Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Qtek 9100 No Longer Available

The Qtek 9100 is no longer being offered for sale from i wireless.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Top Ten Mobile Websites Visited in October

According to NPD, the following were the top mobile websites visited in October:
  1. Yahoo! Mail
  2. ESPN
  3. The Weather Channel
  4. Yahoo!
  5. MapQuest
  6. Google
  7. CNN
  8. MSN Hotmail
  9. AOL Mail
  10. eBay
No surprise there really. News, sports, weather and e-mail...and shopping.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Local/Regional Mobile-Friendly Sites

There are plenty of national- and global-oriented mobile news, sports and entertainment sites out there, but what if you want to find out about a more local news story? There are a few area media outlets who offer mobile-friendly websites. They include the following:
  • WHBF, Davenport, IA
  • WQAD, Davenport, IA
  • WOI, Des Moines, IA
  • KCAU, Sioux City, IA
  • KTIV, Sioux City, IA
  • KWWL, Waterloo, IA
If you know of any others, please post them in a comment. They must be based in and/or about the i wireless market area (Iowa and parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota).

Another Portal Option

In a previous post, I suggested Mobileplay as a great choice for your homepage if you want easy and quick access to mobile-friendly websites. I knew there had to be something bigger and better out there. I was right:, "The Portal for the Small Screen." PDAportal is a directory of PDA (or phone) friendly websites. There are a lot of links here. You can browse these sites by category and by language, then sort them by last name, popularity (hits), newest additions, or recent access. What's really neat is that you can create your own personalized portal ("My Portal") where you can choose which sites you want to have easy access to. It also tells you the weather in your hometown and the local time, among other things. Granted, you can get all that info pretty early, but it makes for a nice homepage portal.


I have a whole list of topics I would like to blog about here, but many of them involve evaluating available Java applications and their compatibility with the i wireless network and various handsets. Unfortunately, I have lost all desire to do so. The reason? I started carrying the HTC S620 a couple of weeks ago and it really serves all of my needs. So the last thing I want to do is stick my SIM card into a lesser handset and suffer.

In all seriousness, the S620 with i wireless Mobile Web PLUS allows me to do everything I want to do on a mobile device: I can check my work or personal e-mail whenever I want, I have access to my Outlook calendar without messing around with synchronizing, and I don't have to maintain my contacts separately on both my SIM card and my Outlook -- all my Outlook contacts are accessible.

I do have a few complaints:
  • I'm disappointed in the JOGGR. I really thought that I was going to like this feature, but I just haven't gotten used to it. I liken it to the iPod clickwheel which -- though neat -- just doesn't seem as easy and natural as as a directional pad that you click. My other beef with it is that I am always bumping it and inadvertently scrolling up or down or back or activating some other feature that I really didn't want. I haven't found a natural place to rest my thumb without touching the JOGGR.
  • The volume control doesn't seem to work with the Bluetooth headsets I've tried. If I adjust the volume on the S620, the volume in my ear does not change at all. I am able to change the volume on the headset.
  • The Gmail app. looks like crap on it. I have to use the mobile web site in order to read the type.
  • The alarm does not allow you to select which days of the week you want a recurrent alarm to go off on. This feature has become pretty much standard in mid-to-high-end cell phones. I suppose I could set up an alarm through my Outlook calendar, by that's not as quick and easy as it needs to be.
I don't want to go on, or it will seem like I really hate the S620. That's not true at all. I'm just picky. :) The S620 is a really nice device and I hope that I won't have to part with mine for a long time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Great Deals on the Web

I know the stated purpose of this blog is to help i wireless customers make the most of the expanded data offerings, but I couldn't resist mentioning some great deals that are available now only on the web. The Motorola V235, Motorola V361, Motorola PEBL U6 (black), and the Nokia 6103 are all now just a penny on the i wireless website (with a two-year agreement). The Motorola V361, Motorola PEBL U6 (black), and the Nokia 6103 require a mail-in rebate to get to the penny price.

If you are a fan of great deals and carry an older handset, you may want to bookmark this link. That is where you will find surplus, discontinued and open-box items from i wireless (mostly accessories).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Web 2 Homepage

The default homepage for Web 2 is i wireless' website, which you will probably want to change, if you haven't already. The one thing I miss after switching from Web 1 is the easy access to some of the more popular mobile websites that you could get to with just a few clicks from the Web 1 homepage ( Unfortunately, you can't access that page from Web 2. I was going to recreate a page designed for the small screen with all the same links for your (and my benefit), but it turns out that Mobileplay (see photo) already has something similar, and it offers much more than the "walled garden" of I only have two complaints about Mobileplay so far: No ESPN and no links to the big web-based e-mail services (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.).

You can access Mobileplay with one click from Opera Mini's homepage, or you can enter as your homepage in your Web 2 settings.

i wireless GPRS & MMS Settings

So you bought your phone on eBay and you want to use it with i wireless' data services, but Customer First can't help you because it's not a phone that i wireless sells?

