Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Track your Carbon Footprint using your GPS-enabled Cell Phone

Several weeks ago, we got really excited about a potential smartphone application that can track your carbon footprint that came out of the UCLA’s Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS). The application, when downloaded onto a GPS-enabled phone, could track information such as the amount of smog produced while driving, pollution inhaled while walking and other tools that measure harmful environmental impact. The news was incredibly exciting until we realized that the application, still in beta testing, is only available to UCLA students and faculty who want to participate in the testing, with no consumer release date available.

Today, we became excited again. This time, Andreas Zachariah, a graduate student at the Royal College of Art in London came up with the idea for a carbon footprint calculator for your cell phone. The application, Carbon Diem, can be downloaded to your GPS-enabled phone to track your carbon footprint. In fact, the only thing you need to do is carry your phone with you. No inputting numbers or routes or types of transportation. The application tracks your travels and mode of transportation based on the speed you’re going, with nearly 100 percent accuracy on airplanes and trains, and slightly lower accuracy on buses, according to the testing done with Nokia and Blackberry phones. While Carbon Diem has not been released, a launch has been planned for next year.

Most people are concerned about the environment; a lot of us even attempt to do something about it. It looks like mobile carbon footprint calculators are about to change the way we view our impact on the world. I told you it was exciting news!

Nielsen Mobile Reports Increase in Smartphone Usage

Most Americans recognize Nielsen as the leader in television ratings. However, with Internet and mobility divisions, Nielsen Media endeavors to understand all media usage. Nielsen Mobile recently released a report based on smartphone usage, prodded by the interest in the Apple iPhone. Although the iPhone is still widely popular, the findings supported growth in all smartphone technologies.

Not surprisingly, Nielsen found that nearly half of all smartphone users were business people and half of that group is lucky enough to have their phones paid for by their companies. Research in Motion, HTC and Palm still lead the smartphone industry with Apple coming in fourth place, quite a feat for a corporation with only two phones on its shelves. Apple leads the pack with overall customer satisfaction with its devices. In addition, the average cost of a smartphone is $205 with service plans costing $110 per month. Who’s carrying these smartphones? The findings indicated that the majority of users are male (although purchases have increased for both men and women), between the ages of 25 and 54 and boast a household income of at least $100,000 (one-third of all smartphone users do).

We’ve mentioned before the penetration of smartphones on the US and global mobile market. With Nielsen surveying the mobile landscape, it’s only a matter of time before smartphone domination is confirmed.

Privus Mobile President Greg Smith Wins Tech Titans’ Emerging Company CEO Award

I’m starting the day with a big pat-on-the-back for Greg Smith. The Privus Mobile president was awarded the Tech Titans’ Emerging Company CEO Award for his leadership of Accudata Technologies. At Friday’s Tech Titans Awards Gala, Smith received the prestigious award that honors the North Texas leader who made the greatest impact in new technology business in 2008. Accudata has been on the Tech Titans’ Fast 50 list five consecutive times during Smith’s tenure, making this weekend’s honor one more in a long line of Accudata’s accomplishments. Congratulations, Greg!

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Nokia, Pantech, Samsung Phones Heading to AT&T?

Rumors are flying that AT&T will be acquiring five new phones soon: Nokia’s E72, Pantech’s Matrix and a trio of Samsungs – the A867, Sangria and Mirage. The E72 is essentially a Nokia E71, said to be customized exclusively for AT&T users. The slim phone with 320x240-pixel screen, QWERTY keyboard, digital camera, GPS and memory card slot is rumored to include Symbian’s S60 Feature Pack 2, properly dominating its E71 predecessor. The FP2 allows for easy messaging, multi-tasking and downloading, with instant media playback during the download.

The Pantech Matrix dual-slider is the company’s follow-up to the Duo. While the Matrix has some great features, this affordable phone’s one downside might be Pantech’s weak operating system. Users will have to find solace in the 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Video Share, QWERTY keyboard and numeric pad, which come housed in three color options: red, green or blue.

