Tag Archive for 'cellular-phone'

10 things not to buy in 2010

typewriterIf you told somebody in the 70th that typewriters will soon disappear they would probably laugh at you. It was however their inevitable fate just a few years later as personal computers grew more popular.

As technology advances entire classes of products get replaced and the process is well under way right now. In this blog post I will try to identify several consumer products that are about to go extinct. Don’t make a mistake investing in one of them in 2010.

Music CD

Just as audio tapes replaced vinyls and CD’s replaced the cassettes, downloads and live streaming is bound to replace music CD’s. Some may argue that the compact disk has tangible value and they will be right. The value however quickly gets overshadowed by the many benefits offered by the new generations of the music players. Free personalized music? Check out Pandora Radio. Free music on demand? It is already available in Europe with Spotify

Video DVD

The fate of DVD’s is even more certain than the fate of music CD’s. We don’t watch the same movie many times a day like we listen to the same favorite tune. The only thing in my opinion that holds video streaming from replacing DVD’s completely is the technological limitations, and we all know how that story goes. While Internet speeds catch up with the new demand - DVD rental companies are filling up the gap

Desktop computers

Laptops started as an expensive portable alternative to the personal computer. 2005 was the first year that laptops outsold desktop computers in the US. As volumes went up, prices went down. Anyone buying a desktop computer now should have a very strong incentive to not consider a laptop instead. Need a really cheap portable computer? Consider a Netbook.

Cable TV

We bought our house in 2003 and even back then I managed not to get hooked on an expensive plan from our cable company and instead enjoyed free (or cheaper) alternatives for entertainment online. Granted, to do so I had to connect a PC to my TV but you may not have to do it now. Many modern TV’s come already connected to the net and have built in interface to watch Netflix and YouTube.

Home phone service

As cell phone providers grow their networks, they are betting more on revenue from data usage while the voice plans get cheaper and soon may follow the way of SMS. The latest announcement came from Verizon who now offer $70 a month unlimited plans. The plan was $99 when it was first announced a year ago. Not surprising that many Americans choose to ditch their home phone. The only thing that keeps my phone number is the legacy and the last drop that is going to kill it is number portability for Google Voice.

Compact digital cameras

Convergence is the name of the game in portable gadgets this year. You will be hard pressed to find a cell phone without a camera these days. Recent models come with built in flash cameras boasting 5 Megapixel resolution. On the other hand SLR cameras are getting cheaper too which doesn’t really leave a place for yet another device to carry around when you already have a decent camera in your cell phone.

(Non-smart) cell phones

A lot of my friends have recently got themselves an iPhone or Droid and the first impression - ‘Gosh, I didn’t know this phone could do so many things!’. The applications that come with these phones offer such utilitarian advantage that anyone who tried them once will never want to go back. Give it another year and this list will have Nintendo DS and GPS Navigators in it among other things, all thanks to smart phones.

Newspaper subscriptions

Wide range of new online sources have made news more personal and interactive. Blogging, social sites, Twitter are working their way to replace the newspapers the way we know them. Small local outlets have been the most affected but the big guys are feeling the heat as well. Free online access to the Wall Street Journal? Here you go! Information today is as open as it has never been before.

Inexpensive men’s watches

A nice stylish watch will probably stay an important part of men’s outfit for a while however the cheap kind, the one you actually use to check time, is dead. I can see what time it is pretty much wherever I go. It is on my laptop, it is in my car dashboard, it is on my cell phone. Carrying another useless gadget on me? Thank you, no!

New college textbooks

College textbooks are similar to DVD’s, you use them once and you no longer need them. On one hand, websites like Chegg have made it easy to reuse these expensive books, on the other hand, college students are among the best adopters of new technology. Open-sourcing textbooks? Why not! Take a look at what Flat World Knowledge is doing.

