LG G5 Automatically Shows You Incoming Messages On The Lock Screen

LG G5The LG G5 I’m playing with today from AT&T  is a monumental android phone for me. I’m serious. I’m an iPhone user for many reasons including the fact that the iPhone screen lights up and shows you part of the new email, sms or any other alert on the home screen without ever having to unlock the phone or pick it up in your hand.

For years one of my many complaints about Android in general was the fact that I couldn’t read even the subject of an email or the first few words of an SMS when it would arrive and the phone was locked. Problem solved with LG’s newest flagship phone the G5. Besides having a removable battery and a microSD card slot which puts it above the newest Samsung the G5 is my newest favorite Android.

Now what is this new Advanced Messaging on the G5? Something about read receipts.

GigaPower Coming To Southern California

AT&T GigaPowerRehan Asad from AT&T’s broadband strategy and entertainment group who’s in charge of GigaPower solutions gave me a briefing earlier this week. Instead of giving you a bunch of minimally important info you probably don’t care about I’ll give you a link to their site to see if your residence, office or anywhere else has GigaPower.

The real meat and potatoes of the interview with Rehan was that GigaPower is FAST. I used to get excited to hear that Big Red who’s now Frontier something or other can give me 50Mbps but AT&T can double that. 100Mbps or 1Gigabit is what Rehan claims and I’m planning to test it out. Until then I’m going to trust GigaPower can actually provide that.

In terms anyone can understand… It’s going to be super fast. Your kids and their friends can come over and stream Netflix and Hulu while someone FaceTime’s with their boyfriend and Grandpa has the game on the TV/tablet. Oh and don’t forget someone is also on the good old telephone. This can all happen at once and there shouldn’t be any freezing or pixelation.

No this isn’t life changing for most of you but it is something that Rehan says is future proofed for more than just a few years. That means in another 10 years AT&T won’t have to dig up your street and you’ll be able to do all the streaming you are doing now plus have your entire home connected with everything in HD and you still shouldn’t have a problem.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Is Still Solid But We’re Waiting To See the S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 WaterproofWith the Samsung Galaxy S7 just being released there have been a ton of commercials online and on TV which have convinced me to do more than play with the S6. I used the AT&T Galaxy S6 all weekend and have been really enjoying the experience.

Samsung missed a few things with the S6 that have been covered to no end, lack of replaceable battery and memory. That being said everything else about the phone is right on. I’ve really enjoyed the feel of the phone but more than that I am in LOVE with the camera. This thing is quick and with the pro settings available to the user it is taking things to the next level. Some people believe it over corrects the color but many others appreciate not having to do any post production work on the shots.

As a whole, the S6 is still a solid camera and phone but everybody including myself is super excited to see what the S7 brings to the masses. With the Summer coming being water repellent is a BIG deal. Will it beat the iPhone 6S camera and it’s predecessor the Galaxy S6? We’ll have to wait and see.

AT&T New Web Video Options

DirecTV launched some new plans that are geared toward the younger millennial crowds. Gone are the days of having to sit in front of your TV to watch your favorite shows. We’ve known this was happening for a while but with AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV they can now start offering up television as well.

Roger Cheng (@RogerWCheng) from CNET explained it “There’s DirecTV Now, a package of on-demand and live programming that customers will be able to access on any Internet-connected device, from a smartphone to a Roku streaming box, without the need for a traditional pay-TV subscription. DirecTV Mobile, meanwhile, is a feature for DirecTV subscribers that lets them access their content on any phone, regardless of the carrier. Lastly, there’s DirecTV Preview, a free mobile-TV service similar to Verizon’s Go90 mobile app, which offers a mix of short and long videos.”.

I know streaming shows has become an issue of late. With so many of those cord cutters not having paid TV service when you want to watch live events like awards shows you can’t. Most service providers make you log in even to watch the free channels and with out that log in no award shows and upset wife. So hopefully this will solve all our problems.

olloclip Studio iPhone Case/Accessories

olloclip released their Studio product today, it is their take on an integrated mobile photography solution. On it’s simplest level it is a case with clip on accessories to allow it to mount on a tripod, clip on lights/flashes and one of its main add ons, the finger mount.

olloclip is no stranger to photography or specialized cases. They are most well known for their clip on lenses for smart phones which are considered the best available to the mass market. The Studio is taking this to the next level and giving it’s users the ability to take pictures and video with professional gear attached to their iPhones 6, 6S along with 6 Plus/Plus S.

