Posts tagged smart
Last week Sprint announced that later this year it will offer a smart-phone app, called Drive First, designed to minimize distracted driving. When activated, Drive First will lock the cell phone screen, redirect incoming calls to voice mail, block text-message alerts, and automatically tell incoming texters that, we’re sorry, but the number you are trying to reach is currently driving. The app will allow access to three emergency contacts and GPS navigation devices.
Drive First will be available for Sprint users with Android phones and will cost $2 a month (plus surcharges and taxes and probably an additional overcharge, because while Sprint may care about the safety of America’s youth, it remains, after all, a phone company). The app, which was created by Location Labs, is the latest in a growing line of devices intended to prevent drivers from using cell phones. T-Mobile partnered with Location Labs on a similar program earlier this year, and the April issue of Consumer Reports gives a glimpse of several others, including:
- DriveSafe.ly Pro: An app that reads texts and emails aloud to drivers and enables them to compose new messages verbally.
- tXtBlocker: This app, the “most effective antitexting product” Consumer Reports has tried, disables a phone and lets parents choose when and where users can enable it again.
- TeenSafer: Appears to be tXtBlocker lite, with fewer features for its lower cost.
Preventing distracted driving has become a defining mission for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — rightfully so, according to the leading behavioral research, which suggests the practice is as dangerous as driving drunk — and he no doubt approves of such efforts. Still, the current class of apps, however promising, is not without its flaws. For one thing, writes Engadget, it remains unclear exactly how these apps will know when someone is driving and not, say, on a train or riding in the backseat. One may also wonder how strong a prevention program can be if it requires people to pay money to police themselves.
The first flaw is something programmers can and certainly will address. The second hurdle is probably low; two-thirds of people favor legal measures against distracted driving, which suggests that most will happily pay a nominal fee to increase their safety. Besides, paying a small cost to control your own actions is preferable to being Tased into distracted-driving submission.
A more fundamental problem with preventions like Drive First is that they are marketed toward parents who want to monitor their teenagers. That is a worthwhile (and business savvy) endeavor, but letting parents control their children via smart phone presupposes that parents can control their smart phones. The practical hazards are clear to anyone whose mother still signs her text messages “luv mom.”
Beyond the basic generational-technological gulf is the misguided assumption that the distracted driving problem is limited to teenagers. The best research estimates that between 2001 and 2007 roughly 16,000 people died as a result of behind-the-wheel texting. Surely that figure reflects a broad social problem. After we have thought of the children, who will think of the rest of us?
News of a potential $39 billion merger between AT&T and T-Mobile – two of the nation’s largest wireless carriers — has experts and consumers wondering whether cellphone customers will end up paying higher bills in the long run.
Why wait for the answer? Keeping a close eye on your bills, monitoring phone call and data usage –uploading photos, video, emails — and being aware of alternatives are the best ways to keep money in your pocket while still taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies.
Here are seven cost-cutting measures to consider making now:
Dump your smart phone. Do you really need that smart phone? Really? I know they are fun to have and all the rage right now, but you know what is better than following a trend? Saving money. This is a great option for anyone who owns a desktop, laptop or iPad; use those to send email, surf the Web and manage your audio/video files. Use your phone for calls only. You can find basic phone calling service starting around $20 a month. Check with your carrier.
Consider a la carte. In this era of foreclosures, lay-offs and less pay it’s no wonder smart consumers are turning to pay-as-you-go phone plans. Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile and other carriers companies offer prepaid plans that allow you to pay for only what you need. A recent Nielsen survey revealed consumers are using cell phones to text more often than make calls. If you or your child fits this category, consider text-only plans, which start at about $15 a month.
Don’t text much? Go with a plan that charges 5 to 10 cents a month per text or per minute for calls. For instance, the cost for unlimited text from major carries can start at about $15 a month for texting, but if you skip paying the additional $15 a month and pay per text and only send about 15 texts in a month, you only pay about 75 cents to $1.50 for that month for the right to text.
