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,, 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