I recently purchased the Samsung Galaxy S4, as is detailed on Stepzero.org, my personal blog. I have to say, the phone is far, far better than my trusty old HTC EVO 3G was. Of course, when you wait three years between phone upgrades, it is pretty much assumed that the new phone will be vastly superior. It is also a big plus that I upgraded from Sprint to Verizon. While Verizon does cost more than Sprint, it also gets reception and better reception in far more areas. It is nice to be able to actually get reception in my house.
Recently, T-Mobile announced T-Mobile Jump. This program allows participants to upgrade their phone as often as twice a year, rather than requiring that you wait two years between phone upgrades. Is it worth it? Well, let’s look at the plan a little closer.
If you want to purchase an iPhone 5, for example, under a tradiitonal T-Mobile plan, you pay $145 up front, and then $21/month for 24 months, for a total of $649.
What about under Jump? Under Jump, you pay the same fees as above, plus $10/month. Thus, for six months of use, you pay $145 plus $31/month for six months, or $331. You can also hold on to the phone for a bit longer, but keep in mind, you continue to pay the $10/month surcharge. This will very quickly add up.
Compare this to the price of an iPhone 5 from a service such as Gazelle, which is $300. Under T-Mobile’s plan, you pay $331 for 6 months of use, and essentially get the remaining balance back for selling your phone–about $318. In short, using T-Mobile’s plan is about the same price as buying unlocked phones and upgrading every six months. However, buying unlocked phones outright also allows you to pick a carrier with the best service, and is much cheaper if you decide to keep the phone for longer than six months.
The Verdict? If you are set on T-Mobile, and must upgrade every 6 months, Jump is an easy way to do it. For anyone else, purchasing an unlocked phone is probably a better idea.
The Google Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ is the best deal in cell phones today. The phone has a pretty good set of features, including a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and a 4.65″ HD screen, running the latest version of Android. The Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ support 4G (HSPA+) data speeds, and will work on any GSM network, which in the United States primarily means T-Mobile or AT&T. It is available directly from Google for $349.
Now, an unlocked cell phone for $349 is pretty good, but what makes this deal best is that T-Mobile has an unlimited data prepaid plan for $30/month. You can then add Google Voice to your phone for telephone calls, and you can have a brand-new, 4G phone for $349, and then only $30/month. Considering that an average Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon bill is $80-$120, that is an insane deal. You save the entire price of buying the new phone within the first six or seven months, and the longer you stay on this plan, the more you save.
I am buying this as soon as my current cell phone contract expires, and I am really looking forward to significantly lower bills.
From a newspaper: Apple May Collect $5 To $15 For Each Android Handset Sold
Apple has approached Samsung and Motorola to ask for patent licensing fees of $5 to $15 per handset.
That’s according to Dow Jones Newswire, which reports that Apple is not particularly interested in earning money from Android. It mainly wants to make Android more expensive for resellers.
This is how the technology business works these days, but it is a sad reflection on patents and on the business. Rather than attempting to compete with Google’s Android in a way that benefits consumers–that is, by creating a better product or a cheaper product–Apple is attempting to compete merely by making it tougher for Google to do business.
I realize there are arguments on the other side of this coin: If Google did steal technology from Apple, and Google has not added enough value to the product itself (and patented its inventions), then Apple deserves this money. Nonetheless, for a company like Apple, which likes to market itself to believers as holier-than-thou, this move is a startling example of business-as-usual in the tech industry.
The Windows Phone Mango HTC Radar has been getting some great reviews lately. PocketNow has just released their Radar 4G review, and they gave the Radar 4G an impressive 4.5/5 Stars. Here is what they had to say about this device:
“I also love the size, weight, and build quality of the Radar 4G. The matte metal body is very sturdy and feels great in the hand. I feel like I can drop it and it will either bounce off the rubbery plastic bottom or bounce off the metal rim without much damage at all. It’s clearly not something that feels like it’s made of glass and will shatter at the slightest slip from a car dashboard.”