Choose your family. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and other carriers offer family plans without caring whether your plan is limited to sons, daughters, siblings or grandparents. You can essentially add anyone to your family plan – friends, roommates, neighbors – and still take advantage of the savings.For instance, for AT&T smartphone customers monthly individual plans that include voice, unlimited messaging and data start about $75 per month. Under a family plan that covers three users for similar features the cost would be a total of $145 a month – about $48 per person. For a family a five, the monthly cost drops to $40 per person. Bottom-line: Ask you carrier to outline the costs for individual plans vs. family plans Just make sure whomever you choose is good for their share of the bills at the end of the month.
Trade in the old phones or donate. Many people upgrade to new cell phones and simply dump their old ones in a drawer somewhere. Web sites like GreenPhone.com and CellTradeUSA allow you to trade your old phone for a new one. You may have to pay a bit for an upgrade but will still beat the price of buying new. If doing good for others means more than cash, consider donating to a good cause. Among them: Women in Distress of Broward County (www.womenindistress.org or 954-760-9800), CellPhoneBank.org (www.911cellphonebank.org or 866-290-7864) which supplies donations to law-enforcement and victims services agencies in Orlando, Miami, Tallahassee and elsewhere), or a local Boys & Girls Club (www.americancellphonedrive.org).
Don’t count out discounts. You may qualify for a discounted plan if you are a member of a national group like AAA and AAARP. Check with the boss: Many employers also offer cell phones with discount plans, and some carriers offer business discounts that can be used toward personal plans. Check with your current carrier or your office’s human resources representative.
Text or video call for free. You can skip paying your carrier for texting with smart phones apps. For instance, iPhone users can download Textfree With Voice and Android users can use chompSMS. The only downside is the services only work with other smart phone owners who have download the app. But it shouldn’t be hard to convince a family member or friend to text for free. iPhone users can also save calling minutes by using FaceTime video calling. Android and iPhone users can also video chat for free using Skype (www.skype.com).
firstname.lastname@example.org, or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to SunSentinel.com/vasquez.
Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for ways to spend your money wisely, use technology to make life easier and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.
PHONE carriers, banks, credit card providers and various stakeholders are now vying over contactless payment methods which use near field communication technology.
The technology itself is not new. In Australia, for example, the Go card service used in Queensland’s transport network utilises NFC. The T-card, which would have been used in Sydney’s transport system prior to its 11th hour demolition, would also have been an NFC system.
In Hong Kong, the Octopus card is a near-ubiquitous form of payment which has all but wiped out the use of coins. It is utilised on public transport, in bars and convenience stores, and at vending machines.
With smart phones fast becoming a central organising hub of our lives, the next step is to integrate NFC payment methods into the phones, making them mobile wallets.
This is not new either. In the closed phone market of Japan, phones have been used to pay for services and goods since 2004, when NTT DoCoMo introduced the Osaifu-Keitai (“wallet-phone”).
The technology is based on Mobile FeliCa chip, itself a derivation of FeliCa [http://www.sony.net/Products/felica/] which is used in NFC payment cards, including the above-mentioned Octopus card.
However, it seems the time is now ripe for the market outside of Asia to take on mobile payment technologies, and everyone involved knows it.
Last week, for example, Visa teamed up with ANZ Bank to trial mobile payments. The NFC technology (licensed name VISA payWave) was integrated with a secure MicroSD card in an iPhone case, and given to fifty participants in the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the companies.
According to Visa’s press release, “Participants in the trial will be able to make payments by simply waving their phone in front of a contactless reader. For purchases under $100 no PIN or signature is required and the customer has the option of receiving a receipt.”
Currently more than 20,000 retail outlets across Australia have contactless payment terminals, but for more widespread use, these terminals will need to be ubiquitous.
But uniting mobile phones and payment methods also brings in a lot of stakeholders: banks, credit card providers, technology companies like Apple (iPhone) and Google (Android), and telecommunications companies, which might wish to link such payment services to their mobile billing systems.
Online payment facilitator Paypal has also expressed its interest in mobile payment solutions, launching a trial at its HQ in Silicon Valley in 2010.
