Smartphones can do so many things today and combine multiple consumer electronic devices into a single slim, pocket-friendly device. With all these devices can do theres no reason to leave them at home. Before heading out on a trip here are some easy ways to make the most of the phone while away and help avoid bill shock when you get home.
1. Globe-Trotting Phones: Whenever traveling out of the country find out if your phone will work where you intend on going before you leave. There are some GSM-only phones that will work in multiple places around the world, but not everywhere. Depending on where youre going will dictate if a GSM phone-only will work. If not youll need a world phone. There are quite a few world phones available such as the Motorola Photon 4G and the DROID 3 by Motorola. These are true world phones because they work on both CDMA and GSM networks. That means its bound to work with cell phone networks around the world. To find out if you have a true globetrotting handset check the phones specs. Under networks youre looking for it to say CDMA and GSM. If the specs are confusing call your carrier theyll tell you if the phone will work outside of the US.
2. Vacation Rentals: If it turns out the phone you have wont work where youre going and youll need a phone its easy enough to get one before you go. Renting phones used to be a bit of a cumbersome process. Thats not the case anymore. Simply call your existing carrier before you leave and they can set you up with a compatible phone and plan. While you're at it ask them if there's anything that can be done to lower the plan for the phone you're leaving at home while you're away.
3. Data Basics: These days people text, e-mail, and surf the web on a smartphone far more than they talk. Doing these activities over a WiFi network isnt using data. However, when there is no WiFi connection this is done over a data network. The phone youre using is smart so its constantly running connectivity features in the background and its main task is to ping the mail server to check for any incoming mail. This requires data. If youre roaming out of the country all that connectivity is going to add up to one hefty bill.
Heres a tip: To only use WiFi while out of the country go into phone settings. Select connectivity and deactivate mobile networks. This will ensure that there is no data being used in the background.
4. Plan Ahead: If you do indeed have a phone that will work out of the country contact your carrier before you leave. Youll need to change some of the features of your plan to avoid bill shock when you return. Even if you have unlimited texting with your existing plan youll need to activate International texting. Its true texts sent and receive will cost more, but in the long run it will be a lot cheaper than if you dont activate such a plan. Plus, it will ensure that texting will work out of the country.
5. Memory Maker: (Read more)
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Cell phone plans||Camera||Smart phones|
If you like the slimmer style were seeing in the latest BlackBerry Bold models, then youll be happy to learn that the new BlackBerry Curves also sport a thinner profile than their predecessors. The smartphones will also have the latest BlackBerry OS 7, a 5-megapixel camera and the ability to record video (sorry, no 720p HD video), a faster processor, and can hold up to a 32GB micro SD card. Additionally, the new models will also support NFC (Near Field Communications), which is the technology used for things like Google Wallet and the ability to pay for things with the phone.
There will be three BlackBerry Curve models: Curve 9350 CDMA version (think Sprint and Verizon), Curve 9360 GSM version (think T-Mobile, AT&T, and countries abroad), and the Curve 9370 GSM/CDMA version making it a true world phone. The only real difference between the models is that the Curve 9350/9360 will have 512MB of on-board storage while the 9370 will have 1GB of on-board storage.
The BlackBerry Curve 9350 will be available for Sprint in early September and come with a 2GB microSD card. Well keep you updated on when the Curve will be available from other carriers.
Not sure what to get dad for Fathers' Day this year? Well consider getting him apps that are useful and fun to use. Whether you're shopping for a new dad or a dad about to send his kids off to college, there's sure to be an app in this group that they would like to use. You can always download one or all of the apps to your dad's or grandfather's phone while spending time with them during the holiday.
1. Turn new dads into a baby whisperer
Being a new dad while completely rewarding can have its challenges, like getting that new bundle of joy to sleep. No need to worry, there's an app for that. Get the new dad in your life the Baby Shusher app that literally shushes your baby to sleep. Don't worry about incoming calls waking an almost sleeping baby, there's a setting for that in the app.
Compatible OS: Android, iPhone
How to get it: Visit the app market residing on your phone or corresponding app store on your computer.
