Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Back!

Well, I'm back from D.C. Will tell everyone more about the trip later. I have to be at school in an hour (got home about 2:30 this morning...flight in ended at roughly midnight) but just checking in.

The first thing I noticed when I got home ws that my supposed Slider Sonic was just a UTStarCom Slice! So I'm on hold with Virgin Mobile to get that straightened out.

The second thing I did cell phone related was get my brand new phone cable and hook my Cyclops to my computer. i successfully loaded GMail Mobile onto the phone after about fifteen minutes and now I'm much happier with that email experience on the phone. Plus, since I'm paying for web, I don't have to pay anything extra to use it. Which is always nice. In a week I'll be out of school (yay graduation!) and will have more time to fool around with the phone...

...but for now, that's about it. See everyone later!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tracfone Value Plan

Tracfone has introduced (or actually really re-introduced and re-tooled their older plans) some value plans. Most notable is the Family Value plan. Most notable is the ELIMINATION of the

A listing of the plans are as follows.

Compare the value plan benefits

Program Service Days included Minutes included Price
50 Minutes Value Plan 30 service days 50 Minutes $9.99
Family Value Plan 30 service days 50/30 MINUTES*** $9.99/$5.99*
Lifeline Value Plan 30 service days (none) $4.95**

* Enroll the first TRACFONE for $9.99 per month and up to four more TRACFONEs for just $5.99 per month each in the FAMILY Value Plan.
** The $4.95 fee is only charged when your TRACFONE goes past it's service end date.
***50 MINUTES (1st Phone) / 30 MINUTES (Additional Phone) (source tracfone.com)

What you don't see is the Double Minutes AutoPay (or what would be called the Double Minutes Value Plan) but that is probably because Value Plan members can purchase an additional bucket of 50 minutes for $10 and an additional bucket of 100 minutes for $20 (which is 67% more minutes than retail.)

Unless there is breaking news... More Tomorrow!

Friday, May 25, 2007

More Tracfone Information!

First of all, the Turk has provided the following opinion of the Motorola w370:

It has some of the bells and whistles of better phones, except a camera.

Its kind of neat when you first look at it or hold it, but (for me) after about 1 minute that wore off and I realized how cheap this phone is made.

It has a real cheap plastic feel to it, that if you drop it, step on it, or accidentally sit on it, it'll explode like a blown out tire (lol).

The keypad is a thin rubber pad that if you have sharp nails you could cut right through it.

I had this phone beside a Moto Krazr, and believe me its no Krazr, just a Krazr wanna be.

I think internally it has good qualities but not externally...personally, I wouldn't buy it and I dont think its worth the $50, maybe $25...I would have to agree with you and say Nokias do make great phones.

* Remember: this is just the Turk's opinion!

And... John has informed us that the Nokia 2126 is the current $19.99 two-fer offer on the CDMA side. The Motorola c139 is the two fer offer on the GSM side.

Unless some breaking news in the prepaid arena occurs... we'll have more tomorrow!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Reader Participation

There is no breaking news in the prepaid arena that I could find, but our nice and generous readers have left various comments that I would like to include in today's blog.

First off, the Turk has provided some Tracfone insight:
* If you want 20 free minutes, go to www.tracfone.com and sign up for the "Tracfone Insider", its free and easy to do...just follow the instructions and on your next card redemption you should get the 20 free minutes added...if you don't get the 20 free minutes when you add your card, just call them and tell them what happened and they'll add it to your phone for you.

* One worker at Walmart said to me that he heard the next CDMA Tracfone coming out is a Motorola candybar style camera phone...he didn't seem to know to much about Tracfone which leads me to believe he is thinking of the Moto c261 (moto c261 isn't in this walmart area, only CDMA phones)...anyways, I heard the new phone will have a camera in it but haven't heard anything about it being a moto/candybar style...he could be right, who knows...LOL.

* Final thought: Tracfone has got a new face lift to their website (looks good)...its time for Net10 to do the same!

Ian the blog-master reviewed the Moto c261 for Tracfone awhile back and I am pretty sure he gave it a "thumbs up"...I don't have this phone but I have seen it in person and I thought it was ok...most reviews I've read of the phone were positive, the only thing is though, its like $90 for the Net10 version, so get it at a Walmart if you can so there is no "return problem" if you don't like it...if you do get it, post a review of it here sometime, ok?...good luck.

I forgot to mention that the Tracfone c261 is also on sale this week at Target for $30 along with Tracfone w370 for $45.

