Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LG's Lucid is latest mid-range smartphone to debut from Verizon

Verizon Wireless and LG Mobile today announced Lucid by LG will be available starting March 29 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com.

Lucid by LG is designed to create an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use experience for first-time smartphone users. The slim and compact design features a 4-inch touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass. Lucid by LG customers have access to 4G LTE coverage in over 200 markets covering more than 200 million people.

Customers can use the lock screen shortcuts to instantly access the phone, messaging, voicemail and camera application from the lock screen. Customers also no longer have to stop what they’re doing to reply to texts by using the Quick Reply feature, as text message notifications pop up on the screen and allow customers to reply directly from the Quick Reply notification. The Quick Dialer widget lets customers make calls directly from a home screen panel without having to open the phone application. Additionally, Lucid by LG has Guided Tours right on the device, which provides step-by-step tutorials for customers who want to learn more about their new phone.

Business professionals can take advantage of the Polaris Office app on Lucid by LG which allows
customers to easily open, create and edit Microsoft Office documents, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network takes Lucid by LG to the next level, loading websites 10 times faster than 3G, making it that much easier for a professional to stay up to speed on recent news and keep in touch with colleagues. The mobile hotspot feature lets professionals connect to up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, making it easy for teams to work from a remote location.

Additional features:

- Android 2.3 Gingerbread, upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
5-megapixel rear-facing autofocus camera with flash and full HD (1080p) video capture
Front facing camera for video chatting with friends and family
Video Producer – create and edit HD videos right on Lucid by LG
1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM for fast Web browsing and multitasking
Virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype® technology
SmartShare – share media with friends and colleagues wirelessly to DLNA®-enabled devices

Pricing and availability:

Lucid by LG will be available starting March 29 in Verizon stores and at
www.verizonwireless.com for $79.99, after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card.
Customers who purchase a Lucid by LG will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com.

Bright House Networks’ Easy Gadget now available for Android

Bright House Networks has announced that it has launched an updated version of its easy gadget mobile app. The new app, which initially launched in 2010 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, is now available for Android phones. BHN easy gadget is currently available to both Bright House Networks’ residential and business customers free of charge on Google Play (a.k.a. Android Market) and on the Apple App Store.
New features available on the BHN easy gadget app include the ability to delete all calls or multiple selected calls at once in the Recent Call List. BHN easy gadget was developed to help Bright House phone customers to stay connected while away from home and the office. The app also allows customers to: instantly be notified of important calls on their Bright House phone then touch to call back or send a text message; view and listen to voice mail messages; remotely forward their Bright House phone to another phone; manage their contacts in an online address book and backup their phone contacts to the easy gadget online address book; and use a free online directory search function.
“Bright House Networks is pleased to now make its convenient easy gadget app available on Android phones,” said Bob McCann President of the Detroit Division. “The new features on BHN easy gadget help to make it even easier for our customers to stay connected, whether they are at home, their office or on the go.”

BHN easy gadget is supported on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, as well as Android phones. Residential customers must subscribe to both Bright House Networks Home Phone and Road Runner services. Business Solutions customers must subscribe to both Bright House Networks phone and High Speed-Internet services. The BHN easy gadget mobile app is fully compatible with Bright House Networks’ easy gadget desktop app for Windows PC and Macintosh computers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

T-Mobile kicks off ‘Magenta Deal Days’; From March 21 to April 3, T-Mobile is offering up to $150 off Samsung 4G devices

T-Mobile is kicking off “Magenta Deal Days” and giving customers the opportunity to purchase one of Samsung’s 4G mobile devices for up to $150 (U.S.) off after mail-in rebate. “Magenta Deal Days” includes the new Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The two-week sale will take place from Wednesday, March 21, through Tuesday, April 3.

“As part of our commitment to make the 4G experience affordable and accessible to everyone this year, we’re excited to launch our ‘Magenta Deal Days’ campaign, which will provide customers with great options throughout the year, like this first compelling offer,” said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile USA. “Through the combination of Samsung’s great entertainment-on-the-go devices running on America’s Largest 4G Network®, customers can have amazingly rich and fast experiences, connecting from anywhere.”

T-Mobile’s portfolio of 4G Samsung products offered through “Magenta Deal Days” delivers access to free and “for purchase” premiums on-the-go entertainment and multimedia experiences. Paired with T-Mobile’s 4G network, Samsung smartphones and tablets provide access to favorite movies, TV shows, websites, games, applications and more. A variety of rich entertainment features come preloaded on many of these Samsung devices, including:
— T-Mobile TV, which offers access to live and on-demand TV programs
— Samsung Media Hub, which provides the option to rent or purchase movies and TV programs
— Zinio Reader, which gives access to full color issues from top-selling magazine titles
— Blio eReader, which offers a selection of full color cookbooks, children’s stories and bestsellers
— Slacker Radio, which offers streaming personalized radio with millions of songs, ABC News and ESPN radio sports programming

New customers will be eligible for this deal when they sign up for a two-year agreement on any qualifying Classic Unlimited plan or qualifying Unlimited Value plan. Existing customers also can take advantage of this offer if they are eligible for an upgrade.