2. Add a doctor to your dad's phone
Not all dads are doctors like Awesome on the show Chuck, but that doesn't mean they can't have a virtual doctor in their cell phones. If they're the kind of person that always wants to diagnose an ailment, help them out with iTriage. The app is filled with content from physicians and includes useful information on thousands of symptoms, diseases, procedures and medication. It also includes a nationwide directory of every hospital, urgent care center, retail clinic, physician, pharmacy, and community health center.
Compatible OS: iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets
How to get it: Visit the app market residing on your phone or corresponding app store on your computer. You can also access it on a web-based enabled cell phone by visiting iTriage.com.
3. Get your dad a history lesson
Is your dad a history buff? Then he'll love the It Happened Here! mobile app. Basically this app turns a cell phone into a virtual tour guide. Dads can use it to learn more about history and pop culture events that occurred in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles or San Francisco. The events are presented in a list or on a map. Don't worry you don't have to be in the city to use it, but being there does make it more fun.
Compatible OS: iPhone, Android
Cost: $2.99 per city
How to get it: Visit the app market residing on your phone or corresponding app store on your computer.
|Apps||Windows Phone 7|
Today, Verizon added to new cell phones to its line-up of Android phones: the military-grade G'Zone Commando and the follow-up to the popular DROID Incredible, the DROID Incredible 2 by HTC. In short, the Casio G'Zone Commando is a rugged Android 2.2 smartphone with multiple GzGEAR modes to make the most of outdoor operation (Earth Compass, Walking Counter, Adventure Training, Trip Memory, Tides, Thermometer, Sun/Moon, and Star Gazer). It also sports many of the features we've come to expect in an Android phone including a 5-megapixel camera with LED light, stereo Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity with the ability to share the 3G data connection with up to five WiFi-enabled devices, and even includes high-security encryption for corporate e-mail.
If you liked the DROID Incredible by HTC you'll appreciate the updates found in the new DROID Incredible 2 by HTC. For starters, this cell phone is a bit wider since it has a 4-inch display and a bit faster with its 1GHz processor running the Android 2.2 OS out-of-the-box. Also, of note is the phone's 8-megapixel camera with the ability to record videos in 720p HD and its support of Adobe Flash Player so it will have a more fluid web-based video experience. Although this cell phone won't be a 4G LTE model, you can still share the smartphone's data connection with up to five other WiFi-enabled devices via the Mobile HotSpot feature.
Both cell phones will be available later this week.
|Topics:||In The Know||Verizon Wireless||Camera||Smart phones|
Today, HTC announced its first Android-based CDMA world phone, the HTC Merge.There aren't a lot of specs available about the HTC Merge, but we do know it will run Android 2.2, sport HTC Sense UI, have a 5-megapixel camera with flash that can also record video in 720p HD, and support 3G connectivity. Additionally, the HTC Merge will have a 3.8-inch touchscreen display (that's just slightly larger than the DROID Incredible by HTC) and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. There should be more details available about the HTC Merge when it becomes available this Spring.
|Topics:||In The Know||Camera||Smart phones||International|
Traveling to Taiwan or Jamaica? Imagine accessing Sprint's 4G service in those countries. Now, you can. Of course, you'll need a few things to make that happen. For starters, you'll need a compatible 4G device such as the Sprint 3G/4G U600 USB Modem and Sprint's SmartViewSM Connection Manager. The software will help you connect a computer to an available, compatible 4G network. To use the service in places like Jamaica or Taiwan you'll need to purchase and unlimited, 24-hour day pass that costs $14.99 before taxes and surcharges.
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Sprint||Cell phone plans||International|
The FCC has declared this week as "Wireless World Travel Week," and as such has offered some handy tips that can be found in this eWeek article. All the tips are extremely useful and interesting including the one about how a smartphone can be a "tempting target for invasion by the government in some areas." I've been testing cell phones a long time and have made it a practice to take a test phone with me when I travel to see the experience. For example, when I went to Argentina I wanted to see how easy it was to get a prepaid SIM card and stick it in a compatible GSM phone. Finding the SIM card wasn't initially easy until I realized they were sold at local convenient kiosks similar to the way prepaid calling cards are sold at 7-11. Also, the phone had to be unlocked or the SIM card wouldn't work. Having a cell phone with service for that country made it easier to call for reservations at restaurants or keep in touch with the people I was traveling with if we decided to spend our days separately.
