Tag: smart phones
The harrowing recession began in 2007 overturned the American priorities, with frugality now considered a virtue for the first time in decades. Despite recent uptick in spending, retail sales remain lower than they were three years ago. Sales of homes, cars and appliances have plunged. Shoppers have cut the toilet paper and cigarettes, once thought recession proof. Although sales are down porn. Thrift, it seems, has no borders.
However, the Americans clung to a few expensive necessities surprising, reflecting changes in American society that go far beyond pennies. Food, clothing and housing have long been staples most obvious. But the data he has finally roll into the wind as the recession shows that we also need a little entertainment and a tasty beverage or two. The company is more important than ever – even if it is not the man. And you can not even find a job these days if you do not have Internet access. As we redefine what is really important, here are 10 new key U.S.
1. Laptops (Portable computers)
IPAD could be the latest must-have gadget, but the computer power transcends trendiness. Brianna Karp, for example, has discovered a lot of homeless people in line, saving many through their own laptop, as she. Shipments of phones have skyrocketed over the last three years, with sales in 2010 may be twice what they were in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Part of the jump comes from netbooks but cheap laptops of all sizes are more pervasive than we socialize, communicate, shop, get our new and increasingly live our lives online. sales office, meanwhile, have been on a steady decline, stability, mobility assets.
2. High-speed internet
Many people have reduced cable television, telephone service, and even gas and electricity use. But once you have access to high speed Internet, you do not go back. In a poll by the Pew Research Center last year, high speed Internet was one of three things that people said was a necessity in 2009 than in 2006. Appliances such as microwaves, dryer and dishwasher, however, are considered less important in 2009 than they had. And the data of the Telecommunications Industry Association shows that the rapid increase in the number of broadband Internet subscribers hardly slowed in 2008 or 2009. In 2013, more than 90 percent of all Internet connections in the United States will be high speed.
Global sales of mobile phones fell for the first time in 2009. But sales of smart phones – which can handle email, browse the Internet and do a variety of other things – increased 7 percent, according to TIA. And sales could jump 25 percent this year, as people who have been putting off upgrades mobile finally NAB iPhone or Blackberry of their dreams. As laptops, smart phones have become a lifeline for multitasking harassed we pretend that we are not.
As Kevin and Deanna Daum were spiral into bankruptcy in 2009, they decided they could live without their two cars, their two homes, and most of the subtleties. But they insisted on keeping tuition of their son, then an elderly person in a private secondary school. Many Americans seem to feel the same.
Although the data does not readily show how much families spend on education, many families say they have given up other things to protect their children’s education, whether in school or a private school, tutoring, enrichment programs or activities related to school. private school enrollment has decreased by less than one percent of 2008-2010, and university enrollments have increased over the past two years. This is partly because jobs are scarce, but also because Americans value education at all. “It’s an investment that pays very well,” said Sandy Baum, an economist at the College Board. “People are willing to borrow for it and they know it is shortsighted to abandon.”
Amercian spend less on entertainment – but watching more television. A recent study by Deloitte has found that typical American watches worth nearly 18 hours of shows on TV at home every week, two hours longer than last year. One reason could be that people are more unemployed kill time at home. But television can also be seen as a cheap alternative to sports events, concerts and buying DVDs. And hard core viewers can not be all that short, since sales of HDTVs have increased steadily throughout the recession.
Ticket sales dipped in 2008 but rebounded in 2009, reaching a peak in five years. One major reason was Avatar and other films in 3-D, which accounted for 11 per cent of the fund to take in 2009, up 2 percent the previous year. Any increase in box office is a victory for the cinema, which until last year had been losing viewers for home theater systems and a growing range of films on cable and the Internet.
7. Music downloads
The need for mobility applies to music, too. CD sales fell 21 percent in 2009, but downloading entire albums and singles grew almost as much. The Pew study comparing luxury and needs helps explain why, more people considered an iPod a necessity in 2009 than in 2006 despite the recession.
Fido is sitting at the table these days. Maybe even the head of the table. While Americans have cut back spending on themselves, spending on pet food, supplies, grooming, veterinary care and clothing (clothing?) Has been the continuing rise of around 5 percent year. Industry representatives attribute this to the “humanization” of pets, which has led many pet owners to close the “quality of life gap” between their animals and themselves. The iWoof can not be far behind.
Smoking does not make us less than fully virtuous. The Americans fell alcohol upscale, but we are drinking enough to compensate for cheap stuff, which is the usual trend during recessions. Beer and wine have increased slightly during the same in recent years. With a bar and restaurant sales down, which suggests more people are drinking at home – while they watch television, no doubt.
