Archive for December, 2007

Motorola RAZR2

Almost two months after Rogers’ release of the Motorola RAZR2 Fido has finally released their own.

Fido’s version of the RAZR2 is currently available on their website and authorized dealers. The phone features a 2.0MP camera, video calling, expandable memory, and of course a media player.

Prices according to the Fido website are as follows:

3 year term: $150
2 year term: $275
1 year term: $375
No contract: $500

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5 comments December 31st, 2007

Mobile Transit Trial

A limited number of Boost and Sprint Mobile customers, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be able to participate in BART’s (Bay Area Rapid Transit) newest form of payment. BART has teamed up with Jack in the Box, Western Union Speedpay, and First Data to test a cashless pay system.

This cutting edge system is based off of the existing EZ Rider BART card. Users will simply pass their mobile over the plastic disk at any BART gate. The system will remove the cost of the fair from the balance preloaded onto you Mobile Transit account.

The trial runs from January to May 2008, sign up on the Sprint website.

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2 comments December 26th, 2007

Helio Mysto

Helio Mysto Korean-language customers get Helio’s newest mobile first-the Helio Mysto. The Mysto (pictured right) is EV-DO data compatible, a 2 MP camera, GPS, music player, and a memory card slot that supports up to 4GB microSD memory cards. The English version of the Mysto will be available to the public late January. Cellphone enthusiasts, or those shopping for one, may be able to get their hands on the English Mysto December 26 at Helio stores in Santa Monica, CA, and New York City. The Mysto’s current retail price is $149.

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4 comments December 22nd, 2007

Samsung R610

Welcome the Samsung R610, U.S. Cellular’s newest addition to their phone lineup. The R610 is currently available through the USCC website and will be hitting retail stores shortly. Prices according to U.S. Cellular are as follows:

2 year term: $179.95
No contract: $259.95

This Samsung slider phone features a 1.3 MP camera, is GPS location sharing compatible, and has a built in MP3 player with a external SD card slot.

Discuss: HowardForums

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Add comment December 19th, 2007

Maximum Signal

The image “http://www.howardchui.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_setup.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Every couple of weeks I have to go with my wife to visit my in-laws. They live out in the middle of no where and have very limited service at their place. It’s so limited that I often have trouble getting on the internet there with my phones. Initially, I tried those antenna booster stickers but they didn’t seem to work (I’m just joking… I didn’t really try them). Here’s where Maximum Signal comes in; they market a powered antenna amplifier to help increase your phone’s reception.

I tested one of their CA-819/Shasta Direct Connect Mobile accessory kits. It comes with an antenna, amplifier, power cable with CLA connector, AC adapter for CLA (in case you want to use it inside) and power cable for connecting the kit directly to your car’s battery. A cable to connect the amp to your phone is an extra accessory that is not included. Different phones use different connectors. The antenna has some suction cups so you can stick it on a window. If you need more signal, there is also a magnetic mount antenna.

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If you’re going to use the amp in your car, I suggest you also get a speakerphone or headset. The amp connects to most phones via the RF connector. On many phones the RF connector is delicate so you probably don’t want to handle your phone too much when it’s connected. Mind you, not all phones have a connector. For example, you connect the antenna to the Nokia 6275i via an induction connector that connects via a piece of velcro.

I tested the amp with a Motorola v3i (with test mode enabled) and a Novatel U720 USB CDMA modem (I connected to it to read off the signal). I placed both on a table and read the signal off of them (more on that in a second). Next I moved the phones off the table and placed the antenna in the same spot that they were in.

There are a couple of problems with my tests. First off I didn’t try placing calls. Phone’s can boost their wattage if you’re in a call and go somewhere where there’s weak signal. Another problem is that you can choose to place an external antenna in the best area whereas if you don’t have one with you, the antenna is wherever your phone is. Anyways the test are still useful in that if your phone has no signal it won’t ring.

