Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

Why are you still with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile?


A few months ago I moved from T-mobile to being a free agent, a change I am proud I made. I am now free to move to whatever network I want, when I want. I can have any unlocked phone I want. The best part though? I am saving money monthly, and yearly.

The Recap

To recap for those who don't know I am on SimpleMobile a MVNO of T-mobile. If you want to know more, check out this previous post. I am still using the Samsung Galaxy S I bought from T-mobile back in June of 2010. The best part though is I am only paying $40 a month for unlimited everything. No sharing, no limits, no contracts.

How About A New Phone

I am in the market for a new phone. I have been watching all the new phones hit the market and I am most excited about the brand new (and still unreleased) Google Nexus 4 (from LG). With incredible specs:

  • 4.7" Screen, 1280x768 pixel resolution (320ppi), WXGA IPS
  • Gorilla Glass 2 (some hard glass)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
  • 8MP camera, with 1.3MP front camera
  • 8 or 16GB of storage
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Micro USB
  • SlimPort HDMI
  • Wireless charging (built in)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • NFC (Near Field Communication)

I can go on, but let's move on.

Let's not forget the best part of Nexus phones too... updates. Nexus phones (with exception of the Verizon variants) have always received the latest versions of Android almost immediately (usually under a month from release). That means you will always have the latest tools, toys, and fixes.

What about pricing?

Sure pricing for the Nexus 4 seems steep at first glance. At $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) you can get almost any phone on any network. iPhone5 runs from $199 to $399 on AT&T, Verizon & Sprint. Samsung Galaxy Note II is $369 on T-Mobile. Each a great competitor, but you can bet the Galaxy Note II won't get updates in a timely manner. The iPhone? Well unless you are an iPhone snob already you know that the iPhone is pretty but it is limiting. No NFC, walled garden of apps, and very little customization. Then again, if you own or want an iPhone, you probably aren't reading this blog anyways.

So why pay $100 extra for the Nexus 4? To be free of the network. To be unlimited (truly). Here is what pricing you are looking to for your 2yr contracts:

  • AT&T $139.99/month ($69.99 Unlimited minutes, $50.00 5GB Data, $20.00 Text Messaging)
  • Sprint $109.99/month (Simply Everything)
  • T-Mobile $89.99
  • Verizon $70/month (4GB cap)

The best there is Verizon (though you are capped on data). Over the life of those contracts here is what you will pay:

  • AT&T $3359.76
  • Sprint $2639.76
  • T-Mobile $2159.76
  • Verizon $1680

If you switched to an MVNO like SimpleMobile and ate the $100 extra for the purchase of the phone? To get unlimited data at 4G speeds you need to spend $50/month. There is no contract, but if you stuck around for 2 years you would pay at most $1200. If you take Verizon as the best deal you are still saving $480 ($380 if you factor in the phone purchase).  Compare this to AT&T though and you are saving $2159.76!! Even if you factor in the $100 for the phone you are coming out saving $2000! That is $1000 a year! For that $1000 you have saved each year you can replace your phone 2 or 3 times!

It's a new world in cell phones. You aren't limited to the major networks, you aren't limited to the phones they offer. Break your mold, join the movement to better cell phones and better pricing on plans.

Please Note: Other than having service with SimpleMobile (which I pay for) I am in no way affiliated with SimpleMobile, or Google. These rants are my own, I just want the world to know they are paying way too much for phones, and service with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint.

 

Sprint & Google Voice


As I watch the T-Mobile & AT&T merger going on I am left thinking about switching networks. My primary choice as of now is Sprint. However they are doing some things with their policies that have me wondering if they are the right choice for my family plans move.

Sprint Changes

Sprint offers the best (and really only) unlimited plan for data in the US mobile market, right now. They have their Simply Everything plan for Families for $190/month. That is a stellar deal. Unlimited minutes, text, and data. No bandwidth caps, no gotchas (that I know of, of course).

More to like is that the rumor mill is spinning out reports of the iPhone5 coming to Sprint. I don't personally want or care about iPhone, but my wife thinks it would be a better match for her lifestyle, I kind of agree. I want an Android phone, and well Sprint has plenty to choose from.

The drawbacks are that Sprint is changing some policies that I was really looking forward to using prior to making the total switch.

They have raised their Early Termination Fee from $200 to $350 (pro-rated over contract life). That is a pretty steep ETF if I decide Sprint flat out sucks.

