Friday, November 29, 2013

Grab Disney Titles For Free

That's right! Just in time to install on those Lumia's you grabbed at the Microsoft store today, Disney's popular WP titles have gone FREE!

Choose from any of the Where's My... series, Monsters U or Wreck It Ralph or choose them all. The games are very well executed and offer fantastic experiences on everything from a Lumia 520 to a new 1020.

Remember, once you "purchase" a title, you can uninstall and reinstall to any device with your Windows Live account installed on it. So even those devices with extremely limited storage should grab then all while their free. Grab them today by visiting the Collections section of the Store.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Product Review: zBoost YX545 Cellular Signal Booster


Ever found yourself inside your home and that brand new cell plan you just got started with has a perfect signal in the living room, but nothing in the bedroom, bathroom or office? It’s one of the biggest issues affecting the user that has dropped their landline in favor of a cellphone only life. Some people have been creative and use Wi-Fi calling services or maybe a VoIP service, but usually those involve a second number or another bill. Where can one turn to get the best coverage indoors? Try starting with the zBoost YX545 Range Extender.

The zBoost YX545 works with both the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands, meaning AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, and will quickly take your signal from zero bars to full bars in no time at all. In fact, the zBoost YX545 set up in about 10 minutes and had me covered about 45 seconds after I fired it up.


The box includes the main unit, which is about the size of a small network router. It also has a 50 foot co-ax cable to stretch from the antenna to the main unit. The power supply antenna and mounting bracket make up the rest of the primary supplies in the package.


After laying out the parts, it only took a few seconds to place the box inside my dead house and attach the indoor antenna to it. I then ran the co-ax cable down the wall to a window and used a ‘flat’ adapter to run the wire out the window to the location where I wanted to put the antenna itself. The mounting bracket for the antenna quickly installed near the window where I ran the flat adapter for the co-ax cable to and attached a shorter outdoor co-ax cable to the adapter and the antenna. All in all, about 10 minutes total and my zBoost YX545 was up and running.

The three mounting options that the zBoost YX545 offers will work in apartments, homes, offices and just about anywhere else you can find a space to put them. Running the inside setup is the easiest – and before you ask, yes if your home is wired with co-ax cabling, you can use it to carry the signal through to another outlet – as you just mount the antenna next to a window and make sure the box is at least 15 feet away from it. For stronger performance, you can put the antenna outside the window like I did for my demonstration purposes. For strongest possible signal boost, mount the zBoost YX545 antenna on the roof or in an attic. The best way to find out where to mount it in your location is to find a place where your phone has the strongest reception without it and place it there.


Finding a nice zero to one bar zone in the house was pretty easy as the kitchen, bathroom and hallways always provided me with challenging coverage. I kicked the phone into field test mode and selected GSM. The image on the left is the signal of the device before the box was fired up. The image on the right is the device in the same spot with the device turned on.


To further prove this, I reversed the theory and went to my one bar kitchen with the device 10 minutes later. Once again, the zBoost YX545 completely proved itself in the toughest room of my house. From 4 full bars of service to barely pulling a signal with one simple unplugging of the power supply.

It was simple to see that the zBoost YX545 not only performed well, but was so easy to setup that even a technical novice could have it up and working in no time at all. There is a very important notice in the instructions – make sure to set the unit up at least 15 feet from the antenna. You can grab the zBoost YX545 Range Extender for under $200 from GetSmartphones.Info. You can also take a look at the zBoost website for more information.


  • Extends cellular coverage for single or multiple users in homes or offices--provides up to 2500 square feet of coverage
  • Dual-band device works with 800/1900 MHz frequencies from all major carriers--AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel, Cricket, and more (not compatible with Nextel)
  • Omni-directional signal antenna receives signals from multiple cell towers
  • Antenna can be installed outdoors above the roofline or indoors in the attic or near a window
  • Extends phone battery life--uses less power when signal is stronger


PCS Band
  • Frequency: Uplink: 1850 to 1910 MHz | Downlink: 1930 to 1990 MHz
  • System Gain: 60dB
  • PCS band supported: A, D, B, E, F, C
  • Networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, 3G
Cellular Band
  • Frequency: Uplink: 824 to 849 MHz | Downlink: 869 to 894 MHz
  • System Gain: 60dB
  • PCS band supported: A, B, A', B'
  • Networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, 3G
  • Coverage (open areas): Up to 3,000 square feet
  • Dimensions: 5 x 7 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Power consumption: 3W standby; 7W max signal; 2.0A Max

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Instagram Beta Hits Windows Phone 8


It was a long time coming, but an official, well almost official, Instagram App has made its way to Windows Phone. The App is still officially a beta, but the functionality of it behaves like a long time veteran App. It’s very apparent that Instagram took their time perfecting this before running it out to a public Beta.

Overall, the App is great and from the early on usage, the memory usage is much more well managed than 6tag and Instance. So, give it a shot and see if you are as impressed with it as I am.

You can grab it here on most Windows Phone 8 devices.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1520 Drops Under $100

If you were thinking of grabbing the new Nokia Lumia 1520 Phablet, tonight is the night to do it. AT&T's website currently lists the monster Lumia at $199.99, but when you click in to see the item, it reveals a $99.99 price tag.

Sure, you do need to signup during AT&Ts 50% off sale and you can grab the new power house for under $100. Of course, you still have to pony up $36 for an activation fee and a minimum plan of $70 plus taxes and fees applies as well. Overall, the $584.99 sticker price and Red Pocket Mobile service from will be cheaper by over $570, but the limited out of pocket expense with the half off deal makes this Lumia 1520 quite an easy pickup.

