Should I Switch to Verizon for the iPhone?

There is so much to consider before choosing between Verizon and AT&T, until now the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier.
AT&T has enjoyed an exclusive partnership with the iPhone since the smartphone’s 2007 release. Since then, it’s seen monstrous success, signing up tens of millions of subscribers.
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Still, complaints of dropped calls on AT&T tainted the success…I know my friends on Verizon are always giving me grief about my iPhone reception.

The question now for me and thousands like me…should we make the leap?

There is much to take into account first, like price plans…

In a bid to attract lots of early switchers, Verizon is allowing iPhone 4 buyers to lock into the carrier’s $30 unlimited data plan with a two-year contract; a big gift, considering how much more data smartphone users will likely gobble up two years from now.

The carrier is not saying how long the unlimited data offer will last — a clear attempt to lock in as many iPhone users as they can early on.

AT&T did away with an unlimited data plan for new customers last summer. In its place, the carrier made tiers of data plans, with 2 GB of data for $25 a month at the top level.

AT&T is said to be quietly allowing some existing customers to go back to an unlimited data plan on the iPhone.
An AT&T spokeswoman couldn’t confirm that. I have unlimited thank goodness, once AT&T accidentally took me off for a billing cycle and my bill increase literally $500! To their credit they fixed it. “We handle customers and their situations individually, and we’re not going to discuss specifics,” spokeswoman Amy Grundman said.

Verizon is offering trade-in deals for existing iPhone users on AT&T. iPhone 4 users can get a pretty decent credit — $212 for a 16 GB model and $285 for a 32 GB model — toward a Verizon phone. Previous generation iPhone owners, and any other phone owner, also can get smaller credits.

Hmm, do I want reliable Reliable or Fast?

While Verizon’s network is more reliable, AT&T’s 3G network is faster. Sometimes much faster. That means, when you have service, users are often able to download files and access websites much faster than they could on Verizon.
With data usage increasing enormously, this is an important consideration.

The networks are built on different wireless standards. AT&T uses GSM and Verizon uses CDMA. Users shouldn’t necessarily care about that except for one point: AT&T’s GSM network allows for simultaneous voice and data. That means you can’t access the Web on your Verizon iPhone while making a phone call without the aid of WiFi.

The Verizon iPhone will not run on the carrier’s next-generation faster LTE network.

Those rushing to scoop up the iPhone 4 this week on Verizon should remember that they’re buying a phone that’s more than 7 months old, an eon in the smartphone sphere.

Details on the next iPhone expected this summer are scant;Apple never comments on future product releases — but expect a much faster processor and possibly high-definition video output.

That’s also not to mention the slate of 4G-compatible smartphones that are set to be available as early as this spring from Verizon.
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So what should you do?

If you really want an iPhone but can wait, hold out for the iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple decides to call it). Locking in for two more years with a phone released last summer isn’t going to get the most bang for your buck.

But if you’re someone who doesn’t need the latest and the greatest — and have been waiting on the Verizon iPhone for years — go ahead. Just don’t cry too loudly when the masses line up this summer to snatch up Apple’s latest offering, and you’re left with last year’s gadget.

I am holding out for the iPhone 5

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Brands, publishers reap rewards as mobile traffic skyrockets during World Cup

The biggest brands in the world are taking advantage of the huge surge in mobile traffic driven by soccer fanatics seeking coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
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Across all digital platforms—online, mobile, social media, fantasy, games and digital audio—ESPN is dedicating a full month of 24/7 news, analysis, commentary and interactivity around the world’s biggest sporting event. ESPN sold out

its entire mobile inventory before the first World Cup match had even been played, with brands such as Anheuser-Busch, adidas, Sony, EA, Cisco, Hyundai and AT&T targeting soccer fans across ESPN’s mobile Web site, applications, SMS alerts and mobile television.

“You can’t overstate how big of an event the World Cup is on a global basis, and ESPN set this as a priority last June—it’s been a real focus of the company along with mobile,” said John Zehr, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at ESPN, Bristol, CT.