The Americans have followed the advice of pennies, and then returned to the stud of $ 5 per day. But they make up most infused their own coffee. About 56 percent of American adults drink coffee, a proportion that has not changed in recent years. But a recent survey by the National Coffee Association found that 86 percent of coffee drinkers have their own home, up from 82 percent a year earlier. And those who drink coffee at another place (think Starbucks) fell from 31 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2010. Of course, if people are drinking more alcohol at home, then it is logical that they themselves be more doses of coffee, too. If the economy improves, perhaps we need less of each.
The original phone’s sleek design helped make it a smash hit when it debuted in 2003.
Mobile phones have come a long way in the last decade, moving from a mix of modest clamshell and candy-bar designs to widescreen smartphone powerhouses. And while huge lists of advanced features are all the rage these days, many still look back on the phones of yore with fond eyes. One of the most popular handsets of yesteryear was the Motorola RAZR, and now, 5 years since the company ceased production of the iconic flip phone, they are reviving the name. The new Android-powered device is called the Droid RAZR, and while it’s nearly unrecognizable compared to its older brother, it just may be what smartphone fans are looking for.
The svelte new smartphone sports a dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of 1080p video recording, and 4G LTE support. The RAZR’s massive 4.3″ Super AMOLED touchscreen looks dazzling, and is encased in Gorilla Glass for added protection. The device is splash resistant, with Motorola promising that even the phone’s internals are meant to survive a bit of water.
One of the biggest selling points of the original RAZR was its thin form factor. The Droid RAZR continues that trend, measuring a laughably-narrow 7.1mm — making it the world’s thinnest smartphone. By comparison, the recently-released Droid Bionic measures 10.9mm, and the iPhone 4S checks in at 9.3mm. The back of the new phone is made of woven Kevlar, in case it ever gets caught in a Hollywood-style shootout. It will run Android version 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box.
The original Motorola RAZR debuted in 2003 and in just three short years it racked up over 50 million units sold, largely due to its super-thin profile and flashy appearance. But as smartphones began to grow in popularity, the modest features of the RAZR sent it straight to the bargain bin. But with that kind of name recognition, the new RAZR — which boasts a much more powerful OS and huge list of features — may be able to capture some of the old phone’s magic, which is something many Android devices seem to be lacking as of late.
The Droid RAZR will be release in November as a Verizon exclusive and will cost $299 with a new 2-year contract. A suite of accessories will also be poised for a launch-day release, including keyboard and laptop docks that will expand the phone’s capabilities to a larger screen. If you want to experience the rebirth of the RAZR line, you can pre-order the device starting on October 27.
Sign up for automatic subscription billing online, and you might keep getting charged after canceling.
Even if you use the utmost caution, you can still be a victim of credit card fraud. Credit card companies and banks are more and more often putting the onus of catching phony or incorrect credit card charges on the consumer.
The most important thing is to check your billing statement, of course. And there are organizations that offer tips on how to keep your cards safe as well. Here, we take a look at 10 of the riskiest places you might use your card, and what you can do to avoid the dangers.
Non-Bank Owned ATMs
Encryption at these ATMs is often not as good as at bank ATMs, meaning some locations are just not as safe. These ATMs also are more likely to be hacked. And in some cases, people have put up devices that look like ATMs but don’t give out cash. Instead, they are just card-skimming devices aimed at stealing your credit card or debit card information.
Wi-Fi Hotspots and Public Computers
If you’re going to be making online transactions over an unsecured wireless connection like in cafes, parks and other hot spots, data can be compromised or seen while in transit, even if you’re on a secure page while you’re checking out. The same goes for public computers like in libraries. It’s not advisable to ever transmit personal data when you’re in a public connection environment, especially on non-secure wireless.
Recurring Bills / Subscriptions
Instead of using automatic billing, ask to be billed on a one-time bill by bill basis instead. When you use your credit card for purchases that involve weekly, monthly or annual billings, you can encounter the headache of over-billings, continued billing once a subscription has ended, etc. Some less-than honest merchants will use automatic billing in hopes you’ll forget and won’t check your credit card statement.
If you’re planning to ditch your current cell phone plan, here are some things to do first.
Kevin Van Dyk is perfectly willing to talk about why he is counting the days until he can ditch his cellphone service provider, AT&T, in March 2011. But you might not be able to get a hold of him.
“My phone only works half the time in my house,” says Van Dyk, a Spring Hill, Fla. resident. He isn’t sure if any of the other providers can do better — spotty service is a problem in and around the small town, too. But with rampant billing errors and poor service from AT&T, he says, they can’t do much worse.
