Turn Data Off While Roaming

Enjoy Cost Savings by Turning Your Data Off  While Roaming

This is really nothing new – however – very often forgotten about until your Cell Phone Bill arrives.

 

Although there are data roaming features that can be added through your carrier’s Cellular Customer Service before you travel –  using data can still be very expensive. Not to mention data usage is hard to judge – How do you know how much Data you will use while traveling or roaming?

 

If you are traveling with your smartphone and you do not want to rack up huge data roaming charges, it’s good to know that your handset has the ability to temporarily turn the data function off.

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How to decide between a new Blackberry and the iPhone for your Business

This is a great question, especially with the growing popularity of the iPhone (even among enterprise) and the current market captured by the Blackberry. There are a couple of things to consider when making this important decision, whether you’re jumping ship or a newbie to the smart phone arena. I’ve divided the comparison into two categories, first functionality,
and second cost, certainly not in any order of importance as there is weight for both. But before we look at these two comparisons, why is it such an important decision? Well simply put, your phone has become a critical part of how you do business. With the added capabilities and features coming into play it is becoming even more important all the time.

Functionality:

So with functionality becoming increasingly important, this is where BlackBerry tends to be playing catch-up. Try a Google search on the two devices searching for applications and you quickly see a major short fall on BlackBerry. I find as a BlackBerry user myself looking to the iPhone or an Android as a potential solution to maximizing efficiency. That after all is what the functionality is for. To make my life more efficient, provide better service and give me more time to focus on other things. So as I dive into the applications on the BlackBerry to increase efficiency I am continuously

apple-iphone

running into brick walls. For example through my Google account I want to be able to access and sync my Gmail account. At best the Google application has many limitations. First syncing is not a true sync, such as draft emails don’t appear on my desktop until sent. The calendar function on the device is rudimentary at best. The ability to add a simple appointment for a specific time with details is impossible to date. Other functionalities such as Twitter applications put the device into cardiac arrest. Now with all this being said I am not looking for a device to tell me what tip I should leave, this I can handle. I’m speaking of everyday functions that keep me connected with my team, my customers, and on task. Unless I stay focused in my exchange environment (which is losing its attraction all the time) BlackBerry is losing its appeal.

Cost:

Once we get by the sticker shock of the hardware pricing – realizing these devices are so much more than just a phone – these devices are going to give me back time and efficiency, then we have the cost of operation to consider. This is where we see a big difference through our telecom cost audit and mobile management services on Tele-Watch. There is no doubt that these same wonderful applications that are increasing efficiencies are also driving up data costs to the carrier and soon if not already to the end clients. The iPhone in techy terms – is a pig – that’s a technical term. Now with talk of carriers taking away unlimited data in the US, and none really available (when you read the fine print) in Canada, this is a major concern. With BlackBerry costs fairly fixed and their data usage light, I at least know my costs and they are consistent.

With BlackBerry racing to catch up on applications, I will hold temporarily and see if the applications I need to be more efficient evolve soon. I hope this is not a wish unanswered.

Where do you stand on the iPhone and BlackBerry battle and has it worked out for you?

Android Phones in Canada: Why So Shy, Rogers?

Note: Shortly after this article was written, Telus added the HTC Hero to its stores, making it the second Canadian carrier to add an Android-powered phone.

One notable challenge in the Canadian wireless market is consumer expectation. Canadians can see new phones enter the marketplace south of the border and want them with comparable plans as soon as possible. When Rogers introduced the iPhone it discovered that pulling an (expensive) plan out of thin air for a product Canadians had waited on for months drew considerable ire – enough to force a limited time, low-cost 6 GB data plan. Everybody loves the iPhone, but it’s still far from the best for wireless cost reduction.

Rogers is approaching a similar watershed with phones powered by Google Android. Alone in offering phones powered by the operating system, the carrier has been able to mostly keep these offerings under the radar, but that’s about to change. Android 2.0 is a major update that promises iPhone-rivaling functionality and it’s linked to a high-profile hardware release: Motorola’s Droid smartphone. Even if Rogers doesn’t adopt the Droid (something that’s hard to imagine, considering it’s the only carrier with Android-powered phones at all) the phone has generated tremendous buzz for its OS, and Canadians are listening – they get the same ads, tech news and websites as Americans.

Fortunately for Rogers, Verizon’s Droid doesn’t have an iPhone’s style, or a special data plan – it’s billed the same as any other smartphone for comparable service – so chances are Canadians won’t have the same meltdown over Rogers’ onerous data prices. Naturally, the prices will still be ridiculous compared to the US market; most US Droid users will take advantage of a US$30 per month unlimited data plan while Rogers’ 5 GB plans – less than the typical “unlimited” ceiling in the US – cost CAN$80.

So Rogers may dodge iPhone rage, but they still have to contend with Canadian impatience at waiting for the Droid and other phones that are heavily advertised across the US. In this case, the company may be pursuing the right strategy by releasing Android-powered phones gradually, with a low profile. That seems to be the strategy behind adding the GW620 LG Eve to its catalog with minimal publicity, even though it’s a feather in the company’s cap – Rogers is the first North American carrier to offer it. One can only hope that a Rogers Android release comes with more hype – and inspired enough of a consumer backlash to inspire the company to offer an “appeasement” data plan, like it did for the iPhone.

Will Android Make Expense Management Easier for Smartphones?

It’s not as smooth looking as the iPhone. The interface isn’t quite as fancy. Still the first Google Android based phone is here. The T-Mobile G1Â went on sale two days ago to largely positive reviews. Priced to compete with the iPhone, the question is whether its features and flexible pricing can compete with sheer Apple buzz. Naturally, from a telecom expense management perspective we’re interested in the pricing, but let’s get into the phone first.

T-Mobile’s marketing angle is simple. It distills the familiar desktop down to your screen and promises the same web surfing experience you’d get from a PC. In addition, the G1 comes loaded with popular Google applications. Notably, Google Street View aligns with how you’re holding the phone based on its built-in compass and accelerometer. Neat, but then again, Street View is often just used as a toy. The more interesting aspect of it is Android’s open standards commitment (and eventual open source release, say Google execs). This means that if consumers bite, the Android Marketplace for apps could explode with new widgets at a rate Apple could never hope to match with its own carefully managed, closed approach – if people can get past the G1’s brick shape.

For cellular expense management, one thing leaps out: T-Mobile actually lets you choose from a bunch of plans, while an iPhone sticks you with a tightly restricted set. This flexibility will give us a lot more power to keep G1 fees down, but the real breakthrough will come when other 3G handsets offer Android with a slightly downscaled set of features to drop into the lower end of the smartphone niche. These phones could serve as an alternative choice for corporate fleets that rely on Blackberries, assuming that push email client Funambol offers comparable service. Some will insist on Exchange for interoperability with the office, but open source means the price point can drop more rapidly once Android hits budget devices. At that point, some people will take a long, hard look at how they really use mobile mail, and whether the G1’s descendants would be the smarter choice.