encouraged to be patient while they work the kinks out.
Are you having problems with your Blackberry?
**UPDATE:  As I was posting this my phone Data services lit up, if yours haven't you might need to manually reset your provisioning. I recommend you do a quick battery pull, once your phone comes back online, if its still not receiving data go to Menu, Options, Mobile Network, Click Menu and Select Start Provisioning.  You should be fine from there, comment below if you have any further issues.

24 hrs w/Palm Pixi: Im going back to Blackberry

I wont say I completely hate the device but I will say that its not all good.
I went by my local Sprint store to pick up the Pixi, 3 hours later I walk out and the phone is still not activated. The guy tells me that they are having some provisioning problems and to just take the phone home and it should be activated by the time I get there. I guess that was my first clue.
Okay so the phone finally gets activated and its up and running, I sync my Palm profile to it, (Palm takes all your apps, notes, tasks, contacts, etc and backs it up for you in the background, so if you switch to a new WebOS phone, lose your current phone, or whatever all that information can be resynced back to your device, very cool) takes about 30 minutes. Then I sync Google to it, another 15 minutes, all the while the phone's network connection is jumping from Ev to 1x to R like crazy. I rush home to plug it into the charger before it dies on me. Got a message saying an update was available and downloaded the 1.3.1 OS upgrade.
Play time, the phone is exactly like the Palm Pre so I was already familiar with the UI. Swiping stuff, pulling and dragging cards all felt pretty natural except, the significant lag time it took for things to open. If I'm running 6 cards with all 6 playing some kind of media content then I would understand, but if I am just text messaging and emailing, and trying to open the browser then wtf. As I wrote earlierthe Pixi is a little underpowered, compared to its big cousin the Pre, but from what I could gather; Pre owners that upgraded to OS 1.3.1 were doing fine. So my conclusion is that it must be some hardware issue at fault here.
The lag is enough to drive me crazy, seriously, I have to wait 10 seconds for you to open up the card so I can make a call? The frustrating thing is that its not like this all the time, there are moments when the Pixi feels up to the job. When it is being responsive, the phone's appeal goes way up. The screen is small but not so small that its unbearable, the keyboard is solid and almost as easy to use as a Blackberry's (almost). The back cover is made out of a 1-piece soft rubber material that feels good in the hand, and gives the phone a durable look to it, and WebOS is its usual sexy self.
Most people will be happy with the Pixi, and Palm says its a device aimed at teenagers and women, but I'm a heavy user, I need my emails push right away, I want my Google Voice up 1 second after I ask for it, I want to be able to use Slacker. So with that said, I'm going going, back to back to Blackberry. I know, I know some might say I didn't really give the device a chance, but in all honesty I just wanted to test it out for a day to see what it was made of. If you're eyeing the Pixi as your next device, Id say give it a week, Palm and Sprint will hear about all the issues people are having with it and make some changes and the phone will be great(ahem) within a month, but for the meantime, Im sticking with what I know.
Thanks for reading, share your thoughts below.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Next up, Blackberry updates are popping up all over the place. First, Blackberry IM clients (all of them) were updated to 2.5.30, from whatever version they used to be, so if you haven't already done so, go to on your phone and download the update to your IM client of choice.
In other Blackberry news; it seems that their is a leak problem over at Blackberry/RIM headquarters, several sources have unofficial and official versions of the OS available to download.

Sprint: OS for Blackberry Pearl, OS for the 8830 WE, OS for the Tour 9630, OS for the Curve 8330 or 8330m
AT&T: OS for Blackberry Bold 9000, New**OS for Blackberry Bold 9700
Nextel: OS for the Curve 8350
Verizon: OS for the Storm2 9550, OS for the Storm 9530

On second thought I am not going to post Unofficial OS's here but if you are feeling froggish and want to take the leap.  Check out: Blackberry Rocks OS List

How to:
Backup And Restore Your BlackBerry
Upgrade your BlackBerry Operating System (OS)
*I strongly recommend you make a backup before upgrading your phone in case anything goes wrong.

New this Week; Cell phones being released from Carriers

There are very few things I enjoy more than cracking open the box on a brand new handset, and I don't think I'm alone.  That is probably why there are unboxing videos of every major device released since the first iPhone.  So if you didn't know what new gear your local wireless provider will be unveiling this week, here is the low-down, feel free to post your unboxing on Youtube so that we can all marvel at your ability to open a box.

Blackberry Curve 8530   Date: 11/20/09  Price: $99 after MIR  Read: Crackberry Review
Blackberry Bold 9700  Date: 11/16/09  Price: $199 after MIR  Read: PhoneArena Review
Samsung Behold II  Date: 11/18/09  Price: $229.99 after MIR  Read: SlashGear Review
Palm Pixi  Date: 11/15/09  Price: $30 - $99 after MIR  Read: IntoGadget, Engadget Review
Blackberry Bold 9700  Date: 11/22/09  Price: $199 after MIR (expected)

*Keep in mind Wal-Mart is offering a free $100 gift card when you activate a Blackberry device.  Details Here.

