Monday, December 31, 2012

Game Review: Paper Dash

 

In a flashback to the past, our childhood memories of chucking papers at houses has come back in mobile form. Paper Dash, by Random Salad Games LLC, is one of those classic games that has been done up right. Taking the arcade classic “Paperboy” by Atari (1984) and making the controls touchscreen friendly has been done to perfection.

Paper Dash sets up very quickly with a boy and his bike heading down the road. Then the fun begins with a major accident that causes $10,000 in damages. Your job is to get your paper route, earn $10,000 and pay off all the damages. You earn additional money on your route by collecting pop cans and bottles – among other bonus items. In our first 15-20 minutes of play, we earned $200, so that $10,000 should take quite some time to earn.

The game play is rather simple, just like the original, but as the levels become more advanced, the play becomes harder and harder – almost to the point of being too hard. Paper Dash starts out in the suburbs with nice streets, easy to hit paper boxes and very few obstacles. As you advance, there are more and more objects to avoid, boxes to hit and papers to find.

Paper Dash is one of those perfect classic arcade adaptations that comes along once in a while. Too often, classics become watered down versions of their historic versions, but thankfully, this is not one of those cases. If we were to pick on the low point off the game, it would be that there really needs to be more levels. Hopefully the developer will release a paid version that allows you to go further in the game than the free version, but for now, the ad supported version will keep you entertained for quite some time.

Paper Dash is free in ad supported format, which do not impede the game play at all. You can download it via the Windows Phone Store on your Windows Phone 7, 7.5 or 8 device. You can go directly to the market link by clicking here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

App Review: SpeedDial Pro

Probably one of the biggest frustrations in Windows Phone is the lack of "auto fill" dialing when calling or texting someone. Auto fill is simply the act of the contact list filtering out people based on the numbers or letters you have already entered. For example, if you press 425 on your device, all of the 206 area codes become a non match and fall out of the list. It makes finding those contacts quicker and easier, but the native Windows Phone dialer doesn't support it.

Fortunately, there is an option in Speed Dial Pro. Simply hit the Speed Dial tile and you are off and running to a simple dialer that allows filtering by name or number. It also allows for quick touch to call or long press to text. With flawless filtering during  testing, this is a must have for anyone missing that Auto Fill feature from their older phones.

The great news is that the $.99 version is free today through App Deals. Grab this deal before it goes away. Try it out and if the features aren't what you are looking for, the stock dialer is just a click of a tile away.

You can pick up App Deals by visiting this link http://bit.ly/tVRuuL and then download their free App assortment daily from the App directly.

Speed Dial Pro: 4 out of 5 stars (free/$.99)

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pac Man DX and Galaga Legions DX Drop To 99 Cents

For those looking for a bit of mobile entertainment this Christmas weekend, the Store has a hookup for you. Both Pac Man DX and Galaga Legions DX are heavily discounted this weekend to a measly $.99 each. To make this offer even hotter, they are both XBox Live titles.

So, instead of spending hours listening to that boring conversation about Aunt Betty's corn removal surgery, eat some power pellets and blast some aliens. Not only will it be a fun throwback, but you'll start earning a few more achievements for your XBox Live account.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Taking A Screen Shot In Windows Phone 8

One of my favorite new features on my Nokia Lumia 810 with Windows Phone 8 is the screen capture feature. For years, I rooted Android phones to accomplish this. As a blogger, you almost need that functionality to use the device for reviews and such.

Step in to the fold, Windows Phone and its lack of screen shooting action. Well, at least until now. Windows Phone 8 certainly added this needed feature, and the folks at Microsoft made it completely simple to use. All the user has to do is press the power button and the Windows key and you have an instant snap shot of your screen.

Reviews take note, I have screen capture back and games to play. Here's to another improvement found in Windows Phone 8, and to hoping it makes the cut to Windows Phone 7.8.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

App Review: Games Gone Free

I'm always looking for a better way to find those free Apps and games from the Windows Phone Store. The latest submission to the freebie finder pool is Games Gone Free. The simple App places Apps into categories ranging from price to style of App.

The App is quite well designed, but thr offers aren't all that great. First, many of the "sale" Apps aren't really sales or a decent deal when compared to the regular Store. The Apps that show as $1.00 off are all regular freebies in the Store and the rest are all the normal ad-supported variants of the paid versions.

It isn't that Games Gone Free isn't a helpful App, but the feeling one gets is that the Apps that are highlighted are a special deal. Unlike AppDeals, there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to the setup, but if all you need is a much nicer shopping experience for the Windows Phone Store, they definitely deliver there.

Games Gone Free is available in the Windows Phone Store and is free.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: The T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 810

When looking at a new device, we tend to shy away from strictly looking at the spec sheet. Sure, there are plenty of ways those powerhouse phones can dominate, but to the average user the overall experience the device offers is far more important than any quad-core processor or HD screen. With that said, we begin our look at the Nokia Lumia 810.

The Feel

The Nokia Lumia 810, for lack of a better term, feels perfect in hand. Smaller hands appreciate the 4.3" display’s compact size, while those with larger grips feel right at home with the slightly bulkier feel of the 810. The soft-touch plastic back is smooth in hand, and virtually eliminates the thought of it slipping from any surface, including a hand. The 810 has its charging port and speakers on the bottom, camera, power and volume rockers on the right and the earphone jack on the top. There is nothing on the left side of the device. Overall, the design is very pleasant and feels great in hand.

The Performance

The Nokia Lumia 810 isn’t going to win any awards in the spec department, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. Powered by Windows Phone 8, it’s easy to see why Microsoft partnered with Nokia. You can take all those iOS and Android speed tests and spec sheets and throw them out on this one. The combination of software and hardware has formed a symbiotic relationship. The 810 is the perfect blend of the hardware the average user will ever want and the software to drive it all simply and effectively. Sure, there’s no PureView camera and it doesn’t have a 12000 Gigapixel screen, but where the rubber meets the road, the Lumia 810 simply performs brilliantly.

The Experience

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Coming from Windows Phone 7, expectations for 8 were pretty high. Adjustable tiles, NFC, Data Sense and even Kid Mode were all things that jumped off the page as great additions. Honestly, except for the adjustable tiles, Windows Phone 8 like Windows Phone 7. That’s not a bad thing of course, it’s just strange that this ‘big update’ that required a complete hardware reset doesn’t feel different. Looking at the hardware support for Windows Phone 8, the added bonus of using SD storage and dual-core processors was probably the biggest improvement and the 810 takes advantage of both. Dusting off the old 32GB class 10 card and firing up the 810 for the first time yielded a flawless marriage.

The Live Tiles appeared quickly and ready for be moved. The device was aglow in T-Mobile Pink and green. The blacks were darker than normal LCD’s with Nokia Clear Black on board. The colors popped from the screen with almost perfect saturation. The Lumia 810 gets an almost perfect saturation mark as the colors were almost a bit overdone, but it is an absolutely gorgeous display. Scrolling was extremely fast and smooth. Installing Apps over T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network went almost as fast as running the device off a 20Mbps WiFi connection. Overall, a user couldn’t have a more perfect out of the box experience with a device.