The demonstration that was given during CES gives a lot of hope that the unit will change mobile videography. I’ve played with the case by itself and it feels good in the hand in landscape position utilizing the finger clip. The accessories are easy to attach and more importantly feel secure. They even added the littlest thing which you don’t see on LifeProof or OtterBox cases, a spot to loop on a wrist strap (that comes included in the box).

As more and more people start to use the Studio I expect to hear some positive reports and in all honesty I think we’re going to see a ton of skateboarding videos coming from Studio users. This isn’t for the casual photographer but someone who takes pictures and video as a hobby or professionally, especially in action situations using the finger clip. On a personal level this is great for anybody wanting to attach their iPhone to a tripod/monopod without having to change cases. This case could easily be someones daily user.

Will you be checking out the Studio by olloclip?

Inflight Wifi

Onboard WiFiWifi in the air is a pretty new option for airlines but is it a lot of nonsense or a tool and deal breaker for you when you fly?

For years now I have been using Gogo Inflight wifi, for transparency sake I usually get it comped by Gogo. Over the years I have observed many people using it but what are the pros and cons and do you really need it?

The pros are you get onboard internet access for almost everything besides video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Though Gogo offers a selection of movies to watch.

The cons??? I can’t think of any unless you want to be disconnected while you fly, some people really do using it as a respite from the daily grind.

For many it is more than just for entertainment and checking email, with our lives in the “cloud” it is important to be connected to the web so you can access your files and use services like Google Drive and DropBox.

For others it is mostly about the opportunity to connect to coworkers, friends and family via texting/iMessage or some of the OTT services like WhatsApp or Viber. Still to this day my kids get excited to know I’m texting them from 30,000 feet up in the air.

Have you used inflight wifi? What do you use it for???

Pick The Carrier That Works Where You Need It The Most

how-to-switch-carriersI continually get asked about switching carriers from friends and family.  Sometimes I suggest they switch sometimes I don’t. These days people want the nicest iPhone or Android but still have the mentality the carriers evoked from us years ago, trying to get the phone for free or really discounted. Carriers are desperately offering hundreds of dollars in bill credits and a few might even still be offering cash for you to jump ship and break your legally binding contract with your current carrier. Forget the legally binding bit, who in their right mind doesn’t want the newest, shiniest and most technologically advanced phone available? If you’re reading this I know you do. And the second tier carriers are boasting how they’ll deeply discount your bill and give you unlimited everything, so come on jump ship… Still here? Good, this is what you need to consider first.

  1. Where do you spend a bulk of your time?
  2. Where else do you spend most of the rest of your time?
  3. Can you live with sub par reception when you’re at the above mentioned locations?
  4. Does your carrier support WiFi calling and is WiFi available at the above mentioned locations?

So what are your answers? Home, work, a certain special friends house? Maybe in some peoples case it’s in the car or on a plane.

Let’s just go with home and work for the moment and fill in the blanks for yourself if my examples don’t align with yours. So which carrier yours or the one you’re considering jumping to have the best service at home and at work? In my case it’s AT&T and only AT&T.

Now lets remember a few things, the newest iPhones and probably Androids from AT&T and T-Mobile both support WiFi calling. Sprint may also support it and I think Verizon will soon (remembering soon is relative). So is there WiFi at home and at your office? If yes then do you need great service? Or do you just need great WiFi coverage at your home and office? I don’t write about wireless routers because I’m not interested in them so I’m going to just assume everyone is like me with a strong WiFi signal in their house and office.

Let’s get to the conclusion of this post before I hit 500 words. If you want to switch go ahead but make sure you can make calls, send messages and use the internet on your phone where you need to the most, whether it be over your carriers 4G (cellular data connection) or WiFi. A brand new fancy phone is only as good as it’s connection to the outside world so make sure it works well where you need it to.

Exciting Stuff From AT&T 

  So much has been talked about during the AT&T Developer Summit this morning and lots of it is interesting. 

For me the most exciting topics we heard about and I talked to heavy hitting executives about is 

WiFi Calling: Calls made over wifi, for example in a basement or deep inside a building where the cellular network can’t reach. 

VoLTE: Calls made over the LTE (4G) network. This makes calls extremely clear and ideally without packet loss. 