Want More:
Watch: Salomondrin Over Review of Bold 9700 
Watch: PhoneDog Unboxing and HandsOn Samsung Behold II

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cell Phones and Digital Cameras form an uneasy alliance

Have you ever been on your way somewhere and thought about grabbing your digital camera, only to change your mind because you decided that your cell phone camera would work just as well?
Five years ago my uncle bought a digital camera for $250, it was one of the best cameras on the market at that price point and it had a whopping 8 Megapixel lens.  Recently Samsung unveiled the Samsung AMOLED 12M (SCH-W880) the worlds first 12-megapixel camera phone with 3x optical zoom.  Not long ago 2MP cameras were a luxury to most cell phone users, then we quickly evolved to 3.2 MPs, and now we have 5MP cameras with flash and HD video recording embedded into our devices. Check out the specs on the Motorola Droid.  The quality of camera phones is leading many consumers to completely abandon their digital cameras.  Ebay is overstocked with thousands of good quality cameras that nobody wants.
My cell phone has become my pda, my mp3 player, my communication device, and soon it'll also be my digital camera.  As the technology used in cellular devices improves, so will the quality of the cameras embedded in them.  Because consumers demand it.  Gone are the days when cell phone cameras could only produce grainy, polaroid style, 250 color snapshots, nowadays it is hard to distinguish between shots taken on a cell phone camera and those taken on a standard digital camera.

Okay, I may have exagerrated a bit in the last paragraph.  Professional photographers/keen observers can easily spot the difference between a cell phone shot and a digital camera shot, but honestly the average consumer probably can't and may not care all that much.  In the age of twitter, youtube, and facebook, the average consumer wants to be able to take a shot and share it with friends, family, and strangers instantly and the cell phone is the perfect tool for that.
The evolution of cell phones as cameras has made it imperative that camera makers make better and more innovative products.  Nikon seems to be leading the way with forward focused products such as the Nikon S1000PJ, which allows you to project images and videos stored on the device onto a flat surface.  They have also created an aggressive marketing campaign utilizing celebrity Ashton Kutcher that has generated plenty of buzz for the company.  Samsung is developing creative products such as the Samsung DualView TL225 and at the same time setting high standards for other handset makers by putting powerful cameras into their smartphones.  I think Samsung has the right idea.

Instead of competing with cell phones, maybe digital camera makers can do more to invest in the development of camera phones.  For example, Nokia and Carl Zeiss have a symbiotic relationship that seems to be beneficial to both companies.  The two companies partnered up to release the Nseries line of smartphones that featured Carl Zeiss's Tessar and Vario Tessar Lenses.  These devices offer consumers a quality digital camera experience and an outstanding mobile platform that helps them make the most out of the digital content they capture.  This synergy makes Nokia's handsets more appealing to consumers and gives Carl Zeiss the opportunity to get more consumers using their brand, which will in turn lead to increased sales for their other line of products.
The bottom line is that we as consumers have less devices to lug around, spend less time fumbling to get the camera out, and spend more time enjoying and capturing the moments that make life memorable.

The smartphone revolution and the future of mobile technology

Mobile technology is quickly changing the way we interact with not only each other but the world around us.  Facebook, Google, Youtube, Twitter, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, these names would have caused hard stares ten to fifteen years ago but today they are a part of our everyday vernacular.
One day I will reach into my pocket to write a message to my friend in Asia about the crazy day I've been having.  I will then call my mom in Europe to see how her vacation is going.  Ill play some video games with an opponent in another country.  Ill be interrupted by a message from a friend asking me whats going on tonight, after responding I'll finish my game.  Then, I will check the weather forecast for that night to see if I'll need my jacket later, all on one device.  Sounds too good to be true?
Smart devices, specifically smartphones are becoming utilitarian devices that can do it all.  One device to do all the things you can imagine doing and more.  The perfect robot, always at your command, instant access, instant gratification, always connected.  You want to check on the latest movies, you want to write a note, you want to read an article, shop for a new hat, watch a movie, listen to a song, learn a new language, etc etc.The movement is already underway and the smart devices are getting stronger, faster, better everyday.  In the very near future we will no longer be enslaved by wireless carriers who determine how much traffic we can or cannot utilize on our devices.  With the expansion of WIFI and the deployment of high speed cellular technology such as LTE and WiMax, our smart devices will be able to stay connected without being locked to a single carrier.
The future will see carriers offering strictly data services.  Our devices will be bought through subsidies or at up-front costs and then we will choose the data service plan we would like, much like buying a pre-paid plan.  1 day access $3, 1 week for $10, and 1 month for $30.  The prices will vary by carriers with the deciding factor being quality of service.  Those who can will pay $60/month for the best data service available while the less fortunate may opt for a less reliable and somewhat slower connection for $30/month.
I for one am very excited about this eminent future.  I love the rapid growth and development of mobile technology because it has and will continue to change the world we live in for the better.  The future will offer more freedom, more choices, and best of all cheaper, faster, and better gadgets, I'm really looking forward to it.