I might be able to help you. Below you will find the settings that you need to send and receive MMS messages, download content, browse the internet, and use mobile internet applications. Please note that you will need to have the appropriate features enabled on your account. You cannot access the data services by simply entering these settings on your phone. Also -- Different phone models use different names for some of these fields. You may need to use a bit of trial and error. I cannot provide settings or support for every phone out there, so please don't ask. If you have success with a particular model, please go ahead and post a comment here with the settings so that others may benefit.

Name: POWERsupplize
Data Bearer: GPRS
Access Point Name (APN):
User Name: (blank)
Password: (none)
IP Address:
Port: (default)

Name: Web 1
Data Bearer: GPRS
Access Point Name (APN):
User Name: (blank)
Password: (none)
IP Address:
Port: (default)

Name: Web 2
Data Bearer: GPRS
Access Point Name (APN):
User Name: (blank)
Password: (none)
Port: (default)
Homepage: (Your choice. How about

Name: PIA Picture Messaging
Data Bearer: GPRS
Access Point Name (APN):
User Name: (blank)
Password: (none)
IP Address:
Port: (default)

Name: Picture Messaging
Data Bearer: GPRS
Access Point Name (APN):
User Name: (blank)
Password: (none)
IP Address:
Port: (default)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Opera Mini 3.0 Available Now

The Opera Mini upgrade I alluded to earlier is here. I downloaded the low-memory version to a mid-range Sony Ericsson phone late yesterday, so I haven't had a lot of time to play with it, but I noticed right away that it is very easy to subscribe to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds on websites. According to Opera's website, the upgraded version also now offers easy photo sharing and secure connections. Download Mini from your phone by pointing your browser to

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Do I Have to Buy My Phone From i wireless?

No. As long as your phone operates on GSM 1900 MHz and is not locked to another carrier, you can use it with i wireless service. While the network engineers don't like the idea of a bunch of untested phones running around on the network, the finance folks would love it if every customer went out and bought their handset and service separately. If you are reading this blog, you are probably well-informed enough to know that carriers sell handsets to their customers below cost to draw them in and sign them to an extended contract (usually two years).

So, if you prefer to save some money, go ahead an sign that one- or two-year contract, but if you prefer to have a broader choice of the handset you are going to use for the next year or two, you might want to explore your options. Many people go the eBay route, but when it comes to phones, there are a number of variables that could go wrong, and I'd prefer to know exactly what I am getting. Thankfully, many of the handset manufacturers are now selling direct to consumers via their websites. Check it out:

Motorola offers a limited selection of their GSM handset line-up for sale on their website unlocked. Sometimes they have some pretty good pricing there -- even relative to what carriers pay. There are some unique offerings there as well. Right now you can buy the gold MOTORAZR V3i DOLCE & GABBANA for $399.

Nokia offers a much broader selection of phone models on their website, but they tend to be the more expensive phones that they can't get carriers to carry. Right now they have 11 phone models for sale without service, and seven of them are priced above $300.

Sony Ericsson's selection is closer to Motorola's (six phones), but they don't currently offer any of their inexpensive models online. The least expensive phone when I checked a few minutes ago was the W300i at $249...but it does include a "free" FM music transmitter.

Samsung has an extremely close affiliation with the larger wireless carriers. They offer very little support to the rural carriers or their customers. It looks like they are starting to experiment with selling direct to consumers. They only have one model for sale that has not been programmed for another carrier, but it's a doozie...the Samsung Black Carbon™:

Please note that I have not purchased any phones from any of these websites, but I don't think you can go wrong in buying direct from the manufacturers. If anyone has any experience (good or bad) buying phones from these websites, please leave a comment below.

Can I Use Skype for Mobile with i wireless?

A co-worker was trying to download Skype for Mobile today and running into difficulties. She asked me for help. I turned to the Skype website. Apparently you need a Pocket PC with a minimum 400Mhz processor plus a WiFi or 3G connection. Neither i wireless or T-Mobile in central Iowa is 3G at this time. If you are still interested in using Skype at Wi-Fi hotspots, you will want to visit Skype's Developer Zone to see a list of supported devices. There aren't (m)any devices on the list that i wireless has ever sold.

Who Can I Send My Thanksgiving Photos To?

So you're an i wireless customer and you want to send the photos you took on your camera phone to your friends and family, but they are not i wireless customers themselves? Never fear. i wireless customers can send and receive picture messages with customers from a variety of other carriers. i wireless currently has inter-carrier agreements with the following carriers:
  • Verizon Wireless
  • T-Mobile
  • U.S. Cellular
  • MetroPCS
  • RCC (Rural carrier)
  • Advantage Cellular Systems (Illinois carrier)
  • Viaero Wireless (NE Colorado carrier)
  • XIT (Texas carrier)
  • Coral Wireless (Hawaii carrier)
  • Five Star Wireless (Texas carrier)
  • PTCI (Oklahoma carrier)
  • M3/Mobility Limited (Bermuda carrier)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mobile-Friendly Websites

I will post more later, but here are some mobile-friendly websites you can visit:
Search EnginesWeatherEncyclopediaSports

Peer-To-Peer Now Available On Your Phone?