Bad connections, dropped calls and other service quality problems are driving consumers like Van Dyk to switch carriers. In a recent study, J.D. Power & Associates notes that consumers planning to switch reported problems four times as often as those without plans to switch. And a growing number fall into the former camp: The rate of dropped calls reported is up 33% compared with six months ago.
There are ways to try before you buy — to test call quality before you’re locked in with a service provider. But it’s a labor-intensive process. And if you’re not willing to wait out your current contract, it’s also an expensive one, with early termination fees of up to $350.
The best way to find out if a new phone will work where you do is to get one and try it. Carriers will let you out of a new contract penalty-free within the first 14 to 30 days. You’ll most likely want to port your number over, but be aware of the timing: if your existing contract isn’t up yet, that will trigger an early termination fee. Use the trial period to test your phone at home, in the office and other places you frequent.
It may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people buy a new phone before going on vacation or some other shift in their usual schedule, says Kent German, a senior editor covering cell phones for CNET. Not enough bars? You’ll owe only for plan charges during that trial period, whatever plan you sign up for. Of course, then you’ll have to go through the process of porting your number and trying again with another carrier.
If you’re not up for the hassle — or you want to research options before your contract is up — there are applications such as CNET’s cell coverage maps and BillShrink’s plan comparison tool out there to estimate signal strength down to the zip code. Those applications and carrier call quality ratings aren’t foolproof, says Kirk Parsons, the senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power & Associates, because reception can vary by block. This, of course, is all subjective. People on a network with wide reports of problems are more likely to notice those misconnections, he says, “and some carriers do a better job of managing customers’ perceptions than others.”
Or you can source the crowd. Before Tariq Ahmad moved to Greeley, Colo., to attend grad school earlier this year, he visited the major carriers’ cell phone stores in the town and talked to people on the street about the quality of the service. Alternatively, have a party. Inviting other people over to check out how many bars their phones get in your home or apartment is a fast and friendly way to research other carriers. At work, poll cube-mates for similar results.
Even heavy data users should think carefully before rushing out to get an ultrafast 4G phone.
Imagine having a mobile phone that matches what you can do on your home PC or laptop. That’s the power of 4G – the term for fourth generation mobile service – which was rolled out by Sprint (S) earlier this year and will soon be available for Verizon (VZ) subscribers. Here are the most important things you need to know about 4G.
1. It’s fast. Sprint, the first mover in the 4G market, says its 4G is up to 10 times faster than 3G, which was introduced eight years ago. Sprint promises peak downloads of more than 10 Mbps (megabits per second), with average downloads of three to six Mbps. Verizon announced on October 6 that it plans in the fourth quarter to launch its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network with downloads to range between 5 to 12 Mbps.
A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals that 4G speeds may vary. Sprint says that 4G can be 10 times faster than 3G. But read the fine print in Sprint’s promotional material: Sprint bases this claim on speed comparison between 3G’s low-end 600 kilobits per second (Kbps) vs. 4G’s max 6Mbps. Sprint notes that 3G can reach 1.7 Mbps, while 4G may drop down to 3 Mbps. So that’s less than twice as fast. We will know more specifics about Verizon’s network in the weeks ahead as it rolls out its service.
2. Regardless of how much faster 4G might be, the increased connection speed lets you do more things with your phone. Early users are already enjoying features like uninterrupted video conferencing, high-definition television streaming and of course lightning fast web surfing that smartphones on 3G networks are unable to provide. Power business users and other early adopters of the new technology who experience 4G will never want to go back.
3. Casual users mostly interested in talking, texting and occasional web surfing on their cell phones don’t need to rush into buying a 4G-enabled phone (and it is not possible to upgrade existing 3G models to the new network.) Even if you are ready to buy a phone and wanted to upgrade to 4G, the network is not available in all parts of the country (see below). It will take years for 4G to roll out into every rural area, and residents of big cities could get shut out due to big restrictions on new cell phone towers.
4. You can easily find out if 4G is available in your area. Sprint says its 4G network reaches more than 268 million people in 50 markets in the United States “and counting.” To see whether 4G is available in your hometown, go here.
Verizon says its 4G LTE network initially will cover 100 million people in 38 markets by the end of 2010. The first markets with access to Verizon’s 4G network include Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
5. 4G is more expensive. Sprint currently charges its customers with 4G-enabled devices an extra $10 per month, regardless of whether they can access a 4G network or not. With increased data usage and Verizon entering the fray, both networks are rumored to convert to “pay-as-you-go” pricing schemes rather than unlimited use packages. 4G devices will also invariably cost more – at least at first – than similar phones on the same networks.