Number Sync: 1 number for all your connected devices. This allows you to send a text from your tablet or smart watch from your cell phone number. 

What does this all mean for AT&T customers? You will have a greatly enhanced experience with all your connected devices, from crystal clear calls anywhere you can get wifi to responding to text messages showing your cell number from a network connected watch or tablet. 

What will you use all this for?

A New Romantic Digital Gesture (and a free be for you)

Love-Locks-2A friend called me last week and told me the long anticipated service his company has been working on is in its initial launch phase. The service is a digital love locks service on virtual fences around the world that you can read about in detail below. The company is slowly rolling out the actual advertisement of the service to avoid load issues so they made a limited  initial launch special promotion and reduced the price of the premium lock bundle from $6.99 to 99¢ for life. The special price will be updated before February back to $6.99. They also  give a free super premium lock for everybody who is a reader here and writes a post about the service (details at the end of the post). You should visit their service which is currently optimized for web viewing on a desktop and it’s in the process of being optimized for mobiles: http://www.lovelocksplace.com.

The service lets everybody create a digital love lock and dedicate it to their loved ones. Love locks are the padlocks lovers lock on bridges and fences all over the world. The digital lock is a more interactive version of the physical one, doesn’t require you to go (or fly) to the bridge and offers a media rich customized love token for the partner, a friend, a family member, a newborn child, and basically every loved person you can think of. This is an easy way to give a gift which is totally personalized much more than the usual Valentines’ bouquet or a chocolate box, it can be easily shared in social media and it is an eco friendly solution to the tons of locks put on bridges that already caused several municipalities to remove the whole fence from the bridge with the tons of locks and throw them away.

The rationale behind the service is to give easier access to tap into the lovelocks phenomenon and provide an easy way to answer the problem we all face when thinking about gifts and especially romantic gifts. According to Idan Gafni, co-founder of the love locks place, their survey shows that every couple faces at least 3 events a year where the partners are expected to gift one another. The birthday is one of them but about 40% of couples go out or celebrate the birthday instead of buying gifts while in anniversaries and on Valentine’s Day they are more likely to buy gifts and face the dilemma of what to buy. Idan points out the exhibitionist nature social media uncovered in our society and that there are many people who share pictures of gifts they got on social networks which is made easier with a digital asset like their love lock. “There is no way to predict how people use such a service until it is actually launched and used. We developed the service but people may use it for different purposes than what we anticipate like digital graffiti to claim digital space and to share their creativity and thoughts. We are very excited to learn what people create and to become an enabler for people to spread their love.”

If you are interested in writing about the service, help my good friend Idan, and also get an unlimited premium lock for free use their contact us form (http://lovelocksplace.com/eform/submit/contact-us), let them know you are a reader of this blog and that you want to write about the service and your e-mail address and they will get in touch with you.

What Is The Right Age Or Circumstance To Give A Kid A Phone?

Young businessman talk on cell phone in a tie

What is the appropriate age to give a kid a phone? Or what circumstances make it ok to give a kid a phone? These are common questions I talk to parents and executives about on a regular basis. How young is too young is the magic question.

I know kids these days are getting iPod Touches or old hand-me-down iPhones at a young age but they are not hooked up to a cellular carrier. That is not what we are talking about today. How old should a kid be to get a hand-me-down iPhone connected to a cell phone carrier with their own phone number?

There is no exact age like Facebook that says kids need to be at least 13 years old to get an account. Parents don’t get any guidelines for this kind of thing. In many cases kids get phones because maybe they have a dance class or soccer practice that the parents don’t always attend so they could potentially be left alone and being 2015, should be able to call for a ride. In other cases kids get left home alone or go out with a friend or grandparent and the parents want to be able to reach the child. More and more people are giving up their land lines so there is not that static phone line always available at home or at a friends home they may be visiting.

What have you done with your kids or seen others do in these situations? With the gift giving season upon us this is going to be a topic of conversation with many parents.

Me personally… We let our kids play with our old iPhones but we’re considering putting an AT&T sim into one of them so our 8 year old will be reachable. We had an issue yesterday where we couldn’t reach my mother in law (who had the kids) because her phone was on silent. We weren’t worried but wanted to coordinate dinner plans. So we may just be “those” parents giving a 3rd grader a working cell phone.