Why 5 Bars on a Cell Phone is Bad

I am frequently asked by cell phone users who are experiencing cell phone reception & data connection problems.  Why if I have 5 full bars of coverage do my calls go to voicemail?  Why can't I access data on my phone or receive text messages?  Its not because you are standing very close to a cell phone tower or antenna and getting a strong signal as most would think.  Its because the cell phone network you are trying use is congested.  Smartphones use ten times more data than cell phones that simply are used for making phone calls.  Yet, a typical cell phone tower can handle up to 500 simultaneous phone calls it can only handle 1/10 of the users for data traffic.  So if there are lot of iPhone users around you signaling to the tower it is likely that AT&T cannot handle the traffic.  I am sad to say it is only going to get worse as more and more people start using smartphones that suck down the data.

My suggestion is pretty simple.  Use WiFi whenever possible because 3G and 4G is not going to live up to the marketing hype.  

Emergency Vehicles Need Cell Signal Boosters

Response times and emergency communication shouldn't not be compromised at the expense of poor cell coverage. Up until now, officers in Arizona have been living in an unconnected computer world taking handwritten notes during investigations and then driving to the nearest substation, often 80 or 100 miles away, to log into the computer systems. While in-vehicle computers and cellular modems are standard equipment for many law enforcement agencies across the U.S., making the department’s Mobile Data Computing Project work in Yavapai County, Arizona was a challenge due to weak cell signals provided by the carriers. The County covers 8,100 square miles, an area larger than several U.S. states, lying between suburban Phoenix and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Topography includes Sonoran desert and mountains rising nearly 8,000 feet.  As the department researched the feasibility of implementing the upgrade, a field testing confirmed that the cellular signal in many areas of the county was too weak to allow in-vehicle modems to reliably connect with the department’s computer system.  Now their officers have the data connectivity resources in their vehicles.

The Yavapai Arizona Sheriff’s Office took it upon themselves to upgrade their data communications capabilities for more than 120 police cars installing cell phone booster systems made by Wilson Electronics. They didn't beg the carrier to upgrade their networks like so many agencies do.  To solve the problem the department installed Wilson boosters and antennas to detect and amplify faint cellular signals. The payoff has been clear and immediate enabling police officers to use on-board computers and cellular modems to access the department’s computer network and search for needed information or file reports directly from their patrol vehicles, even in remote areas of the county.

The officers recently went on a search and rescue operation in an area where the searching units had no cellular coverage according to their handheld devices, but with the air-cards in their vehicles, responding deputies had service through the Wilson booster and were able to instant message and stay in contact with the communications center..  The department also experienced another unexpected benefit shortening response times.

Wilson Electronics, Inc., a leader in the wireless communications industry for more than 40 years, designs and manufactures a wide variety of cell phone signal boosters, antennas and related components that significantly improve cellular communication in mobile, indoor, and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. All Wilson products are engineered, assembled and tested in the company's U.S.-based headquarters. Wilson boosters fully comply with FCC regulations for cellular devices and are FCC type accepted and Industry Canada certificated. Wilson Electronics has developed and patented a variety of technologies for protecting cell sites by preventing network interference. For more information, visit www.wilsonelectronics.com.

Crowdsourcing Cell Phone Reception Maps Preview

Preview of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile & Sprint Dead Zones

Screen Shot of Our New Maps Hosted by Click2Map

Why Apple or Google Should Buy Pandora

Consumers Don't Want to Own Music Anymore

How much longer can iTunes maintain its leadership position as the middleman for content owners to consumers?  I think the device manufacturing giant needs to think very quickly about buying a service like Pandora.  What is holding them back from spending their $50 billion dollars in cash?  Do they think they can recreate a similar experience themselves?  Is Apple afraid of cannibalizing their business of music and programming downloads?  My sense it is likely because AT&T, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile don't have their networks in order to handle the additional data streaming on 4G, LTE, Wimax.  However, this could be a strategic move if the new iPods and Shuffles become Wifi enabled.  

Google on the other hand doesn't have a music play and Pandora will start being used more frequently in the car.  Google could quickly bring a lot of location based advertising inventory onto the market with Pandora's 50M+ users.  Apple and Google have both shown their interest in predictive analytics which is Pandora specialty in music. Pandora uses this predictive playlist to recommend other songs you might like to keep you connected. The predictive playlists are an incredible user experience and are starting to carry ads that are relevant to the music.  The Pandora experience on my Samsung TV and new G2 phone.  It won't be surprising to see that Google TV also has a streaming music option very soon.  The question is whether they build it or partner with someone like Pandora? 