Samsung phones have been under intense scrutiny lately. The A867 was once thought to be the elusive OMNIA, but as there is no mention of WiFi for this device, and the signature Samsung smartphone “i” is missing from the device number, it seems unlikely. The Sangria (A767) looks like the Samsung i620 and i640 devices, but without Windows Mobile, making it a lower-range consumer-targeted phone. The Mirage (i907) is said to be AT&T’s version of the i780 and has been referred to in recent rumors as the Blackjack III. This slim phone has a QWERTY keyboard, 320x320-pixel touch-sensitive display, optical mouse, 624MHz processor, quad-band GSM with WiFi and digital camera. The Mirage will run on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Essential Cell Phone Dictionaries, Phrasebooks for Your Next International Trip

International business and travel are a part of the landscape of today’s culture. While a good portion of the world is amazingly bilingual, trilingual and even multilingual, the rest of us are left with the anxiety of traveling to a foreign country. We are left with two options: butcher our way through another language or hope for an English-speaking native to help us out, neither of which is incredibly appealing. Luckily, smartphones continue to improve our lives, this time with talking phrasebook applications that make both learning and accessing other languages a breeze.

Apple’s iPhone has the most popular language application, iLingo by Talking Panda. The ten iLingo app languages – translating English to French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean or Japanese – were specifically chosen and organized to make traveling easier. Words and phrases are grouped into categories, such as Greetings, Shopping and Getting Around. The word or phrase is then spoken in a voice native to the country or region you’re visiting. As an added bonus, each language is tailored to the region you’re in, making it easy to find food and cultural activities. iLingo is very affordable at $9.99 per language, but the small price accompanies a small, travel-centered dictionary.

Beiks offers language applications for mobile phone users. Talking phrasebooks are available for Blackberry and Windows Mobile users. Beiks offers 14 English-conversion travel phrasebooks for Windows Mobile, as well as a Euro bundle, which gives English-speaking travelers access to French, Spanish, German and Italian, all in one application. Beiks also offers 21 other language phrasebooks, such as French to Turkish and German to Hebrew translations. Their collection for Blackberry is even larger, with 14 phrasebooks originating from five languages (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian). Each language also has its own bundle. Prices for Windows Mobile and Blackberry are the same, with individual phrasebooks for $19.95 and bundles for $39.90.

LingvoSoft also offers dictionaries and talking phrasebooks. With dictionaries for your phone in 47 different languages (including Hindi, Farsi, Bengali and Yiddish) and 50 different talking phrasebook options (nearly 30 of these offering English to another language translations), LingvoSoft works with Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm operating systems. Prices range from $27.95 to $39.95 for talking phrasebooks.

The prices for traveling internationally might be damaging to your bank account, but the time and energy these applications save will be worth every penny. Happy traveling!

Try out your new language software and see if you can translate this French pop song by Yelle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top Cell Phone Applications for Your Next Road Trip

Autumn puts me in the mood for a good ol’ road trip. I’ve always been this way. Full-fledged vacations are reserved for the summer or winter, but spontaneous weekend getaways, those are for the fall. The weather is perfect, leaves are changing and no pesky spring rain to dampen the mood.

Road trips have always been a little tricky, though. By most definitions, road trips are spontaneous. You start driving and find an adventure along the way. But by nature, I am a planner. I live life by the five Ws: who, what, when where and why. Spontaneity doesn’t exactly fall into those Ws. Luckily, smartphones bridge the gap between spontaneous and sanity. If you’re like me, perhaps you too can appreciate these must-have smartphone applications for a successful, yet spontaneous autumn road trip.

