Archive for the ‘ iPhone ’ Category

Consumers might soon be paying more for handsets

We soon may see rising prices for cell phones, says the Wall Street Journal, since wireless  carriers are working to change the terms of smart phone deals that have benefited phone manufacturers like Apple. The result would be consumers paying more for devices like the iPhone.

From the WSJ piece: “Carriers in the U.S. have been raising monthly rates and charging higher fees when customers upgrade to new phones. In Europe, embattled carriers are taking more aggressive measures: Spain’s two leading wireless companies are refusing to subsidize devices for new customers.”

This could hit consumers especially hard since  most upgrade their devices every two years. It’s plausible some will react by lengthening that period, but others might consider upgrading to a new-to-them device that’s still newer than their current phone. If so, this new development could be a boon to retailers who refurbish and sell used cell phones. Then again, if the American economy continues its slow but steady supposed recovery, maybe folks will pony up more cash for brand new phones. OF course, that would worsen the already substantial problem of cell phones piling up in landfills. Hopefully, people will wise up and realize that lightly used phones can do nearly exactly as much as brand new ones.

AT&T’s network capacity is strained

AT&T’s networks have become more efficient than they used to be (remember the chaos that ensued when the first few generations of iPhones came out and the network was over-burdened in large cities?), meaning it delivers more bandwidth over the same infrastructure and spectrum.

Even so, as Bloomberg Businessweek points out, they’ve sold so many large data plans to so many consumers that now that people are starting to use the entire allotment of data they’re paying for, the infrastructure is approaching the max-out limit. If you’re unhappy with the network, maybe it’s time to jump ship to Verizon and get used cell phones to offset the cost of breaking the contract.

From the Businessweek story:

AT&T’s first-quarter earnings show that new smartphone customers aren’t the ones straining its data networks. Rather, AT&T’s chickens have come home to roost. Customers are finally starting to consume the big buckets of data AT&T is selling them, taking their fair share of network capacity while not paying more for the privilege. Consequently AT&T is seeing a massive increase in data traffic without a corresponding jump in data revenue.

During AT&T’s Tuesday earnings call, Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega revealed that AT&T had added a net total of 10 million new smartphones over the past year. The devices now account for nearly 60 percent of its postpaid subscriber base. De la Vega also revealed that AT&T’s wireless data revenue is tracking about $24 billion per year, growing at a steady rate of more than 20 percent per year.

But AT&T has pointed out before that data traffic on its mobile networks is actually doubling each year. So that means a 100 percent annual increase in mobile gigabytes shipped is being driven by a mere 32 percent increase in smartphones. What’s more, AT&T is collecting only a few billion dollars more in revenue to handle that deluge of new data.

 

Social networking on smart phones outpaces gaming

We’ve noticed that the people who spent years mocking “gamers” have now succumbed to games’ online cousins: social networking. Even our Aunt Ada, never a fan of anything electronic, can’t wait to get home to check out what’s happening on Facebook, and once she gets the app on her iPhone, watch out! Who knows if she’ll even be able to drive without checking her Wall (ah, the terms that have become part of our dialogue lexicon, from tweet to friending to Wall).

Seems the numbers show there are lots of Aunt Adas burning minutes on their mobile devices these days. Says a piece in Mediapost.com, “Since the dawn of the smartphone, games have dominated consumers’ mobile minutes. In the past year, however, new research shows that social networking has risen to rival gaming on a per-minute basis.”

The proof? Flurry compared the average time smart phone users spent across app categories between the first quarter of 2011 and 2012, and found that gaming dropped by 4% — down to 24 minutes per day — while social networking increased by 60% — up to 24 minutes per day. Peter Farago, the firm’s VP of marketing, told the site, “We take the rise in social networking apps as a signal of maturation for the platform — As game demand may be hitting its saturation point, consumers are also discovering other apps, namely social networking.”

For those of us who peddle phones, this is good news. Because the more popular social networking becomes on smart phones, the more smart phones people will want. And, those of us who happen to sell used cell phones can offer a the Aunt Adas of the world a great deal – a smart phone that’s been lightly used and is Just as adept at calls and apps as a brand new iPhone – at half the price.

We can count on seeing continuing growth based on the current trends. Flurry found huge growth in year-over-year social networking app usage. Time spent increased by 60 percent, and the total time spent on smart phone apps among consumers  went from 68 to 77 minutes, a jump of 13 percent.

iPhone drives wireless subscribers to Verizon

Remember when AT&T was the only carrier that allowed you to have a iPhone? Ah, the memories of being shackled to the company’s over-burdened network rife with dropped calls and wobbly signals. We knew folks who were counting down the days until they could jump ship and go to Verizon. And a lot did.