Read the full review at PocketNow.
ZDNet has posted a blog/review on the first Windows Mango device, the T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G:
“First time buyers who are eligible for the $100 price will like the solid design and form factor and smooth operation, but there are some compelling Android devices on T-Mobile too that do offer more.”
See the full story at ZDNet.
CNet posted a new Ask Maggie today, tackling the question of which Verizon phone to buy–an Android or an iPhone:
I’m a Verizon Wireless customer and I’m looking to upgrade my phone. I’ve been a long time BlackBerry user for years, but I’m so done with BlackBerry. And I’m ready for a much cooler smartphone. I don’t have an allegiance to Apple or Google, so I need some advice on what to get. I’m leaning toward an iPhone, but I’m wondering if there are some cool Android phones I should consider. Can you help me decide?
CNet’s answer was pretty good, and very thorough, but I think the answer here is a lot simpler. If you are a power user, buy an Android. For example, if you might consider rooting your phone (or you even know what rooting your phone means), you’ll likely be a lot happier with the tinkerability that Android provides.
If you are not a power user, and just want to browse the web, send an email, and play with the cute software Apple provides, buy an iPhone 4S. It won’t provide the deep customizability of an Android phone, but it will serve as a solid, reliable phone with slick software. The hardware isn’t the best out there, even today, but its software is Apple’s usual high-quality software.
For the record, I own an Android phone and love it, but I have friends with the iPhone 4S, and they are pretty fond of their phones, too. The best Android phones and the iPhone 4S are both great devices; you can’t realy go too wrong here.
For those who don’t know, NHL Gamecenter Live is the NHL’s online version of NHL Centre Ice or NFL Sunday Ticket. It allows you to watch home or away video feeds for all live, non-local hockey games. It blacks out local games, but aside from that, everything is on there. It also has some other awesome features, such as 10-20 minute short versions of games, classic games from the past, and letting you watch multiple games at the same time.
I usually watch either on my computer or on my Playstation 3. (The NHL Gamecenter Live application is free on the Playstation 3.) However, sometimes I am stuck at work, where they seem to block Gamecenter Live and its ports. Now, Gamecenter Live’s webpage loads pretty well on my phone–and HTC Evo 4G–but I was still wondering if there is a better way to view it on my phone. Is there a native Android app for NHL Gamecenter Live? I believe there was last year, but I can’t find one this year at all, which is unfortunate.
This isn’t very surprising: Apparently, the “richest” phone owners are likely to use BlackBerrys.
Why is this not surprising? Well, because rich here has been defined as making over $150,000. This includes basically every high-priced lawyer and banker in the country. The very same people who are typically tethered at the hip to their work phone. And those work phones, more often than not, are going to be based on the platform that best supports enterprise-class email systems and networks: BlackBerry.
This is a bit surprising to me: Verizon Communications CEO states that he expects Windows Phone to trump BlackBerry.
“The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem,” McAdam said during a talk at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference. “Over the next 12 months I think it will coalesce and you will start to see one emerge as a legitimate third ecosystem. In my opinion, it’ll be between RIM and Microsoft, and I expect Microsoft to come out victorious.”
Now, the surprising aspect to me is less that Verizon’s CEO thinks Windows Phone will trump BB, but that he would say it. It seems like bad business for a CEO to predict the failure of a major platform that Verizon supports. The actual prediction the Windows Phone will turmp BB isn’t as shocking: Windows Phone is a platform open to all manufacturers, and isn’t owned by a major phone company, unlike Android. This will likely lead more phone companies to support Windows Phone, even if only as an alternative platform to Android.
In contract, BB hasn’t done anything innovative for a long time. Their products consistently receive lackluster reviews, and very few people seem genuinely excited about new BB devices. The majority of people I know who own BB’s are just waiting out their contract until they can buy something new, or suffering with a BB paid for by their employer. Can BB change this reputation? Perhaps, but it will take a lot of effort.