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Windows Phone Still Failing Small Biz Owners

When the time comes for a small business to look at a mobile platform, too many of them don’t even glance at Windows Phone. Unfortunately, this is for a good reason. For all the positives that Windows Phone devices deliver to a business owner, there are still a few glaring negatives in the mix that just can’t be overlooked. Going back to my April story of Where Windows Phone Fails Small Business Owners, the three items that were highlighted are still major issues for smaller companies.

The lack of a native or 3rd party fax from mobile solution is terrible. Both Android and iPhone are getting more and more refined options for mobile faxing, while Windows Phone still has only 2 third party options that are both non-functional. It’s sad, but true. The lack of connectivity for Windows Phones is only the start of the issue for these users though, as the issues continue with the lack of wireless printing.

Wireless printing is almost a no-brainer today. Both Android and iOS have 100’s of options available for wirelessly printing documents directly from them. Windows Phone however, has zero. About the only way to get that precious Word document to print without a computer is to grab a printer with HP Connect and email the files to it. Not the best way to get a contract printed, but at least it is something. It’s almost a sin that Microsoft hasn’t just dropped some pressure on long time PC partners like HP and Epson to create a wireless driver for Windows Phone, but apparently they don’t see the urgency in doing so.

Credit card acceptance… Wow! So here we are 6 months after my first post about this and guess what? There’s two viable options, sort of. Aircharge is the first one, but it doesn’t seem to play nice with WP8 and they want $345 for a reader. Ouch! The second option is MerchantPlus. The MerchantPlus system isn’t terrible, but the monthly fees are more than most small biz owners would ever want to endure.

The start up fee is $14.99 to download the App. Then you have your first monthly maintenance fee of $29.95 and a first time transaction fee of $15.00. Then you pay just 2.15% on the transactions for the month. This means to match someone like Square at 2.75%, you would need to ring through about $10,000 to make that cost back. So, while the one time fee disappears, the monthly cost of MerchantPlus is just too high to be considered an option for many small mobile businesses. With the $359.40 a year monthly fee, you would need to turn quite a large amount of charges to bring the cost inline with the ‘free’ providers like PayPal and Square.

Overall, Windows Phone and Microsoft have made no ground on the others in fixing these glaring small biz errors. I guess they are depending on someone else to grow the business end of their platform for them. Overall though, the lack of a few key features doesn’t make Windows Phone less attractive for business, but it may scare a few people off with it’s lack of options.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Game Review: Pinball Star

For anyone that owned a WinXP computer, Pinball Star will be that, "Oh... My... Goodness!" moment that lasts just long enough for your first ball to get lost. Yes, Pinball Star is nothing short of a brilliant port of that classic Windows title that sent so many of us to deep space on mission after mission.

The game play on Pinball Star is quite smooth on my Lumia 810. There were no lags once the game was rolling, although the initial launch sequence did take a second more then it looked like it would. The fluid controls made play simple and fun as well. I will say, playing an XP game on a 4.3" is a little challenging, but the controls made it pretty easy.

The bottom of the screen controls the flippers. Left and right both responded well to touch. The top of the screen is broken into three "nudge" sections. These allow you to get unstuck, move the ball quickly or just tilt the game with enough roughhousing.

Overall, Pinball Star is a great effort to bring a classic Windows game back from the dead. If you are a pinball fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you aren't, you probably won't love it, but the free price tag still makes it a tempting addition to your gaming lineup.

Check out "Pinball Star" for Windows Phone

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Grab The Lumia 1020 Camera Grip For Under $60


It’s a lucky thing that you are a Nokia Lumia 1020 owner that hasn’t snagged that new Lumia 1020 Camera Grip/Extended battery option yet, because the prices on them are continuing to fall. Even if you own one already, having a spare or two for those long vacations may not be the worst idea ever. The power supply in the grip provides an additional 55 minutes of shooting per charge and the grip will help you steady that device while taking all those vacation photos over the holidays.

The $59.47 price tag on the PD-95G is the lowest I’ve seen yet and the fact that it is eligible free shipping is even better. Check out the Lumia 1020 Camera Grip today and grab one before this deal is gone!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reserve Your Nokia Lumia 1520 And Get A Bonus

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If there is one thing more fun that grabbing a device on presale, it would have to be getting one on presale and getting stuff with it. That’s exactly what you can expect from your local Microsoft Store or when you preorder your Lumia 1520 from them. The new 6” monster device can be had for a lowly $199.99 with a new 2 year agreement from AT&T or for $549.99 without contract. The pricing at the Microsoft Store includes a flip cover and $50 App Card as well.

The draw back to snagging the early model will be that there is only a 16GB version available, so if you are needing more internal space than that, you may have to hold out a while longer. To make this move a bit less frustrating, you can grab a  SanDisk Ultra 32GB card to put in the device for under $30.

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I’ve covered the specs on the 1520 before, but if you need the rehash, click here. Probably the most recognizable spec is the Zeiss lensed 20MP PureView camera and the new Nokia Storyteller Software. This should be a welcomed addition to the most seasoned Windows Phone user, and the quad-core Snapdragon should provide the fastest Windows Phone experience yet.

Grab yourself a reservation Nokia Lumia 1520 online at or at your local Microsoft Store. The question isn’t whether or not to grab one of these, it’s if you want to spend $200 upfront and $130 a month or $550 upfront and $50 a month?