Google Voice Number Porting, Live .. Again.. For Real!

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Google Voice Number Porting, Live .. Again.. For Real!

Google Voice Number Porting, Live .. Again.. For Real!

Google Voice opened up last week to allow current users to port their current phone number over to Google Voice. That opening closed just as quickly as the word started to spread and lots of users and potential users were unable to sign up. I now appears that Google has re-opened the flood gates and is ready to let the masses in on porting their current numbers over to Googles Voice service.

I’ve had a google voice number for a while now and while I can see some benefits to it, it’s still not as fully fleshed out as I’d like it to be (i.e. you can’t send / receive faxes from it) but it definitely has it’s place and uses. I’m not sure about porting my current number over to google voice though or what ramifications that is going to have as far as your current service provider is concerned. No one is going to be happy with you pulling your phone number away from their contracted terms and conditions so until a few others jump on board and find out all the problems I don’t believe I’ll be signing up for this feature.

I do like the idea though and I’m keeping an eye on it.

Sources:

TechCrunch, Google,

Verizon Confirms $30 Unlimited Data Plan for iPhone

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Verizon Confirms $30 Unlimited Data Plan for iPhone

Verizon Confirms $30 Unlimited Data Plan for iPhone

The Wall Street Journal, along with various other websites are reporting that Verizon has confirmed that it will offer it’s $30 unlimited data plan for the Verizon iPhone when it is released on February 10th. This doesn’t come as a surprise to many of us as this rumor has been floating around for a while now but it’s nice to get final confirmation regarding it.

It is still yet to be seen how much of a spike in data usage the iPhone is going to have on Verizon’s network because at this point Verizon has had enough time and enough other smartphone’s that are data hogs to ramp up it’s capacity. I still expect to see reports of data outages and problems due to over capacity usage but I don’t predict it will be anywhere near what At&t experienced when it initially launched the iPhone.

Only time till tell

Sources: Engadget, Gizmodo, WSJ

Zynga and Best Buy® Reward Zone Program Sweekpstakes

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Zynga and Best Buy® Reward Zone Program Sweekpstakes

Zynga and Best Buy® Reward Zone Program Sweekpstakes

Zynga and Best Buy® have teamed up on a promotion to drive sales of Zynga Game Cards. The sweepstakes runs from January 2nd through January 31st and offers a few decent prizes that are offered up with this promo, including a $5,000 Best Buy Reward Zone program Reward Certificate, Two (2) Computer packages, One (1) Hometheater Page, Ten (10) Apple  iPad ® and Ten (10) Xbox 36o® consoles. There are other gift certificates in the program but the really goodies are the ones I’ve mentioned.

There are standard terms and conditions that can be found here.

So how many of you are going to go out and buy a Zynga Game card with the hopes of winning some of that gear?

Red Dead Redemption – Rockstar XP Challenge Now Available!

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Red Dead Redemption – Rockstar XP Challenge Now Available!

Red Dead Redemption – Rockstar XP Challenge Now Available!

Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s Multi Game of the Year award winning title has had a successful run both in sales and in online player rankings, but now that Rockstar has completed it’s planned DLC for the game what is one to do? Rockstar has taken to the “crowd source unlock” that is becoming more and more popular now a-days to drive up play time on the year old game by introducing a new challenge for players to compete in. The idea is for players on each console to compete against each other as a whole to unlock special avatar awards. Once the collective has earned enough XP to drive the “thermometer” from 0 to 100% the avatar awards will be unlocked.

Red Dead Redemption Avatar Awards

Red Dead Redemption Avatar Awards

The question is, are you going to help out the cause for these fun little bonus outfits?

More information direct from the source: Rockstar

Xbox Live Rewards

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Xbox Live Rewards

Xbox Live Rewards!

Microsoft’s Xbox has a program that is open to everyone called Xbox Live Rewards, this program offers Gold Xbox live members ways to earn additional Microsoft Points for doing things that most Gold users are normally going to do. Rewards members can earn points for filling out surveys, renewing their subscription, purchasing items from the Marketplace and doing other activities. A new feature that Xbox Live Rewards has been sending out e-mails for is “VIP Exclusives” this is an e-mail promotion that is going out to users that allows them access to special content. They are also currently running a promotion that encourages users to enter in their special code to see if they are a winner or special merchandise, such as an Xbox Kinect Sports, EA Your Shape Fitness Evolved, or EA Sports Active 2. Below is a take out from the e-mail that their sending out, keep your eyes on your e-mail box as you might be receiving these offers from Microsoft and Xbox Live soon.

