Monday, April 13, 2015

Would You Let Your Carrier Put Ads On Your Phone For Reduced Cost Service?


Advertising. We all hate to see it everywhere, but it’s always just a blink away. Websites, pop-ups, billboards, everywhere we look there’s an advertisement for something. Of course, one of the worst offenders to this plague is mobile advertising. Games and websites are loaded with them. Some ads even push them to your devices when you aren’t looking. One such recent App that did this made an interesting thought appear – would you let your carrier put ads on your device for reduced cost or even free service?

It’s been reported that the average person unlocks their cellphone 110 times a day. 110 times! This would mean that at $.002 an ad, a cell company could generate $6.60 a month in just simple display ads. If this was applied to a plan like PTel Mobile’s $25 unlimited plan, that would bring the cost down below $19 a month.Of course, if you unlocked your phone more often, you would generate more income. Unlocking 150 times a day brings that up to $9 a month. A simple increase of $.001 (a tenth of a penny) brings the total up to $13.50 a month – or over half that plan .

While advertising may be obtrusive, annoying and just a bit painful sometimes, getting paid to see them really might make them a bit more fun. Using your browsing history, a small amount of data and targeted marketing, this could be a way for the cell companies (or maybe a new MVNO?) to offer unbelievable deals on their products. A simple banner ad displaying on the bottom of your lock screen or even just at the top of the screen when you use certain features of your device (maybe the music player?) could generate enough cash to give you a major discount on that expensive service plan.

What are your thoughts, would you let your phone company push ads to you in order to save $5, $10 or even $20 a month on your bill? Imaging that family of 5 getting a $100 a month discount?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

HTC Confirms Windows 10 For The One M8–Or Almost Does


If there is one thing that has been great about the way that Microsoft has handlled Windows Phone in the past, it would have to be the transparency at how updates would or wouldn’t be handled in the future. For better or worse, upgrade or non-upgrade information has come quickly through the channels (thanks Joe Belifore) and has been pretty accurate. While it was confirmed a while back that almost all the Lumia line of devices would be getting the Windows 10 for Mobiles update, third party devices like the Samsung ATIV, HTC One and various others have remained very quiet about their upgrade plans.

It looks like HTC is the first to break their silence about their upgrade plans for their One M8 for Windows, and the emphasis on that should be ‘looks’. The HTC US twitter account posted a vague answer to the question online revealing that their flagship Windows device will be getting software updates for 2 years after it’s launch.

Since the device launched in August of last year, this would mean that HTC will continue developing updates for the M8 as far out as July of 2016. While many would see this as great news, those in the know (Hello 8X users!) are reading more into this than the rest. HTC has a bumpy history of getting those promised updates through carriers and on to devices. In fact, Microsoft themselves promised 2 years of updates to multiple devices only to have them come up well short of that mark. The most notable failure in this chain was the Nokia Lumia 810 on T-Mobile. After 6 months, T-Mobile canned the struggling device and support for it stopped shortly there after.

Even so, with HTC’s comment, one would have to assume that the device maker will be pushing the update to carriers as quickly as possible. It’s doubtful that there will be a timetable like the Android updates feature, but it should be considered good news for M8 users no matter how you look at it. It will also be interesting to see if Microsoft continues their plans to push a non-reversible Windows 10 for Mobiles update path for Android devices as well. If the support is this good, there’s no doubt that Microsoft could start winning over Android devices one user at a time.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Does Microsoft Need A Flagship Device?


We have now hit the 8th month since the last major Windows Phone flagship hit in the US and nearly a year since the last of them hit world wide markets. The last flagship to hit the market, the HTC One M8 for Windows. The last world wide release was the Lumia Icon/930. Since then, it’s been nothing but 400, 500 and 600 devices, along with a smattering of 800 series phones. Nothing that rivaled the powerhouses that were the Lumia 1520 or 1020, or even the 920 for that matter. It’s been all quite from Redmond and their newly acquired smartphone line.

Even at World Mobile Congress, Microsoft only threw out the Lumia 640 and 640XL. Both devices are fully capable and come at a very sweet price point. This move prompted the tech industry to ask, “When do we get our flagship?” More blogs and writers took it a step further and stated to demand to know. A simple answer of, “This fall, after Windows 10 comes out,” was all they got. As funny as I find this, my bigger question is, “Why does Microsoft need to release a flagship device?”