The other point to touch on during the experience portion of this review is the amazing Nokia Windows Phone Software that is available. Smart Shoot is a pretty useful imaging tool that shoots 5 images of the same group of people in rapid fire mode. You can then select which face you want from each person and stitch the perfect image together. Cinemagraph actually adds animation to your photos… You just have to try it to see how impressive it is. Nokia Music is the ultimate free offline/streaming music client for Nokia phones. Once you try it, you’ll have to decide if you still need unlimited data or not. Of course, there’s Nokia Maps, possibly the best mobile navigation software out, and the only one that offers full offline mapping now. And last but not least Nokia City Lens. Want to find a restaurant? Pick up your phone, open City Lens and tap Food. It shows you everything in town and then some…

As far as handling social media and email accounts, the 810 also handled my 5 email accounts, Facebook account, 2 Google Voice accounts (check out MetroTalk and GoVoice if you are a Google Voice user), and my 4 Twitter accounts easily and within minutes and I was connected to my social world once again. Windows Phone has done this since day one, and still continues to impress everyone that sees it with this feature.

Overall Impressions

The Nokia Lumia 810 is billed as a ‘lower end’ device by most of the reviews out there. Sure, it’s not as prolific as its big brother, the Lumia 920, but the 810 isn’t aimed at the same market. The 810 is for the business professional that needs a good camera, a solid device that takes a hit or two. A device that will deliver corporate emails and personal ones. A device that will let them keep tabs on their LinkedIn network and Facebook. It allows a quick edit to that PowerPoint before going into the office. It’s the ultimate pocket business machine, or the perfect mobile office.

The Nokia Lumia 810 is also perfect for those that are social media fanatics. The Lumia 810 and it’s HSPA+42 speeds simply make the perfect combination for music and movie lovers. With over 120,000 real Apps in the Windows Store, there’s enough entertainment to keep you busy for hours on end. The 8MP camera will capture all those moments that need to be put on Facebook or Twitter with ease. Overall, the average social mogul will appreciate how simple Windows Phone and the Nokia 810 make life.

There is an argument to be made about over-paying for the 810 at $149.99 due to the fact that the 920 is cheaper on other carriers. This becomes a moot point if you look at non-contract pricing or even the sales that are currently running on the 810. The Nokia software that is available in the Windows Phone Store adds an incredible value to the handset. These include Nokia Music (offline music listening), Nokia Maps/Drive (offline – yes no data connection needed – mapping and navigating), and many others.

As a proponent of non-contract wireless, the $499.99 non-contract price is a bit tougher sell, but one has to remember that this phone will be upgradable for quite some time. If you factor that a Lumia 800, which the 810 seems to be a perfect replacement to is still selling used for $200-300, even after the not-upgradable announcement, one has to assume that the Lumia 810 will hold its value just as well.

Overall, if you are happy with your T-Mobile coverage and are looking for that next upgrade right now, check out the Nokia Lumia 810. The device is solid, offers an amazing assortment of Nokia specific Windows Phone software and delivers an experience that impressed even this reviewer. The Nokia Lumia 810 is available now and still in stock from Amazon Wireless and T-Mobile stores to have in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Are HTC 8x Sales Soft Compared To The Nokia Lumia 920?

In the world of all things cellphones, there isn’t a better indicator of the hottest devices than the Top 100 Rankings on AmazonWireless.com. If you hit that page right now, this is the images that presents itself in all its glory…

You are then met with the Top 10 List off to the side, where the Samsung Galaxy S III takes the top four spots, before the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx breaks in to the top 5. Finally, after a few more Android devices, we see the Nokia Lumia 920 in the 10th spot. This is pretty remarkable given the device is all but sold out everywhere, but how poorly marketed is the additional Windows Phone lineup when there are no others to be seen?

At number 44, Nokia comes in with the Lumia 820, and finally at 47, we see the HTC 8X super phone. Even after the huge launch events, premium branding and features that destroy the best smartphones on the planet, the new HTC offering is just not being accepted like it should be.

The HTC 8X in all rights is a superphone. It is the best combination of amazing hardware, stellar software and a simplistic user interface. It fits anyone from the smartphone newbie to a seasoned smartphone hacker. Sure, they made some compromises where they needed to, just to keep the phone’s cost under $1000, but overall, it’s a perfect marriage of technology and fit.

Running on the Verizon Wireless or AT&T’s LTE networks or even T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, the 8X offers plenty of speed downloading those new tunes, streaming a hit flick from Netflix, or even downloading the monster PowerPoint presentation you need for that important meeting in just a few seconds. The device is modestly priced between $99 and $199 on contract or a monstrous $599 off contract.

The 4.3” HD display delivers amazing performance and clarity. Colors are rich and well saturated. The 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor drives Windows Phone faster than any device, ever. The built-in Beats Audio processor creates the most realistic music experience available on mobile devices today. Before we pass over the rest of the specs of this beastly device, we have to take a moment to visit the cameras – and yes, we need to cover both…

First up, the backside shooter delivers amazing 8MP photos. With the SmartLED flash technology working with the f/2.0 lens, even the lowest light photos turnout stunning. Shooting video with the rear shooter will reveal amazing quality 1080p video. On the flip side, literally, the front side 2.1MP shooter features an extra wide angle (88 degree view) and a similar f/2.0 aperture lens. It is also capable of shooting the same 1080p video as well.

With this hardware driving the Windows Phone 8 software, we find it amazing that more people aren’t falling for this device the second they touch it. Live Tiles, Kid’s Corner, SkyDrive and the People Tile are enough for most people to run their lives from the HTC 8X. When you add in the full versions of Microsoft Office, Outlook email, Exchanged Calendars and more, the business professional will be more than at home with this powerhouse in their pocket.

If you haven’t checked out the HTC 8X on Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile or AT&T yet, you owe it to yourself to visit your carrier store and take a quick peek at it. Not only will you be impressed, but you just might wonder why you didn’t line up for one of these on release day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Saving Cash With Windows Phone

There are so many ways that a Windows Phone, or any smartphone for that matter, can save you serious cash. Let’s take a look at a few of the easy ways to get the most money from your Windows Phone, and what Apps you will need to do it.

Groupon – Love it or hate it, Groupon is a great way to save money on things you need, or maybe just want daily. The local feature on the mobile App will locate you, find deals at restaurants in the area and let you purchase the “cyber coupon: for the location from the parking lot. Most of these deals will save you between $5-20 on a lunch or dinner.

Foursquare (4th & Mayor) – Both of these Apps have the same advantage, they allow you to check in at local places, say Burger King for example, and take advantage of specials offered only to Foursquare users. Many times these deals can be as simple as a free fry with sandwich purchase, but others can be completely free items, like a free stuffed animal at the Woodland Park Zoo. We list both Foursquare and 4th & Mayor since any Foursquare App will get these specials.

Hotels.com (Orbitz) (Trip Advisor) – If you are a frequent traveller, sites like Hotels.com and Orbitz have great Apps to save you money on those hotel reservations. Many times the discounts are no better than walking in off the street and asking for the best rate, but even just knowing about the deal before you get there can mean staying at a 3 star hotel instead of a flea bag motel. Typically, the discounts ranged from $20-85 a night depending on hotel quality and locations. Trip Advisor saved us about $20 a day at Disneyland when we booked our hotel through Disney Vacations – because we found a lower rate they matched.

