Monthly Archives: March 2012
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Verizon Wireless announced LG's newest smartphone, the LG Lucid. It is a great device at a great price point for customers looking to jump into 4G. The phone comes with a dual core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 5 megapixel camera, and 1080p HD video capture. The Lucid will be upgradable to Android 4.0 and be priced at 79.99 after a rebate with a 2 year contract.
"Advanced Task Killer" is a task manager app (kind of like hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL on your computer), and one of the more popular apps on the Google Market. Some customers swear it helps their battery and phone performance, but tech geeks across the web swear that you don't need a task manager (if you ever need help falling asleep, just Google "Do I need a task killer for my Android phone." your head will hit the pillow as soon as you start hearing about Kernels and RAM and CPU performance). When troubleshooting a phone with Verizon's tech support, one of the first questions they ask is if the phone has a third-party task killer installed. So in the real world, outside of the techy-geeky talk, let's see whether you need one or not, and how to best set it up.
First, a brief lesson on how the Android OS works is in order. Unlike a computer, your phone is actually designed to run lots of apps at the same time. The apps are smaller than a computer program and running multiple apps simultaneously allows for faster switching between programs on your phone. Plus, if you set your task killer to "aggressive," and it kills apps that are designed to always run, you could cause other parts of your phone to slow down or malfunction, and a constant seesaw between a task killer ending apps and your phone restarting them can actually worsen phone and battery performance.
So when do you need to install a task manager on your phone? The short answer is rarely. Here is the "no" opinion: if you have a task manager installed straight out of the box (Motorola has one on their Razr, Maxx, and Droid 4), stick with the manufacturer-installed task killer and pass on the aftermarket ones. Also, if you're having problems with your phone, before calling tech support, if you have a market-installed task manager, uninstall it before calling tech support and see if that solves your problem.
In a perfect world, if the apps were built perfectly, you'd never need a task manager. But if you've ever installed an app and found that your battery life drops considerably, or you feel the phone heating up or otherwise acting strangely, you could have a rogue app that isn't playing nice with your phone. You can go about installing a task manager in a few different ways. First, see if your phone has one natively installed and use that. Second, a traditional task manager like Advanced Task Killer will get the job done, but to get the best out out of it, you'll want to set it to moderate, or at least put a few items like "email" or "network connection" on the ignore list so those apps won't get killed (kill the email app, and you won't get alerts when new messages come in).
Another great app to install for task management is "Watchdog." Watchdog monitors your phone's usage so you can see which apps are using the highest percentage of your processing power, and most likely your battery. If you have a rogue app that is always running, Watchdog will flag it for you. Then you can decide whether to uninstall it and seek an alternative app, use a task manager to periodically shut it down, or just live with it.
Bottom line: you won't do any permanent damage to your phone with a task manager installed. Don't expect miracles and don't set the task manager to aggressive mode, and do uninstall a task manager as a first step in troubleshooting. For your wallet, don't pay for a task manager unless you have tried their free version and you know it works for you. Stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of your battery.
I hear it a lot, "What is Ice Cream Sandwich?" Ice Cream Sandwich is the newest operating system for Android phones. I know it has a funky name, but that is because Google is naming all of their major software updates after tasty deserts. It must be because they view all the new features as just that! Ice Cream Sandwich is a pure Google software. The manufacturer of the phone doesn't add any of their own quirks to the software in the phone making it a pure Google user experience. Ice Cream Sandwhich brings with it less bloatware, the ability to remove pre-installed software, true multitasking, a new fresh user interface, and the future of Android.
We are currently selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which comes loaded with Ice Cream Sandwich, however this year 12 of our devices will be upgraded to the new software. Here is the list below and if you are lucky enough to own one of these devices, then sooner rather than later you will be able to enjoy Android 4.0!
DROID Incredible 2 by HTC
DROID RAZR™ MAXX™
DROID 4 DROID
DROID XYBOARD 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 7.7
Spectrum™ by LG
Ice Cream Sanwich is the beginning of a new era for Android. It will bring a unified experience across the Android devices and I promise you will be impressed with what Google has done with Android 4.0.
It's a given. You're going to eventually get a new phone. And when you do, you're going to be stuck with the old one. Assuming it's not so antiquated that the Smithsonian wants it, you've still got to figure out what to do with it. You could always donate it to one of the many charitable organizations that reuses or resells old phones. Assuming you aren't going to do either of those things, here are a few more options:
- Through the end of March, Wireless World is partnering with Verizon to offer up to $100 back in rebates if you are upgrading to a 4G/LTE smartphone. You may have to trade your old phone in to qualify for it, but it is by far easier than trying to haggle with someone and sell the phone yourself, and in most cases, you'll get more money too!