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Cricket Wireless Coverage Map

Cricket Wireless Coverage Map

EVDO Advantages Over Satellite & WiFi

EVDO Advantages Over Satellite Internet & WiFi
  1. Always on with seamless roaming assuming coverage
  2. Fully portable
  3. You are your own hotspot and not  relying on someone else's internet connection
  4. Goes beyond the 300-ft range from a "hotspot"
  5. Access corporate VPN (virtual private network) get a cellular signal via a secure, encrypted signal
  6. Can provide service outside of cable-modem or DSL areas
  7. Relative low cost with high capacity – allows rich web browsing and application usage.
  8. VOIP compatible with Skype, Google Voice or Magic Jack
How Does EVDO Work

EVO stands for Evolution Data Optimized and works similarly to the way your cell phone operates in that it relies on signal from a wireless tower rather than a physical connection like a phone line or cable. An EVDO modem (often referred to as an "aircard") receives the signal and allows you to connect to the internet -it's as simple as that! EVDO modems come in as a 3G Router.  Most 3G EVDO service plan have a 5 gig cap but some do not have any data cap.

Why Use EVDO?
  • Line of site issues
  • Data latency 
  • Can't get DSL or broadband at your home or office
  • Can't get satellite broadband
  • Gamers and traders people who want fast persistent connections.
Who uses EVDO?

There are countless reasons to use EVDO and we have helped customers get set up for a huge variety of applications! Below are just a few common ways people use EVDO:

Mobile applications: Cars, trucks, RV's, commercial service/fleet vehicles, shuttles, carpool/vanpool, transit (busses, trains, ferries), taxis/limos, private/commercial vessels Portable uses: Mobile work teams, trade shows, conferences, conventions, vacations, commute access, emergency response setup

Fixed-location customers: Backup to cable/DSL/T-1, dial-up alternative, satellite alternative

How does EVDO compare to other technologies?

The best aspect of EVDO (to most users) is the mobility it offers, but EVDO is also FAST! With a good signal, EVDO Rev A averages about 600-1400Kbps download with upload speeds averaging between
500-800Kbps. Here is how it stacks up to other common internet technologies:
  • EVDO Rev A: 600Kbps - 1,400Kbps Down (with bursts to 3.1Mbps); 500Kbps-800Kbps Up (with bursts to 1.8Mbps)
  • EVDO Rev 0: 400 - 1000Kbps Down (with bursts to 2.0 Mbps); 50 - 100Kbps Up (with bursts to 144Kbps)
  • 1xRTT: 50Kbps - 100Kbps with bursts up to 144kbps Down/Up
  • EDGE (2G): 50Kbps - 100Kbps Down/Up
  • HSPA: 700-1700kbps Down; 500-1200kbps upload
  • DSL: Varies based on provider. Average appoximately 1500Kbps Down; 128Kbps Up
  • Cable: Varies based on provider. Average appoximately 1000-5000Kbps Down; 200-800Kbps Up
  • Satellite: 512Kbps - 1500Kbps Down; 128 - 256Kbps Up
  • Dial-Up: 56Kbps Down/Up

Steve Jobs: Android Fragmentation = Choice

I feel like the only person who is angry by the comments that Steve Jobs made about Android as a fragmented operating system that will only confuse consumers and operators.  The iPhone is a controlled environment and resembles the old "enterprise software" days of the late nineties where big companies were making bundles of money.  Android resembles open source and new entrepreneurs where everything is public and the best products ultimately win.  If iPhone continues to control applications and cater to the corporate big media publishers and carriers this will ultimately be their demise.  Yes, the iPhone form factor is beautiful but HTC and other handset makers are making good looking phones as well.   The iPhone having a closed device is going to hurt them in the long run and this will likely come in the form of their lack of scale and an advertising infrastructure to sell location based advertising.

Clearly Steve Jobs feels threatened by the whole Google Android movement and their is a clash of cultures.  Google is clearly disrupting an industry that is dominated by the carriers who rape consumers and handset makers who want controlled obsolescence.  AT&T and Verizon should feel threatened as well even through they are proliferating the spread of Android and have no idea what is about to hit them.  Its like feeding your enemy who is ultimately going to disrupt and destroy your monopoly business.  Go Google.