The New-York based carrier posted a first-quarter profit of $1.69 billion, or 59 cents a share, compared with a year-ago profit of $1.44 billion, or 51 cents a share, according to a story in CNET. Apple’s beloved device has spurred Verizon’s revenue to rise 4.6 percent, to $28.46 billion.

Analysts were estimating forecasted earnings of 58 cents a share on revenue of $28.17 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The iPhone has allowed Verizon to grow its ranks of subscribers while other carriers are contending with a fairly saturated digital market  facing stagnant customer growth in recent years, especially on the contract side. And for Verizon, it’s all on the strength of its network, is known for its high quality instead of its maddening plethora of dropped calls. Its fast 4G LTE network has been a real draw for consumers.

Revenue from Verizon’s wireless arm, which it jointly owns with Vodafone, jumped 7.7 percent to $15.4 billion, mostly due to the iPhone. The company sold 3.2 million iPhones, compared to the 2.1 million 4G LTE smart phones sold in the same period. The beauty of using an iPhone on the Verizon network is that you can save money without sacrificing quality by buying a used cell phone for less than half the price of a new one, and still have the vast majority of the high-functioning Apple product’s bells and whistles combined with great reception and service. It’s a no-brainer.

 

 

Learning requires play, and digital apps are following the data

Along with happiness research, another growing field seems to be the science of play. According to experts, children – and even adults – often learn more readily when what they’re doing is more like play than work. Enter a new generation of digital gadgets designed to help kids learn as they play. At the recent and aptly-named Sand Box Summit, held at MIT, the conference united educators and technologists aiming to reach youn g folks ranging from toddlerhood to 20s “and equip them with skills for the digital lifestyle of the 21st century.”

The effort included an array of online games and educational content, as well as toys that provide offline activities in tandem with online apps. Now that infants are so close to technology with the advent of ever-present smart phones and tablets, apps and games are becoming second nature to them. And older children are becoming active on social media at earlier ages.

Examples? Calloway Digital Arts now has apps for Apple’s iOS device that feature digital storybooks with games designed for children’s development. The company’sThomas the Tank Engine stories include have puzzles and coloring e-books.

The conference, and the industry at-large, is focused on developing new ways to fuse sophisticated learning such as reading and information processing and art, with digital play. So whether your kids are using smart phones, used cell phones or your iPad, you can make sure to have educational tools on-hand in addition to the usual Angry Birds-type stuff.

Paying with smart phones to become norm by 2020

Rarely pay your electric bill – or buy a pack of M&Ms — on your iPhone? According to more than two-thirds of technology insiders, that will change by 2020, when most consumers will pay their bills with smart phones instead of with cash and credit cards. That was the result of a survey released last week by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and Elon University’s School of Communications.

The survey asked some 1,000 technology experts and stakeholders to agree or disagree with a statement asserting that “swiping smart phones” would replace most cash and credit purchases. The answer options were referring to NFC (near field communications) technology, which permits a communication between a sensor in the payment terminal and another in the consumer’s smart phone to complete a monetary transaction.

A full sixty-five percent of the respondents agreed that NFC would be widespread eight years from now. Already, at least 10 percent of mobile phone owners have made payments using their phones, ComScore data reported.

For consumers who rarely use a cell phone at all, much less to conduct comparison shopping price checks at Target, they’re going to need to catch up in order to go shopping. One way to start would be to have a tech-savvy friend help them shop around at some local mobile technology stores and then assist them in buying a used cell phone, one that has been only lightly used or refurbished by a shop that does cell phone repair. That way, they’ll be ready to use their phone for every day transactions when the time comes and without having to spend a large sum of money.

Track My Phone app comes in handy (with some help from local police)

When you lose your sole means of communication and connection with your networks, it can throw you for quite a loop. A friend of ours recently left her iPhone4 on a bus in Downtown Denver and realized too late. She didn’t have insurance and didn’t want to shell out $650 for a new iPhone, so in between panic attacks she shopped around for used cell phones (she has Verizon and found she could get a lightly used iPhone4 for $300). While she was shopping, she tracked her lost phone throughout Denver using the Track My Phone app.