Back in May, Sprint launched its first 4G phone, HTC EVO 4G, selling for $200 with a two-year contract. That phone runs on Google’s Android mobile operating system, and has access to nearly 100,000 Android apps. Verizon has not announced pricing and plan information for upcoming 4G-enabled smartphones.
6. Batteries take a hit on 4G. Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G can run out of battery power after only a few hours of use. While power can be conserved by switching off the 4G setting, the last thing you want to do with your new state-of-the-art smartphone is to slow it down. Extra battery packets which add to the weight of an already heavy phone can be purchased for about $100.
7. A 4G mobile hotspot can give a boost to your 3G phone. Sprint’s website displays a video showing how an iPhone user can find its 4G network and increase the iPhone’s speed. Take that AT&T. Sprint says the hotspot can work with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices at time: a phone, a laptop, camera, a couple music players and so on. Sprint says the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless is the first dual-mode mobile hotspot on the market.
8. Sprint and Verizon are leading the way with 4G, but where’s the competition? They’re not snoozing. Kent German reported in CNET that AT&T will be busting a move into 4G next year. AT&T Operations CEO John Stankey says the company will light up its network with LTE service by the middle of 2011. He didn’t list cities, but he says AT&T is aiming to cover between 70 million and 75 million people by the end of 2011.
Meanwhile T-Mobile has been touting its HPSA+ upgrade. T-Mobile says the upgrade increases its network’s speed three to five times over 3G. T-Mobile describes its HSPA+ enhancement as a “super-fast mobile broadband network that delivers 4G speeds in the Northeastern U.S. and other major cities across the country.”
9. So if you are one of those people with a need for speed or rely on your phone for multimedia business communication, it makes sense to upgrade to a 4G phone right away. Just understand the geographic restrictions in accessing the network, and be prepared to pay more in your monthly bill while also making sure to charge your phone more regularly.
For everyone else, there is no need to rush into 4G. Whenever it is naturally time to upgrade your phone due to performance or an expiring contract, you should consider jumping on to the faster network. By that time, 4G will be available in more areas and on more carriers. Although I wouldn’t expect prices to go down, battery and other technical issues associated with new gadgets should be resolved.
The only other thing you’ll have to worry about at that point is when it makes sense to upgrade to the fifth generation of cell phone technology.
The second 4G-ready Android smartphone for Sprint boasts a slide-out QWERTY keypad and a front-facing camera for video chat, but it lacks the latest version of Android; also, expect to pay a little more for Samsung’s new Epic 4G than you would for last June’s HTC Evo 4G.
Set to go on sale August 31, the Epic 4G (which marks the first of Samsung’s Galaxy S-class Android phones with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard) will arrive with a $249 price tag, and that’s after signing a two-year Sprint contract and receiving your $100 mail-in rebate.
The QWERTY-less HTC Evo 4G, on the other hand, costs just $199 with a two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate (assuming you can find one in stock, that is; the red-hot phone’s still sold out on Sprint’s website). Indeed, most of the major smartphones we’ve seen this summer have come with $199 two-year-contract price tags.
So, what are we talking about in terms of specs? First, the basics, starting with the Epic’s 4-inch Super AMOLED screen (same as on Samsung’s other Galaxy S handsets, like the Captivate and the Vibrant). In back, you’ll find a five-megapixel camera with autofocus, a flash, 720p video recording — and yes, video-chat fans, there’s a front-facing VGA for two-way video calls.
Under the hood, the 5.5-ounce, 0.56-inch-thick Epic (blame the slide-out QWERTY for the extra bulk) has a speedy 1GHz “Hummingbird” processor plus 512MB of system RAM for multitasking. Out of the box, the Epic will be running Android 2.1 — a bit disappointing, given that the just-released Motorola Droid 2 is shipping with Android 2.2 (good for features like Flash support, a souped-up Web browser, and improved Exchange support) already installed. Sprint says the Epic 4G will get an over-the-air update for Android 2.2 in the “coming months.”
Back on the plus side, the Epic boasts the same mobile hotspot features we’ve been seeing on the latest and greatest Android phones, good for sharing the handset’s data connection with up to five nearby Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets. Nice, but bear in mind that Sprint will charge you $30 a month extra for mobile hotspot privileges, and it’s also worth noting that the competing HTC Evo 4G will wirelessly share its data with up to eight Wi-Fi devices, rather than just five.
Speaking of data, the Epic 4G is (as its name implies) is the second smartphone to support Sprint’s budding, next-generation 4G WiMax data network, which delivers data speeds that peak at about 10Mbps — several times faster than what you’d typically get over a standard 3G data network, even when you consider that average, real-world 4G speeds hover around 4Mbps or so.