Tracfone has a new airtime card available on their website: a one year/800 minutes/double minute card for 139.99...check it out.

and Chris provided this "mini-review" of the Motorola C261:
In my experience the C261 was a wonderful phone feature wise, but lacked in memory and customizability. The battery life was average to me and service was average also. Ian has a review of the phone on this site. I would recommend the W370 if you don't mind waiting a while. I get 3-4 bars in my basement, when with my C261 i got 1 and 2 if right by the window. The battery is excellent and features are much better.

more tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two investor groups to purchase Alltel & Other Reader Information

First: (courtesy: CellGuru)
TPG Capital and GS Global Partners have purchased Alltel. The deal should close 4Q07 or 1Q08. If you would like to see a real life example of a company run by a private equity firm, visit any Albertson's in Cerberus Territory (which is the Southwest, Louisiana, and Florida). If run properly, you really notice no differences, and it may actually be run better. More information on the Alltel buyout can be found here

From the Reader Information Desk:
-Tracfone has a reorganized website (courtesy: Chris)
-An anonymous poster provided the following: TracFone's W370 supports Music tones and polys. For more information, go to www.tracfone.com/data and click on the W370
-AND... the Turk has provided the following:
Here is some Tracfone and Net10 news:

* Target stores have the Moto w370 on sale this week for $45.

* Target stores also have on sale their Tracfone minute cards ranging anywhere from 2 - 10 dollars off different card sizes.

* Some K-marts have the Nokia 2600 for $20, and the Nokia 1100 (+60 min.) for $20.

* As far as the Moto w370 coming out for Net10, there isnt a set date release, it'll just show up one day for sale in the stores and website...I'm sure it'll be here soon since its already been a month since it came out for Tracfone.

and will Refer-A-Friend return? it is anyone's guess.

last but not least today: MY PHONE LIST!
**all phones are prepaid lines**
My phones:
1x Nokia 6101 (T-Mobile)
1x Motorola c155 (Net10)
1x Sony Ericsson J220a (Cingular)
1x Kyocera Oystr (Virgin)
1x Kyocera K9 (Virgin)
1x Nokia 3120 (not currently in use)
1x Nokia 6010 (not currently in use)
For the other people in the house:
1x Nokia 3220 (T-Mobile)
1x Nokia Shorty (Virgin)
1x Nokia 6010 (T-Mobile)

If you have anything to contribute, let us know about it and you know it will probably end up here on the blog. (Note: All submissions may be edited for grammar prior to posting, and if you send your submission by email you must include your name so you can be properly credited)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Readers Have Spoken!

Based on comments to yesterdays "Various Tidbits" posting, readers have questions as to whether the Motorola w370 on Tracfone's ability to support "True Tones" and whether or not it can receive picture messages. If you know the answer to any of these questions, leave a comment or send me an email with your findings so that we can report if these features are possible.

and.... Logan sent the following review of the Switch_Back:

Here is my review of the Kyocera Switch_back.
The call quality on the switch_back was decent, I had no complaints there, and the speaker phone sounded great. The signal quality however was not, the other virgin mobile phones I have had will usually get 4 bars in certain areas, but take the switch_back to those same areas and you would get lucky to get 2 bars!
Battery life was disappointing, I got maybe 2.5 hours of talk time, and the standby time was maybe 4 days.
Due to the accommodation of the QWERTY keyboard, the switch_back is fat. It's around 2 inches thick and has a uncomfortable bulky design. I am sure using the QWERTY keyboard would be very uncomfortable for anyone with large thumbs. The buttons are so small and so close together. The phone does not seem as though it would break easily, I have dropped it a few times and minus a few scratches it still looks/works fine.
Pictures taken with the switch_backs mediocre VGA camera (max resolution 640x480) had a very grainy and washed out appearance. It also seemed as though no matter how still the phone was, the pictures still looked slightly blurred.
The phones outer screen is low resolution and not very vibrant, making it horrible for viewing photos, playing games, and taking pictures. The inner screen is however a lot larger and a little more vibrant.
The phone also sports AIM, (yes just aol) a web browser, and email.
QWERTY keyboard
VGA camera
Mobile AIM
Mobile Email
Web browser
Dual screens
Java games
good call quality
great speaker phone
Thick phone
small buttons
low-res front display
picture quality sucked
a few glitches
poor signal quality

I personally thank everyone for their participation, it is greatly appreciated.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Various Tidbits

1.) No one sent in any submissions for the "Reader Participation Event", so I have no reader stuff to present.
2.) Cingular PAYG and PYP customers can change their rate plan through the IVR system (granted it is a PAYG to PAYG or PYP to PYP switch)

Have you tried the Virgin Mobile Kyocera Switch_Back? If so, please send us a review of the phone.

