Archive for December, 2011

Verizon customers experiencing third data outage this month

Verizon customers experiencing another data outage

December is not shaping up to be a good month for Verizon. Beginning late yesterday morning, reports from Verizon customers of their third data blackout left many unable to access internet, email and applications from their mobiles. Nearly 24 hours later, some customers are reporting their data use has yet to be restored.

Although the outage seems to only affect 4G running phones in certain areas of the country such as Wisconsin, New York, Arkansas and Oregon, another blackout has to be pretty frustrating for Verizon customers. What leaves me puzzled about the situation is the lack of communication coming from the folks at Verizon on the cause of the outages and how they’re managing it.

It will be interesting to see how Verizon handles the PR side of the outages in the next couple days. Are three outages in month enough to spur a mass exodus of Verizon customers to other carriers?

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Tech Review: HTC Vivid

Last month, we wrote about an unexpected connection between HTC’s new mobile Vivid and Vivid Entertainment, an adult entertainment company. Though it’s a little surprising HTC has not changed the name of the mobile as Vivid Entertainment requested, we were nonetheless excited to see what the Vivid from AT&T was all about.

The HTC Vivid is an Android platform running mobile with a large 4.5- inch touch screen. The screen’s size, combined with its crisp resolution, made web browsing on a mobile easy. Utilizing the 4G LTE network, loading or switching to multiple apps and web pages is painless on the Vivid. If you want to watch your favorite TV show on the go or need catch up on some reading, the Vivid is installed with HTC Watch and Amazon Kindle.

HTC Vivid

The large screen made texting easy as well. I love a touch screen keyboard as much as the next techie, but I’ve found texting to be a pain on smaller screens (some of my texts could earn a spot on Damn You Auto Correct!). There’s a sense of relief to be able to send a text to Mom without the screen double check.

The major downside to the Vivid is how heavy it is. At 6.2 ounces, the Vivid weighs more than the mammoth HTC Titan I recently reviewed, which weighed in at 5.6 ounces. The Vivid could double as a nice paperweight. If you don’t mind that the Vivid isn’t exactly pocket- friendly, this could be a match for you.

Overall I really like the HTC Vivid. This is a great mobile if you want a smart phone with a larger than average screen looking to utilize all the 4G network has to offer.  Though not the most portable mobile, the Vivid is definitely worth looking into if you’re in the market for a new smartphone.

If you’re interested in the HTC Vivid, Decide.com suggests buying now. You can pick one up from AT&T for $99 with a 2 year contract.

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A penny for your tweets?

Can you put a price on a tweet? What about a Facebook page? A pending lawsuit between a company and former employee may begin to answer these questions. Noah Kravitz of Oakland, Calif., left his job at Phonedog.com and took the company Twitter account with 17,000 followers along with him when he left.  Though Phonedog.com granted Kravitz permission to take the Twitter account, the company had a change of heart and sued Kravitz $2.50 per follower over an eight-month period. All together, Phonedog.com was seeking damages of $340,000.

 In a marketing and advertising world where social media is nearly as important as television commercials, there is a lot at stake if a company loses its social media outlet. The pending lawsuit between Kravitz and Phonedog.com also raises many questions of ownership, starting with social media channels owned by the company and expanding to those owned by its individual employees. Does a company have rights to an employee’s Facebook page?

As social media’s influence continues to grow, I’m certain we will see many similar lawsuits in the future. It’ll be interesting to see how the legal system will monetize the value of social media.

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Tech Blog Review: Motorola Electrify

After trying out Motorola’s power pack yesterday, we thought we’d see what the Motorola Electrify was all about. The Motorola Electrify from US Cellular is a 4.3 inch touch screen mobile phone running on an Android platform. Overall I would say the Electrify is a great entry level phone for someone who may be new to smartphones.

Motorola Electrify

The Electrify is a user-friendly smartphone with a no-fuss touch screen. I actually could see my non tech savvy parents being able to handle this phone with relative ease (though my mother’s first encounter with an Android phone was a disaster).  While texting and phones calls are simple with the Electrify, it still includes all the bells and whistles you want in a smartphone. Amazon Kindle, social networking sites, email, video chat and web browsing are all available. The Electrify is noticeably lighter than the iPhone 4s which may appeal to someone looking for a less bulky phone.

Though easy to use, the Electrify has a couple underwhelming qualities.  The camera is just average and may not be the best fit for someone wanting to take a lot of pictures and video. Aside from the camera, web browsing seemed slower than recent phones I’ve tried out. Depending how important these features are to you, the Electrify may be worth looking into.

