Winterize Your Phone

By: Juan January 20th, 2012

The holidays, hot chocolate and spending time with family and friends are just a few of the things people like about winter. But as the temperatures drop, cellphone users should be aware that significant temperature changes, along with snowy and wet weather, could damage their mobile devices.

As people head outside, U.S. Cellular offers tips to help cellphones survive during the dark days of winter.

Avoid the winter chill. Temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can harm a cellphone’s battery life and run down the charge more quickly. If your cellphone is exposed to cold temperatures, allow the phone to warm up to room temperature before using it. It’s also a good idea to store a cellphone in a warm place and not in a backpack, an outside pocket of a coat or in a vehicle overnight. When out in the cold, carry the phone in an inside jacket pocket to keep it close to the body for warmth.

Protect the screen. Prolonged exposure to the cold may affect a cellphone’s display screen. The display cover can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time, which causes the liquid crystals within the display to literally start freezing. If a cellphone gets wet from condensation, power it down right away and remove the battery. Grab a towel or some napkins to get as much excess water off the phone as you can. You should remove any skins, covers or faceplates. If you have a flip phone, open it up, so air can reach the keypad. Leave a wet phone powered down for a day or two to give the internal circuitry a chance to completely dry out.

Get Connect Now! - Sprint Users

What is Sprint Working Out?

By: Juan January 19th, 2012

Sprint certainly has challenges going forward, including the build-out of a new 4g LTE network. However, the business– at least as it appears to potential and current consumers– has improved significantly. Sprint (maybe tied with T-Mobile) now offers the best value proposition for a new smartphone user. I got my first smartphone (a Motorola Mobility (MMI) Photon 4g) on Sprint this fall, because a new AT&T or Verizon data plan, without being grandfathered in with an earlier, lower price, is outrageous. My plan includes 450 afternoon mobile-to-landline minutes, unlimited other minutes, and unlimited texting and data for $79.99 (including a $10 surcharge for having a 4g phone). Unlimited AT&T or Verizon plans would have approached $150, and to get a comparably-priced package, I’d have to settle on limited data or texting plans, which I’d have to constantly try to not blow through. Why get a smartphone if you can’t have fun using it?

So Sprint may now be attractive for new smartphone users, but how are they going to take grandfathered-plan-enjoying customers from AT&T & Verizon?

With an exclusive iPhone (AAPL).

Sprint Cares About the Environment

By: Juan January 18th, 2012

While the idea of sustainable cell phones sounds like something of an oxymoron, communications giant Sprint is at least making moves in the right direction. As of January 1st, the company is requiring that all devices go through the UL Environment certification process before hitting store shelves, the first mobile carrier to do so.

Sprint first partnered up with UL Environment last year to produce the Samsung Replenish, the first phone to receive environmental certification.

“We applaud Sprint for helping to lead the wireless phone industry down a path of increased environmental responsibility and sustainability,” said Stephen Wenc, president of UL Environment, in a press release. “Sprint’s decision to set a goal of having UL Environment certification for all of its mobile phones highlights their commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship.”

Carrier IQ Is Gone With Latest Evo 3D Update

By: Juan January 18th, 2012

“Lately there has been a huge deal with Carrier IQ being on people’s Android devices. I don’t know about all of you, but I am sick and tired of hearing about it, but I had to bring this last bit of news to you. Last week we posted about the HTC EVO 3D maintenance update that Sprint had confirmed they were rolling out, this update removed Carrier IQ from your EVO 3D! If you compare the screen shot above with the one below you will notice that HTC IQAgent and IQRD are now no longer listed on the device.

With this news, it takes the number of devices that Sprint has Carrier IQ on from 26 million down to a number a bit smaller. We aren’t expecting Sprint to take Carrier IQ off of the 15 different devices that they sell that currently have Carrier IQ on it, but it would certainly be nice if they did right? So if you haven’t already applied the update to your EVO 3D, you may want to.If you haven’t received the update notification yet go to

Driving and Cell Phones In AZ

By: Juan January 17th, 2012

Using a cell phone while driving could soon be illegal in Arizona.

A group of new laws circulating the state House and Senate aim to make the roads a safer place by restricting the use of cell phones. The bill that could have the greatest impact, HB 2312, would make it crime to drive while distracted in any form, cell phone use included. Another bill seeks to ban texting behind the wheel, but one of the most likely to pass and become law targets teen drivers 17 years old and younger. If SB 1056 is approved, teens under the age of 18 caught using their cell phones behind the wheel could lose their driver’s licenses for a full year.

Android Market in China? Well, Maybe…

By: Juan January 16th, 2012

A Google executive seems to think that the Android Market is in the works for China’s growing Android user base. But Daniel Alegre, Google’s president of Asia-Pacific operations, might have spoken too soon in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. According to new reports from undisclosed sources at Google, the Android Market is more of a pipe dream in China than possible reality.