“If you look at the game windows, they’re early in the Western Hemisphere, so mobile becomes a great outlet for people that want to follow the matches,” he said. “There are 64 matches on ESPN’s mobile TV channel, and additional simulcast matches on AT&T’s network.

“We also have an iPhone app we launched back in December when the draw came out featuring live radiocast, alerts for all goals that are scored, scores, push notifications and SMS alerts.”

The event marks the first time that World Cup live matches will be available domestically on mobile platforms.
ESPN Mobile offers all 64 matches live from the first round to the final match on mobile platforms nationwide.

ESPN Mobile TV, available on AT&T Mobile TV, FLO TV, MobiTV, Sprint TV and Verizon VCast platforms, carries 56 matches live in the U.S.

Additionally, AT&T Mobile TV carries the eight live overlapping concurrent matches on a World Cup dedicated channel.

As of June 27, just before the quarterfinals began, ESPN’s mobile Web site, the 2010 FIFA World Cup application and the ScoreCenter application had generated 70.3 million visits and 385.5 million page views to World Cup content.

Apple Unveils iPad

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, a tablet-style computer that resembles the iPhone, but with a larger screen and other features for work and play.

“It’s so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone,” Jobs said. I would love to get one of these.

I had heard speculation that this would be available at Verizon but it was announced that AT&T will offer an unlimited data plan for $30 a month, and will not require the usual longer-term service contract, he added.

Jobs demonstrated how the iPad is used for surfing the Web with Apple’s Safari browser. He typed an e-mail using an on-screen keyboard and flipped through photo albums by flicking his finger across the screen, using gestures common to the iPhone.

The iPad also has a custom version of iWorks, productivity software that includes applications for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

As part of today’s announcement, Apple came out with an online bookstore called the iBookstore, along with Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette as partners. It will compete head-on with the Amazon Kindle device and bookstore. The Kindle lacks the color screen and rich-media capabilities of the iPad and its mobile operating system.

The iPad will also run all iPhone apps, and Apple is making a software development kit for the new device available to developers this week.

“New Moon” on Mobile

Summit Entertainment is partnering with AT&T to build excitement for the Nov. 20 release of the second film installment of its Twilight Saga franchise.
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AT&T will host advance screenings of the film sequel “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”—including a special cast-member appearance—in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas on Nov. 19. In addition, photo and video content, a mobile trivia game from RealArcade Mobile and ringtones are currently available via AT&T Share on Facebook and wireless handsets from AT&T. 

“AT&T has a rich history of aligning our brand with other industry leaders—from corporate America to sports to entertainment,” said Chris Schembri, vice president of media services at AT&T, Dallas, TX. “In addition, we are continuously looking for ways to better connect our consumers with our greatest asset—our network—in ways that are meaningful, exciting and easily accessible to them.

“We feel aligning ourselves with the Twilight Saga franchise allows us to accomplish both of these missions,” he said. “One of the great things about the Twilight Saga is that it appeals to a variety of target demographics for AT&T; tweens and teens, college students, young adults and beyond.” 

“In addition, it draws in both women and men with its unique storylines, action and romance themes.”

Through Nov. 12, moviegoers will have the opportunity to win one pair of tickets to an advance screening of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” in Atlanta, Chicago or Dallas on Thurs., Nov. 19 at 9:30 p.m., which will include a special appearance and question-and-answer session by a cast member from the film.

Can the “Droid” Dethrone the iPhone?

With Apple posting record profits last week, thanks in large part to brisk sales of its iPhone, it may seem downright crazy to mount a smartphone challenge at all, let alone one that takes direct aim at the iPhone. But that’s just what Verizon, Google and Motorola are doing.

With a teaser ad from Verizon zeroing in on the device’s perceived shortcomings, such as its lack of a physical keyboard, the triumvirate is beginning a big push for Droid, the flagship device of the Google-backed Android operating system. So far, industry observers are unmoved by the buzz and give the Droid long odds in its bid to become the next ubiquitous handset.
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So far, Verizon and its partners have kept a tight lid on Droid, but the few early reviews have been effusive, with the influential gadget blog Boy Genius Report calling Droid “the most impressive phone we’ve used since the iPhone. It’s positively amazing.” TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, who famously chucked the iPhone because of AT&T’s spotty network service, also gushed: “According to people who’ve handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint.”