1. GPS (or at the very least, Google Maps) – It’s okay to jump in the car and just drive, as long as you can find your way back. Not only will GPS-enabled phones get you where you want to go, but they also find you the best path home. Several phones are equipped with GPS navigation applications, but if yours is not, make sure you have a great mapping application to reference.
  • For those of you lucky enough to have a GPS-enabled phone, check out BuddyWay – an application that works with your GPS phone to log your trip. You can see where you are, where you’ve been, map out where you’re going and share your trip with friends (the ones with you and the ones you left behind). You can even save the route taken, just in case it was a particularly good trip you’d like to take again!
2. “_______ Finders” – Finders are great. What do you want to find? A finder application will find what you’re looking for, tell you how close it is and allow you to employ your GPS or maps app to get you there. Here are some great examples of finder apps:
  • Restaurant finders: Restaurant finders allow you to look by location and genre of food to find a great place to eat in a new city or town. More advanced restaurant finders will include reviews of the food/experience and price guides, so you know what you’re getting yourself into when you stop in at Hobo Joe’s (a real restaurant in Madill, Ok.; I had a great burger there!). Some examples of restaurant finders are Local Picks by TripAdvisor and UrbanSpoon for iPhone and Breeze Restaurant Finder for Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile phones.
  • Gas finders: These applications aren’t just finding the closest gas stations anymore. Within a specified radius of your location, gas finders will let you know where you can find the cheapest gas around. Let’s face it – the popularity of road trips has dwindled because it no longer costs $20 to fill your gas tank. But with a gas finder application, you can at least make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Historical landmark finders: So, I haven’t found any applications dedicated to finding historical landmarks along the road trip route, but I’m hopeful that with the open-source platforms gaining popularity, someone out there will create one of these soon. It would be such a shame to drive by the world’s biggest ball of twine without snapping a photo with my phone’s camera. To substitute in the meantime, there are applications that allow you to "leave a note" using GPS or maps-enabled phones, so when you do pass the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, you can make sure to pinpoint it for the next person that drives through the Texas panhandle.
3. Blogging, pictures, video – Trips are meant to be shared with friends and family. What better way to remember a trip with friends or share a trip with an absent family member than to log your activities and fun online, through blogging, picture-sharing and video-streaming.
  • Blogging: We all agree that the best part of a smartphone is the ability to take the Internet with us. With your Internet-enabled phone and its touchscreen or QWERTY keyboard, you can now keep everyone at home involved in your trip. Use a blog site, such as Blogger or Wordpress, or use a microblog, such as Twitter (and the many mobile Twitter applications) to create your road-trip diary.
  • Picture-sharing: Our smartphones come equipped with great cameras (the megapixel capabilities increase with every new release) to snap shots of our adventures, and applications like Flickr and ShoZu make it easy to upload pictures directly from your mobile phone to your favorite photo-sharing site.
  • Video-streaming: Perhaps one of the coolest apps to come out recently is Qik, a video-streaming application compatible with iPhone 3G, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux, which will allow you to stream live video from your smartphone to an online Qik social networking site. Make your Qik site as private or open as you want, and share your road trip in real-time, or save it to download and share later.
Spontaneity might be the name of the game when it comes to road trips, but these applications are sure to create an experience you’ll yearn to repeat.

Check out Qik in action on an iPhone 3G!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Making MySpace Mobile

Here at The Wednesday Social, we like to be fair when covering social networking options on phones, so today we’ll give a nod to all the MySpace users who want to remain in the loop, even when away from their desktops.

MySpace recently slipped out of the No. 1 slot for social networking sites, handing over the crown to Facebook, which we covered during the last social. However, let’s not count MySpace out. The popular music and entertainment-centered social networking site is still holding firm in second place and is not looking to relinquish any of its millions of users anytime soon. Keeping consumers in mind, MySpace has several smartphone options.

Blackberry and iPhone both have mobile applications, making it simple to access MySpace while you’re on-the-go. Among the many options available, you can send messages and comments to your friends, check friends’ status updates and moods and upload camera pics straight to your MySpace albums.

Unfortunately for all you Windows Mobile (and other platform) users, MySpace has no official or 3rd party application available to use. MySpace has solved this issue with an alternative access, its MySpace Mobile Website (http://m.myspace.com/). This phone-friendly website allows full-access to MySpace users, with status and mood updates, access to your inbox, friend requests, photos and more. However, the Web site can’t upload photos to your MySpace albums from your phone, but you can send messages and comments and add updates from your mobile browser.