Gas Buddy – This is our favorite gas price location App. It takes your GPS position and tells you the fuel prices at the stations around you. It seems to be updated often and is about 95% accurate. Overall, that $.20 a gallon it saves will add up over the course of time. It also gives users the option to report prices in their area, which can only make the App more accurate, so play long if you can,

Now how about a few to get more from your Windows Phone, and get better services as well…

If you aren’t on an unlimited texting plan, GoVoice and MetroTalk will both link to a Google Voice number to allow free texting over WiFi. The cool part about this is that you can give other people you know your Google number and not be passing out that precious cell number to those that you may not want to have full access to you at all times. Google Voice also provides free visual voicemail and quite a few other services. The low cost international long distance is another bonus offered from Google.

Navigation: Turn By Turn allows for offline mapping, something that Windows Phone 8 allows for, but if you aren’t ready for that upgrade yet, or just don’t see enough enhancements to make the jump this early, Navigation is a great mapping solution for those that need one. This can save you serious cash on that capped data plan over those busy months if you download the maps you use the most often.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why I’m Not Moving To Windows Phone 8 Yet

I live in a non-contract world. That means a phone has to be pretty impressive to get me to purchase one. I don’t do subsidies and I don’t do latest and greatest anymore. Frankly, I hate paying for a new phone and would rather get one off Craigslist or another used source and save $100 a month on my normal bill for my two lines than deal with just having that new phone every 2 years.

That said, Windows Phone 8 is amazing, but just not feature filled enough for me to make the $400-500 investment in Windows Phone 8. I love the look and feel of the HTC 8x. The device feels like it was crafted for my hands. The screen is brilliant, the back smooth and comfy and the functionality impresses me greatly. You might ask, what’s the problem then? Well, my Titan is all of the above as well and is something I already own.

Now don’t get me wrong, a new T-Mobile HTC 8X would be nice to have in my pocket, but when non-contract pricing pins them at $600, that refurbished Lumia 710 for $150 makes a lot more sense to me. Does it have all the bells and whistles of the new Windows Phone 8 devices? No. But it will do just fine with my Solavei cell service at $49 a month.

From my HTC Titan powered by Solavei and Windows Phone

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Back To The Zoo

It has been far too long since we did a family day together. We just needed to get out and spend a bit of time being together. Not like the mall or shopping, but just a nice spending the day together kind of time. So to make this happen, we packed up in the truck and headed out to the Woodland Park Zoo for the day.

Unfortunately, the weather played havoc with our plans as it was cold and wet... All that was missing for the trifecta was a bit of snow, but we didn't quite get that cold today.

The lights were being set up for the opening of Zoo Lights next weekend and we finally got Evie her own membership. It was $11 instead of the $4.50 per visit that it would start costing soon, so we took the plunge and grabbed it.

The zoo is always fun, and we had a good time visiting with the few animals that were out. The penguins were in exceptional form today as the cold weather was right up their alley. The rain forest room was also a nice break from the cold, until it started raining on us in there as well.

We finished the day with a Christmas special on the TV and some relaxing on the couch. Good times!

Sent on my HTC Titan powered by 4G Data
$49 unlimited talk/text/data
www.4GFastData.com

Friday, November 16, 2012

Microsoft Jabs At Google

Who says the folks at Redmond, A: Have given up or B: Don't have a sense of humor? All you have to do to see the fighting, comedic spirit is check out the Windows Phone Twitter account and their post from this morning that attacked the security of Android Apps.

"@windowsphone: Over 110,000 apps and unlike Google Play, Windows Phone tests & certifies every app for your peace of mind. http://t.co/yXiFjjAJ #MeetYours"

This isn't just a slam on Android of course, but the entire Google Play system, which, personally cost me a Nexus 4 device when my purchase "failed" because they hadn't fixed a hold they put on my account 6 months ago.

Lets face it, anything Android can do, Windows Phone can do better. Unfortunately, unless the market penetration climbs dramatically in the 4th quarter this year, it may end up being too little to late for Microsoft. Perhaps another giveaway and a quick rollout of Windows Phone 7.8 is in order?

Sent on my HTC Titan powered by 4G Data
$49 unlimited talk/text/data
www.4GFastData.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nokia 920 Pricing Revealed At Best Buy

Not to play favorites here, but the Nokia Lumia 920 is one of those handsets that everyone is waiting to see. Fortunately, Best Buy has leaked their pricing and the folks at wpcentral.com were lucky enough to get an image of it. While the $149 contract price isn’t bad, it’s not quite the $99 price tag that the device is going to need to get moving.

The Lumia 900 was released at $199 before dropping to $99 after WiFi issues plagued its early life. It was one of the fastest $100 drops in history, and not everyone will forget it. At $149 for new and renewals, the 920 is a good deal. At $599 off contract, we can only hope that Best Buy has padded the retail price a good $100 right out of the gate. $599 puts it far too close to the competing iPhone models and will probably leave users looking to the more popular platform.

No word on availability yet, although most sources are reporting before Thanksgiving and possibly even next week. There has even been a rumor circulating that it could be as early as this Friday.

We will try and keep tabs on this as the dates get closer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Added Bonus For Solavei WP Users?

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In an accidental discovery, we found that the Windows Phone Internet Sharing feature worked perfectly on our HTC Titan with Solavei service. Remarkably cool, and the only MVNO where it hasn’t told us to call *611 to enable the feature! The $49 Solavei plan just got more attractive with this little nugget!

Simply press: Settings > Internet Sharing > On and within seconds you will see your active hotspot address and password. As you can see above, the speeds are great even on an AT&T compatible handset.

The True Test: Solavei Social Cellular Service

It’s time for a better look at Solavei’s actual service offering. Before we go too far in to things though, we need to clarify that we do indeed have a member of the Social Commerce Network on our staff and he is testing this not only for our site, but also is seeing how well Solavei treats their users and commission program. We will start with the basics and move forward from there.

Call Quality:

We live in the the MVNO’s yard here in the Seattle area, so we would expect coverage to be good for voice calls here. Since fairing, not so well in call quality during our 2012 Best Value in Wireless survey, Solavei’s home network has undergone some dramatic reinforcement in our area. With the roll out of the 1900mhz bands throughout the area, voice quality is now very strong and dropped calls are few and far between. As a matter of fact, it rivals even the best voice services in the area for quality of sound.

Data Speed:

The data speeds using our AT&T Titan are quite good, actually, downright fantastic. With peak download speeds of 9.85 Mbps, the 6.5 Mbps average was more than adequate for most users. Using a fully compatible AWS device, users should easily top those numbers. The best part of the network speed is the consistency. In our 12 speed tests, only one dropped below 6 Mbps, with most of them settling in the 6.5 Mbps range.

Customer Service:

There isn’t much more to say than epic fail in this department. Solavei has you enter your device IMEI number before you have your phone approved for network use. We entered the number for our Nokia Lumia 900 and watched it say “Fully Compatible” with the network. We waited a few days for our Micro SIM to show up and when the package finally arrived, it had a normal SIM. Fortunately for them, AT&T didn’t get an unlock code for our Lumia to us yet, so in to our Titan it went. They get a pass on that one for now, but serious issue for the average Joe.

Overall:

Solavei is quickly passing the 50,000 member mark, making them a solid MVNO carrier with a legitimate presence in the US. If they are able to offer some of the additional features soon, and manage to stay out of the ‘retail’ format that some members are taking them to, there is a good possibility of them being a major player in the game for a long time. The performance is definitely there and the price is extremely aggressive for the level of service that is offered. Overall, Solavei, gets a solid recommendation from us, as long as you live in a good coverage area.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Game Time: Texas Holdem Poker


Killing time with mobile games is always a great way to use your mobile device. Finding the right games to kill the most time, with the smallest expense is the perfect solution. For poker fans, Texas Holdem Poker is a great way to beat the boredom and take care of those cravings between the weekly poker night get together.

