Thursday, December 22, 2011

Verizon offers double data for 4G LTE smartphone customers

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: If you have a 4G LTE smartphone on Verizon and are under a data cap, make sure to contact Verizon to take advantage of the double data offer.

I purchased my own Verizon LTE HTC ThunderBolt early this year and am grandfathered into the unlimited data plan. I actually paid a significant amount of money to buy the iPhone 4S and keep this unlimited plan. After Verizon killed off unlimited data those of us in the smartphone community warned people with LTE devices that you would eat through your data cap in no time at all. It seems that Verizon is having a slight change in heart now and is offering double date for 4G LTE smartphone owners.

This limited time offer lets you keep the same monthly fee, $30, $50, or $80, while doubling your data allotment from 2GB to 4GB, 5GB to 10GB, and 10GB to 20GB. This should hopefully let you use your LTE device without worrying about exceeding your monthly allotment. I no longer have a LTE device to track how much I use on a monthly basis, but image 10GB would be plenty. You can also add a 2GB mobile hotspot for $20, but I don’t see any details of that limit doubling.

Current 4G LTE smartphones on Verizon Wireless include:

Motorola Droid RazrSamsung Droid ChargeMotorola Droid BionicHTC ThunderBoltSamsung StratospherePantech BreakoutLG Revolution

You can always use their data calculator to see how much data you can anticipate using in a month.

Thanks to GottaBeMobile.com for the heads-up on this news.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Galaxy Nexus, RAZR, Nokia World, and Vox (MobileTechRoundup show #249)

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: The past week was primarily an Android week as we saw a couple big announcements. Next week we will see what Nokia has been working on for Windows Phone.

Listen here (MP3, 50 minutes)

Subscribe to the show with this link (RSS)

motr_cover.jpg

We spent the last show primarily talking about the Apple iPhone 4S and in MobileTechRoundup show #249 spent just a couple minutes on it before moving to the Google Samsung Nexus device and Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. We also talked a bit about the Motorola Droid RAZR. Next week I will be in London for Nokia World and it’s a safe bet I will see the Sea Ray Windows Phone device that has the same form factor as the Nokia N9. Kevin and I also chatted a bit about the Amazon Kindle Fire and new Kobo Vox eReader device.

Please let me know if you have any topics you want us to cover on a future show.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Spotify tops the charts for multi-platform support

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: There are many competing streaming music clients, but Spotify is working hard to become the leader in a crowded market. You can rest assured your platform is covered with a Spotify client.

Readers know I use devices from nearly every platform, including my new MeeGo-powered Nokia N9, and thus it is important to me to find software and services across multiple platforms. This is especially true for subscription-based services, such as streaming music clients. Thanks to some fairly new releases, Spotify is now at the top of my streaming music chart and I subscribed as a premium user.

My T-Mobile SIM is currently residing in my cyan (blue) Nokia N9 and the hardware and slick OS are keeping the device in my pocket and out of my bag. There is an official Spotify app for MeeGo on the N9, but I prefer to use the 3rd party MeeSpot client that gives you a simple tap and hold option on a playlist to listen to that full playlist. You can also sync music for offline listening and even scrobble music to Last.fm. Spotify also just launched this week on Windows Phone 7/7.5 and it looks beautiful with the Metro UI fully integrated.

I was using Zune quite a bit, but that is limited to Windows Phone and streaming through a computer web browser. Slacker Radio was also one of my favorites, but there is no MeeGo client and the Symbian client constantly stutters when trying to do more than just listening to music. Spotify now runs on the following platforms, with dedicated clients for each:

Windows XP/Vista/7Mac OS XLinux (Preview build)Windows Phone 7/7.5Windows MobileiOSAndroidBlackBerryMeeGoSymbianwebOS

As you can see Spotify covers EVERY mobile platform and if you are a person who switches a lot or owns multiple devices on different platforms it is clear that Spotify is also the one for you.

I questioned if Spotify was the best mobile service when it launched and I was critical of it not having a radio or easy discovery method like other services. However, the integrated Facebook support with easy sharing of playlists has convinced me with just a bit of playlist setup the service is excellent.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Navigon for Windows Phone 7 provides turn-by-turn voice navigation

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: A weakness in the current version of Mango is the lack of a solid GPS navigation solution, but we now have Navigon coming to the rescue.

In early September I posted on the news that Navigon was bringing their app to Windows Phone 7 and then last night I saw that the folks at WPCentral.com spotted Navigon in the U.S. and European Marketplaces. This is pretty good news for Windows Phone owners since the Bing Maps implementation is lacking quite a bit, especially with the need to tap to hear directions for the next turn.

We should eventually see Nokia Windows Phone devices with Nokia Maps, but for now you may want to consider Navigon for Windows Phone. Navigon is available for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices and for the special introductory $29.99 price in the U.S. you get all the states that will consume 1.6GB (lets you use this for offline navigation) and there does not appear to be a way to just pick and choose what states you want to install. Thankfully, I have two 32GB Windows Phone devices so have plenty of room to try out Navigon.

