Posts Tagged ‘verizon’

Verizon Gets the iPhone

As you might expect, people ask me a lot of questions. Because I review a myriad of cameras, printers, and cell phones, I always get questions about these devices. For the past six months, the two questions that I have been asked the most are: “Will Verizon get the iPhone?” and “When will Verizon get the iPhone?”

My answers have been:  “Yes” and “Sometime this year.” This week proved my answers correct. Verizon just announced that they will be selling the iPhone starting Feb. 10th with existing Verizon customers able to start pre-ordering on February 3.

Those of you who were waiting for this announcement can immediately start cheering. There is, no doubt, a pent up demand for the iPhone on a carrier other than AT&T. This is especially true in our area where AT&T service is slow and spotty. So if you are thinking about getting an iPhone from Verizon, here’s what you need to know.

The Verizon iPhone uses a different underlying cellular technology. AT&T uses the GSM technology while Verizon uses a technology called CDMA. You really don’t have to worry about the underlying technology except to know that the AT&T iPhone has a SIM card while the Verizon iPhone does not. Since GSM is the technology that is used world-wide, but CDMA is not, the AT&T iPhone has world-roaming capabilities but the Verizon iPhone will have extremely limited capabilities for world travelers.

Because of the differing technologies, an iPhone that was purchased from AT&T cannot be used on the Verizon network. In reverse, if you purchase a Verizon iPhone it will not be able to be used on the AT&T network in the future. In the Verizon iPhone, Apple also rearranged the antennas to improve reception. Because of this, the volume rocker switch has been moved slightly. You may not even notice the difference, but if you have an iPhone case that had a cutout for the switches, even the AT&T iPhone case may not work with the new Verizon iPhone.

However the iPhone 4, which is the current version for both AT&T and Verizon, will pretty much look and act the same. They look almost identical with Apple’s slick, thin, high-tech appearance. They will both have the 940×640-pixel Retina display, 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture, and FaceTime. If you have purchased Apps from ITunes for an AT&T iPhone, all of those Apps can be used on your Verizon iPhone.

The actual price of the iPhone will be the same at AT&T and Verizon. Both are charging$199 for the 16GB iPhone and $299 for 32GB iPhone. In order to get the iPhone to work, in addition to your cellular talk and text costs, you must also purchase a monthly a data plan. This is true with all smart phones on all cellular networks. AT&T charges new customers $15 a month for 200MB; $25 for 2GB. Verizon has not made iPhone data pricing information available yet, but the company’s data plans for other smart phones are: $15 a month for 150MB; $29.99 for unlimited.

One other difference between the two iPhone is that the new Verizon iPhone will be able to act as a hotspot, meaning that with an addition monthly fee to Verizon, you will be able to use your Verizon iPhone to get up to five other devices like laptop computers on the Internet. This, however, is not a big drawback for the AT&T iPhone as it is scheduled to get the same capability with a software update that will be available soon.

This brings us to another important point – iPhone updates. The iPhone has gone through 4 generations with each new generation coming with a major release of the iOS operating system, which runs the iPhone. Each of these was introduced in June. Each generation ushered in huge changes. These included things like the 3G cellular network capabilities, a compass, the ability to take video, a second camera, and a higher-resolution display.

This leaves everyone wondering if they should jump on that Verizon iPhone now or wait until this summer to see if a new version appears? The other question that is being asked is if the Verizon network is strong enough to withstand millions of new Verizon iPhone users. Although Verizon says that they are prepared for this, it obviously depends on how many iPhones Verizon sells and how much people use their voice and data network.

In any case, this is a win-win situation for consumers. Those of us who want an iPhone now have a choice of carriers and more competition between the carriers is good for the consumer.

iPhone or Android

Those of you who follow me know that I recently moved from AT&T to Verizon and from an iPhone to a Droid X. Well, now that Verizon is selling the iPad, it looks like they will also be having the iPhone soon. Wall Street Journal and others are betting that the iPhone will make its appearance on the Verizon network in the first quarter of 2011.

I made it clear that I am happier with Verizon than I was with AT&T, so several people have asked me if I would want move back to an iPhone when Verizon gets it. Unless the iPhone has some updating, the answer is no. I find the Android phone easier to use and much more customizable.

The one place that the iPhone’s excels is that their dual cameras are better than any Android that I’ve seen. After that, Android phones compare admirably or come out on top.

For instance, the Retina display on the iPhone is fantastic. However, in a side-by-side comparison, the Super OLED screens on the Samsung Galaxy phones are almost equal. The iPhone is very thin and sleek, but it has a glass screen. Being just a tad clutzy sometimes, I would rather have a screen that is a little more drop-proof.

The Android phone’s let you organize things and let multi-task more easily than the iPhone. And for me, the bottom line is that the Android lets you customize everything. With the Andoid operating system you can have 7 home pages and you can put just about anything anywhere. That allows you to create a system of organization that let’s you access what you need quickly and easily.

I sure that Apple is working to improve the iPhone and in the future, it might be better than the Android phones. But for right now. Andoid is my choice!