Verizon & AT&T Spend $18M Per Year on These Lobbyists

Rick Davis Lobbyist for Verizon

Charles Black Lobbyist for AT&T

What Do Consumers Get for These Annual FCC Meetings?  

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Verizon 3G Network Extender Questions?

Click Femtocell to Search Availability by Zip Code

Verizon Wireless has updated its latest femtocell device with the launch of a 3G Network Extender replacing its previously offered Network Extender. The Samsung Electronics device will boost coverage in buildings and homes where a customer might have poor cellular coverage due to walls or challenging topography.  Similar to other carrier femotcell products, the 3G Network Extender relies on a customer’s broadband connection to backhaul voice and data traffic.  Six devices can access the femtocell, and that there would be no special rate plans or additional monthly fees for the device beyond the one-time charge of $250.

It also brings up the question why are they not simply using a Wifi network to rout data traffic?  Also, will this device work alongside a normal FIOS Wifi router?  Why not simply embed the femtocell technology into your FIOS router or FIOS DVR?

Even though Verizon claims they cover 98% of the population they still sell hundreds of thousands of these devices.  These poor cell reception locations are also known as dead zones even though the carrier touts they cover 98% of the population.  Verizon must assume that we all live outdoors and their cell phone signals can penetrate walls and trees.  

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Steve Jobs Rant - Android = Fragmented vs. iPhone = Integrated

Argument #1 - We think the open vs closed is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue, which is: What's best for the customer? Fragmented vs. integrated. We think Android is very very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day.  Response - Is being on more platforms in more places bad?  Apple is going to have a tiny market share compared to Android long term.  This will thrust their mobile location based advertising and enable them to charge $0 for apps.

Argument #2 - Android OEMs install proprietary user-interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user is left to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone where ever handset works the same.  Response - AT&T is horrible user experience so maybe having the handset experts develop on the platform might solve some of the reception issues.

Argument #3 - Open systems don't always win. Response - Maybe in the short run but not in the long term.  Making more money from fewer people is a bad idea.  Making less money from more people is a better strategy.   I would rather see Google take $50 per handset than Apple making $600 per handset.

Half the AT&T Service, Deserves Half the Price

The AT&T network is a disaster and getting worse.  If anyone ever deserved to be sued to the degree of absurdity it is AT&T.  Their service is unusable and everyone deserves the service for free.The site Half Price AT&T was started based on a rant that Jason Calacanis had on his show.  Jason suggest that AT&T should be a the largest class action law suit ever.  I pay $90 a month for AT&T and I get about $9 worth of service.  This is why I carry a Verizon Mifi.  Everyone deserves AT&T service at half price until they fix their network. Get 1 million people to sign the petition and then we could have some leverage.  Insiders have said the amount of YouTube consumption is crippling the network and the problem will never be solved.  Everyone should receive a Microcell as a customer for free.  Tyler on the show suggests that cities are not allowed by cities to add new cell phone towers.  However, we know that is not the solution because their network foundation is too screwed up.

Fast Forward to 58 Minutes Hear Jason Calacanis's Rant About AT&T

Half the service for half the price! Share your troubles with America's largest 3G disaster! Join the petition to get AT&T to improve their service or lower their price!  “Half the service deserves half the price.” Jason Calacanis https://www.thisweekin.com

Free Mobile Text Messaging is Growing

We are starting to see a lot of free applications in the marketplace promoting free text messaging as their hook.  Its not surprising considering when you initiated or receive a text overseas its about $1 and you are paying $5-10 per month for a service that has not costs.  Its just stupid ridiculous and borderline rape that the carriers charge you for texting when email is more data intensive and its free.  This is one of the biggest profit centers for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.  Why would they ever want to cannibalize this revenue stream and actually do something innovative when they can keep collecting .25 cents per message for doing absolutely nothing.  FUCK YOU DUMB PIPES!

 I am not going to list any application because all you have to do is a Google Search for "free text messaging" and you will find lots of applications.  One of the most useful text messaging applications is Google Voice on the Android phone and even directly from the computer.  Simply open up Google Voice assuming you are a Gmail and iChat users.  If your contacts are organized click on the name in the contact or chat and text Send SMS or text.  Its free and it should be since billions of emails are sent per day.  This is a another revenue "house of cards" that is about to fall quickly for the carriers.  Every text should be free and Google will probably make even more money that the carriers creating an advertising supported app.