Game play is wonderful, although if you get stuck at a slow table, it can be a bit tedious. The basics of play are you join a table, buy-in, then wait to play your first hand until the current hand is done. Waiting for that first hand can be a bit slow, depending on how the timing works out for joining it. Once you are in, you'll see you first two cards that you are dealt, then a round of betting occurs. After everyone's initial bets, the flop happens and another round of betting occurs. After the checks and raises, the turn card comes down and finally the river.

The low cost tables are great for learning, just don't be afraid to fold those bad hands. Betting on those bad hands will lose your money pretty quickly and recharging your chips means sitting out a turn. Also, make sure you stop in daily for the 'bonus chips' which can really start to rack up quickly.

Texas Holdem Poker is free at the Windows Marketplace and requires a data connection to play.

Online Special: Get the Anker SlimTalk 3200mAh External Battery for only $26.99

Friday, October 26, 2012

Focus On Solavei


There has been a ton of press about the new "startup" wireless provider Solavei, and more importantly, their flat rate $49 unlimited plan. So let's start on the basics of this one and work into how this applies to your Windows Phone experience.

The Solavei system is rather simple. They provide a $49 a month, non-contract service that includes unlimited minutes, texting, 4GB of 4G data and unlimited 2G data when that cap is exceeded. Solavei is running off the T-Mobile network, which recently started running out their update to their 1900mhz spectrum in many markets. This will allow many popular AT&T devices to be able to cross over to T-Mobile and in-turn, Solavei.

While Android devices will give users a bit more of the 'social experience', Windows Phones are still up and running on the network with flying colors. The best option for using a Windows Phone on Solavei (at the moment) is the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710. The nice part about the 710 is that you have access to the majority of Nokia's specialty software and the ability to change the MMS APN to Solavei's for full functionality. The HTC Radar is also a good choice, although the MMS APN doesn't always activate correctly and requires a bit of 'editing' at times.

As for those powerhouse devices from AT&T, a Lumia 900 is definitely the best choice if you are able to get those elusive unlock codes from Ma Bell. The next best option in my opinion is an unlocked Samsung Focus S. It will run the 1900mhz frequencies and allow the MMS APN to be properly adjusted. The rest of the Focus family will also work quite well as long as they are unlocked as well. The Focus family also has a quick one click debranding process that will allow Windows Phone updates to continue to flow for some time. The devices we have a tough time recommending are the Titan and the Titan II, which do not have an APN adjustment for the MMS settings and data settings simultaneously., You get one or the other, not both.

Overall, Solavei offers a great option for the sub-$50 bill phone plan. Add this with the opportunity to earn $20 every month for every 3 people you bring in to the network, it's a clear winner. If you'd like more information, visit Solavei online and check it out. Feel free to request more information on it by entering your name and email on the front page.

UPDATE 8/13/14 - Although this post is almost 2 years old, it is still getting a fair amount of traffic. I wanted to update it so it reflected some changes to the Solavei program and had the latest news about the company. First off, the payment structure has changed to be $5 for each member that you bring on board rather than almost $7 each. Also many of the bonus tiers have changed as well. Please visit Solavei.com for more information on these changes.

Finally, the bigger news is that Solavei filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Washington state in June of 2014. A Chapter 11 filing is a reorganization of debt, not a walking away and folding up the company bankruptcy, but the numbers don't look good. It appears that Solavei has somewhere between $60-100 million in liabilities and $5 million in assets. This filing will put them in a horrible position to work with T-Mobile on a new deal next month and will more than likely signal the end of the social commerce revolution. More as it develops.

For now, feel free to check out the great deals from Simple Mobile and Red Pocket Mobile at www.4gfastdata.com. RPM has extended new T-Mobile compatible plans at some great prices that many users will find attractive.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Data Saver: Navigation: Turn By Turn


If you have a Nokia Lumia handset in your pocket, you can stop reading this and just replace the "Navigation" word with Nokia Drive, but if you don't, you need to make your way to the market soon and check out the Navigation: Turn By Turn GPS system for Windows Phone. In a market where an offline navigation program will set you back $29.99 to $59.99, Navigation: Turn By Turn has a limited edition (US Maps Only) for only $4.99.

We did a full feature review on Navigation in the past, but as data limits become harder and harder to comply with, Apps like it deserve another look. For those bringing their older Windows Phones to third party or MVNO's like Red Pocket Mobile or Straight Talk, the offline mapping that is available will really save quite a chunk of the limited data on those plans.

To access this great feature, click the options menu, highlight the area of the map that you use the most and download it for offline use. Then simply check the box that says not to use your mobile data connection for mapping and you are off. It will use the maps you have downloaded as much as it can, but if you forget, you can always re-engage the online mapping when you are in a strange area that you don't have stored on your device.

Overall, the $4.99 price tag for Navigation: Turn By Turn is well worth it. The fact that the maps are available offline not only makes Navigation a great deal, but also makes it an amazing addition to your data saving Apps.




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Is Windows Phone 8 For Me?

Let me start off by saying that Windows Phone 7.5 is the best "phone" software I've ever used. I'll follow that up with, it isn't the best organizer/mapping/music/camera software I've ever used. So, to fix this, Microsoft is rolling out Windows Phone 7.8 for my old HTC Titan (if AT&T actually approves an update for a one year old phone), my Samsung Focus S and my Nokia Lumia 900. Since I'm in love with different aspects of each of these devices, Most people ask me which one ends up in my pocket daily, well the Nokia does, but only for the fact that you can't set up simultaneous MMS and MSN services on the Titan.

So now that we have the fact that I love to have Windows Phone on my device, and I do have a few devices, I have to look at why or what are the reasons for someone to "upgrade" to a Windows Phone 8 device?

Looking at the first miscue from my Windows Phone 7 devices is the lack of open updating. My Titan, Focus S and Lumia all have different versions of Windows Phone on board. Now keep in mind, these are all second generation AT&T devices, so it's not like trying to cram a new feature set on to an older phone. It simply comes down to the fact that Microsoft is letting the carriers control their software releases.

The fix for this was announced in Windows Phone 8's direct OTA updates. This will leave the updates to Microsoft's end and allow the user to dictate when they get the update - to some degree. Even with the direct push updates, it may take Samsung more time to prepare their update than Nokia, meaning the Lumia 920 should get it before the ATIV. Still not a great scenario, but much better, if the carriers allow it to happen.

The next annoyance is having to have the latest and greatest versions of software across 2 platforms. Just so you understand, Windows Phone comes with Office built in. In order to properly edit these documents over SkyDrive, I need to install Office 2010 on my PC. Well, I usually use Word and a little Excel and it is not worth the $400 to me every time a new Office suite is released to update. I also use my computer for quite a bit of graphics and film work, which Windows Phone could handle, but it doesn't have the right software available.

Enter Windows Phone 8, which now features Office 2010 and well, that's it. Office 2013 is going to be a free upgrade for those that purchase 2010 now, but again, Windows Phone 8 isn't going to solve the need an update soon scenario. Now, when news of the new core for Windows Phone 8 came out and revealed that it was the same core as Windows 8, I had a silent party in my head. This means I can run all my PC software on my phone! Or not... Same core does not equal same Apps or programs. We are right back to where we started with limited Application support and special versions that aren't available yet, but are already on platforms like iOS and Android.