“As a Gold loyal Xbox LIVE Rewards member, you’ve been chosen from millions to receive special access to VIP Exclusives – a limited-time offer from Xbox LIVE Rewards.

Enter the passcode NOW and you could win Kinect Sports, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, or EA SPORTS ActiveTM 2. But act fast – only the quickest on the draw will take home a prize.

See if you’re a Kinect game instant winner now and enjoy the VIP Exclusives special content, like your new adidas outfit for your Avatar.”

More information on XBOX Live Rewards

Apple's App Store about to Pass 10 Billion Downloads!

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Apple's App Store about to Pass 10 Billion Downloads!

Apple App Store about to pass 10 Billion Downloads!

Apple has announced that the App Store is soon to pass 10 Billion Downloads. That means of on average the current 340,000 Apps in the App Store have been downloaded over 2,900 times each. That is an impressive fact considering the abundance of useless apps in the App Store. It also means that the successful Apps have made a name for themselves and have fully embraced the mobile marketplace along with digital distribution. The mobile marketplace has been on a boom since the introduction of the iPhone and it’s initial flaws and the fact that it was locked in to one carrier.

Now with the addition of the iPod Touch and the iPad the market has grown and almost everyone has an “I” product. Apple has established a strong hold on the “App” market place and should see a significant bump in sales come February when the iPhone is release on Verizon’s network.

Until then, congratulations Apple in creating a new environment and creating a market, demand, and product that only exists virtually.

For more information from Apple go here.

Verizon officially Launches the iPhone 4

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Verizon officially Launches the iPhone 4

Verizon officially Launches the iPhone 4

So as expected Verizon Wireless has announce the availability of the iPhone 4 on its CDMA network. Availability is slated for Feb 10th, but pre-orders can start now.

Verizon still hasn’t announced data pricing for the iPhone which is one of the biggest items with a phone like this. Everyone knows that smartphones are data hogs, but iPhones have been the biggest culprit on At&t’s network and could possibly be the biggest culprit on Verizons network, so it’s a big question on how much data users are going to be allowed and if Verizon is going to cap their data much like At&t has.

If Verizon does offer the rumored ‘unlimited’ plan that would be a big sell for getting people to switch from At&t to Verizon but it may also have a large impact on the network usage. Verizon is keeping that little bit of information close to the vest at this moment but it’s going to have to come out soon with the launch scheduled for 2/10.

If you’re still interested and looking for more, head here for the full details and Verizons micro-site dedicated to the iPhone for all the details and specifications of the device.

What does the iPhone for Verizon mean to you??

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What does the iPhone for Verizon mean to you??

What does the iPhone for Verizon mean to you?

iphone 4

With all the talk of the big Verizon announcement tomorrow regarding what everyone expects to be the launch of the iPhone on America’s largest wireless carrier, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and energy but not understand why.  From my perspective, the iPhone on Verizon is going to have affects on the mass population, but little effect on current Verizon smartphone users.

Effect on Verizon:

Verizon wireless logo

While a lot of people have been hoping and waiting for Verizon to launch the iPhone since it’s introduction, there is a strong base of users who have latched onto the networks current alternatives; such as Android, WebOS, and Blackberry.  More and more so users have transitioned to Android as their VZW smartphone operating system of choice, because of the hardware that Verizon has put out with its partners, and the marketing blitz that the Droid line has had behind it. Blackberry and WebOS users have been transitioning to Android and not really looking back. For these users I don’t see the iPhone having a huge effect. Brand loyalty is very big with Apple and “i” product users, but it is also big when it comes to other operating systems and products as well. As Android has developed, it has won over a lot of critics, and it continues to progress at an astonishing rate which is keeping more and more users interested and more users are becoming loyal to the Android brand. Yes, there will be some Blackberry and WebOS users that switch to the iPhone when it’s available for Verizon, but there won’t be a massive shift from Android to the iPhone. Where Verizon is likely to see the largest spike in users, is if from feature phones to the iPhone. The iPhone has captured the interest of the mass populous and users who don’t need a smart phone will gladly use an iPhone because they see them everywhere and they see their friends using them and they hear about them all the time.