Google Android Mobile Instant Search

Google instant search for mobile devices on Android will be available sometime in the fall or early winter of 2010.  They are activating 200,000 handsets per day according to their earning call.  Google rolled out the instant search on the web because they could and their decision was not motivated by profit.

It will be interesting to see how Google's mobile display advertising will be added to this experience.  Also, I will be curious to see which carrier networks perform the best and the worst.  This new search feature will likely add a lot of data onto the already congested networks.  AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint will be tested by this roll out and we want to hear about your user experience.

Does 4G Have Credibility When 3G Still Sucks?

Am I the only person on this planet who isn't a sucker for the 4G, LTE, Wimax marketing bullshit?  Does 4G have any credibility in the consumer marketplace when 3G sucks so bad in major markets?  AT&T still can't figure out their network problems yet they continue to peddle more market crap that is beyond their capability.  These companies (some less than others) are all about raping their customer for fees and doing what is best for business and not for the consumer.  If they did what is best for consumers they would allow phone data to be offloaded to Wi-Fi and create paid incentives for all Wi-Fi router operators (private and public) to open their networks.  There are millions of Wifi networks that could be used as infrastructure and only a few hundred thousand cell phone towers.   Instead carriers would rather try to shove more crap down their pipes that can't handle the traffic.

Its just bullshit.  I am tired of hearing "we cover 98% of the planet", "we have the fastest network", "can you hear me now", "rule the air".  There are millions of unsatisfied consumers who can't make a phone call on their phone yet carriers are out spending billions of dollars building another network that is supposed to be faster.
This wireless telecom industry might be the only industry that gets away with marketing murder and no one can do anything about it.  Not to mention our government regulatory body the "FCC" who is run by a bunch of bureaucrats with their heads totally up the carrier asses.

AT&T's GSM network has horrendous data network problems and its only getting worse.  Verizon touts itself as the most reliable network yet all of their CDMA phones are dumbed down and suck.  We continue to observe all of the network problems and people keep paying $50-$100+ dollars per month for data plans and access that sucks.  What happened to free Wi-Fi as an alternative?  Its just not what is best for business is it?

Wi-Fi is a formidable competitor to 4G, Wimax and LTE yet you won't be reading about it in the press.  Why? Because its not what is best for business and their isn't much money to be made giving free access to data networks.  What's best for consumers is if the millions of Wi-Fi networks open up their access to everyone.  Yes, unprotected networks everywhere and free access.  This is the only thing that will break the monopolies of AT&T and Verizon who control 66% of the US market or 180 million customers.

Isn't it ironic that two of the highest paying dividend stocks on Wallstreet are Verizon and AT&T?  Yet they think is best to put more money in the hands of the shareholders and not do what is best for consumers.  Billions of dollars are put back in the pockets of investors as these two companies are culpable for holding our entire US economy back from innovation.  Get out of our fucking way AT&T and Verizon because Google is going to eat you for lunch.  If I was a a hedge fund my trade would be to short AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) and go long Google (GOOG).   They are a "house of cards waiting to fall.

T-Mobile Google Phones on Sale at Amazon

Amazon has the cheapest price for T-mobile Android phones HTC G2 and Samsung Galaxy.  They are $99.99 for new customers and $199 for existing customers eligible for an upgrade.  If you are an existing customer when you upgrade, make sure you keep your unlimited data plan.  A T-Mobile salesperson or customers service representative should be able to grandfather you into the unlimited plan if you have been a long time customer.

The Samsung Galaxy is great for gaming, pictures and media with the All Share application for home viewing on a networked TV.

The G2 is tremendous for anyone who likes Google Applications tightly integrated into the phone. Some of the new features we like on the the G2 phone include Google Listen, Navigation, Places, Goggles, Google Earth and most certainly Google Voice.

Likely the best feature of having a phone with a huge processor is the ability to download and use applications like Pandora, Audible and Google Listen for Podcasts.  Its the first time a phone has enough storage on the SD card to keep the files.  Both phones have about 8 GB of storage for media files.