Google recently added NFC support to its Android operating systems, and phones like the Google Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Wave 578 integrate NFC chips.
The big question is whether Apple is on board.
If Apple does start pushing NFC technology into its iPhones (perhaps in iPhone 5), it is likely to link payments to its Apple ID and App Store system. Given the wide-spread popularity and disruptive nature of Apple’s moves, the future of mobile payment could well lay on its decision regarding this technology.
Below: an introductory video for the FeliCa-based NFC payment technologies, including mobile-integrated chips. While this is Japan-centric, it provides a good insight into the possible uses.
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According to studies done by J.D. Power and Associates, social media seems to be paramount regarding consumer satisfaction with their mobile device, whether it’s a smartphone or a traditional handset.
The studies found that device satisfaction averages 22 points higher among smartphone owners who use their phone to engage in social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare) than those who do not access social media platforms via mobile. In fact, over half of current smartphone owners claim they use their phone to access social media sites via mobile web or apps. On the other hand, feature phone owners obviously visit social media sites much less frequently than smartphone owners. However, the study found that a feature phone owner that actively engages in social media will find his/her device more satisfactory than the owner of the same phone, who just happens to be a less social breed of butterfly.
“It’s not unexpected that smartphone owners access social media sites from their device more frequently than traditional mobile phone owners due to features such as larger screens and QWERTY keyboards,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, these findings demonstrate that equipping devices with powerful features and service is key to creating positive customer experiences with wireless devices.” With technology blossoming at an unparalleled rate, the demand for social media-centric and capable devices can only grow from here.
Zen Mobile, a global leading brand of mobile phones has debut in Nigeria with six series of quality mobile phones.
Speaking at the launch of the Zen range of mobile phones held at Jade Palace, Victoria Island, Lagos, the General Manager, Zen Africa, Mr. Girish Sharma explained that Zen Mobile is in the country to offer Nigerians best quality mobile phones at affordable prices.
According to Sharma, in the last one decade since the introduction of GSM in Nigeria ,Nigerians have been made to pay more for less as the cost of mobile phones are relatively too high and this is what Zen Mobile is here to address.
“Zen Mobile is here to offer Nigerians a double-edge advantage of quality phones made with best technology, which is comparable to any other leading brands in the world at unbelievably affordable prices”
Highlighting the unique advantages of Zen Mobile phones, Mr. Girish Sharma revealed that all the six series of phones offers dual SIM facility as well as unparallel battery span with the X410 series having a 30 days battery backup while all the phones comes with 15 month warranty.
On after sales service to customers, Sharma announced that Zen Mobile already have 10 services centres spread across the country for a start with a plan to have more. He disclosed that the service centres are fully stocked with spare parts and manned by qualified and well trained technicians.
The six Zen Mobile phones series launched include the X 381 series basic with dual SIM, dual standby with 1.5’’ TFT LCD screen, micro SD slot up to 2 G.B,500 phonebook memory, music/video player, FM radio, flight mode, touchlight, 3.5mm Jack and GPRS.
The X410 series comes with a 30 day battery backup with key features such as dual SIM, dual standby with 1.8’’ TFT LCD screen, micro SD slot up to 4 G.B,500 phonebook memory, cameravideo, Bluetooth, Music/video player, wireless FM radio, flight mode, touchlight, 3.5mm Jack.
The X430 basic with camera with key features like dual SIM, dual standby with 1.8’’ TFT LCD screen, micro SD slot up to 4G.B, 500 phonebook memory, cameravideo, Bluetooth, music/video player, wireless FM radio, flight mode, touchlight, 3.5mm Jack and GPRS.
The M20 Multimedia with key features like dual SIM, dual standby with 2.2’’ QVGA LCD screen, micro SD slot up to 4 G.B, 1000 phonebook memory, 1.3 MP camera/video, Bluetooth, GPRS, WAP enable, music/video player, wireless FM radio, flight mode, touchlight, 3.5mm Jack and Theft Tracker.