“It had quite the journey,” she tells us, “It spent the evening in City Park on Friday night. Saturday it made its way to some swanky apartment complex at Florida and Leadsdale, then to some super sketchy place near Jason and Santa Fe. It spent night before last in Commerce City near the waste water treatment facility.”

Finally, her missing phone appeared in what seemed to be a more approachable or at least accessible place: a single family home. She and an attorney friend jumped in the car and drove toward the neighborhood. On the way, they called the local police and asked for a citizen assist. The cops showed up when they did. The officers approached the door to a modest home, questioned the man who opened it, and soon returned to the car with our friend’s iPhone. The man who had it apparently told the officers he’d paid $50 for the phone. “I knew it was too good to be true,” the cop said the man told him.

As for our friend, she’s glad she doesn’t have to spend $650 on a brand new phone, or even $300 on a lightly used one. “I feel like writing the guy who wrote the app and thanking him,” she says. Seriously. Talk about adding value to the market place.

Watch out: Angry Birds to be “a permanent part of pop culture”

You know that simple, silly little game your kids won’t stop playing on Facebook or on your iPhone? The one where you use a slingshot to fling birds and destroy pigs hidden in fortresses? In spite of the fact that it seems to have been created by an incredibly stoned couch surfer, the game “has been downloaded 700 million times and is the fastest growing game on Facebook.” The company’s estimated value? Oh, just around $9 billion. But apparently that’s just the beginning.

“We want to make Angry Birds a permanent part of pop culture,” Peter Vesterbacka told Reuters, comparing the brand to Sanrio’s Hello Kitty or Nintendo’s Mario. “We’re just getting started.” Rovio is teaming up with Wal-Mart to sell its games and is planning a series of themed activity parks in Britain (They’ll apparently feature Angry Birds-inspired swings, sandpits, climbing towers, slides and outdoor arcade games).

The goal is to be an “entertainment brand,” not just a company that makes games. Not that those are doing poorly – According to a recent report by Juniper Research, the massive growth in tablets are set to push total end-user games revenues on tablets to $3.1 billion by 2014, up from $491 million in 2011. The increasing size of smart phone screens will likely aid those numbers, as well.

As games like Angry Birds become more and more popular, not just on tablets but also on smart phones, you can down on cost by buying your children used cell phones. They won’t notice any different while they’re pelting the on-screen pigs.

On A Budget? Use Cell Phones Smarter

If you’re on a buget, a new fancy-pants smartphone may not be in the cards for you—or is it?? Here’s three ways to make owning a cell phone more affordable:

  1. Start with what you buy. Used cell phones are almost as good as new, and often gently used. You can get last years iPhone 4S (if the iPhone 5 finally releases this year) for a fraction of the price. Just check reputable used cell phone dealers, and remember that certain trade-in chains have HORRIBLE reviews.
  2. Only use cell phones when you’re at a wireless hub (at home, work, a coffee shop, book store, etc.). iPhones are already designed to look for the nearest smart phone hub, but it’s a smart way to use Android phones, too! It saves money on that data plan, especially if you’re not on Sprint.
  3. Make calls using data. Minutes can be the most expensive part of using cell phones, (so can crazy texting), but it may be cheaper to just use data—and free WiFi—for everything, including calls. (I recommend downloading Google plus and using hangouts to video call your friends!).
  4. Secret fourth step: make sure to get CASH for that used cell phone! Even if it’s an older model, it may be worth something, and you’re keeping it out of a landfill!

What Are The Best Brands For Replacing Lost Cell Phones?

If you lose your cell phone frequently, it’s probably best to replace it with something cheap, and to avoid buying from your service provider (most service providers only provide special prices when you renew your contract, but most people don’t lose their cell phones with such perfect timing!).

Another way for the chronic cell phone destroyer to save money is buy buying used cell phones. Used cell phones are actually great, because if you are trying to get value from your phone, apps are actually a more important feature than the latest cell phone style.

Apps being the most important feature, the best used cell phones to buy are something with an Apple OS (Apple used cell phones are a great deal) or an Android OS.

1) Apple iPhones-iPhones, being so expensive new, are a great used cell phone. New or used, the app store provides great entertainment out of the cell phone.

2) Samsung offers a great selection of Android phones, and, like the iPhone, also makes for a better deal as a used cell phone because Samsung’s are a bit more expensive the first time round.

3) HTC are phones made with cutting edge features, at a lower price than either Apple or Samsung. For the best used cell phone deal, HTC is a winner.

Which App store do you like better? Android or Apple?

 
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