With the world turning toward greater mobility and increased access, not to mention a larger interest in social networking, we’re sure more applications like those available for Blackberry phones and the iPhone are in the works. Pretty soon, YourSpace will truly be wherever you are!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adobe CS4 Makes Mobile Programming Easier

Everyone who loves Adobe for Web development and desktop content but laments the tough entry and limitations brought on by mobile phone development can despair no longer. Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 (CS4) is available for pre-order (shipping to begin in October).

While this Adobe launch is integrating some cool features overall, it’s the integration of new mobile features that have got all of us excited. Device Central CS4 will simplify testing content, coding programs and releasing designs/applications on the mobile market. The really cool part is that you can now test how your creation works on almost any mobile device via an online device library built into the software! While this has been offered by Mobile Complete, we’re really excited to see it integrated with the design and development tools from Adobe.

The creation process has been simplified and more integrated with mobile design and development as well. Adobe’s really pushing PC developers to move into the mobile space and with CS4 they might have just done the trick. Simplifying the transition
from design to developers, as well as between different programs within the Adobe software, are just a few of the steps Adobe is taking to make the switch a little more bearable.

With recent open-source developments such as Android and the Instinct, I think we can expect to see universal adoption of many Adobe CS4-created applications and designs in the future. If you want to check out a few of CS4’s design and development examples, take a look at Bacardi’s Mobile Cocktail application, Disney’s animated SpongeBob Wallpaper, Cell’s interactive Sport Games, Avarto’s Flash technology-based music channel and Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion wallpapers.

Make sure to keep an eye out for some of the other results. With CS4 configurations shipping in October, I don’t think it will be long before developers, and consumers, see a lot of great, innovative content.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Privus Mobile CEO M. Gregory Smith announced as a finalist for Tech Titans’ Emerging Company CEO Award

We’re proud to announce that the president and CEO of Privus Mobile, Greg Smith, was announced as a finalist for the Tech Titans’ Emerging Company CEO Award. Smith also serves as president of Accudata Technologies, Privus Mobile's parent company and the backbone behind Privus' true Caller ID services. The Tech Titans awards honor businesses and individuals in North Texas for excellence and innovation in the technology industry.

To date, Accudata has been named to the Tech Titans’ Fast 50 list five times, a list that recognizes the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in North Texas. The winner of the Tech Titans’ Emerging Company CEO Award will be announced Friday, Sept. 26, at the 2008 Tech Titan Awards Gala. Good luck, Greg!

Privus Mobile Customers Speak Out

A Privus Mobile customer has recently posted his thoughts on the Caller-ID service for his Blackberry 8830. For those who don't know, Privus Mobile provides Caller-ID for a wide selection of smartphones in the US and Canada. Check out the review to see what Billy had to say about his experiences with Privus Mobile and then come back and let us know what you think of the service.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Solving the Market Crisis with your Smartphone

Lately, America’s finances have suffered a few black eyes. As stock prices fall to all-time lows, we’re seeing a lot of grim faces on Wall Street and across the United States. In a morbid Fun Friday twist, this week’s posting will focus on a couple of stock trading and stock monitoring applications for your smartphone. You probably need them now more than ever… if you have any money left to invest.

E*Trade and Blackberry joined forces to offer their online stock portfolio trading and stock monitoring on their line of devices. E*Trade Mobile Pro allows those who have accounts with the online trading company to get stock quotes and manage trades from their cell phones, making it easier to stay current with the heavily fluctuating market. The application also features portfolio watch lists, money transfers and password protect, which refreshes after five minutes of inactivity. And if that security isn’t enough, E*Trade also promises to cover any unauthorized trading done from your phone. The best part? This application is free. It will only cost (or pay) what you lose (or gain) playing the market.