T-Mobile G2 Wi-Fi Calling & Tethering

T-Mobile's G2 phone first over the air update will enable Wi-Fi calling and mobile hotspot creation for tethering. This comes on the heals of T-Mobile announcing their Wi-Fi femtocell application from Kineto.   This is a major breakthrough for carriers and we hope will spur other carriers to follow.  50% of homes and offices do not have seamless wireless coverage from cell phone towers and this will be very helpful to those who need a signal boost indoors.  Offloading data and voice to congested cell phone towers is huge deal.  Just ask AT&T and any iPhone user.   This is just one more reason that Google is leading the charge to reform dinosaur business practices from carriers who are only interested in protecting their bottom line.  Kudos to T-Mobile and Google! 

Related Post:
T-Mobile Wifi Phone Calls on Android Phones

T-Mobile Wifi Phone Calls on Android Phones

T-Mobile has announced Wi-Fi Calling technology with the upcoming availability of built-in Wi-Fi Calling solutions planned for a wide selection of Android powered smartphones, including the recently announced new T-Mobile myTouch and Motorola DEFY with MOTOBLUR. All have the Android 2.2 operating system named Froyo. Hopefully, this Smart Wifi app will become available on future G2 updates.

Kineto offers the the wireless industry's only combined Wi-Fi-based Smart Offload solution. Kineto’s Wi-Fi-based Smart Offload application enables mobile phone users to turn any standard Wi-Fi access point into a seamless extension of the T-Mobile network, allowing subscribers to receive all their mobile services when connected via Wi-Fi. This application helps solve the Capacity Crunch. Resolves the 3G Indoor Coverage Challenge. Addresses the perceived mobile VoIP threat Helps improve battery performance by enabling handsets to transmit at lower power when attached to a Wi-Fi access point, and thereby increase handsets' talk and standby times.

Wi-Fi Calling for Android is built upon the same technology as UMA, but is a different implementation from T-Mobile's past offerings. T-Mobile’s current Wi-Fi Calling solution which operates on BlackBerry smartphones, for instance, seamlessly hands off calls from T-Mobile’s network to Wi-Fi networks, Wi-Fi Calling for Android does not. T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling for Android increases coverage and but unfortunately still uses voice minutes on your plan.

Related Post:
T-Mobile G2 Wi-Fi Calling & Tethering

What is Best for Wireless Consumers?

What might actually be the best thing ever for consumers could royally screw the carriers. Twenty years of wireless carrier stifling innovation and counting. I think there are two companies (AT&T and Verizon) plus the cable companies who have held back the US from technology innovation. Is Android waiting for the right time to pounce on the bloated wireless carriers who are simply dumb pipes? Could Android get native VoIP capabilities by way of Google Voice and the Gizmo5 acquisition. Google Voice today is a front end for your existing phone number, and it’s also an optimized voicemail system. Google could become a voice service provider and would unquestionably piss off the carriers who are their "partners". Who wouldn’t expect them to eventually become a voice service provider for wireless maybe through a WiFI network? Its just a matter of time. Google could then make unlocked Android phones available in the U.S. through online or through traditional retail channels. I am waiting for the day.

Google Adsense Seasonal Fluctuations

I have started to notice very large swings and spikes in Ad Sense eCPM rates on my web sites Deadcellzones.com and PhotoEnforced.com.  I started noticing large advertising rate swings during the week for example: Tuesday & Wednesday eCPM rates were much higher than Friday & Saturday.   Now I have started noticing that October and January rates seem very low.  Deacellzones.com daily web site traffic (Quantcast) has remained very steady if not increasing on a monthly basis yet our ad rates don't seem to be as consistent.  Are more advertisers starting to take a hiatus during these periods?   On the flip side I have notice VERY high eCPM rates during the summer months and also in December.  I wish we could share the actual eCPM rates we receive but we are not allowed to share them per the agreement with Google.   However, I can see it fluctuates almost 50%.  I suspect this has to do with Double Click and their display targeting.

This site performs very nicely with display ads but not as well with contextual links in the same slots.  Maybe the Double Click team is seeing a drop in display advertising from the mobile space due to the increased Android adoption?  Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have been large display buyers on the Double Click network but I am not seeing their ads as often in the last few weeks.  We will have to wait and see?

Our two largest advertisers Wilson Electronics and Wi-Ex have been long time advertisers with us and continue to see real value from the audience that visits our web sites.  We facilitate this relationship using Google Ad Manager (Double Click) and use Google Ad Sense as remnant inventory. 