Music... Yes, I love to use my phone as my mp3 player when I workout. This is reason #2 for making the Lumia my daily driver. Nokia's Music App with its offline streaming mode wins my music vote hands down. When you think about limited data plans, overages and throttling, offline music is the way to go. Unfortunately, the other options, Spotify, XBox Music, Slacker Radio, all require anywhere from $4 to $10 a month for offline listening. For now, I'll stick to my free Nokia deal and pray that someone will find a way to easily install it on my other devices in the future.

How does Win Phone 8 address this? Well, many of the devices are including removable memory, so storing music won't be quite as selective of a task any longer. Also, for an additional $10 monthly fee, that XBox music subscription can be off loaded to your device, again space dependent, for listening where you don't have coverage or when you don't want to use up that valuable data. Not a great solution, but far from the worst.

The camera on all three of my devices have areas where they shine, and others where they fail miserably. Taking a look at the good, all three take fantastic photos as a point and shoot. The best camera in my eye is the Titan. The clarity, saturation and quality is just a touch better than the other 2. That said, the Focus S has built in digital image stabilization, which is great for the shaky handed among us. Again, despite having the weakest hardware in the bunch, the Lumia comes through on the software end to finish in second place behind the Titan in the photo department.

Win Phone 8 has some amazing cameras coming to it this fall. I'm not sure if any of them will be as good as the samples I've seen or if they will once again fall flat. Hopefully the cameras will step up and all be better than the Titan's and not need additional software to be installed for the basics like panoramic shooting.

User experience is probably the most important aspect of Windows Phone 8. How much better will an HTC 8x be than my HTC Titan? Honestly, I'm very much hoping to find out, but until I have one in hand, I doubt I'll look very hard. Between my Titan and Lumia, I have a hard enough time deciding what phone to head out the door with every day. If HTC updated their connection setup program to allow for MVNO setups, I think the Titan would win the daily battle. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen and for now, I will keep my Lumia in my hand for now, and patiently wait for the early reports on the bugs, issues and hopefully great reports on Windows Phone 8.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Setting Up Your Nokia Lumia For Red Pocket Mobile


Red Pocket Mobile is one of my favorite carriers. Running off the AT&T network, RPM offers users unlimited talk, text and 3GB of data for $59.99 a month. They also have plans from $29.99 a month that include unlimited talk and text only. These prices drop a bit when you purchase discount refills from online sources like TMI Wireless. Red Pocket Mobile service works perfectly on any unlocked GSM handset and also performs flawlessly on locked AT&T handsets. Those AT&T branded Samsung Focus', that HTC 8X or even the newest carrier locked Nokia Lumia devices work amazingly well, even without their unlock codes.

To set up your Nokia Lumia for Red Pocket Mobile, simply download the Network Setup App from the Marketplace and press the (+) icon at the bottom of the screen and enter the following settings. If you do not have an edit option in your device's APN menu or under the cellular settings, you can grab a download of Nokia's Access Point App here. Once you have downloaded this, make sure you enter a new APN for Red Pocket Mobile and enable it for use.

Connection Name: Red Pocket
Check the box that says "Make this my current APN"

Internet APN
Access point name: att.mvno

Proxy address: - blank -
Proxy port: - blank -
Username: - blank -
Password: - blank -

MMS APN
MMS access point name: att.mvno
Proxy address: 66.209.11.33
Proxy port: 80
Username: - blank -
Password: - blank -
MMSC address: http://mmsc.cingular.com

Make sure you try setting up your Windows Phone 7, 8 or 8.1 device with these settings and feel free to visit Red Pocket Mobile online and order your discounted Red Pocket Mobile SIM card and instant refill code


UPDATE 8/14/14: Many people have been wondering about finding the APN setup program for their Lumia devices. Fortunately, the capabilities have been built in to most of the line now. You can access it by selecting Settings > Access Point. If you do not have this option on your Lumia, you can download the App here - http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/access-point/ce3895c7-01d0-4daf-a4c3-25c10463942d

UPDATE 1/31/15: Certain network locked phones may not have access to editing APN's any longer. Check your phone for what settings are able to be changed before attempting to configure your handset.

Buy Office 2010 - Get Office 2013 Free

 

In a brilliant move to increase sales of their 2010 Office packages, Microsoft is now offering a free upgrade to the 2013 Office Suite when it becomes available. While many Windows Phone users are happy with their current setup with Office 2010, the additional touch friendly features of Office 2013 should prove to be a very enticing offer for those looking to purchase a Surface tablet or that new Windows Phone 8 device in the near future.

Currently the 2010 Office for Home and Students is carrying an upgrade price of $149 and the Small Business pack is $279. Both of these are upgradable to the newest Office 2013 package when it becomes available. The 2013 upgrade comes in the form of a download from Microsoft and will be made available to every license purchased.

Order your copy today and make sure to stay current with the latest versions of Microsoft's Office programs.

Source: Microsoft Office Home

    

Visit www.getsmartphones.info for great devices for T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and many popular prepaid services.

What To Do When Your Phone Stops Syncing

It is a problem that will drive most users insane. When you connect your phone to your PC and the Zune software opens... then the 24 items failed to sync notice comes up. You delete some images, videos and pray, but still nothing. As scary as it is, you don't need to hard reset your device or even delete any content, you just need to check two things to make sure you are ready to resume that syncing relationship.

First, if you are in an area with multiple WiFi signals, double check to make sure the computer and phone are on the same one. It won't happen every time, but sometimes the competing security measures will keep you from obtaining the proper security keys to send data between the device and the computer, even over that USB connection.

Second, the issue is usually caused by the .jpg or .jpeg file format being assigned to a different default program setting. This is quickly fixed by hitting the start button and typing, without the quotes, "regedit". A quick click of the Yes button to allow the computer to open the editor will reveal some interesting menus for many, but only the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder is of interest to you. Click on the folder and scroll down until you see .jpg in the list. Single click it and you will see a file called Default in the pane to the right. Double click "Default" and it will open a window with one editable line that is filled with a program name. Erase the program from the box and click OK. Repeat this for the .jpeg entry as well.

Close out of the editor by clicking the x in the upper right corner and try syncing again. As soon as your Windows Phone is reconnected to the computer, syncing should resume and all the errors should clear immediately. Happy syncing!

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Protect Your Nokia Lumia Device




When you spend that hard earned cash on that new phone, especially when you go the route of paying full retail for a device and using it on a monthly prepaid service. When you lay out $300-500 for that new phone, it's a good idea to consider some serious protection for it. Today we look at the Incipio Ngp Nokia Lumia 900 Case.

The case is a solidly constructed and provides total protection around the entire device. It does add a bit of bulk, but not as much as many of the hard plastic cases that can be found for less. The Incipio Ngp Nokia Lumia 900 Case provides an amazing amount of protection for a very small investment. We do admit that the solid black coloring does work best with the Black Lumia 900, but it also offers a nice contrast to the other three available colors. The gray and pink colors are also nice options, but they do not match the OEM colors as well as the black.

The Incipio Ngp Nokia Lumia 710 Case is also available for $19.99 as well. This provides an equal amount of security for your T-Mobile Lumia 710. For more information on either case, simply click the links above.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Windows Phone For $45 A Month


We're always looking for ways to get a bang for our buck - and even save a few when we can. Right now is a prime time for those first and some second generation Windows Phones to be sent to prepaid land - and there are some screaming deals to be had.