- Trade it in at the store level. Depending on store policy, condition of the old phone, and whether or not the store and salesperson see a value in your old phone, you might get something back for it. Remember, you're dealing with a store, and they have to invest their time and resources to make the phone suitable for recycling, donation, or resale, so you are giving up a few dollars of trade-in value for not having to deal with the hassles of refurbishing a device, selling it, and providing warranty support after the sale.
- Keep it as a backup. It never hurts to have a backup, but let's be realistic here: If you're upgrading from an old flip or texting phone to one of the new 4G LTE smartphones, do you really want to go back to that flip phone for the rest of your contract? That might be a good plan if you need to have something just in case you need a phone for the interim while waiting for a replacement to ship, but the best plan is to have a plan in place like Protect Cell, to cover you in the event of damage or loss.
- Sell it yourself. This is where you'll probably make the most money, but you assume the liability. Do you really want to tell someone from Craigslist where you live? What happens if you sell the phone on ebay and your customer's payment doesn't go through? What if you sell the phone and the customer says it doesn't work, but you know it does? Most of the time those transactions work well, but what's your plan if they don't? You get more of the rewards, but assume more of the risk.
The phones that hold their resale value the best are Apple and Casio phones (heavy-duty ones like the Ravine) in good condition. Even if you have one of those phones, it might not be worth the time and hassle to sell it yourself. When you come into a Wireless World this March, be sure to ask about how to get your $100 in rebates.
• Do some research before downloading Before you install an app, do some research on it. Check the reviews on Android Market and the other app stores. Are they positive? If there are no reviews and the app is not brand new, you should get suspicious. Also check to see what acknowledged websites such as PCWorld, ComputerWorld, AppBrain, AppCircus etc. say about it. You can also check who the developers behind the app are. If they do not even have a website, you should probably stay away.
• Check the permission on personal data collection A good idea is to always check what kind of data your app has access to before you download it. For instance, there is no need for a bar code scanner-app to have permission to look through your contacts or localize you via GPS. If an app is asking for too much unnecessary information you should reconsider the download.
• Don’t use automatic logins Don’t set an app that has access to your bank account to log in automatically. Set your phone to lock after it has been on for a certain period of time. That will make it more difficult for others to access your data.
• Make sure your phone has an antivirus scanner installed With antivirus applications you can scan your phone and avoid installing files with known malware and viruses. Most programs also allow you to track and lock your phone down remotely if you lose it, and to back up your personal data.
• Watch also out for scams on your phone Just as happens on your PC, your phone is also a target for scammers. Fake websites try to trick people into entering personal data and some sites also make you download malware on your phone just by entering it.
• Be aware of fake QR-codes Look carefully at the link that pops up when you scan a QR-barcode with the camera on your smartphone. If it contains many numbers and symbols and it does not match the ad or text that you scanned, stay away from it.
Maybe you’ve heard about it in commercials or maybe some techy person mentioned it in conversation. Either way you were too embarrassed to ask what the “cloud” actually is and that is why you are reading today’s blog post! To put it simply, the cloud is just a new hip term for the internet. When the term “cloud” is used in reference to the internet you need to imagine the internet as something that exists up in the air, hence the term cloud.
The term “cloud” derives from cloud computing, which really means internet-based computing. The idea behind cloud computing is that files, programs, and settings that you synchronize to the “cloud” are available anywhere you have internet access. You can access all those things from another computer, a smartphone, or tablet. Depending on the setup you go with, cloud computing could be as simple as a file manager allowing you to grab documents on the go or as in-depth as complete remote desktop access.
The way this will affect you as a consumer is simple. You come into Wireless World and get a new phone, (along with our excellent customer service) and you find out that your phone is able to interact with the cloud. What it all comes down to is this, both Google and Apple are creating a computer user experience that exists when you are at home and extends to your pocket (or purse) when you get up and leave. The same files, settings, and media on your computer are also in your phone or tablet and are always mobile. This is all accomplished by over the air syncing in the “cloud.”
How can all of this help you as a consumer? Well lets say you open up a spread sheet and make some changes on your phone and when you get back home those changes have already saved and taken effect on your computer. Did you forget to print out that bid or contract for a client? You can retrieve it right from your phone, saving time and money. While these ideas sound amazing and beneficial they exist right now and are available. All you need to do is ask your Wireless Word Rep how to take advantage of the “cloud.” Cloud computing is going to get much bigger in the next few years and you will soon be accessing your files and media whether your driving, sitting in an airport, or logging into your friends computer for the first time.
If you want to start taking advantage of the “cloud” you can start! Box.com, a cloud-based service company is offering 50GB of space (most services only offer 2-5 GB) for FREE, if you have an Android device and sign up for box’s services by March 23. When you come into a Wireless World store, we can help you set up a Box account, or most other cloud services right in the store as part of our setup process.