The following is a list of the 4G Samsung devices included in the “Magenta Deal Days” offer with a qualifying Classic plan:
Samsung Exhibit II 4G — FREE
Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G — $119.99
Samsung Galaxy S 4G — $179.99
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus — $199.99
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 — $349.99

The “Magenta Deal Days” promotion will be available at participating T-Mobile retail stores nationwide. For more information about T-Mobile’s “Magenta Deal Days,” visit http://bit.ly/xzhqdx.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Samsung Brightside, a mid-range smartphone with QWERTY keyboard, now available from Verizon

If you like a physical keyboard on your smartphone, you now have one more option from Verizon. The carrier is now offering a new mid-range smartphone, the Samsung Brightside, that features a QWERTY keyboard in addition to the touchscreen.

The Brightside features a 3.1-inch touchscreen display and full QWERTY slide-out keyboard. It is however, a 3G phone, not 4G like most new phones, so downloads and uploads will be a bit slower.

Users can use the document viewer feature to open Microsoft Office documents saved on the microSD card.

Additional features:
—One-touch access to contact list, messaging options (text, picture and email), camera function and Social Networks application, including Facebook and Twitter, allowing customers to update their status and upload photos instantly
—Full suite of messaging options, including text, picture and voice messaging and mobile email
—3.2-megapixel camera with timer, brightness control and shooting modes (single, continuous, panorama, mosaic and frame); scene modes (landscape, sports, party, beach, sunset, dawn, fall, night, backlight, fire and candlelight)
—Document viewer feature – view documents in the following formats:
—Microsoft Office formats, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
—Adobe PDF
—ASCII documents
—HTML documents
— Images: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG

The Samsung Brightside is available in Verizon Wireless stores and online for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card, which can be used as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.

For more information on the Samsung Brightside, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Stormy weather: Your phone can keep you safer

Storm safety tips from Verizon Wireless:
— Dial *228 to automatically update your roaming capabilities and make sure your phone is connected to the most current and updated cellular network. The call takes only a few seconds and will keep your phone current with any network upgrades.
— Load emergency contacts on your cell phone under the abbreviation ICE – which stands for In Case of Emergency. ICE contacts will help responders reach your loved ones quickly in the event of an accident.
— Keep a car charger readily available. If electricity is temporarily out at office or home locations, you can easily charge a cell phone in your car. Car chargers and phones now have universal ports so they an easily accommodate different devices.
— Update your phone with local news and national weather apps so you can easily check on current conditions.
— Turn on GPS location services. People often disable GPS for battery savings. This helps push local information to your phone that might be critical for storm updates.
— Use text capabilities on your phone for a quick response and to send and receive messages in the event of an emergency.

Dell's XPS 13, a highly anticipated ultrabook, hits the laptop market

It's the year of the ultrabook, and Dell's entry into the market is now available.

It's XPS 13 laptop is now available for customers in the U.S. and Canada. Dell says it has seen ‘strong demand’ for the system ever since it was first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, and early buzz about the unit has been overwhelmingly positive: CNET referred to it as the first “Very Important Laptop” of 2012. PC World proclaimed, “It may be the best laptop Dell’s made in years” among other positive reviews.

“We’re seeing strong consumer and business demand for the new XPS 13 – a system that is unlike anything else on the market today,” said Michael Tatelman, Dell Vice President and General Manager of Americas Consumer. “The XPS 13 demands attention, crossing the realm between work and play, packing powerful technology into a small, portable package and delivering enterprise-friendly protection and security. It’s the ultimate mobile device.”

Regarding the machine's business-ready features, Sam Burd, Vice President of Dell’s Consumer, Small and Medium Business product group said, “The uncompromising XPS 13 offers professionals the power to connect, collaborate and innovate with unique features and services – like Dell ProSupport, Trusted Platform Module and Configuration Services – that satisfy the needs of enterprise IT departments.”

Weighing less than 3 pounds,the XPS 13 Ultrabook is one of the most compact 13-inch products in its class. With its razor-thin bezel, the XPS 13 maintains a footprint similar to an 11-inch product and features bonded Corning Gorilla Glass for durability.
A full-size, backlit keyboard is another nice touch.

The XPS 13 is one of the first systems with Intel Smart Connect Technology, which keeps content consistently updated. A solid state drive and Intel Rapid Start Technology allow the XPS 13 to boot in seconds providing almost instant access, saving time and battery life.

The XPS 13 comes standard with Dell's Premium Protection Package, and is available now in the United States through www.Dell.com or in Dell stores or most Best Buy stores.

