Archives For Mobile

bestbuy-mobile-giftcard

Best Buy has launched an interesting promo to proactively reach potential customers, no matter one’s smartphone predilection. Register your intent now to pick up any new phone by the end of the year, and receive a $50 gift card upon completion of that purchase. Of course, with two huge 2014 launches expected in the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6, Best Buy’s fuzzy calendar and agnostic OS approach is quite clever. Not to mention, there’s really no catch — register your intent, maybe you buy from them, maybe you don’t. But should you transact, you’ll be rewarded with that gift card (plus any potential trade in valuation, if you choose the easy but less lucrative way out). As you’d expect, this dealio is limited to subsidized phones on a 2-year contract (and T-Mobile customers, such as myself, need not apply).

(Thanks Donnie!)

logmein

It’s not clear if we collectively misunderstood LogMeIn’s original outreach or if the company has backpedaled amidst negative feedback from those of us who’d purchased their $30 Ignition app. As the story goes, LogMeIn abruptly dispensed with a Freemium remote access model, However, Ignition app owners were granted a complimentary 6 months of “Pro” access for their troubles. And I’d reasonably assumed after those six months, both computer-based and mobile access would be terminated (without purchasing an annual subscription). As it turns out, LogMeIn’s most recent communique (pasted above) states,

You can continue to remotely access your computers, as you have, from your mobile device with full access to the premium functionality in your LogMeIn Ignition app, whether or not you ultimately upgrade to LogMeIn Pro.

So that’s a little bit of good news. Assuming one possesses a tablet, since pulling up a full-on desktop computer via a 4-5″ screen is reserved for emergency access only. And there’s really no telling how long our good fortune will last, given this bit of clear language from LogMeIn’s original outreach:

While your existing Ignition app will continue work as it always has, it will no longer receive updates and bug fixes.

Verizon LTE TV

Verizon has remained steadfast in its claim that it will not use the acquisition of Intel’s OnCue assets to launch a nationwide over-the-top video service. However, the fact that Verizon is now apparently talking to CE manufacturers about embedding LTE multicast technology in TV sets does have me wondering how long the company will stick to that plan.

As quick background, Verizon spent time demoing LTE multicast at an event in NYC this week. Unlike how most video is delivered in individual streams to consumer devices, multicast technology allows multiple devices to access the same stream of video at the same time. This is useful for live events, when theoretically many people want to watch the exact same content.

Verizon has been futzing with LTE multicast for some time, but the fact that the company is now talking to manufacturers about adding it to TVs is what interests me. Continue Reading…

wiiu-tivo-scheduling

As Wii U sales plummet, despite price cuts, it appears the Japanese gaming pioneer may finally be ready to embrace third-party hardware. From Nintendo President Satoru Iwata:

If we stay in one place, we will become outdated. We are thinking about a new business structure. Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business.

While Nintendo has produced all sorts of compelling hardware (Virtualboy!) over the years, they haven’t always found sales success and aren’t nearly as relevant as Microsoft and Sony in the console space… which I attribute to their slow embrace of HD. Continue Reading…

Anker Saves The Day (Again)

Dave Zatz —  January 18, 2014 — 8 Comments

As I’ve yet to find that perfect gadget caddy, we’ve gone ahead and implemented Plan B. When picking out a new bedroom set about 18 months ago, we went with a collection that we otherwise may have passed over due to tricked out nightstands housing a power squid in the top drawer (and undercarriage lighting). Turns out, the AC adapters were way too bulky to be practical. But what else could I do with the pre-drilled holes and drawer organizer? Enter Anker’s $20 5-port USB charger. I still need to tidy things up and would prefer most of these gadgets live on/in my dresser or the kitchen, but this seems to be a good solution for the time being.

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Cisco hosted tech reporters at its annual CES press reception last week and took us through a whirlwind of company news, vision-speak, and proof-of-concept demos. The best of the demos was an app giving users the ability not only to control TV from a mobile device, but also to share related secondary content between different screens. For example, execs showed how to bring up detailed program information or social networking content on a tablet, and then transfer that information in widget-like tiles to the television display.

On the tablet, meanwhile, the app kept a strip of video from the live program streaming at the top of the small screen, while still leaving the rest of the window open for browsing Internet content. The idea is that the video strip gives you the feeling that you’re still attached to a TV show even when you’re looking down at your mobile device. It sounds a little ridiculous, but it works. And, if you want, you can drag the strip down to see the full-screen video. Continue Reading…

att-discount

The end of smartphone subsidies may be upon us, given T-Mobile’s uncarrier moves and AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plan:

With the ‘No Annual Service Contract’ options, smartphone customers can save $15 a month on Mobile Share Value plans. Customers can receive these monthly savings when they: Get a new smartphone for no down payment with AT&T Next; bring their own smartphone; purchase a smartphone at full retail price; or when their smartphone is no longer under contract and they switch to the new plans.

Indeed, my mom received a letter from AT&T illustrating some of their new offerings. And, as CTO of the Zatz family, I reviewed her service and usage… then flipped the account to a new Mobile Share Value plan, cutting her bill nearly in half from $85 a month down to $45. The savings come via two mechanisms. First, given her limited data usage due to iPhone 4 screen size, I was able to put her on a tier that replaces 900 minutes with unlimited talk (and adds unlimited texts) but restricts data access to a mere 300mb. (I imagine many of her generation remain more interested in using phones for voice.) Oddly, the additional savings is not reflected as you’re evaluating plans, but only after you enroll – and an out-of-contract phone reduces the advertised monthly fee by $15. Continue Reading…