To be honest the test didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would because both my v3i and u720 worked fine without the amp. The signal was quite weak but not so weak that they didn’t work just fine.

According to the Maximum Signal guys, the amp talks to the phone and only supplies the signal that’s needed. In practice this appears to be the case. When you first connect your phone to the amp, the signal doesn’t jump immediately. It increases slowly (I forgot to time this but it took around 10 to 20 seconds). What’s nice about this (according to the Maximum Signal guys) is that the amp plays nice with the network and doesn’t clobber it.

Before I continue let’s talk about signal strength. While every phone is different in general, the strongest signal you’ll get is around -50db. You get that when you’re standing very close to a tower. You won’t notice a big difference in sound quality between -50 and -100db. Phones start to get problems when a signal is weaker than -100 and you’ll probably lose signal around -105db. Different phones have different antennas and so each model of phone will get a different signal. In general newer phones tend to have more sensitive antennas (this is not always true).

Anyways without the amp, the v3i was getting around -101db. 101db is a pretty weak signal. However, it’s just high enough that I can receive and make calls just fine. With the amp, the signal improved to around 91db. A 10db improvement doesn’t sound like much but remember, 3db represents a doubling of signal strength so a 10db improvement is more than 3x the signal.

I noticed a similar result with the U720 (-100db without and -88db with). In both cases I was able to get full 1x speeds (there’s no EVDO where I was).

I think the Maximum Signal amp would be useful if you drive around a lot outside of the city where there’s little signal. It would also be a pretty good choice if you have a cottage and rely on a cellular modem for internet.

Pros:

  • Improves signal

Cons:

  • Difficult to hold the phone when it’s connected

Discuss this review at HowardForums.com | See the gallery here
Written by Howard Chui 12.16.2007
This article may not be reproduced without the the author’s permission.

Add comment December 17th, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

XE Mobile, a MVNO of AT&T Mobility, has announced they are “ceasing operations” as of December 31, 2007. The following message is posted on the company website.

It is with great regret that we must inform you that XE Mobile will be ceasing operations at the end of this year.
Phone service will be terminated and all account balances will expire on December 31st, 2007.
We thank you fo your continued support.

The XE Mobile Team

For more information on how to keep your mobile number and balance dial 611 and choose option 9 from your XE Phone or call 866-994-3893

XE Mobile was launched in April 2006 and was funded by Triple Five. Fast forward about one year to May 2007-Triple Five (555) decided to pull funding to the MVNO. Without the funding of 555 XE was forced to end call center and network support service early October 2007. Without funding and no customer support XE Mobile had no option put to cease operations.

source: Cell Phone Digest

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Add comment December 15th, 2007

Alltel Launches BlackBerry Pearl

 

 

www.alltel.comAlltel has launched BlackBerry Pearl 8130 today-December 14.

The Alltel Pearl is currently available through the Alltell website and authorized dealers. The 8130 features a 2.0MP camera, GPS, expandable memory, and of course a media player. The standard features: text/instant messaging, web browser, e-mail, and organizer-just to name a few are also loaded into this amethyst colored Pearl.

Pickup your BlackBerry Pearl 8130 from the Alltel website for as low as $149.99 on a two year term.

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5 comments December 14th, 2007

Contracts Coming to Virgin Mobile

www.virginmobile.ca

Virgin Mobile Canada is introducing contracted plans early 2008! No details in terms of price and length of agreement has yet been announced by Virgin, but one details are released they will be posted here. Virgin Mobile currently has a contract pre registration form on their website which you can enter you e-mail address and when contracts are launched you will be notified.

Register now, because if you are one of the first 500 individuals to sign a contract you will win unlimited texting for a year! Virgin Mobile is also offering one lucky customer $10,000 in Virgin Mobile Canada services for life!

What are you waiting for? Head over to Virgin Mobile Canada and sign up NOW!

Add comment December 14th, 2007


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