First off, we do recommend going Samsung or Nokia for this, simply due to the fact that HTC's Connection Setup App is so lacking in options. Nokia's Network Setup App allows for reconfiguration of all three major APN's as does Samsung's Network Setup App. Both are available in the Marketplace for a free download.

So, there are a few great options running off the 'dual-network' setups for your prepaid devices. The problem is, you might need that device before you can get started. Below are a few great options that are in the under $300 new and unlocked group.

The Nokia Lumia 800, unlocked and ready to go at $299.99. - AT&T networks
The Nokia Lumia 900 locked to AT&T at $284,99. - AT&T networks only
The Samsung Focus, the original AT&T Model for $178,91. - AT&T networks

The Nokia Lumia 710, ready for T-Mobile based networks at $199.99. - T-Mobile networks

You can even pick up the Lumia 900 on a refurbished deal without contract from AT&T's website for a low price of $349.99 or $399.99 for a new in box model.

As you can see, there are quite a few deals to be had on new Windows Phones online, without having to pay an arm and a leg for the new devices. At $300 to buy in, and $45 a month, your 2 year pricing will work out to only $1380. This is equal to about 10 months and that $200 "new" Windows Device you grab from AT&T or T-Mobile today.

So, now that you have that AT&T compatible handset, which plan do you choose? Well, here's the easy part - there are quite a few options.

Net10 - $50 Unlimited Voice, Text, Data - and a $5 discount for signing up for auto pay.
Straight Talk - $45 Unlimited Voice, Text and Data - capped at 2GB or 100MB per day - no streaming allowed.
Red Pocket Mobile - $54.99 for Unlimited Voice, Text and 1GB data.
H2O Wireless - $60 for Unlimited Voice, Text and 2GB data.
AT&T GoPhone - $75 for Unlimited Voice, Text and 1GB data.

T-Mobile phones can be run on a few different prepaid providers as well.

Net10 - $50 Unlimited Voice, Text, Data - and a $5 discount for signing up for auto pay.
Straight Talk - $45 Unlimited Voice, Text and Data - capped at 2GB or 100MB per day - no streaming allowed.
SimpleMobile - $40 Unlimited Voice, Text and Data - capped at 2GB of 3G data or $60 Unlimited Voice, Text and Data - capped at 2GB of 4G data.
 Solavei - $49 Unlimited Voice, Text, and Data - capped at 4GB of 4G data then throttled to 2G.

Overall, you can easily take that $100 smartphone bill and cut it in half or better by switching to a prepaid service. If you are near the end of you contract, shop for options on the carrier you have now. If you are looking at being under contract for another 20 months, look at the savings verses your termination fee and see how long it would take to start saving. You might be surprised by how much you can actually save the first year by terming now, rather than waiting.

As for the SIM that ended up in our Nokia Lumia 900, we chose the Net10 Autio-Pay program due to the faster data speeds and excellent coverage options. The Auto-Pay plan makes the monthly bill $45 a month, or $75 a month cheaper than our AT&T equivalent, plus it remains unlimited for now. Plans are always subject to change, but for now, we will enjoy the freedom and flexibility of prepaid wireless.

If you are interested picking up a discounted Net10, Red Pocket Mobile, Simple Mobile or H20 Wireless SIM card, please email our friends at smartphonedeals@gmail.com for a great deal. Let them know you heard about them from Focus on Windows Phone and we'd appreciate it!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Update Your Office For Best Results



Getting more out of your Windows Phone device means having the right software on your PC as well. All Windows Phone devices are equipped with the latest versions of Microsoft Office, which sync beautifully with your Microsoft SkyDrive account for access to your important documents where ever you are. Unfortunately, if you are running an older version of Microsoft Office, you may not be able to edit those documents from your computer as easily as if you were running Office 2010.

If you are a student or using your Office products for non-commercial usage, the Microsoft Office 2010 PC Home And Student Edition is where you would start your search. Your edition of Office includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, Powerpoint 2010 and OneNote 2010. These tools will give you everything you need to produce the highest quality projects without investing $100's in specialty software.

The more business oriented user might want to consider the Microsoft Office 2010 PC Home And Business Edition of Office. The Business edition includes users wanting to produce commercial documents with Word, Excel and Powerpoint. It also features the OneNote 2010 software which syncs seamlessly with your device. There is also the addition of Microsoft's powerful Outlook 2010 software for use with email and calendars. Outlook delivers powerful organization features while keeping your phone streamlined with calendar and email sync.

Will your Windows Phone work without these amazing PC software additions, of course, but will you start to get more out of your Windows devices with this software on board? Of course!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why Nokia Has A Strong Advantage For Windows Phone 8


Everyone knows that the new Windows Phone 8 devices are coming soon, but the biggest question on most user's minds is which one should be at the top of their list. Without making it sound too simple, there shouldn't be much else to consider, at this moment, than the Nokia 820/920 lines of devices. This isn't due to the lack of specs from others, or even the fact that Nokia has better hardware than the others. This is due simply to Nokia having more development in the software department.

Nokia is light years ahead of any of the other manufacturers in terms of offering exclusive Apps, modification software and the ability to run new updates out faster than anyone else. Exclusive software like Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps and Nokia Music just push Nokia's hardware further ahead than anyone else. So if you are holding out on a new Windows Phone 8 device, shop carefully and check out all the 'stuff' your phone will come with before committing to that new hardware package. The software is really what will make your next device the best it can be, not just a great camera or bigger screen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet The HTC 8x and 8s

I love new phones, and frankly, yesterday was the icing on the cake. My favorite hardware maker, HTC, released 2 new Windows Phones to the public eye yesterday. The new HTC 8x and 8s phones will be available in November and will carry with it some amazing features and specs. Let's take a look at the 8x first and follow that with the 8s.

The 8x is rumored to be headed to all the major carriers within the US. It features a 1.5GHz processor, a full 1GB of memory and 16GB of on-board storage. It also includes a Micro SD card slot that can use up to class 10, 32GB cards. The phone will be running Microsoft Windows Phone 8.0 out of the box. Its 4.3" Super LCD 2 display is crafted from Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and carries a 1280x724 pixel count (341 ppi)  for extremely sharp images.

The front facing 2.1MP camera includes an 88 degree field of view that will allow up to 4 people to be included in the self portrait mode. The rear facing 8MP camera has a BSI (low light) sensor and records video at a full 1080p resoltuion.

The included, non-removable 1800mAh battery should provide more than enough power to last through even the toughest days at the office. The 8x is available in Yellow, Blue, Black and Red and is rumored to be available in time for the Christmas shopping season.

The 8s, or the little brother to the x series, has many of the same features as its sibling, but makes some compromises to keep the cost of this device a bit lower. Powered by a single core 1GHz processor won't cause too much of a performance loss unless you are a heavy multitasker and losing the 4.3" Super LCD 2 display in favor of the lower cost 4" Super LCD will make the device have a much lower production cost. Dropping the RAM from 1GB to 512MB is the next. This is followed by the decrease in device storage from 16GB down to 4GB. It still includes the Micro SD slot for expansion so storage concerns should be minimal.

The front facing camera disappears from the device and the rear falls to 5MP with 720p video as a maximum resolution. The S also drops the compass from the directional controls and lowering the battery from the 1800mAh down to 1700mAh will also save a few bucks of the manufacturing costs. Though, we think the latter is a space move rather than a cost saver for the smaller device.