For all you Windows Mobile users out there, stock market monitoring also is at your fingertips with Pocket Stock Market Monitor 5. While you cannot trade stocks with this application, you can get quotes for stocks, bonds and mutual funds, keep track of your portfolio and take advantage of an easy-to-use portfolio manager with multiple color schemes and large text. This application will cost you a bit, but with the market as fragile status, it might be worth keeping up-to-the-minute updates in the palm of your hand.

I hope you’re not suffering at the hands of the market more than any of the rest of us, but if you are, at least take comfort in the fact that your smartphone is making life a little easier, one application at a time.

This week’s Fun Friday song veers away from the “Calling” theme, instead focusing on our stock theme. Calloway wants to be rich, just like you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Truly Open Are Open Networks?

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about open networks these days. Some believe it’s just that – talk. Others hope for one universal network similar to European GSM Networks but on a global spectrum. The rest are sitting back with a furrowed brow wondering what everyone else is talking about. What is an open network and how can you reap the rewards? The answer has some fortunate and unfortunate pieces.
The current setup for cellular networks in the United States, and globally, is a little segregated. Europe has aligned under the GSM network, making it an “open network” within the continent. Other major wireless areas such as Southeast Asia, including China and Japan, have also adopted GSM networks. The United States, however, is split, with some carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, using GSM and other carriers, like Verizon and Sprint, using CDMA. To understand the impossibility of an open network, you need to understand how GSM and CDMA work.

The modern GSM network uses a SIM card that allows users to switch between carriers. This means that you can take your GSM cell phone and use it on AT&T, T-Mobile or any European carrier as long as you use the same SIM card. It also means that if you want to use your new open source Google Android phone, you can theoretically buy it from T-Mobile and take it to AT&T to get set-up on their service.

The CDMA network, on the other hand, locks a phone to the provider you purchased from. Therefore, if you buy a phone from Verizon, you have to use Verizon service for as long as you have that device. Verizon has just announced that it will accept other CDMA phones on its network (so if you still want that Android phone, you can wait until Sprint gets it in 2009 and bring it over to Verizon). The rest of the CDMA carriers do not have this capability, though, so no luck using the new Blackberry Storm from Verizon on Sprint’s service – at least right now.

As long as there is this discrepancy in networks, there cannot be an open network. While it is nice to know what different service providers hope for in opening networks, it’s more important to know the limitations they have with doing so. After all, you don’t want to buy a $600 Nokia off of Craigslist and then realize it won’t work with your carrier.

Service providers are actively working to fix this problem, though, with the new 3GPP LTE network (4G). Most service providers in the United States, Europe, and Asia have announced their intention to start moving their networks over to LTE, with Verizon beginning trials this year. That means that for the first time ever, there will be a truly global open network. This global open network will open many more doors and result in more applications, more innovations and more choice – so here’s hoping the “hope” of the service providers turns into more than just hype.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Staying Connected on your Smartphone: Facebook Applications

Today begins a new weekly feature, The Wednesday Social, on social networking applications for your smartphone. Every Wednesday, we’ll spotlight a different application that allows you to stay connected wherever you are. This week: Facebook.

Facebook has taken the world by storm. What started as a very private college-student-only social-networking platform has transformed into the most popular social networking site in the world. Staying connected often means keeping up with what your friends and colleagues are saying on Facebook and the following applications enable you to do just that.

Facebook for Blackberry phones has been around for about a year and already has more than 2.5 million downloads. The application keeps the Facebook experience you’re accustomed to and brings it to your phone. It includes features such as home screen notifications for wall posts, messages and event invitations; full-text view of messages, wall posts, photos and friend requests; real-time status updates; and the ability to update your status for your friends, access to all of your Facebook friends’ profiles and photo-sharing straight from your phone to your Facebook profile through mobile uploads.

If you are a Windows Mobile user and want to access your Facebook, Friend Mobilizer is an application that allows you access to your friends and updates. Although Facebook has not created an application for Windows Mobile users, the third-party Friend Mobilizer allows you to perform many of the same features as the Facebook for Blackberry application. The major difference between the two applications is that Friend Mobilizer doesn’t allow you to upload and share photos, but that can be remedied using the ShoZu application (an application that uploads photos and videos from your phone to your favorite photo-sharing Web site).