Pogo has a downloadable application for your phone that will supposedly allow you to share ringtones, wallpapers, games, etc. with your phone-carrying friends. I am not going to try this out for a number of reasons:
  1. I don't like strangers having access to my computer files. My feelings are no different for my phone.
  2. This has to be in violation of some property rights laws
If anyone tries this application out or wants to weigh in on the legal issues, please feel free to comment.

Opera Mini To Be Upgraded Soon

An upgrade to the Opera Mini web browser for mobile phones will be available for download in "a week or two" according to this article from RCR News.

Friday, November 10, 2006

i wireless Launches Windows Mobile Devices

To go along with their new expanded data plans, i wireless now is offering three Windows Mobile devices made by HTC. The Qtek 8500 and Qtek 9100 are now available for sale from the i wireless website, from i wireless company stores and by special order from i wireless dealers. The HTC S620 should be available in another week or two.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Must-Have Mobile Web Browser

For easy access to the web, your phone's built-in web browser is probably your best choice, but I think you will find that there are some web pages that cannot be viewed in the built-in browser. I highly recommend downloading Opera Mini. There are a lot of other advantages to using Opera Mini which I may detail in future posts, but the main reason you want to install it on your phone is that it lets you access websites that other browsers don't. I would not have been able to download some of the applications I detailed in previous posts without Opera Mini. The download sites were inaccessible with Motorola's built-in browser.

...And Speaking of E-mail

The one thing that customers (particularly business customers) have been asking i wireless for the last few years is if they could get their work e-mail on their phone. Aside from setting up some convoluted mailbox rules to forward all of your e-mails, the answer has been "no." Not any more! I have not been one of the lucky ones who have been carrying the Windows Mobile devices for the past few weeks and months, so I haven't had much opportunity to see this in action, but you can now access your Outlook while on the road. I will write more when/if I try it out for myself. I do have a trick you can use to access your Outlook even if you don't have a smartphone or PDA. If you have the new Mobile Web PLUS and your company supports Microsoft Outlook Web Access, you can access it using your phone's browser. The browser on some phones does not support frames, so you may need to download the Opera Mini web browser. I have successfully read and replied to e-mail using Microsoft Outlook Web Access in the Opera Mini browser on a Motorola KRZR K1 phone. I believe I have seen this demonstrated on a Nokia 6620 as well. I don't think that the Symbian browser supported it -- the person use the Opera Mini browser...which is the topic for another post.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Google Makes Mobile E-mail Even Better

Even with i wireless' old Mobile Web (WAP 1), you had the ability to check your e-mail, but the navigation and interface (for Gmail, anyway) was a bit clunky and arduous...even if you knew the shortcut keys. Now Google has launched a downloadable webmail application that makes the whole process so much easier and more enjoyable. I downloaded it to Motorola KRZR K1 the same day it was released and I am in love! More options and fewer clicks!

IM on Your i wireless Phone? You Bet!

If you ask your i wireless salesperson or customer service rep if the new Mobile Web options will let you IM your friends, they will probably tell you "no," but that's not true! With EQO Mobile, you can chat with your friends, whether they are on AOL, ICQ, GoogleTalk, MSN, Skype or Yahoo. I successfully downloaded and installed the application from onto a Motorola KRZR K1. While it does work, it is EXTREEEEEEEMELY slow! I'm warning you now, if you are one of those people that pushes the elevator button ten times because you don't get a response fast enough, you are going to have to restrain yourself when using this application. I don't know if this is due to the number of contacts I had on my buddy list, the available phone memory, the available bandwidth, or something else, but it is painful. As with many of the applications I am going to review here, EQO is in beta testing, so that may have something to do with it as well. If you want the capability to instant message, it is there. I have not yet tried all the services. I was able to use AIM, but for some reason, my username and password for Google Talk did not take. I may try to log into Skype and Yahoo at some point in the future just to try it.

i wireless POWER Users: The Chains Are Off!

With the official launch of expanded mobile data offerings today by i wireless, you can now browse the entire web (not just mobile web sites), get e-mail on your phone, and even use your phone as a modem. Not only that, but the door has been opened to do all kinds of other cool things with your mobile phone. Since many of these cool things are from third-parties, you won't find information on them at i wireless' website or from their customer support number. I intend to proactively seek out new ways to use this service, test them, and share them with you. I also hope that you will share your own experiences. Together we will create an unofficial manual for other POWER users to follow.