Navigon for Windows Phone 7 includes:

Spoken turn-by-turn directionsVisual lane guidanceLive traffic information and reroutingSpeed AssistantPedestrian navigation optionsLive Tiles support

You will also find the augmented reality function Reality Scanner, which provides an instant and effortless way of identifying nearby destinations while on foot; an option to select address information directly from the phone’s contact list; and the ability to save a favorite or home address as a shortcut on the start screen.

I have tried Navigon’s application on other platforms and find features like the lane assist to be extremely useful when traveling in new cities. The full retail price will be $49.99, but is available until 15 November for just $29.99. There is a European purchase option as well.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Microsoft goes big with Windows Phone 7.5 U.S. device launch

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Microsoft is holding a major device launch event in New York today as we see Mango hardware finally appearing on two major U.S. carriers.

Those of us with existing Windows Phone devices were able to upgrade to WP 7.5 (aka Mango) over the last month and then a couple weeks ago we saw the new Nokia Windows Phones revealed for countries outside the U.S. Today in New York city, Microsoft is holding a huge (55 feet tall phone display) event announcing that we are finally getting some Mango devices in stores.

All the details on the new devices can be found on the Windows Phone team blog. I already wrote about the HTC Radar 4G on T-Mobile and may be picking one up for myself soon. New devices available now or coming soon include:

HTC Radar 4G (T-Mobile): This device is available for $99 after $50 mail-in rebate and looks like a little brother to the HTC Flyer with the aluminum shell.Samsung Focus S (AT&T): This flagship Samsung Windows Phone sports a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display and if I was on AT&T I would be jumping on this one. Cost is $199 with 2-year contract.Samsung Focus Flash (AT&T): This is the budget Windows Phone at just $49, but still sports some decent specs with a 3.7 inch display.HTC Titan (AT&T): This flagship sports a huge 4.7 inch display, but is so thin it still feels great in your hand. It is coming soon for $199.

We don’t see any news for Sprint or Verizon Windows Phone fans who only have a single device available even today. Hopefully we will hear something soon for these carriers.

In other Windows Phone news, Spotify is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Windows Phone owners now have plenty of music options with Zune, Spotify, Slacker, and more. As a Zune Pass subscriber I am not sure I see the appeal of a 3rd party service, but I’ll have to check it out since I do have a Spotify Premium account to use with my Nokia N9 and iPhone 4S.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Unlock your Windows Phone for full access to developer utilities

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Microsoft does not give consumers the ability to capture screenshots in Windows Phone, but now you can easily unlock your device for development purposes.

I purchased my HD7 and Dell Venue Pro last year and when given the chance I updated the OS as early as possible while also installing 32GB microSD cards in both devices. Thus, I was interested in trying out the ChevronWP7 experience where I could unlock my device and side load apps.

The developers on the ChevronWP7 team worked with Microsoft to release a valuable tool that has little risk of damaging your device. You can now visit the ChevronWP7 Labs page and then pay $9 for each device token to unlock your devices. I unlocked my Dell Venue Pro yesterday, primarily so I could finally use a screen capture tool to take review screenshots.

You will need to use a Windows computer and have the free WP7 SDK loaded to use the ChevronWP7 unlock utility. After you unlock your device you can develop and test apps or find ones that others have created, such as:

Screen Capture v3 - Take screenshots from your Windows Phone 7 to share a funny SMS or illustrate an app on a blog postWebserver (Mango) - Why wouldn’t you run a web server on your phone? (be sure to download the “no-interop” version)Folders for Windows Phone Mango - Organize apps and settings into folders on the Start screenMango Battery Status - Check your phone’s battery stat in a Live Tile and graph your battery usage

Have any other readers tried out ChevronWP7? If so, do you have any other apps or utilities to recommend to me and the readers?

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Humorous and effective ads appear for Samsung Galaxy devices

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Samsung is the leader in Android smartphones and there are a couple new ads that show some compelling reasons to consider their products this holiday season.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the smartphone line experience and how for geeks like me it was a fun event. Samsung just starting showing some new ads and the one with people in line for the next iPhone is classic for those millions of us that have stood in line for iPhones over the years.

I wrote about my top 10 smartphones for 2011 and many readers stated their opinion that I was dead wrong about the Samsung Galaxy S II and that it should have been higher. That phone is actually the top vote getter in the poll too. I agree it is a great device and will do well on all carriers. The commercial below is hilarious and matches my experiences in iPhone lines. What do you think of the ad?

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is also coming soon to Verizon and I have to admit it is going to be tough for me to resist picking one up with all of the excellent specifications and the fact it runs Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung Google released this ad below for the Galaxy Nexus too.

This Galaxy Nexus ad seems effective to me and gets away from comparing specs or scaring the heck out of you (Why would you ever want a Motorola Droid robot weapon?) and does what Apple has effectively done by showing how seamsless things just work without detailed explanations.

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.


View the original article here