With the increasing importance of social networking and Facebook’s giant presence, keeping updates close at hand is a must, and now it’s been made simple with Facebook applications for your smartphone!

Be sure to check out Privus Mobile’s Facebook page. Connect with other Privus Mobile users, share your stories and become a fan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Browsing for Alternative Browsers

The iPhone revolutionized Internet browsing on cell phones when it introduced the user-friendly Safari browser. Looking at the Internet on your phone was just like looking at the Internet on your computer at home or in the office. Smartphones boasting Windows Mobile operating systems have followed suit and offer a wide variety of Web-browsing options. A few of my personal favorites: Opera Mobile, Mobile Firefox and Thunderhawk.

Opera Mobile (available in 9.5 beta version) is the free, smartphone-ready version of the popular Opera Mini, which works on all Web-enabled cell phones. Opera Mobile accesses Web sites on Symbian and Windows Mobile devices and allows for fully interactive Web services and tabbed browsing.

An ever-popular alternative to Internet Explorer on desktops has always been Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser, which will soon be released in a free Mobile Firefox version for your smartphone. It will be available for both touchscreen smartphones and non-touch devices. The browser allows for quick-view tab browsing and zoom functions that differ from current mobile Web browsers, as well as the ability to sync your desktop Firefox bookmarks and settings.

Finally, if you want a different option and don’t mind shelling out a little cash, you can pay roughly $6 for a monthly subscription or $50 for an annual subscription to Thunderhawk, a Bitstream Web browser. Thunderhawk provides a secure browser for Symbian and Windows Mobile devices, as well as Java-enabled cell phones, and provides a consistent interface between desktop and mobile phones.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Teens Behind the Wheel of Mobile Industry Growth

Today’s teens have always known mobility. As such, the teen machine has driven the mobile industry with its current use and future desires for phones. An online study conducted with 2,000 American teenagers found that cell phones are given priority over everything, excluding clothing, as a status symbol. Eighty percent of teenagers carry a wireless device. In the study, over half viewed their phone as entertainment, and 80 percent viewed their devices as mobile safety nets.

Texting is a form of communication created by today’s teenagers, and while to some it may seem like a shorthand, confusing language, it fits the teens’ fast-paced, multi-tasking, always-connected lifestyle. And just like teens have created a worldwide mobile language, look for future devices to be dictated by the wants and needs of this new, young generation. The perfect device for today’s teens would include a phone, MP3 player, GPS, laptop computer and video player all-in-one. But don’t just expect the required – a waterproof, power-regenerating, flexible device that can talk back to you using artificial intelligence might be in the works. Whatever it might be, you can bet that teens are leading the way.

Prototype of a device capable of meeting the five standards
of phone, MP3, GPS, laptop computer, and video player.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

CTIA News Wrap-Up

CTIA Fall 2008 wrapped up yesterday. This year was a great year to be in the smartphone business as we saw some great innovation from everyone.

RIM had a huge presence at the show this year and is seeing a lot more support on the third-party applications side which is always great to see. Sprint’s announced its engagement with the HTC Touch Diamond and, of course, you can’t forget Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen call for standardization in his keynote speech. It will be interesting to see how the industry reacts moving forward.

Check below for some more great highlights from this year’s show!

  • Virgin Mobile resurrected the Helio brand with Helio by Virgin Mobile.

  • Sprint started off the conference with a bang, announcing its new fall line-up of handsets, smartphones and pocket PCs.

What did you think of the show this year?

Friday, September 12, 2008

With Phones, Slim is In

It often amazes me how useful my cell phone can be. I fell into the world of smartphone users for the easy access to email and the Internet, but have found endless opportunities to make my phone work for me. Today’s example: my phone can help keep me fit and healthy.