Verizon can make up a lot of the ground it has lost to At&T over the past few years by simply converting 70% of their feature phone users over to the iPhone, which I believe most of them will gladly do.
Verizon may also win back some of the subscribers it has lost over the last few years to AT&T because some of those subscribers only left Verizon because they wanted the iPhone; once Verizon has it, a good percentage of those users should come back. Some of those subscribers will stay with AT&T because there is little to no benefit of switching carriers, and it becomes a matter of preference and convenience,  basically “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Effect on Subscribers:
Where Verizon should gain subscribers and retain current subscribers, the major effect that the iPhone on their network may have will be to the subscribers themselves. Just as AT&T’s network has struggled with usage levels since the launch of the iPhone, Verizon’s network may now have to deal with the same struggles. Verizon is also at a bandwidth disadvantage because they already have a stable of web consuming phones including the Droid line, so adding another data hungry phone into the mix could push the network over its limits. Subscribers are going to have to deal with this possibility; data might slow down in higher volume areas and may drop off all together in other areas because people are consuming so much of it. Verizon has been building their network up and the upcoming offload to LTE will help, but that isn’t in the near enough future to factor in, not only because the iPhone doesn’t appear to be LTE capable, but because LTE capable devices are still months away and the service footprint isn’t large enough to have enough users switch onto it yet to cause a large enough drop in CDMA consumption.

The other side of this from a subscriber front, is that other companies (like Motorola, HTC and Samsung) will be more motivated to have higher powered devices with more frequently updated software on Verizons network to combat loss of sales to the iPhone. This could, in reality, be a big win for Android users who have been at the whim of their hardware manufacturers to provide software updates to their phones, with a new high-profile smartphone to compete with those same manufacturers are now going to have a much bigger reason to update their software more rapidly, than just because end users demand it.

Conclusion:
In the end, all of this is speculation; the iPhone may have no effect on Verizon or it’s network. The iPhone may have no effect on subscribers or service quality, and other OS’s and hardware manufacturers may continue on unaffected. We’re all going to have to wait and see, but once Verizon does launch the iPhone, a whole new battle of what networks can / can’t do will start appearing on TV’s and online, and bloggers and media will have new things to quarrel about…

Until the next iPhone “Killer” comes along.

CR-48 Impressions

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CR-48 Impressions

google cr-48

After roughly a week of using the Cr-48 Google Chrome notebook, I’m intrigued by it and its potential, but I’m not sure that it will have mass appeal. The experience itself is welcoming enough but would a normal user find it to be everything they need? Would a normal everyday user be able to navigate and operate it without the staples of traditional operating systems, no desktop, and the multiple windows? No ability to switch between multiple applications at a whim? I’m not sure that chrome will do everything (at least at this stage) that an everyday user needs. Running apps (not full applications or programs mind you) in multiple tabs is intuitive enough for any user who has used a modern day web browser, but it seems that when you’re not on a tab, the app (depending on the app and how it is developed) doesn’t continue to operate. The operating system itself appears to slow down the more tabs you have open.

The main issue I have had with chrome so far is media. Simply put, it is not intuitive; there isn’t a itunes, or zune software, that you can use. You can’t simply “play your music” and you can’t simply “look at your photos.” This is something that has to be fixed if chrome is going to be accepted by normal users; I can’t imagine a normal everyday person turning on a chrome laptop and finding it as easy to use as Windows or OSX.

The other concern that I encountered is simple: where do you store your files? If you’re not linked completely to the “cloud” storing all of your photos, documents, and media online then this is not an OS for you. I have yet to find a simple way to store photos or music on the hard drive and access them, but I could easily access my documents, and photos via online methods (google docs, picasa etc.). This is a large hurdle for Google because most users although they have no problem sharing items via facebook or blogs, still want the ability to pick and choose what they share. By believing users will simply “live in the cloud,” Google is successfully alienating a lot of users who want some semblance of control of their information. You can’t have items that you’re working on locally without having them accessible remotely, which can scare away a lot of potential users. The foreignness of this might pass with time.  But, where we as a culture are right now, I don’t see it catching on without serious concerns from the populous.

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