To mitigate that I had planned to use their 30-day return policy to really make sure I liked Sprint before jumping ship. They just cut it back to 14 days. Still not terrible as I can definitely find out if my phones will work at my house (the T-Mobile dead zone). However, I feel I am not ready to make the commitment with my number. What if I switch to Sprint and they suck so I bail within 14 days, do I lose my phone number I have had for years?

Enter Google Voice.

Google Voice

So in order to keep my number I think I am ready to make the move to Google Voice. Porting my number over will give me the ability to try out all the carriers I want, cause I can simply redirect the calls to my newest number. So the more I think about it, the more I think it is worth the $20 that I will be charged.

Then I can test Sprint, if it doesn't work, I switch my GV back to point to my T-mobile (or any other carrier) number (which would be reassigned after porting to GV).

I think that is the answer. Move the phones to GV, and then continue watching the AT&T & T-Mobile merger, and when all else fails, test out new carriers without upsetting the world.

Who do you think you are?!


Steve Jobs was recently quoted saying:

we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.

Who does he think he is?!

This statement really gets me started for a few reasons. First, since when do we believe that the hardware and OS manufacturer should control every piece of software available to our device? If anyone should be calling the shots here it should be AT&T as it is their network that is controlling the flow of data. Apple shouldn't have a single say in anything other than how the OS and hardware will play together.

Second, who is Steve Jobs to tell me (or anyone) what content is appropriate on my phone, computer, iPod, etc.? I mean seriously would anyone accept this statement from Steve Jobs if he were talking about an iPod, or iPad, or Macbook Pro? Honestly, why is it then that we accept this for the iPhone?

Sidenote: Technically this does hold true for the iPod Touch and iPad as they run the same OS, and thus are limited to the same apps (oh and there is no option for Third Party app stores).

What if tomorrow Steve had a revelation that we should no longer have golf games on the iPhone? What if tomorrow Steve decided that we shouldn't allow access to MySpace or Facebook on Macs?

This is where things are heading, if they aren't already there. The iPhone users have given in to the man*. They have given all the power to a single entity.

Simply because of statements like those made by Steve I am a user of Free and Open Software. I can run what I choose, when I choose, and where I choose. If I want porn on my phone (still not sure why anyone would want this) I have that option!

I think it is time for the sheep to realize they are drinking the Kool-Aid. You are letting Apple tell you what is ok and what is not ok. You are being held back by the same people you are paying to move you toward the future.

How much did you pay for your iPhone? According to ATT.com you will pay from $200-$400 depending on the phone and plan you purchase.

Let me ask this, would you ever spend $200 on a DVD player only to be told it doesn't play R rated movies, because Magnavox didn't think them appropriate? What about paying $15/month for HBO and Sunday nights the screen goes blank on HBO because Comcast doesn't like Big Love?

What I am saying is this, if you allow Apple the right to control what you can and can't have on your device, you are throwing away all the freedom and rights our forefathers have fought their entire lives to protect.

* Sorry, couldn't resist
I really wanted to name this article Apple is UnAmerican

Apple introduces iPad


[caption id="attachment_347" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Apple iPad"]iPad[/caption]

Apple held a conference yesterday and the introduced the Apple iPad, an over grown iPod with limited support as a real computer.

Apple has built a really small, but still over sized, tablet for the purpose of surfing the net, and basically doing what you do now on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The unit weighs in at 1.5lbs for the wifi only model, and slight more at 1.6lbs for the WiFi + 3G model. The size of the tablet is a small half inch depth, with a 9.7 inch screen, the whole shell comes in at 9.56in x 7.47in.

Running a 1024x768 (132 ppi) resolution the screen looked really nice on the videos everyone posted yesterday.

The 1Ghz Apple A4 processor gave the unit a good smooth power that made all the apps run really nicely.

More specs for the iPad are available at the Apple Store

Since the device is built on a modified iPod OS, it is sort of crippled. Furthermore you might expect the iPad to be able to multi-task, or even run background processes. This is not the case. Apple has continued with their less than stellar no-background-processes policy. Although this can really boost the performance of apps, it cripples the device from being a good twitter/facebook/social media device.

Given the device also has WiFi you would expect it to sync with iTunes over the WiFi (ala Zune), still not the case. Apple is still requiring you to sync with a good old fashion USB cable, truly disappointing.

Finally, there is no Flash support, so sorry to all you guys and gals (my wife) who thought it would be good for playing your Facebook games.

Over all at $499 there are some things the iPad might be good, and even great at, but it still doesn't meet the needs of my family, and as such won't be on our to purchase list.