The Z66 Qwerty with key features like dual SIM, dual standby with 2.2’’ TFT LCD screen, Qwerty keypad, Micro SD slot up to 4 G.B, 500 phonebook memory, camera/video, Bluetooth, GPRS, WAP enable, music/video player, FM radio, flight mode and 3.5mm Jack.
Z82 Qwerty with TV with key features like dual SIM, dual standby with 2.4’’ QVGA LCD screen, Qwerty keypad, multi colour jog ball, Micro SD slot up to 4 G.B, 1000 phonebook memory, 2.0 MP camera/video, Bluetooth, GPRS, WAP enable, JAVA, Music/ Video player, FM Radio, Flight Mode, motion sensor, 3.5mm Jack Analog TV, Theft Tracker, Face book, Twitter, Nimbus, Messenger, Caller picture and Azaan Alarm.
The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona reinforced that 2011 is going to be another year of massive mobile broadband penetration and mobile device proliferation.
On top of the many smartphone releases planned for the year ahead – at CES, 80 new tablets were released – new technology is also going to drive development and uptake in the mobile device market.
In Barcelona, Telstra announced it was going to launch a 4G network in Australia by the year’s end. CEO David Thodey said the demand they’re seeing for mobile data is doubling every year as customers move to adopt data-hungry smartphones, mobile modems and tablets and predict that soon all of their post-paid mobile phone subscriptions will be for a smart phone.
The capability of mobile devices also means they’re popular. Everyone from top CEOs, who are known as early adopters of technology, to famous sportspeople are using smartphones and tablets. Even the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is known to be a prolific user of her iPad. Gartner say the number of smartphones sold in 2010 grew 72% on the previous year, and 2011 is likely to break all records.
The popularity of these devices is no surprise. End-users can access and interact with a variety of applications and consume rich content such as video and audio. Many devices now have the functionality that is equal to, and in many cases, surpasses the laptop or home computer of only a few years ago. The business and social benefits of mobile devices are also significant, enabling flexible working arrangements, social networking and wider connectivity of employees all leading to greater productivity.
With a 4G network, the capability of mobile devices only expands further as download capacity triples in speed and tasks such as high definition video calls can be made. At Barcelona, LG showed the potential available by unveiling the world’s first 3D-capable smartphone.
The portability of these devices and their ability to store and share significant amounts of information across a variety of mediums including WiFi, Bluetooth and mobile broadband only enhances their attractiveness.
However, as businesses rush to take advantage of these benefits the portability and connectivity also presents a wide range of challenges for IT departments ranging from device management to information security.
Users often have a far more laissez-faire attitude to their smartphone and tablet use despite the fact they are effectively portable computers which require the same approach to security as PC’s.
Smartphones and tablets, while powerful, are vulnerable computing devices. By conducting business anywhere, anytime, there are a variety of ways the devices and their information can be compromised. They can be easily lost, are attractive items to steal, and are susceptible to cyber-attacks targeting the device, its applications, its online connection and the networks and protocols it transfers data over.
Significantly, mobile devices hold and can access sensitive corporate information including customer details, bank accounts, credit card numbers and trade secrets. Because they hold this kind of information they are a lucrative target for cyber criminals. For example, our research recently showed that stolen credit card numbers make up 31% of all transactions on the underground economy.
To secure themselves against these risks, companies should take an end-to-end approach to security and device management that not only considers the device itself but also look at protecting corporate information wherever it resides.
As a first step businesses should introduce mobile device inventory and asset management. Organisations need to know when a device is lost or stolen, what information was on it and what kind of accessibility there is. An inventory should also cover levels of protection for each device including encryption and password verification; determine their patch status and scan them for vulnerabilities.
Encryption is a key tool to protecting the data on your mobile device. The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) highlight every year in Australia more than 200,000 mobile phones are reported lost or stolen. This equates to 4000 each week or one mobile phone handset every three minutes.
Encryption is necessary as passwords alone are inadequate when a thief or hacker can maintain physical possession of a mobile device over a long period. Protection should cover phone data such as contact names and numbers as well as e-mail, email attachments, and the data both may contain. Email encryption should happen automatically on the mobile device for instant, protection of sensitive information over all the networks it may cross.