Move from At&T to Verizon & iPhone to Android

Well, it’s been several months, so it’s time to give you an update on how my move from AT&T to Verizon and from the iPhone to Android went.

All-in-all, I can sum it up in one word. Fantastic. Although there were a few glitches, especially in my first Verizon billings, I am very happy with both Verizon and the Droid X.

I am truly enjoying the Android operating system and like it better than the iPhone operating system.

Some things are a little different with Verizon. For instance, at AT&T with the iPhone, voice mail just appeared on the iPhone with no extra charge. With Verizon I was having to call in to voice mail and listen to my voice mails in succession. After a few weeks, I also realized that this was using up minutes and making me go over the limit on my minutes. That’s when I found out that Verizon has something called “Visual Voice Mail” that is an addition $2.99 monthly fee. When I added that to my package, the voice mail appeared on the Droid as it had on the iPhone. It was much easier to manage and my minute usage went down considerably. I really wish that the Verizon rep had told me about this earlier. Yet, Verizon was nice enough to give me an extra 150 minutes for free during that first month’s voice mail fiasco.

Even with the addition $3 a month, my Verizon bill is almost identical to what my AT&T bill used to be. The service, however, is better. Now, I am sure that this differs in different parts of the country, but here in the Sandhills of North Carolina, the Verizon cell service is without a doubt better and faster. Also personal service that I received at the Verizon store as well as on the telephone has been better.

I still think that the cell phone companies need to be reigned in to stop the exorbitant charges for texting, the ridiculous long contracts, and early termination fees. Yet, Verizon has been both responsive and flexible.

LG Accolade — A Basic Cell Phone

LG Accolade 5600
LG Accolade 5600

LG Accolade 5600

Smartphones like the iPhone and the Droid are great, but some of us just want a basic phone that can keep our telephone numbers handy and can easily make and receive calls. One such phone is the LG Accolade SX5600, which is sold through Verizon. I say it is sold through Verizon, but the fact of the matter is that if you sign up for a two-year contract, you can get it online through Verizon for free. You can probably also talk the Verizon store into doing the same thing. Oh, and you can get this phone from Verizon on a pre-paid basis, as well.

The LG Accolade VX5600 is a good basic phone. It only has a numeric-type dialing keyboard, so it is not great if you want to text all the time. However, it will do for an occasional text message. The dialing keyboard has big white letters and white backlighting. Pressing each key gives a nice tactile feedback. It’s easy on the eyes. The menus are easy to navigate. I advice going into the Settings & Tools menu and choosing Main Menu Set, then choosing the “Tab” layout for the Menu Display. This makes the phone much easier to navigate and I wish that LG had set it as the default menu setting. The phone itself is pretty easy to use.

This Accolade is small and lightweight and fits easily into your pocket. Although made of plastic, it is a sturdy phone that feels good in the hand. Call quality is excellent and so is battery life. It also has an excellent keypad with good backlighting. It is both easy-to-see and easy-to-use. You can also set the text to a slightly larger than normal size, so it’s a pretty good phone for those of us with aging eyes.  The feature set that focuses on the basics and provides everything you need to make and receive calls including voice dialing, speed dialing, Bluetooth, speakerphone, and a good phone book. While you can use this phone for email, Internet, and texting, other phones may be better for that functionality.

The Accolade has a 3.1 megapixel camera, but the internal memory is so limited that it won’t hold many pictures. You will only want to use it to snap an occasional picture. Also, there is no easy way to get the photos out of the camera. Yet, the camera is there if you happen to need it in a pinch. No music player. No video camera. Yet, this is what you expect from a basic cell phone.

This is an inexpensive phone that gives you all the fundamental features you need to make and receive calls. It’s a good choice for those who don’t need more.

Pros

  • Small and comfortable in the hand
  • Large lighted  numeric keypad
  • Good voice quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Two screens
  • Configurable menus
  • Easy to navigate
  • Good address book
  • Inexpensive
  • Loud ringer

Cons

  • Very little internal memory
  • Could be easier to open
  • Poorly placed camera button
  • No easy way to transfer photos

If you want to check out another easy-to-use phone simply for making calls, see my review of the Jitterbug phone.

The Droid X and iPhone 4

Tomorrow the Doid X will be on sale at Verizon stores. Verizon couldn’t have chosen a better time to introduce their new Android phone, the Droid X. Consumer Reports, newspapers, and blogs have all been slamming Apple and the iPhone 4 for it’s antenna-reception problems. It seems that if you hold the iPhone 4 in a normal way in your left hand, reception is cut off. Steve Jobs has added to the upset with Apple by indicating that there is nothing wrong with the phone and people just shouldn’t hold it that way. Add that to the fact that everyone seems to be unhappy that the iPhone is only available on AT&T, and  you have a perfect storm. If the Droid X makes a splash it will be a great chance for Verizon to grab many of AT&T’s potential iPhone customers.

I am excited to say that my Droid X just arrived. I have been using an iPhone for two years. But now that my AT&T contract is over, I may actually be one of those who will switch to Verizon. I’ll let you know after I take a good look at the Droid X. My first impression — it looks great. Come back to read my full review.


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