Thursday, November 30, 2006

HTC S620 Now Available Online

You can now purchase the HTC S620 from i wireless' website.

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.