In addition to encryption and password protection, devices should have mobile-specific security software that includes firewall and antivirus. Comprehensive firewalls protect the device and its contents by port and by protocol, regardless to which network the device connects. Antivirus protection should span the variety of attack vectors that can impact a mobile device such as MMS, infrared, Bluetooth, and e-mail.
As with personal computer security, the key aspect to effective protection is ensuring you regularly, and preferably automatically, update the operating system, security applications, antivirus signatures and anti-spam data.
The bonus is that protecting against mobile threats has a negligible impact on device performance and minimises the risks associated when a device is compromised, giving businesses and employees’ piece of mind. Undertaking an inventory also provides a centralised view of all the devices you hold, security profile and the data they can access, reducing operational costs and complexities of policy management.
With the exciting new opportunities that will come with new tablet and smartphone releases and the advent of 4G in Australia, it is important to remember that security is not about sacrificing the advantages available through mobile devices. By taking simple steps to security, your business will remain protected while at the same time enjoy the rewards and increased productivity a mobile and connected workforce delivers.
Craig Scroggie is VP and Managing Director Pacific region, Symantec
Smart-phone owners spend almost as much time using apps as they do sending text messages, a recent report said.
Zokem, a mobile analytics company, found in a January survey that smart-phone users spent 667 minutes per month using mobile apps, 671 minutes sending texts, 531 minutes making phone calls and 422 minutes browsing the Web.
And you thought the mobile phone was for making calls.
Android and iPhone owners use an average of 15 apps per month, and the Android and iPhone app stores reach 95 percent of users (BlackBerry and Nokia, not so much). The average smart-phone user adds 2.5 apps per month.
Unplugging could help sleep: Can’t sleep? Almost all of us use some sort of technology – be it television, laptop or smart phone – before going to bed, potentially disrupting our sleep for the night, a recent report said.
The National Sleep Foundation found that 95 percent of Americans said that they use technology within an hour before bed at least a few nights a week. The group said that using technology, particularly interactive ones such as video games, just before bed messes up our ability to go to sleep and stay asleep.
Six in 10 said they use their laptops or computers before bed. Young respondents – about half of those in their 20s and younger – report surfing the Internet every night or almost every night within the hour before sleep. About a third of young tech users play video games before bed.
About half of younger tech users also send text messages every night in the hour before going to bed, and 1 in 10 of the youngest cell phone users – late teens and early 20s – said that their cell phones wake them up after they’ve gone to sleep almost every night.
This article appeared on page D – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Just a few years ago, someone wanting to listen to the dispatches of their local police department had to purchase and program special equipment. Now, modern technology has made it possible to transform popular smart phones into personal police scanners.
Several applications that can be downloaded for little to no cost on many mobile phones stream police dispatches directly to the device, making it possible for anyone with an iPhone, Android or Blackberry to monitor police activity in real time.
The Baton Rouge Police Department learned in early February that its radio dispatches had become available to the public for free or at very low cost, and the discovery has top officials at the department alarmed, said Sgt. Donald Stone, a police spokesman.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Charles Mondrick said criminals could use the increased accessibility provided by the new technologies as a tool for committing crimes.
“I have no problem with law-abiding citizens monitoring police radio transmissions,” Mondrick said. “However, we have no way to separate the criminal, terrorist element from the good citizens.”
Mondrick said concerns for officer safety and homeland security led the department’s command staff and city-parish administrators to meet to discuss ways of limiting access to the radio dispatches.
James Leung created one of the most popular scanner apps, 5-0 Radio, in October 2009. Leung said in an e-mail from his home in London that his app has been downloaded more than 9 million times and currently gets about 150,000 new users each week. 5-0 Radio was the No. 5 top paid app overall in 2010, he said.
Leung explained his app uses volunteers with police scanner equipment who hook up the devices to a computer and upload their local police department’s stream to the app’s servers. The servers then distribute the streams to the app’s users.