On that note, I just got back from a trip to Panama. Initially, I didn't want to take a cell phone with me so I didn't do any preparations in order to have one to test while I was out of the country. I also had no idea what types of outlets the country used. An important point, especially since many countries have a different outlet and if Panama was such a place I'd need to take an adapter. The only thing I knew for certain was that if you wanted to use a phone in Panama it had to be a GSM phone. It was literally a hour before I left for my flight to Panama that I decided to take the DROID Incredible with me.
My rational: I knew I'd need a cell phone when I was arriving back in the states to coordinate a ride home from the airport. I also really wanted to have music with me and the Incredible had tons of my music stored on its 8GB of internal memory. I decided to take the charger too thinking I could always charge it at the airport between flights if I had drained the battery listening to music or playing games while on the plane. What I didn't think about when making the decision was WiFi, Skype, or even the built-in 8-megapixel camera on the Incredible - features that would definitely come in handy.
|Topics:||Somethin' To Talk About||Verizon Wireless||Music||Cell phone plans|
T-Mobile's Nokia Nuron has a lot to offer people new to the smartphone world. First, it's one of the few smartphones available that doesn't require a data plan. It also comes with plenty of fun and interesting apps. Case in point is the OVI Maps application that's included on the cell phone. Check out LetsTalk's Pat Connor takes test drive of OVI Maps in the video below.
|Topics:||In The Know||Nokia||Symbian||Smart phones|
Delta and LetsTalk.com have teamed up to offer you more than just a great deal when buying a cell phone online. If you have a Delta SkyMiles account that purchase will earn you 4,000 miles. You can add those miles to existing miles to purchase products from the SkyMiles Marketplace, get magazine or newspaper subscriptions, pay for tickets or redeem award travel, or if youre feeling charitable donate the miles to a SkyWish charity. So, how do you get 4,000 free miles? Simply buy a new cell phone and plan at LetsTalk.com/Delta. The offer still applies for contract extensions and even wireless data cards and netbooks. You can also earn 10 miles for every $1 spent when purchasing a cell phone accessory such as a Bluetooth headset or carrying case. Not enrolled in Delta SkyMiles? No worries, as long as youre shopping at LetsTalk.com/Delta you can still sign up before you finish your purchase and receive the 4,000 miles.
|Topics:||Observed||Verizon Wireless||AT&T Wireless||Sprint|
|Cell phone plans||Travel||T-Mobile|
Tis the season for holiday travel and no matter where you're plans may take you these tips will help you avoid unwanted cell phone bills.1. Crossing Borders. If you're plans are taking you out of the country this holiday season and you want to take your cell phone with you. First, see what cell phone networks (GSM, CDMA) are supported at your destination. Next, find out if your cell phone will work there by checking with your carrier. If you have a CDMA (Sprint, Verizon) handset although your phone might work in another country you'll need to set up the appropriate plan with your carrier before you leave. If you have a GSM cell phone (AT&T, T-Mobile) and you have an unlocked phone you'll likely be able to get a SIM card at your destination. This will be helpful for placing calls at your destination, but that's not always the case for calling the states. At which point you should check with your carrier to see what you need to do to call home.
2. Avoid Getting Lost. Most cell phones these days have a GPS capability and the carriers offer services that will help get you where you're going. These navigation services can cost extra, but they are considered features and you can activate and deactivate them without changing the length of your contract. If you don't want to do that, there's always Google Maps that is free and can be downloaded to many cell phones.
3. Evaluate Your Text Messaging Plan. During the holidays people tend to send more text messages whether it's to wish holiday greetings or a happy new year. While the sentiment is nice, the message your receive still gets counted on your messaging plan. If you have a limited text messaging plan maybe think about increasing it during the holiday season so you can enjoy the messages you receive. Text messages are also considered a feature and will not change the length of your contract.
4. Keep Track of the Weather. Many cell phones offer free weather apps, such as WeatherBug that can be downloaded directly to your cell phone and if you already have a data plan checking that app on your cell phone (Read more)
|Topics:||Phone Smarts||Text messaging||Cell phone plans||Camera|
|Topics:||In The Know||Sprint||Samsung||Windows Mobile|