CTIA Wireless Show Protesters

CTIA Wireless Show 2010 Protestors Outside of Moscone

I am not sure I understand what these people are protesting but here are some topics be held up on their signs outside of the Moscone Convention center.  Maybe these people really do want to stifle innovation and would prefer to have cell phone dead zones and network congestion?  I doubt these people are iPhone users as well who routinely complain about the poor AT&T coverage in San Francisco.  Here are some of the topics they are protesting on their signs. 
  • Utilities Should Stop Smart Metering
  • No Wifi in Schools Because it Hurts our Kids 
  • Cell Phones Warning Labels Needed
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G2 Does Not Drop Calls Unlike iPhone

The G2 delivers a whole new type of speed, voice quality, reliability, control, and access on the HSPA+ network. Sometimes its worth being on a network with only 30M customers versus AT&T's 90M. Less is more for quality coverage.

The phone is designed for blazing-fast 4G speeds on the network and the T-Mobile G2 comes loaded with Google Apps and new Voice Actions from Google, which lets you control just about everything on the phone with only your voice. I think HTC got the chipset right and did not cheap out like Apple did with the iPhone.

• 4G speeds
• Loaded with Google Apps
• Integrated Google Voice
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T-Mobile HSPA+ on G2 is Very Fast

The T-Mobile HSPA+ network outdoors and select area indoors is lightening fast. Great experience so far on the G2 and the battery life seems very reasonable. Kudos to HTC who didn't use a cheap chip set like the iPhone. Not one dropped call yet and great data.
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Verizon: What is the Difference Between LTE & 4G?

Verizon Wireless expects to commercially launch its LTE 4G network in up to 30 markets in 2010, covering 100 million people. To view a video about Verizon Wireless’ 4G network, visit https://bit.ly/vzw4g. For more information about 4G from Verizon Wireless, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte.
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Still Dead Zones on the Bart?

To my amazement there are still cell phone dead zones in Bart tunnels from SFO Airport to downtown San Francisco. Anyone have any insight why AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have not solved this coverage problem?
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Stay Tuned for CTIA 2010 Updates

We are in route to CTIA and the Navteq conference in San Francisco. Stay tuned for updates throughtout the next two days using my new G2 phone.
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Amazon Android Marketplace Reviews

An Amazon.com curated marketplace is desperately needed for Android phones.  Amazon says they will take 20% of the purchase price and require a $99 developer fee which should eliminate the current crap in the marketplace.  Its great to hear that free apps will also be allowed in the marketplace along with the paid apps.  I think the biggest asset that Amazon brings to the table is to give Android apps a forum for reviews.  The best feature of Amazon.com are the product reviews and hopefully this will also transform the applications marketplace.  Hopefully, this audience can help Google improve the curation of apps submitted to the marketplace.

I would not be surprised to see Best Buy Mobile following with their own marketplace product launch as well.  Both companies are formidable competitors and it will be interesting to see how each plans to compete.  Both companies have expressed interest in doing consumer generated coverage maps like Deadcellzones.com and it would be great to finally see one of these companies take a leadership role and work with us and us our API.  These marketplaces could certainly give them the consumer audience needed to start reviewing coverage that is broadly over promised and under delivered.

How to Send a Text Hands-Free

StartTalking is the first truly 100% eyes and hands-free messaging application for your mobile phone. With StartTalking, you don’t need to ever touch or look at your handset to send, listen to, or respond to text messages. StartTalking helps reducing driving distractions by offering the following:
  • Entirely voice-controlled.
  • No taking your hands off the wheel.
  • No taking your eyes off the road.
  • The safer way to text message for people on the go.
The only drawback upon usage is the continuous usage in the background of the G2 Android but hopefully the company can fix this with new versions.  Starttalking is currently only available on Android phones and is not expected to arrive on the iPhone due to the requirement of running in the background to operate.  The iPhone does not currently allow this.

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Google Listen vs iTunes Podcasts

Google Listen could be Google's next killer app that will challenge iTunes for podcasts.  When I opened up my G2 phone I saw an interesting application that I had never seen.  Similar to Google Reader which allows you to sync podcasts and blog posts, Google Listen allows you to grab the RSS feed of the audio cast and download it to your Android phone.  I am an avid listener of Leo Laporte, KenRadio and This Week in Google each day and this makes it even more convenient for me on the go.  No longer do I need to sync my phone with my iTunes account because Google Listen does it all in the cloud.  Very convenient.