Leung said none of the thousands of departments featured on the app have requested to be removed, but he would not hesitate to do so if asked.
“We take public safety seriously, and we will take off any communication that can pose a threat to it,” he said.
His app bans any tactical, narcotics, detectives or SWAT communications from being available to its users, Leung said. What’s left is the routine dispatches and talkgroups for law enforcement, he said.
But Mondrick said the ease of access to even everyday police chatter is cause for concern.
Previously, those wanting to listen to Baton Rouge police dispatches had to buy a scanner, which can cost upward of $200, and have that scanner specifically programmed to pick up city-police transmissions, Stone said.
Most Filipino mobile phone users are expected to shift from traditional handsets to smartphone devices in the next two to three years to get easy access to the web.
Napoleon Nazareno, president and chief executive of PLDT and Smart Communication, said the shift is a global trend and Smart is taking the lead in promoting the transition locally by offering affordable internet-capable phone and data plan packages.
Smart is introducing an array of high-quality, affordable smart phones and tablets led by its Netphone and low-cost internet service packages in the next few months.
Smart will also beef up its cellular data network in anticipation of growth in mobile data volume. The PLDT Group is expected to raise its capital expenditure above P30 billion this year, with much of the increase aimed at fortifying Smart’s cellular network, including mobile broadband.
“Network superiority has been a key competitive advantage for us. Our fixed and mobile networks are the country’s most extensive, resilient and robust. We are building on that strength,” said Nazareno.
For Smart’s 46 million subscribers, “we are offering our own line of smart phones featuring a suite of relevant, affordable services that will bring the internet to the broad market of Filipino mobile phone users,” said Orlando B. Vea, Smart chief wireless adviser.
In Barcelona, Smart unveiled a world first, the Netphone which is designed to provide internet services in affordable bite-sized servings.
Early in the year, the company also made a major push to promote internet access by introducing IDEOS, billed as the world’s first affordable Android smart phone.
Expecting mobile data traffic to rise, Smart is both expanding and upgrading its broadband and cellular networks. The expansion program covers Smart’s 3G/HSPA mobile broadband and WiMax networks.
Smart provides internet access to more than 8.3 million subscribers all over the country,
“This is the largest mobile internet subscriber base being served by a Philippine telco. With the surge in popularity of smart phones and tablets, we expect this subscriber base to grow further in the coming years,” Vea said.
Globally, sales of smart phones rose 72 percent to over 300 million units and made up nearly 20 percent of total mobile phone sales, according to Gartner, a leading global IT research and advisory company.
In a recent report, the research firm IDC said smart phone sales are expected to grow faster in 2011 as vendors make available more mid-range to low-level handsets at lower prices.
- Business Insight
The Press Register
Q: Let’s talk about the Smart Phone development, did this take you by surprise at how rapidly the Smart Phones are being adopted or did y’all see this coming, you know, five or 10 years down the road?
We actually saw the potential for Smart Phone type functionality about 10 years ago after everything in our industry moved from analog to digital. With Moore’s Law ( micro-chip processing power doubling every 18 months) fully in play we knew it was just a matter of time before mobile devices would have the same computing power of the PCs we were using at the time. Industry participants were predicting that our business would be more about data delivery than voice delivery, but none of us could accurately predict when this might occur. Smart Phones really are more computing device than phone as you well know from your experience as a Smart Phone user. With the intoduction of Blackberrys in the early part of the last decade bringing anywhere access to email followed by the intoroduction of the iPhone in the latter part of the decade bringing access to the internt and apps, the Smart Phone revolution finally occurred. These two groundbreaking devices opened the eyes of other mobile phone manufacturers like Samsung and software developers like Google to the potential of what the Smart Phone could become.
Q: Let’s talk about the iPhone now that you’ve got the Galaxy S, you’ve really got a competitor to the iPhone, are you beginning to take some market share away from Apple in your markets?