The praise notwithstanding, analysts say it’s doubtful that Droid can dethrone the iPhone — even if the handset will live on what is widely perceived as the best wireless network in the country. The Blackberry Storm, and most recently the Palm Pre, both of which have been held up as credible iPhone challengers, came and went without incident to Apple, which just reported its most profitable quarter after selling the most iPhones in that time.

“There is a graveyard littered with iPhone wannabees, so the bar is pretty high for any new phone, no matter how good it might be,” said wireless analyst Chetan Sharma.
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For Verizon, a lot is at stake. The No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier needs something of a super-marquee phone to counter Apple’s iPhone, which has put millions of consumers on the network of its exclusive carrier, AT&T, many of whom are left to regularly carp about dropped calls. Thanks largely to the iPhone, AT&T last quarter added more contract customers than Verizon for the first time in recent history.

Others say Droid will post solid sales, but don’t expect a blockbuster.

“It’s going to be successful within the Verizon network, but it’s not going to come at the expense of the iPhone,” said Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities. “This device will slow subscriber attrition, but it’s difficult to woo subscribers to another network just for the phone. The iPhone has been the only one that’s able to do that.”

And once those customers settle on the Apple handset, it’ll be tough to tempt them to switch: The iPhone was the top-ranked brand on measures of user loyalty, according to a survey by Brand Keys that looked at 63 product categories. Moreover, for the first time in 12 years since the survey’s inception, three cellphone brands made the top 10 list of brands garnering the most loyalty — Samsung came in after the iPhone, and BlackBerry was ranked fourth.

“This says that cellphone brands are able to meet consumer expectations more than ever before,” said Brand Keys President Robert Passikoff, who also noted that consumer expectations towards smartphones are also higher than ever. This means it’s all the more critical for Droid to live up to the hype, which is partly being manufactured by Verizon. The carrier recently launched a teaser ad attacking the iPhone for all the things it can’t do, but Droid can, leading some to call the strategy risky.

Will Apple Switch Carriers After 2010?

AT&T’s iPhone contract expires in 2010, so will Apple switch carriers?
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The iPhone has been good to AT&T. It helped attract over 4.3 million subscribers toward the end of ’08, with 40% of them new to the telecom giant. That’s why AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is currently in talks with Apple to extend the iPhone’s exclusivity with his company into 2011. AT&T has been trying to shake off the cobwebs it’s gathered from a landline-centric strategy, and breakaway mobile devices such as the iPhone helps it rebuild its brand.

“We have 77 million wireless customers and 30 million consumer phone lines,” Stephenson told the Wall Street Journal. “Which customer base would you rather work from? We tend to come at this backwards.”

So is there chance of a switch? Apple won’t say either way. While AT&T’s exclusive deal saddened those who didn’t want to switch carriers but still wanted an iPhone, apparently Verizon was originally offered the gadget and declined. Maybe in 2010 Verizon and others will rectify that mistake, and consumers have some choices.

McCartney

McCartney will play in concert tonight one minute walk from my temporary digs in Atlanta. My client gave me a ticket and I am so pleased to go.
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I last saw him with the Beatles in 1965 on August 18th when my dad against all odds got the wild idea to get us tickets and drive 5 hours (no Interstate highway in those days) to get us to the show also in Atlanta. A real tribute to him as most parents in those days frowned on the Fab Four.
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This is the 40th anniversary of so many great things, Woodstock, the Moon walk and so on…so in keeping with the celebration (although this is the 44th anniversary to see Paul) I will walk the 20 meters to the concert!

Here is the set list a great mix of Beatles, solo and Wings hits…I will write more after the show.
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Talk about inflation!!! The ticket was $5.50, I saw District 9 last night for $10.50. This ticket was $84.50.