Major wireless carriers roll out unlimited plans

Last week all four major wireless phone service providers almost simultaneously announced new service plans that include unlimited calls. This bit of news highlights the pricing war going between the companies and pressure from smaller local providers like this who have been able to undercut prices by lowering costs of operating their business (somewhat similar to what Southwest is doing to the rest of the airlines).

Sprint’s offer starts at $119.99 and includes unlimited voice, text messages, email, and picture mail. It is currently available only in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Tampa and Philadelphia markets. More details at this link.

Verizon’s plan is available nationwide. It starts at $99.99 and includes unlimited voice service. Text messages and internet access will still cost you extra. Here is the official announcement and here are plan details.

AT&T’s announced it’s unlimited voice plan hours after Verizon did. It also starts at $99.99 and adding unlimited text messaging will set you back another $20. More details available at the company website.

T-Mobile offers unlimited voice, text, picture and video messaging for $99.99, which sounds like the best deal among the four. The official announcement is here and you can see all plans at this page.

I currently have one of T-Mobile’s myFaves plans bundled with unlimited internet and I doubt I will be abandoning it any time soon unless I choose to go completely wireless. What about you? Do these plans change your plans? :-)

Update 02/28: Sprint just announced a nation wide unlimited plan for $99 and includes internet! This IMHO is even a better deal that what T-Mobile has. More details here

Cell phone contracts – Who’s got the best fine print?

One of the few magazines I still subscribe to is Popular Mechanics. The latest issue had a very interesting comparison of contracts that cell phone companies make you sign when you subscribe to the service. What they compared is not the minutes or rates - things you typically pay attention to. Instead they looked at the less noticeable numbers, the ones however that can turn out to be just as important when you shop for the best plan. Here they are, listed for the major carriers.

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon
What is the early termination fee? $175/ prorated $200/not prorated $200/not prorated $175/ prorated
How long is the trial period? 30 days 30 days 14 days 30 days
Will changes to my plan extend the contract? No (*) Yes (**) No (*) No (*)
Any rollover minutes? Yes (***) No No No
Notes: (*) - No, unless switching to a promotional plan
(**) - Yes, after first six months
(***) - Yes, but they expire after one year

Car charger for RAZR phone – $0.99 plus shippnig

I don’t have a RAZR phone but this charger is a standard mini-USB format which works with many other phones (i.e. my t-Mobile Wing and my wife’s KRZR).

You can get one right now from CellularFactory for $0.99 plus $3.99 shipping. The regular price is $7.99 but 7OFF code brings it down to $0.99

The description claims this is the original Motorola car charger which means the quality should be OK.

Here is a BBB record for that company. Granted, not all rosy, but hey, this is just 5 bucks! Might well cancel the transaction with the credit card agency if there are issues.

Motorola Car Charger

Free 100 extra minutes per month from Verizon

Going over your monthly wireless plan quota can be very costly. In August, when we had temporary problems with our home phone line after SunRocket went bust, we were billed $196.98 for my wife’s phone contract that usually costs us $37.78 ($0.45 for each of the 312 minutes she went over the plan limit).

Someone at SlickDeals has uncovered a way to bump that monthly limit up by 100 minutes on renewal by simply mentioning a promotion Verizon has going on. Might sound too good to be true (that was my first thought anyway) however it looks like we got a confirmation from another poster who claims to be a Verizon employee.

Technically speaking this deal does not have an expiration date on it. This is a save plan that we offer to our customers to get them to join up for another 2 years. I work in the store as a sales rep so we deal with this on a daily basis. It’s a pretty good promo actually and cost the company VERY little money. All thee above is true and it works perfectly fine, it works good if you have an overage because those extra mins offset your overage if need be.

I think I am going to give this a try when we renegotiate our next contract with Verizon. 100 extra minutes can’t hurt, it is $45 per months savings in case you go over limit. On the other hand, if you systematically go over limit then the best savings for you will be to change your plan to one with more minutes,… and get the 100 free minutes as well. ;-)

Source: discussion at SlickDeals (via WiredDeals)

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