The Galaxy S, like many of the new Smart Phones that have come to market in the last year, is built on the android operating system (OS). The android OS is an open platform developed by Google. Because of its open approach, there are now more android devices in the United States than iPhone. The OS for iPhone is named iOS. Android OS software is open to anybody and everybody. Companies like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG and others are building android devices, thereby providing people access to a variety of form factors that meet their individual needs. So, yes we are accelerating our market share growth with android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire.
Q: It’s almost like the Windows – Apple PC operating system battle being fought again.
It’s the same battle today, but being fought on a different front. History proves Apple missed a huge opportunity 20 to 25 years ago by being very closed and proprietary in their approach to the emerging PC market. They allowed Microsoft, via their Windows OS, to become the overwhelming choice for PC operating systems. Apple has taken this same approach to the Smart Phone opportunity of today – limiting their growth in today’s mobile computing devices. This is why in less than two years Android products have surpassed iPhone in sales.
Q: Now I know that when I first learned Android I figuratively had to go into a cave for a week. Do you find that once a customer gets used to an operating system like Apple or Android, it is hard to get them to switch one way or the other?
We some times refer to switching one’s device to one with a different OS as an anti-Alzheimer’s exercise. It keeps your mind in shape by challenging it to envision new uses and learning new ways to access the people, apps, content and the information desired. For someone to get the most out of their device, the process can all at once be challenging, mind stimulating and fun. The time can be time well spent and, fortunately, as we are becoming more proficient in introducing new devices driven by new OS platforms, customers’ time in adapting will diminish.
Q: I’ve heard many people who were maybe on a Blackberry or some other device will try a new device like the Android and they’ll get stuck and they’ll just say, “Forget it, take my phone back,” when it would be very easy just to show them that there’s a way to do what they want it to do. How do you manage that? Do you train people through that process so they don’t get frustrated and turn their phone in when they switch from an operating system.
Within most of our stores we have what we refer to as Discover Centers. These are staffed with tech savvy indivuals whose primary role is to help train on the new devices. We also allow customers to use their new device for 14 days before having to commit to that device. If they are not comfortable with the new device, they can bring it back. We work with people so that they can have the device and services that meet their lifestyle needs. We also try to encourage them to stick with the newer technologies. It might take a little time, but it almost always pays off. We are confident that the new technologies position usuers to have the easiest and best access to people, content and information they desire. That is precisely what we contiuously seek to deliver.
Q: Where’s this going? I mean are we peaking out here because I can’t even imagine what else my phone can do. What is going to be out there in five or 10 years?
One of the concepts that is exciting in our industry is the potential of three screen convergence – the convergence of Smart Phone, computer and television screens. The attraction to this is the ability to access the right content and view it on the screen that best fits that content. But, to show you how much our industry changes, over the last 12 months our planning has evolved from three screens to four. During this time a whole new sccreen type has been introduced – electronic tablets and pads. So, now we look forward to the day of four screen convergence.
Q: I would think that all the advances now that the cameras are so good, I would think battery life would be the next big challenge because that seems to be of all the things on cell phones. Do you see advances coming with the battery life?
Well, there has been significant improvements in battery technology over the past five years. The powerful Smart Phones we sell today, with normal use, can generally make it through a full day. If these powerful smart devices we carry today were trying to work on the batery technology of just five years ago, the devices would either have to be larger to hold that much battery power or we would get about a half day use on average.
Q: Cellular South has been in business for over 23 years. The whole wireless industry is not much older than that. What has allowed your company to thrive for so long?
First, we have invested heavily in staying ahead on network technology. We were one of the first carriers to move from the first generation of wireless to the second generation (2G). Then, we were one of the first carriers to move from 2G to 3G. And, soon, we will be one of the first to offer 4G services.
Also, we have been blessed with good people and exceptional management talent. There is an old management adage that to be successful you must hire people smarter than yourself. Not only do we have a bright management team; they are committed to winning in the marketplace, dedicated to the company and enjoy making a difference in the communities we serve.
Most of our 1150 employees were educated here in Mississippi. Everyday, our entire team does what ever they need to do to provide a high quality and value driven wireless experience for our customers.