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iPhone 4S price cut to $39, iPhone 5 reduced to $129 at Walmart

Jun 23rd 2013, 15:15

iPhone 5 Verizon

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly-discounted mobile hardware in the morning, is there? Today its Walmart that’s doing the price slashing, cutting the cost of the 16GB iPhone 5 for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon from $189.97 all the way down to $129 with a two-year commitment. Consumers that’d like cheaper hardware can direct their eyes and wallets to the 16GB iPhone 4S for AT&T and Verizon, which has been discounted from $89.97 down to $39 with a two-year contract. The discounted pricing on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 is only available in Walmart stores.

This is the third sale on iOS hardware that we’ve seen in as many days, but considering that a new iPhone model is looming, it’s not a surprise to see retailers discounting the existing units to help spur sales. What’s interesting is that Walmart has told Mashable that its new iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S prices are permanent price drops, which is something that we don’t often see with Apple’s mobile hardware. That’s good to hear, though, because it means that customers interested in snagging some discounted iOS wares can save up their cash without having to try to beat the end of a sale.

Via Engadget, Mashable, Walmart: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5

I’m keen on Ting’s switch to postpaid methods

Jun 22nd 2013, 11:50

Here in the U.S., it seems that customers are starting to realize that being with one of “The Big Four” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting the best deal. Yes, they do have their benefits (Verizon has more coverage; Sprint has “unlimited data”; AT&T has bundling; and T-Mobile, previously, had competitively cheap plans despite locking you into a contract) but of course, you’re locked into a contract with each benefit. With T-Mobile being the first of the postpaid carriers here to break from the mold and essentially break down our monthly fees in Layman’s terms without locking us into a contract with a hefty, almost inexplainable early termination fee, customers are starting to realize that the way things are doesn’t necessarily mean that this is way things have to stay.

Thus, prepaid carriers are starting to gain more attention.

Take Straight Talk for example; although exclusively through Wal-Mart, anybody is able to bring in any GSM-operated device (T-Mobile, AT&T) and use a Straight Talk SIM card to take benefit of their cheap, contractless monthly plans. $30 gets you 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts, and 30 MB of Data. For the more extensive user you have the $45 plan, which makes everything unlimited for only $15 extra a month. Of course, there is downside that the plan currently doesn’t include LTE and doesn’t guarantee HSPA+, so there’s that to consider. For many people, however, the amount of money they could be saving compared to plans of postpaid carriers is enough of a trade-off.

Straight Talk is only one example out of many who follow the same business model. However, one previously prepaid model, which was already considered unique in the fact that it let you design your plan depending on your usage, is turning into somewhat of a postpaid-type carrier; almost like T-Mobile, but maybe a little better in some aspects.

If you’ve been keeping up with the dogashians (oh man, that was a bad joke), you might have seen Alex’s post yesterday regarding Sprint MVNO Ting’s recent changes to their prepaid plans to move towards a more postpaid model. Instead of trying to figure out how many minutes, texts, and data you’ll use within the next month and then getting reimbursed for what you don’t use, the new model allows you to only get charged for what you use. Awesome? Yes. Does it have its drawbacks? You betcha, but what plan doesn’t?

The thing about Ting is that the drawbacks that come with the plan are almost the same problems that you get with any postpaid plan: you really don’t know what your bill is going to be at the end of every month. The plus side to Ting against other carriers that follow this same plan is that you won’t get charged an arm and a leg for spending five extra minutes on the phone than you originally intended. With other postpaid carriers it’s just that: You have the freedom to go over your limit if you want, but if you do you can expect to be charged a hefty fee because of it. Ting actually used this same model back when it was prepaid. You could certainly go over the minutes, texts, or data you thought you would use, but the rates would climb a little higher at the point that you passed your predicted amount. With this new move to postpaid plans, Ting also manages to take out most of the confusion that potential new customers experienced when inquiring about Ting, which apparently happened quite often. While it might not be as convenient as other prepaid carriers that let you know exactly how much you’re being charged, it seems like it would be beneficial to people who don’t necessarily have a

I’ve come to realize that there will never be a universally perfect plan model for everyone, but I do feel like there are ways that the industry could change things up in order to avoid what seems like the same song and dance and provide a better, frugal, and more pleasant experience for all. In a world where everybody uses their phone differently, I feel like both T-Mobile and Ting (among others) are doing the industry a good service by trying to make things more open and diverse. It’s a good start.

Readers, what do you think about Ting’s new postpaid idea? Is this a plan that would suit you? With the seemingly growing trend of carriers making changes to plans in order to keep and gain customers, what changes would you like to see within carriers? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Ting

Samsung Galaxy Camera NX: Features over quality?

Jun 22nd 2013, 11:00

The Samsung Galaxy Camera NX has me scratching my head. On one hand, I love mobile technology, so having Android on a camera always seemed like a neat way to shoot, edit and share photos on the fly. On the other hand, I really love photography, so taking photos with better quality than a smartphone really matters to me. You’d think that with the two of these combined, I’d be saving up all my pennies for the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX, but I have no interest in it whatsoever. Why?