How do you activate Google Listen?  Simply have a Google Account and sign-in.  How do you add RSS feeds to Google Listen?  Right now you have to find or copy the RSS feeds by searching on your phone and then copy the link into My Subscriptions. Its pretty easy to do and you can select the number of shows that you would like to download.  Its great to see Google tightly integrating its apps on their phone and I would expect to see further integration of this application into Google Reader.

Listen from Google Labs brings podcasts and web audio to your Android-powered device. It lets you search, subscribe, download and stream. By subscribing to programs it will create a personalized audio-magazine loaded with fresh shows and news stories whenever you listen. In this release Listen is indexing thousands of popular English-only audio sources.

Skype on Android Phones is Finally Here

Skype has finally released their an application for the Android phone enabling voice calls over VoIP.  50% of homes and businesses do not have seamless wireless voice coverage for quality conversations while Wifi and broadband is growing rapidly.  Skype is a great alternate solution to fixing coverage inside a home or office building where a cell phone signal is not present.  Its also a great solution while you are traveling overseas and want to avoid the hefty roaming rates that carriers charge while using other networks.

Try pulling your SIM card out of your smart-phone for a few days and just use Wifi services.  Using Skype and Google Voice over Wifi works pretty good and you are less likely to drop calls.  Who knows you just might find yourself reducing your data and voice plan down to the minimal amount and save yourself lots of money each month. 

Skype has released a client for Android mobile handsets, running Android OS version 2.1 or higher. With Skype for Android, smartphone users globally can now experience the benefit of Skype while on go using either a Wifi or mobile data connection. Market or consumers can visit https://www.skype.com to find out more details about how to get the application.

Skype for Android enables users to:

· Make free Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi or mobile data connection (GPRS, EDGE, 3G)* to other Skype users anywhere in the world using Skype’s SILK codec for CD-like audio quality.

· Make low rate Skype Out calls to landline or mobile phones

· Send and receive instant messages to one or a group of friends on Skype

· Synchronize contacts between Skype and the native address book and after synchronization place Skype calls directly from the native address book.

· See when Skype contacts are online and available to call or chat

· Import names and numbers to the Skype application from the native address book

· Receive calls on their Skype online number

Refund Checks for Verizon Customers

Verizon is paying between an estimated $30-$90 million in refunds to customers who were improperly charged for inadvertent Web data access over the past several years. 15 million customers would receive credits or refund checks that would generally range from $2 to $6 on their October or November bills. Existing customers will get credits, while former customers will receive refund checks.

The refunds are the result of an investigation into Verizon by the FCC. For the past three years, the regulatory body received complaints from customers, who did not have a data plan, accusing Verizon of data charges as the result of pressing a button on their phones.

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Why Can't I View My Verizon FiOS Bill Online?

Warning Do Not Use Verizon FiOS's Paperless Billing
Do not use paperless billing for Verizon. Get a copy of your bill on paper. If you use paperless billing it will be impossible to view your bill online through your WellsFargo, Chase or Bank of America bank online or at Verizon.net or Verizon.com. The FTC needs to get involved with this company immediately because. This is not the 3rd month I have been monitoring this horrendous customer service. Had to call multiple times to get a new password and spoke with 4 different customer service people who could not figure it out.  Someone please help because I love the service!

A 4th Verizon rep told me that he had to refresh my profile in order to access my account.  The 5th Verizon customer service rep told me she would email me my bill.  The 6th Verizon rep told me that I should clear my cookies.  The 7th Verizon rep told gave me a new password and said it wouldn't reset for 15 minutes.  So frustrating its just ridiculous. This takes up to 24 hours according the the person assuming it doesn't go directly into your spam box first.  I am still waiting and still have not received it as promised.

Verizon FiOS WiFi Speed Test 20 mbps Upload & Download

When Will HSPA+ Wimax LTE Beat these Wifi Speeds?
When I see these speeds on my home network I question how many customers are willing to pay $600-$900 per year for 4G LTE at half the speed.  Verizon LTE and Wimax data plans are expensive and speeds are only 1-12 mbps.  Wifi can compete with 4G LTE if consumers simply open up and share their Wifi networks and don't secure them.  Free Wifi hotspots growth is approaching 40% per year which is 25x faster than LTE or Wimax cell phone towers so pricing is going to have to come down soon with the added competition of free.  We would love to see a company like Google buy Verizon FiOS and take its fiber network and home connections to the next level.

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