Iambic announced this week the release of Health & Diet Manager 3.0, available on Windows Mobile and Palm OS. This application, which can synchronize to your Windows PCs, allows you to track food intake, calories and your exercise routine. It also give you access to an extensive food database with menus from popular restaurants. With the added benefit of being able to track of points-related diet plans such as Weight Watchers, keeping in shape and in touch has never been easier.

If you want to skip the application but not the mobile diet, use your cell phone’s web browser to go to Weight Watchers’ new mobile site, compatible with most mobile browsers. This site allows you to calculate points, search for food point values and log activities. Hmm, I wonder how many calories I can burn texting, surfing and talking?

Don’t forget your Fun Friday song of the week: Blondie wants you to call her!

University of Kentucky Cuts Landlines to Cut Costs

The University of Kentucky turned quite a few heads today when it announced that it will be deactivating landlines throughout all of its dorms. The move comes from a study the university conducted that showed more than 98 percent of the student population cited their cellphone as their primary communications device.

While students are still given the option to have their land lines reactivated, only seven have actually gone through with it. Cutting the cord will save the university over $800,000 each year and enabled it to make over $100,000 in upgrades to the dorm Internet connections.

I ditched my landline a couple years ago and haven’t thought about it twice since. Sure I used to miss some of the features of a landline like Caller ID and unlimited talk times; however, now that I’ve got Privus Mobile, I no longer have to worry about Caller ID. And with almost all carriers offering unlimited nights and weekends, making the leap isn’t nearly as daunting as it used to be.
How many of you have made the plunge to cell-phone-only lifestyle?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Money-saving Apps Make Cents

In this economic climate, saving money can be difficult. Fortunately, cell phone application creators are stepping up. Now, if you’re willing to shell out a little bit of dough, you can turn your smartphone into your very own mobile accountant. These four applications rated among the Top 10 downloaded applications for Windows Mobile, and it’s not hard to see why:

Meter Minder allows you to track the time left on a parking meter from your cell phone and signals you when you have 5 to 30 minutes left on the meter. If you add money to the meter, just reset the time. When time expires, your phone will alert you to begin your mad sprint to the meter before the traffic authorities arrive.

Bankarama allows you to use your mobile phone as a check register for multiple accounts, both bank accounts and credit cards. Now you have the power to know the status on all of your bank accounts, and whether or not you can afford your next gadget or those boots you’ve been eying.

Bills and Reminders for smartphones allows you to enter the date, frequency, description and amount due for all of your bills and then alerts you when each bill is due, helping to ensure you never have another late fee. If used with Bankarama, you’ll always know if you have enough money in your accounts to cover these bills.

Lastly, to celebrate saving and organizing your money with these applications, treat yourself to a nice dinner out with friends. And when everyone is frowning over the bill trying to figure out how much they owe, you can pull out your TipsByte-equipped phone. This app allows you to figure out how to split the bill and how much of a tip to leave. No more headaches at the end of the night!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tracking Hurricane Ike? Use Mobile Weather Application

Weather applications aren't new to cell phones, but they have advanced from telling the outside temperature and five-day forecast. From basic weather widgets and applications that report current conditions and daily forecasts to severe weather-tracking devices, mobile applications now enable you to predict the weather way better than the meteorologist on your evening news ever did! To get a widget-like weather report on your Windows Mobile 6.1 phone, look into NRG Weather and NRG miniWeather, courtesy of XDA developers.

If you need a little more oomph in your weather report, or you want to make sure the latest hurricane isn’t destroying your beach house, WeatherBug for mobile phones offers complete hurricane coverage with live feeds and real-time updates. With WeatherBug available on several mobile platforms, you can keep track of the storm even after severe weather has knocked out landlines and caused power outages. Take that, Mother Nature!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mobile Home Takes on a New Meaning

If you're in the (current buyer's) market for a new home or you're like me and really enjoy all things real estate, Smarter Agent and RealEstate.com have released a new application for your cell phone, aptly named "Homes for Sale." Available now for AT&T and Sprint customers, "Homes for Sale" delivers 2 million listings nationwide to your cell phone in seconds. Developers of the application want to get local real estate into the hands of those who need it where they need it and hope to get it on other networks soon. The service works on GPS-enabled phones by using a person's physical location to find homes in the vicinity. Users also can use a zip code, city or specific address to find nearby homes if they don’t have GPS or just want to look in a different area. House hunting just became a whole lot more mobile!