Starting price is $999 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD hard drive and 4GB memory.
The first 10,000 customers to purchase select XPS 13 devices in the U.S. will receive a free T-Mobile 4G Mobile HotSpot and 90

More details about the machine:
· Ultrathin laptop (0.24-0.71-inch/6-18mm) and light starting at 2.99lbs
· 13.3-inh HD WLED, 300-nit (1366x768) 720p; edge-to-edge hardened Gorilla® Glass
· Precision crafted machined aluminum with a carbon fiber base
· 128 GB SSD or 256GB SSD drive option with Intel Rapid Start Technology
· Intel Core i5 2467M and i7 2637M processor choices
· Intel HD 3000 video graphics
· 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz memory
· Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard
· Glass integrated button touchpad with multi-gesture support
· 47WHr 6-cell battery offering up to eight hours, 53 minutes of battery lifev; 45W AC adaptor
· Dell ProSupport[vi] for business customers, Dell Configuration Services and Windows Trusted Platform Module options for commercial models
· Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity
· USB 3.0 (1) + USB 2.0 with PowerShare (1), mini DisplayPort, and headset jack (1)
· Built-in 1.3MP webcam (H.264 enabled via Skype) with dual array digital microphones
· High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4
· Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
· 100GB of cloud storage through Dell DataSafe
· 12-month Skype Premium subscription

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

iPad 3 coming this Friday ... will be available from Verizon on their 4G network

Verizon Wireless announced Tuesday that it will offer the new iPad (which I'll call the iPad 3 even if Apple won't, as the new iPad just sounds silly to me) starting this Friday, March 16. Verizon Wireless will offer all models of iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G and will allow customers to connect to its 4G LTE network. Also, Verizon is supporting the Personal Hotspot feature of the new iPad, so users can share their network connection with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB.

The iPad 3 features a new Retina display, Apple’s A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel camera and 1080p HD video. It also claims to deliver 10 hours of battery life, and can be used worldwide.

“Customers have been enthusiastic over the iPad on our 3G network and we expect even more excitement for the new iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network,” said Tami Erwin, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless.

Customers can buy the iPad 3 at Verizon Wireless stores and online at verizonwireless.com/ipad beginning Friday, March 16.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Apple's digital adaptor's compatibility issues are inexcusable; company can do better

Apple's got a good thing going with the iPhone and iPad lines, as they are some of the most well known products in the world and earns the company billions, but when it comes to their accessories the company is not without its flaws.

Take for example a very simple idea: The idea that you want to connect your phone or tablet to your HDTV and transmit the content to a bigger screen.

On many Android phones, this is a very simple thing to do via their HDMI port.
On the iPhone, well, it all depends on what version of their phone or tablet you have.

I found that out this week firsthand when I purchased Apple's AV Digital Adaptor, with this goal in mind. This is a pretty simple concept, I was told by people who had used it, and all you need is this little adaptor.

One problem I didn't anticipate: I was connecting an iPhone 4 to the HDTV, and that apparently doesn't work so hot. Nothing on the phone transmitted to the TV with an image other than a few YouTube videos. The rest were sound only; which doesn't do much for me.

After doing some research, I found that the only Apple devices the adaptor works fully with are the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2. Anything older, and it's hit or miss as to what you can transmit to your TV.

Sorry, Apple. But this is unacceptable. If you want to be a top-level phone (and the iPhone is a top-level on most levels), it shouldn't be that hard to transmit an image from your phone to the television. The fact that this adaptor costs $40 (far too much for a simple connector) and doesn't even work properly with a device as recent as the iPhone 4 is just crazy.

It is little things like this that make people unhappy with Apple. Quite frankly, the company is worth endless billions, so this oversight should be quite fixable.

My theory on this: They want you to buy the latest and greatest, so devices like this don't always work with older models on purpose.
And if my theory is true, well that's just disrespectful to the consumer.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Verizon Wireless introduces small business advisor tool

Verizon Wireless has announced the introduction of the Small Business Advisor — a free, interactive tool that provides quick and easy recommendations for mobile solutions. The new service is designed to help customers find small business solutions that help boost productivity, protect information and use wireless technology to grow their business.

The Small Business Advisor takes on the role of an electronic consultant and saves the entrepreneur valuable time. There are plenty of applications across Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows platforms; this tool can point the user in the right direction, finding the apps that make the most sense to boost business efficiency in many areas including customer interaction, office administration, travel and video.

Users find apps and accessories with the help of a wizard that asks a few quick questions about the industry, the operating system of their mobile device, desired mobile tasks and overall business needs. It then analyzes the information and provides the user with a condensed profile of the most relevant and logical apps and accessories to download or purchase via a QR code.

“The Small Business Advisor is a key part of our SMB approach, helping our customers better determine the right applications for their business and get the most from their mobile devices,” said Michael Schaefer, executive director, Wireless Business Solutions, Verizon Wireless. “No matter what vertical our SMB customers are in, they all tell us they want the best tools to differentiate their business, expedite workflow, and save time and money. We are continually refining and delivering the best suite of tools to help our customers manage their business interests.”

Verizon Wireless’ Small Business Advisor is available for free at http://smallbizadvisor.verizonwireless.com.