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. (Orbitz) (Trip Advisor) – If you are a frequent traveller, sites like 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

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. #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

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 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.