Check out the video below to see how Real Estate agents and home buyers use "Homes for Sale."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gaming To Go

Two popular video games made their way onto smartphones this week. Mobile game publisher In-Fusio released Golden Tee, the popular coin-operated game found in arcades and bars. The game features four new golf courses, quick-play putting, golfer customization, "great moments" replays and more. Additionally, you can sync your phone with coin-op machines and retrieve your stats or find local coin-ops, making it even easier to feed your video golf obsession! Golden Tee is compatible with all Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices.

For those into RPG gaming, Sid Meier's latest version of his Civilization series, Civilization IV: War of Two Cities, is being released by Concrete Software on Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. Using your mobile phone, you can conquer the world by developing technology, building armies and expanding an empire from the beginning of civilization to modern times. I know some gamers ready to plunge into the realm of smartphones just so they can fight barbarians when they're away from home!

Thanks to smartphones, it has never been easier to take entertainment with you, wherever you are.

Don't forget your Fun Friday song of the week!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

United States Exceeds Western Europe in 3G Usage, Just Barely

Western Europe, the world’s leader in smartphone purchasing and usage, has been usurped by the United States in adoption of 3G devices. According to comScore Inc., a leader in researching and measuring digital media usage, the United States has caught up with Western Europe, citing 28.4 percent of American mobile phone subscribers using 3G handsets, narrowly edging Western Europe’s 28.3 percent. Most notably in the research, the number of United States subscribers with 3G devices has grown 80 percent in the past year. For years, the American mobile industry has aspired to Western European’s standards of mobile sophistication. Now, with the influx of sleek, powerful new phones, U.S. smartphone users can declare victory!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mobile Phones Help, Not Hinder, Classroom Experience

Make way for the new “bookbag” on campus: the mobile phone. The days of banning mobile phones on college campuses seem to be waning as universities across the globe realize the potential of smartphone technology in the classroom. While once thought to be a distraction or a tool to promote cheating, mobile phones can provide instant access to information useful for brainstorming, podcasts and flipping through handouts (an earth-friendly alternative to passing out information in class). Universities are even handing out smartphones to incoming freshmen.

With the introduction of educational games/applications for mobile phones, notebooks could lose their superiority status in the classroom. After all, smartphones are smaller, lighter, cost-efficient and most likely the next staple of higher learning.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

iPhone Helped Clear Path for Mobile Apps Awareness

Apple’s iPhone has opened our eyes to mobile application downloading with its Apps Store, but service carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have been offering similar application portals for years. Though you may think they’re jealous of Apple’s success, these providers are grateful for the new awareness that accompanied the iPhone’s success. AT&T houses the MEdia Mall, where users of hundreds of handsets can download music, games, ringtones, graphics, applications and other content. Recently, AT&T began to focus on social networking – the next big category in mobile phone applications.

Sprint, with its PowerVision services and online portal, strives to deliver content that is relevant to its customers. T-Mobile’s T-Zones offers an application store currently undergoing a re-vamping to more closely resemble Apple’s Apps Store. They encourage their customers to download applications to make the most out of their phones, including applications that offer weather reports, mapping tools and restaurant guides. Verizon’s Get It Now storefront has also been around for years, but Verizon has gone one step further on their website, allowing users to find the perfect phone (with the accompanying application options) for users’ needs. So whether you want to use your phone to watch mobile TV, download and listen to music or get turn-by-turn directions, there is a phone for you, ready to download relevant applications. Other carriers have kept up with the bigger service providers, all ready to offer applications on handsets. It’s a new age of mobility, and carriers are ready to keep you in the loop. Get ready to download!