Overall, HTC has put out two top notch Windows Phones for two completely different markets. The X is aimed at the tech savvy individual that needs the latest and greatest device on the market and wants the top end specs. The S is aimed at someone that wants the best smartphone for the buck and isn't looking for all the extras. We expect to see the 8x hit the market at the $200 on-contract/$550 non-contract price and hope to see the 8s come in at $50 on-contract/$450 non-contract.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Data Saver: Nokia Music

There is something magical about an App that streams music, yet uses no data. It is that kind of App that earns our "Data Saver" award. Our Data Savers are Apps that are fully functional Apps that require minimal onboard storage while allowing a maximum entertainment experience. 

In our time with the Nokia 900, we've been lucky enough to test drive the amazing Nokia Music App. Available in the US for the Nokia 800 and 900 series devices, Nokia Music allows users with unlimited plans can stream music by artist, genre or the extremely well programmed presets. As an added bonus, this free software also has some tricks up its sleeves.

By long pressing on any station, you can select the offline play option that will download the entire station to the device memory for a non-data using music experience. The offline music option includes hours of tracks that are relevant to the genre or artists you select and also includes the album artwork as well. A quick tap of the skip button moves you on to the tracks that you want, without having to survive the tracks you don't.

The Nokia Music Player also accesses all the tracks in your device memory that have been loader via the Zune software on your PC. It will also allow direct purchases of any of the tracks you listen to and store them in your Nokia account.

Once again, Nokia has floored us with an amazing software package that is free to those with one of their premium handsets. The Lumia series hardware is still one of the most superior designs in the industry and the desire to own one is only made stronger by their amazing additions to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quick Press: HTC Connection App Goes Missing

Rumored to have an update due in August, the unpopular HTC Connection Setup App has disappeared from the Windows Marketplace this evening. While it isn't clear if an update is imminent or of there was just a glitch, hopeful users will be watching to see if HTC is finally bringing some MVNO love to their App.

UPDATE 9/20: The app is back in the Marketplace, but no noticable changes or updates have taken affect? Perhaps a rejection from MS or was it just a simple glitch in the system?

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Bank Of America App Comes To WP

Bank of America customers have new reason to celebrate their Focus S, Lumia series or other Windows Phone, with the release of the new BOA App for Windows Phone. The App allows for balance checking and transfers, online bill paying, photo check deposit and quite a few other handy features.

You can download the App via the Windows Phone Marketplace - http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=ad8a76fa-ca71-e011-81d2-78e7d1fa76f8

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nokia Continues Exclusive Software


Nokia continues to step up their Windows Phone game with their new "Welcome Home To Windows Phone" software package. This PC based software will scan your iPhone, Android device or BlackBerry for contacts, calendars, pictures, songs and videos . Once it's done, it will also scan the Apps that are loaded on your device and recommend new ones for your Windows Phone.

While not everything is perfect on with the system, the fact that in a matter of an hour, everything on your old phone is backed up and moved to your new Lumia makes this a great addition to the Nokia lineup. It's almost made Nokia the only Windows Phone partner worth looking at until the Windows Phone 8 devices come to market.

From Nokia

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Moment With The Lumia 900

The folks at @NokiaUS were kind enough to send off one of their current flagship devices, the Lumia 900, for me to play with this week. After catching up with them at the gdgt Seattle show, I was very intrigued by the feel of the device and all the "exclusive" software that Nokia is pushing out for them. So, here are my thoughts on this powerhouse device.

The build quality is very nice, but not flawless. The chassis is solid enough, and the wrap around design is gorgeous, by the physical buttons just seem a bit cheap and feel as if they will fall out of the phone way too soon. The screen also rises higher than the casing, which makes for an interesting feel when scrolling quickly and catching an edge.

The camera seems to be on par with the Titan shooter that I am currently using. It is a standard 8MP rear / 1MP front camera setup, with the exception of Nokia offering various software editing Apps and solutions. It is very much like the Samsung solution that the Focus S uses. Overall, the camera is solid and ready to capture those important moments in life.

Of course, the OS is smooth. There seems to be about 12GB of internal storage available after uninstalling the AT&T stuff and ESPN, but anything over 10 should be enough for the average user.

The true shining star for the Lumia is the Clear Black screen. The 4.3" screen has the deepest color that I have seen on a device in quite some time. Make sure to leave the backgrounds on the black settings as Nokia's design uses less power when set this way. Dark is good, right?

The other astounding feature is the WiFi range on the 900. My Titan and Focus S both struggled with WiFi signals across my home. The Lumia powers through whatever interference there is and hold a very solid signal. That is an excellent feature for those on limited data plans.

So, do I recommend picking up the Lumia 900 from Nokia? Yes, but only if you are buying off contract. A 2 or 3 year deal isn't worth buying a DOA device for a $350 discount. Currently, used 900's can be had in the $250, so go find a good one at that price, or purchase outright for $450 and enjoy it for about a year. Then sell it for $150-200 and get that new Windows Phone 8 device you were waiting for. In the meantime, you'll love you 900.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Solavei - Scam Or Brilliant Money Maker?

The Windows Phone platform is going through a change from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8. This is leaving quite a few users with a contract free Windows Phone and a very expensive cellular bill. With options like Straight Talk, Red Pocket Mobile and Simple Mobile, the sub $50 price point has become quite the place to start looking instead of continuing to pay those $150 plus cell bills every month.
The problem with most of the prepaid plans is the limited data allowances. Smartphones today use a huge amount of data for things like mapping, streaming and even just downloading a new OS update. While the latter statement doesn't apply to your Windows Phone, the first two certainly can.
With Straight Talk, you are limited to 2GB per month and 100MB per day before they start taking action against your connection. Red Pocket offers a 1GB plan for $54.99 and Simple Mobile begins their shutdowns at 1GB as well. In the case of these plans, unlimited isn't really unlimited. That's where Solavei is different - unlimited means 4GB of 4G data and unlimited 2G data there after.
Now that we know that Solavei offers an unlimited voice and text plan along with 4GB of 4G data, how do we use this with our old Windows Phones? Well, that's simple. Solavei pays us to refer users to their service. Folks running that HTC Radar or Nokia Lumia 710 are set and ready to roll with a minor tweak to the APN settings. Others using Titans, Lumia 900's or even a Focus S can take advantage of 2G data in every market, and in many that have the 1900mhz bands active for T-Mobile, can use 3G/4G data as well.
With handsets ready to go, you can now turn your Windows Phone into that cash machine you've been dreaming about. If you are reading a blog, you probably love to talk phones and service. If you talk to others about phones and service, this is going to make your day. With an invite from us, you can start building out your trios, that's groups of three users, and begin earning cash. $20 is paid out for each active trio you have in your group. You also make $20 for every trio that a member of your trio brings in. This means with 12 users that you bring in, you make $80 per month. If 6 of those 12 bring in 3 people each, then you will make $120 per month off of those trios as well. For simply introducing 12 people to Solavei, you will be earning $200 a month, plus if you can bring those 12 into the system within the first 60 days, you will get a $650 bonus. That's cash in your pocket for just talking cellphones!
Solavei is taking the advertising away from Madison Avenue and bringing it home to the people that use their service daily. If you are ready to make the plunge today and reserve a spot in the Solavei network, email us today. I'd be happy to address any questions you may have and help you get started with an amazing opportunity.
Post by Ron Lunsford - Editor SmartphoneReport.Info / Focus On Windows Phone


Updated 9/18/14 - For some reason, this posting seems to be getting more and more views every day. Unfortunately, since it was published, there have been quite a few changes to the Solavei system, and not in a good way. In June of this year, Solavei filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company is reportedly $100 million in debt and only has complete assets totaling $65 million. To make up for this, they have raised prices, cut data allotments and now require a buy-in to get your business going. They are no longer the best deal around, nor are they even a good option when compared to the plans from carriers like Red Pocket Mobile that allow you to tailor a plan closer to your needs. Overall, the landscape on the prepaid scene has changed immensely in 2 years, and everyone should take note of it. The cash you save will be your own.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How To: Great Images

If there is one thing that people still bring up as a failing point in their smartphone, it is usually a camera or the photos that that those cameras take. There's a bit of luck involved with photography, but a good photographer can take a great photo with a disposable camera.