In reality, the M8 is way too powerful for Windows. It runs it like a dream, but there just isn’t much there to run. There’s no SnapChat, Klout, very few mobile banking solutions and the worst part – the shrinking body of Apps that continues to get smaller and smaller as developers give up their time to other platforms that are gaining in user base. Frankly, I don’t blame them one bit, but at the same time, this is where Microsoft should be putting their resources. We saw what they could do with YouTube, and it was gorgeous.


Imagine if Microsoft publishes Windows 10, that runs smooth as silk on a Lumia 635 (sub $50 price range without contract) and could save you $100’s every month in phone rentals and data charges. Honestly, it’s a perfect scenario for most users, but a nightmare for carriers. It would create a flood of users bolting for MVNO’s that would offer $35 plans with smaller data caps and no taxes and fees. It would be a nightmare for the networks that support them. Of course, it also just shows how heavily inflated the carriers are with their stores, sales people and ‘support’ staff.


While I would love to see a new flagship device, I would rather see more devices come to market in the lower to middle ranges that would sway people to trying Windows to start with. BLU Products already has a good selection of lower range and mid range Windows devices. The $150 price point of the BLU Win HD makes it a very solid choice for new buyers. Unfortunately, the great news ends there. Since Microsoft has their ‘Lumia Exclusive’ stamp on so many Apps, the third party devices now seem like stepchildren to the Windows lineup. This is what needs to change most of all.

In fact, I pulled my M8 out of the drawer and did a quick count… 212… 212 Apps that I have had on various Windows Phone’s in the past are not compatible with my M8. 40-50 of these Apps were ‘Lumia Exclusives’ and another 40 of them are just no longer compatible. The bleeding needs to stop or the 3rd party makers will walk. Open up your Apps and get Windows growing Microsoft. You aren’t Apple and you don’t have a monopoly on any OS at this point. Get with it.

I’ll just bring this to a close right now. Microsoft does NOT need a flagship device. Microsoft needs to get the Apps that people want and to stop losing those that people use. Bringing in the power developers like Rudy Hyun and the game makers is a great start, but opening up the catalogs for everyone would be subject of the greatest importance to every user on the planet. They could come out with an all metal Lumia with a 50MP camera, 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, but it will still fall flat because Instagram sucks, Tumblr has a data leak of epic proportions and I can’t find how to share a video on anything but Facebook now. Oh, and by the way, without Play To access, I can’t even stream music to my home theater… Thanks for the new phone though Microsoft, the camera is awesome and the photos take up all my OneDrive space now!

For now, leave me out of the flagship debate and put my vote towards getting some Apps finished up. You seem to have quite a few really good programmers there, think you can have a few of them start coding some vicious stuff for sharing videos, controlling home audio and maybe even – wait for it – blog from it? Oh yea, I went there… Maybe this fall though… Maybe this fall?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Do You Kindle? April Is Your Month To Start!


There is something special about turning a paper page in a book. Of course, between the laptop, a few files and a lunch, cramming yet anything else in your work bag is sometimes impossible. This is where the Amazon Kindle App comes in handy. The Kindle App works with your existing phone or tablet and allows you access to your entire Kindle library anywhere you go. The best part, it works with the phone you carry in your pocket already, so you have nothing else to buy, or carry with you.

When you team your Kindle App with a service like BookBub, you get an entirely new reading experience that you will never have to pay for. BookBub highlights discounted and free titles from sources like Google Play and Amazon so you can expand your library completely free. They may be older titles or new, breakout writers that don’t have a big name yet, but being able to read for free is a serious money saver deal for most people. The Kindle App doesn’t restrict where you can access your free content either. The App is available on every major platform in the world including: Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS.

There’s nothing magical about the Kindle App. It is a very straight forward reader that uses WhisperSync technology to keep your readers at the same point. If you start on your tablet at home and read some on your phone while riding the train to work, your tablet will pick right back up where you left off when you arrived at your destination earlier in the day. If you aren’t ‘Kindling’ already, you owe it to yourself to check out the Kindle App for your mobile device. It is a free App that is available to download from the link below.


Source: Kindle App