Inside Mobile Apps’ Kim-Mai Cutler chatted up some people “familiar with the discussions,” and she reports that Google’s hopes for a China Android Market are currently in the “exploratory” phrase—if that. Or, to borrow a quote from said anonymous sources, “It’s not really happening.”

But don’t the wrong idea. It’s not as if China is just outright blocking the Android Market and that’s why China’s Android users lack access to a Google-centric repository of apps and games. Strict Chinese regulations do play a part: In this case, companies avoid government censorship for their apps by subjecting them to a more comprehensive review team than what one might otherwise find from a U.S.-based app developer.

Android and iOS At the Top of Purchases

By: Juan January 16th, 2012

More than 70 percent of consumers who intend to purchase a smartphone over the next six months will purchase an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone or a handset based on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, according to a Yankee Group survey.

The researcher, which polled more than 15,000 people, learned that more than 47 percent of U.S. respondents own a smartphone, and 58 percent of those surveyed said they would buy a smartphone as their next mobile handset.

Android enjoys an installed base of 39 percent in the United States, with 39 percent of respondents vowing to buy an Android handset in the next six months. Currently, 25 percent of respondents own an iPhone, but 35 percent of respondents said they are leaning toward purchasing an iPhone in the next six months.

That means some 74 percent of U.S. consumers plan to acquire an Android or iPhone over the first half of 2012.

Yankee expects the smartphone market will soar to more than 175 million devices by 2015, up from 97 million in 2011. The natural inclination is to believe the wealth will be spread around to multiple operating systems.

Future of WiMax?

By: Juan January 13th, 2012

“In the last few weeks Sprint has rolled out LTE service to a few area. Some have been under the impression that these are “test areas” to examine the viability of LTE. That’s not the case. I haven’t been able to get word from Sprint about their long-term plans — not officially anyway, and it’s the source of some confusion in the wireless industry. The confusion stems from their other “4G” technology: WiMax, and it’s potential future with the company.

Running two 4G technologies side-by-side seems like an inefficient use of spectrum. Ironically AT&T is doing something very similar by running HSPA+ and LTE side-by-side, both of which are “4G”. (For those of you who disagree with that classification, I’m with you, but I’m using the term in line with the carriers’ definition of 4G.) AT&T’s move seems more logical: LTE is arguably a larger technological jump from HSPA+ than from WiMax. So why would Sprint run both WiMax and LTE? Is WiMax ripe for the chopping block?

I couldn’t find a Sprint representative willing to go on the record about either of those two questions, but one was willing to talk, so long as I don’t mention his name. According to my source, officially, Sprint is still committed to WiMax, but is getting pressure from consumers who are gravitating to “LTE” rather than “4G” due to

Polaroid Camera That Runs on Android

By: Juan January 12th, 2012

“It’s the Polaroid SC1630, and although it looks like your run-of-the-mill digital camera at first, it is anything but. Instead of the traditional LCD display on the back of the device that allows you to toggle through pictures and change lighting, etc, the SC1630 has a fully operable version of Android.

Sure it can do all those things I just mentioned, but it can also run apps, games, and connect to the Internet. Users can instantly share pictures on Facebook, e-mail, or whatever method they want. Obviously it’s primary function is as a camera. It has a 16-megapixel resolution and 3x zoom, and it aims to answer the growing question of why consumers should still buy a dedicated digital camera when their phone’s camera is probably good enough.”

Android Tablets – They’re Gonna Get Better

By: Juan January 12th, 2012

So far, Android tablets have been a disappointment.  Nvidia is betting that’s about to change.

FORTUNE — Like every other chipmaker on the planet, Nvidia (NVDA) is making a big bet on mobile. Earlier this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company unveiled a slew of new Android tablets powered by its Tegra 3 chip, a new quad-core processor. The lineup includes an Asus touchscreen tablet that will sell for just $250. But so far, Android tablets have failed to wow the market, which is still dominated by Apple’s (AAPL) iPad. We sat down with the company’s co-founder and CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, to find out how Nvidia plans to take on tablets (and its rivals).

Fortune: So far, Android tablets have been a disappointment. Do you think that could change?

Huang: It will surely get better. There are too many different types of people with different needs, and one size doesn’t fit all. The first couple of years Android tablets got off to a clumsy start. First, Android was splintered into two major platforms — there was the old Android and the tablet Android. But now the whole thing has been united under Ice Cream Sandwich [the latest version of Google's (GOOG) operating system] which unifies Android into one single platform. Second, the devices came out too expensive. Apple set a price ceiling and everybody stumbled and searched for the right price point. Now the market has discovered the right price point.