Setting up your image is probably the most important step in getting a great image. Focus on your background as much as your subject. While the subject needs to be the focal point, there's nothing like a lamp post, book shelf or personal photo in the background. Color is also important. Make sure your colors don't clash, but also, that they stand out in your image.

If you plan on shooting in black and white, pay attention to shades of gray. Oranges aren't as dark as yellows, reds are darker than pinks. Its always a tough mix to shoot black and whites in a heavily saturated image, but it can be even more magical to convert those brilliant colors to blacks.

Now that you've set up a decent background and have the subject in focus, start by setting up the camera on the device. There are different settings on each manufacturers cameras, but the basics will set you up quickly.

White Balance: Auto usually works ok, but if you have time to set up the actual lighting conditions, the images colors will pop. You can do this by placing a sheet of white paper in the area you are shooting, then selecting the white balance that matches the white paper the closest in your particular setup.

Saturation: Usually a plus one or two will saturate the images very well. Take an image or two to see if the colors are saturated enough then set your levels.

Focus: Again, auto focus is the way to go. Some cameras call this Normal, which will take a sample of the image area and focus on as much as the lens allows. Simply set this up and you should be good to go.

Finally, you are ready to shoot a few images. Once you are all setup, shoot away and have some fun. Remember to shoot plenty of images and get down to your subjects level. If you are shooting kids, get low. You'll have much better results.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Great Vacations Start With OneNote

When getting ready to head out on the road for that last vacation of the summer, there's nothing better than taking the Windows Phone and charging out to uncharted territory. Download our favorite navigation program, Navigation: Turn By Turn ($4.99 Marketplace), charge up the device with a massive amount of tunes from your PC's Zune software and make sure Local Scout is pinned to your start screen for quick access.

But what do you do to plan that magical vacation, before you go? Taking notes on places you want to go from your computer is a great start. With OneNote from Microsoft, you can sync notes from your PC to the cloud and back to your phone in just seconds.

Setting up your vacation folder is very simple and it's even easier to use. Simply visit the websites of places you want to visit and pin them to your OneNote folder. Once you have your places saved in your one note folders, you can start to organize the pages by location. Start with the closest locations and work towards the end of your trip.

Save places like restaurants you want to visit, popular sights to see and even hotel and flight information. With quick access from your Windows Phone, you can set your vacation folder to a tile on your Windows Phone and begin to enjoy your fun, rather than worry if you remembered where you put the reservations or where you were planning on staying on day two of that road trip.

It's even easier on those crazy days where a vacation takes you to a destination, like Disneyland. You can plan out shows, rides and even what attractions you want to visit on what days. With quick access from your phone, you can save phone numbers for reservations at Disney shows and restaurants and have one click dialing to them.

With everything that OneNote can do, vacationing is simple with OneNote. Plus, as an added bonus, you can insert images from your SkyDrive account when you get to those places and share it with everyone back home. Nothing makes life easier than OneNote.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by Getsmartphones.Info

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Google Voice On Windows Phone

One of the biggest frustrations for those moving from Android to Windows Phone is the absence of a great system for using their Google Voice number. Sure, they can easily forward calls to their new Windows Phone, but as far as dialing out or sending a text from their GV number, Microsoft didn't do much in the way of solutions for that.

Fortunately, for those displaced Androidians, GoVoice for Windows Phone comes to the rescue. The free App allows for access to the Google Voice inbox, making calls through GV and even sending texts directly from GV. The added bonus to this system the complete Windows Phone look from start to finish. Even the live tile combines a great Metro look with the typical 'fun' look of Google's icons.

The program itself is very simplistic and easy to use. A simple login, tap a number and away it goes. Now for those that get hooked in this App, make sure to disable text forwarding in Google or duplicate messages will drive even the most understanding users crazy.

GoVoice is available for free in the Marketplace.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Friday, August 10, 2012

Crackle For Windows Phone Available



When you are out and about and need something to kill some time, free movie services are always a bonus. Unfortunately, for Windows Phone users, the options have been pretty slim so far. Today, Crackle.com, from Sony Pictures, has made life a bit better. The Crackle App is now available in the Marketplace and is still 100% free to use. While there are usually only a few hit movies on at a time, Crackle does a great job of keeping the rotation going and maintaining fresh content.

The actual viewing on the App left a bit to be desired, but that may be due to the lower resolution screens as compared to the higher HD and qHD screens that are hitting the market on other platforms. The sound quality was excellent and the buffering times were minimal on our 3G speed Titan from HTC. One note to users however, if you are on limited data plan, watch your caps as movies will drain your allowable bandwidth almost as quickly as they drain your battery.

Crackle is available in the Marketplace now and is free of charge to download and use.

Sent from the HTC Titan powered by Red Pocket Mobile from GetSmartphones.info

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Outlook.com Preview Goes Live

Are you one of those users that is still rocking a Hotmail account from the 90's? There's still plenty of users on the old hotmail system, in fact, Microsoft touts 300 million Hotmail users in their new intro to Outlook.com email.

Outlook.com email is the next step in Windows Phone integration. Already imbedded deep in the platform, the social networks that Windows Phone already adds to your People Tile are now going to have one touch access through your Outlook.com email. It will also provide quicker access to Office Web Apps, Skydrive and Skype. Not only will all these services become instantly accessible, but they will be faster and more beautiful than ever before.

Log in to your Hotmail or MSN account today from Outlook.com to start your trial of the new service.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Monday, July 30, 2012

First Look: HTC Locations

One of the benefits of changing hardware in the Windows Phone system is the different "exclusive" software fixes that are out for individual manufacturers. One of the drawbacks that I experienced with the Samsung Focus S is the lack of a decent "turn-by-turn" navigation program. This was one of the first Apps that I purchased, but now that I am using the HTC Titan as my daily driver, it has become less useful.

HTC has outdone the simple "Navigation: Turn by Turn" software that I purchased with their custom "Location" App. Not only does it offer location services like where to find the closest cash machine or gas station, but it also includes turn by turn directions to just about anywhere.

As an added bonus, when you first install the program, you can download segments of the map for offline use. This will save quite a bit of data long term while only using a GB of internal storage for a section as large as the Western United States.

HTC Locations is a great addition to your HTC Titan or any HTC device with more than 8GB of memory. Below that, it will probably require a bit more storage than most are willing to give up. Check it out today for a great navigation experience.

Photo shared from: http://www.windowsphoneitaly.com

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info