The Motorola Electrify is a good fit for someone looking to for an easy to use smartphone but doesn’t really need high-speed browsing or the best camera. I like the screen size and would even recommend it to my parents. The Electrify is a good phone for Motorola as they’ve struggled after the RAZR hey-day. As someone who is in the market for a new phone, this phone has definitely peaked my interest.

If you’re interested in the Motorola Electrify, you can pick up the phone from US Cellular for $99 after a $100 mail-in rebate. It’s a great price for someone in the market for a new smartphone and worth checking out.

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Tech Review: Motorola P793 Universal Dual-Charging Portable Power Pack

Motorola P793 Universal Dual-Charging Portable Power Pack

As someone who hates carrying around my power cord and searching for the nearest outlet, I was excited to try out a portable power pack to easily charge my phone on the go. Motorola’s P793 Universal Dual-Charging Portable Power Pack is a slim, no-fuss device that makes keeping your mobile charged hassle free.

 Though the power pack is Motorola, it’s compatible with most brands including Android, Blackberry, HTC and Samsung. The power pack claims to be able to juice up an iPhone, but it charger definitely wasn’t a fit. Perhaps there is some sort of adapter that needs to be included?

The power pack isn’t much to look at, but a power pack doesn’t need any bells and whistles. It’s lightweight and slim, which makes it easy to slip into a bag before you head out the door. The lights on the power pack indicate how much power is left to charge your phone and that’s about all you see. It’s great that device automatically shuts down after 30 seconds without a connection, ensuring that you aren’t wasting the power pack.

After charging my nearly dead phone with the power pack for several hours, I found that my battery had jumped from nothing to around 75-percent charged. It’s not perfect, but definitely enough to get me through the day. It may not look exciting but it gets the job done.

The Motorola P793 and other power packs are widely available at electronic stores. You can grab one like ours from AT&T for $40.

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AT&T breaks it off with T-Mobile

The big news in the telecomm world this week is the abandonment of AT&T’s efforts to merge with T-Mobile. The $39-billion mega merger would have created the nation’s largest service provider, but had become entangled in Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission investigations and anti-trust concerns.

AT&T and T-Mobile merger falls through

While opponents of the merger are pleased with this announcement, ditching the merger comes at a significant cost for both AT&T and T-Mobile, not to mention customers who were looking forward to the expanded network. AT&T will be forced to shell out a hefty fee of $4 billion of cash and assets to T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom. For T-Mobile, the fourth-largest national cellular provider, the failed merger leaves the firm more likely for a second-round acquisition by another interested service provider. 

Although the DOJ and FCC had legitimate concerns and questions about the proposed merger, the most significant end cost may end up on consumers’ shoulders As more people use mobile devices to surf the web, send emails and stream video, broadband demand is continuing to skyrocket. The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile would have meant more data resources for more consumers.

I have no doubt that both AT&T and T-Mobile will look for other partners, and I’ll be eager to see what deals are ahead for them in the future. What are your thoughts?

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Tech Review: iFrogz Luxe Microbuds with Microphone

With nearly an infinite amount of headphones and ear buds available, we thought we’d test out a pair for anyone looking for a last-minute gift or has a knack for losing them (guilty). The iFrogz Luxe Microbuds with a built-in microphone can easily transition from your mobile while on the go or your laptop when you’re in the office.

iFrogz Luxe Microbuds with microphone

If you don’t mind jamming things inside your ear, the iFrogz ear buds may be a good fit for you. Honestly, the feel of the ear buds kind of freaked me out because they feel as if they are pushed much further into the ear canal than typical ear buds. I might have unnaturally small ears, but it’s definitely unnatural to have to push those ear buds as far as I did. Even after all pushing, they still fell out. Again, maybe it’s just my ears but the three sizes of ear pieces just weren’t working out for me.

If you manage to get these ear buds in and have them stay in place, the sound quality is impressive.  I wasn’t expecting to the sound to be so clear and the noise canceling quality to be so effective. I was also surprised by the amount of bass I was able to hear from the ear buds.  If I could actually get them to fit in my ear, I’d purchase them in a heartbeat.

If you’re looking to pick them up before the holiday, I’d pick them up now. Decide.com has prices rising in the next two weeks. You can grab a pair like ours for $25 from the AT&T store or pick them up at another electronics store.

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