To start, it’s hard to say who this camera is for. The image quality on the Samsung Galaxy Camera was pretty good, but not so great that I would’ve chosen it over, say, a Canon S110. The Galaxy Camera NX has Android, which is really cool for those who love Android and Google’s services, but does the mobile platform really need to be on a camera? Lastly, there is cost. I can imagine the Galaxy Camera NX being on the more expensive size given its feature set and its lens interchangeability.

I really like Android. My daily phone is an HTC One, and that has a little 4MP camera on it. Most of the photos I shoot on my HTC One end up on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I’ve never considered printing any photo shot on the HTC One, nor do I intend anyone to view full, 4MP-sized images online, either. Image quality is good enough for the web, good enough for sharing and good enough for snapshots I take every single day. I can shoot photos, edit the photos a little in Snapseed, then send the photo on its way to my social networks. It’s easy.

When I want to take better photos, perhaps ones with better dynamic range, image quality or varying depth of field, I use my DSLR. My Nikon D600 has excellent image quality, and is far more capable than any smartphone camera in existence. If I’m printing a photo, or delivering high-resolution files to a client, I am definitely going to pick up my D600 over my iPhone 5 or HTC One.

Between my Nikon D600 and HTC One, what use would I have for a Galaxy Camera NX?

If you’re looking for a camera that produces decent image quality and can take a variety of lenses, you’re probably better off buying a low-end or entry-level DSLR or a mid-to-high range mirrorless camera. Chances are, those cameras will have better image quality than the Galaxy Camera NX. But if you’re looking to take really nice pictures to share online or with friends and family (hence the LTE capabilities on the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX), I promise you that the camera on your smartphone is good enough. If you end up sharing a photo that’s 800 pixels wide online or on your phone, no one will be able to tell the difference between an iPhone photo or a Fuji X100S, for example.

It’s really hard to tell what Samsung is trying to accomplish with this camera, or the market it’s trying to create or satisfy. When I think of a non-smartphone or non-tablet with Android on it, I immediately think that having Android on the device is just a gimmick or selling point. Then again, part of me thinks that Samsung created the Galaxy Camera NX just becaues it could — just like it can create an array of smartphones and tablets that come in nearly every screen size imaginable.

In most cases, I’d never steer anyone away from buying something unless it’s a totally crappy or outdated product. However, I’d urge you to think really hard about whether the Galaxy Camera NX is for you. If you’re taking lots of high-quality photos that might require different focal lengths, and you need to edit and send them out right away, perhaps this just might be the camera for you. In fact, if you’re a professional photojournalist and you need to get good images to your editor as news breaks, I couldn’t think of a better camera. But if you’re a casual photographer, your smartphone is more than just fine. And if you’re looking for a camera system that has interchangeable lenses and excellent image quality, you should consider a brand that has tons of lenses to choose from (like Nikon or Canon).

If you think I’m totally out of my mind and that the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX is the greatest thing since sliced bread, let me know why! I’d love to hear why you think this is going to replace your current camera system, or why it might steer you from investing in a dedicated imaging system that wouldn’t otherwise have Android. On the other hand, if you agree that the Galaxy Camera NX fits an odd and small niche market, and that image quality isn’t as great as proper mirrorless or DSLR cameras, let your voice be heard! Viva la resolution!

AT&T offering 50 percent discount on smartphones through June 30

Jun 22nd 2013, 08:10

AT&T 50 percent off smartphones offer

This weekend is turning out to be a good one for smartphone bargain hunters. Yesterday we learned about an iPhone 5 trade-in deal at Best Buy and an HTC One/$100 Google Play credit promo at RadioShack, and now it’s been revealed that AT&T is offering a 50 percent discount on all of its smartphones that are priced between $0.99 and $199.99.

According to AT&T’s website, customers interested in taking advantage of the 50 percent off promo just need to add a smartphone to their cart, and then the discount will be applied when they check out. All smartphones priced between $0.99 and $199.99 are eligible, including new devices like the Galaxy S4 Active. Interestingly, while the deal’s fine print says that a two-year agreement is required, I was able to get the discount applied to a one-year contract as well.

In addition to cutting the price of any smartphone in half, AT&T is waiving its $36 activation fee as part of the promotion. The offer runs through June 30 and is available in-store and online, though it sounds like customers that’d like to go the in-store route may need to trade in a working smartphone in order to get a $100 credit that can then be applied to a new handset. As I mentioned before, customers shopping online get the discount instantly applied at checkout.

Getting a 50 percent discount on any new smartphone is a pretty good deal, but what makes this offer even better is that even applies to new hardware. The fact that the offer appears to be working with one-year contracts is great as well, because as Android Police notes, the discount will result in a device that costs just a little bit more than it would with a two-year commitment. If you’re in the market for a new handset, you can hit up the AT&T link below and see if the big blue carrier’s 50 percent discount is enough to get you to pull the trigger on one of its smartphones.

Via Android Police, AT&T

Finally a Phone for the Right Job!