More tomorrow!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ian is still on vacation... & Centennial MyPhone

As a reminder, Ian is on his senior class trip and I am looking after his blog in his absence.

In today's cell phone world, you would expect all wireless providers, pre and post paid to provide caller ID and voicemail standard, well then Centennial MyPhone is NOT for you.

Centennial MyPhone is the prepaid service of Centennial Wireless, who's postpaid side is known for "Every Call/Text You Get Is Free"... well... on their prepaid side... it gets a little trickier.
Calls are 20cpm (40cpm roaming)
Text messaging is 10c (sent or received)
Caller ID is available for 10cpd
Voicemail is also available for 10cpd

Cards and expirations are as follows...
$20 - 30 days
$40 - 60 days
$60 - 90 days
$80 - 120 days
***note if you spring for both Caller ID and Voicemail, this will take $5.60 to $6.20 from your balance depending on which month you are in***

Additional Information about this service is available at Centennial MyPhone's Website

As you have to physically go to a Centennial Retail Location to order this service I personally will not be trying this service.

Please feel free to leave comments on your impressions of this service, and if you have tried this service, please feel free to leave comments of your experience with this service.

On Tomorrow's Blog Agenda...
-Reader Impressions of HEB/Fusion Mobile
-Reader Impressions of Centennial MyPhone
-Items of Interest from HowardForums, CellPhoner.net , CellGuru.net, or similar.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ian is on Vacation & HEB Mobile/Fusion Mobile

As Ian has informed you previously, he is on vacation with his senior class.

Ian asked for volunteers to babysit his blog in his absence, and I was chosen to do such.

First, a brief introduction about me:
Name: Jacques Miller
Location: Broussard, LA
Educational Credentials:
-Attaining Associated of Applied Science Degree, Office Systems Technology, Louisiana Technical College- Lafayette Campus, Fall 2007
Age: 22
Click here for my MySpace page

Now... on with the show
HEB Mobile is an exact clone of Fusion Mobile, so this posting will cover both services.
Both services run on the Sprint CDMA network. All "plans" feature unlimited nights and weekends, and Wireless web is available for about 1/4th the price of Cingular's prepaid offerings (after the daily fee, of course)

This service features the older Moto v120e, the Nokia 3588i, both at about $50.
Others featured are Samsung and Sanyo models priced at about $70 and 90 respectively.


Freedom Plans with Free Unlimited Nights and Weekends and Keep Your Unused Minutes

Plans Peak Minutes Access Days Free Unlimited
Nights and Weekends*
Domestic Long Distance
$20 90 15 FREE Included
$35 150 30 FREE Included
$55 350 30 FREE Included
$75 500 30 FREE Included
$100 800 30 FREE Included
* Free Unlimited Night Minutes start at 9pm on weeknights and last until 7am the next morning. Free Unlimited Weekend Minutes start at 9pm Fridays and last until 7am Mondays. A customer must have a positive minute balance in their account to place a call. All plans include free caller ID, free call waiting, voice mail and free 3 way calling capabilities.

As you can see this is intended to be a monthly service, and includes nights and weekends on all plans. For the glovebox prepaid user... this IS NOT the service to go with.

Additional Services are available with this service, and are as follows:

Unlimited Walkie-Talkie: Just 50¢ a day!

Use Unlimited Walkie-Talkie to all Fusion Mobile and Powered by Fusion Mobile customers for just 50¢ a day. Best of all, Walkie-Talkie doesn't use any of your plan minutes.

Picturemail with Wireless Web: Just 30¢ a day plus data usage
Send three Picturemails (MMS) for only 18¢ each. Now you can send as many Picturemails as you want for just 30¢ a day plus data charges of .235¢ per 10Kb transferred. That's just 8¢ for a 35Kb Picturemail (MMS) in and out.

Wireless Web: Just 20¢ a day plus data usage
Surf the wireless web for just 20¢ a day plus .235¢ per 10Kb transferred (that's 12¢ for every 50Kb transferred). Check your email, look up movie times and see sports scores for just pennies a day. (Source: http://www.fusionmobile.com/refills.aspx)

the HEB Mobile service offerings are identical to Fusions, so Fusion's links are a perfect comparison of HEB Mobile's services.

Now... you have been introduced to HEB Mobile and Fusion Mobile. Please feel free to comment on your impressions of these services and if you have tried these services please feel free to comment on your experience with either of these services.

Tomorrow's blog agenda:
-Reader impressions of HEB Mobile/Fusion Mobile
-Centennial MyPhone
-Any Breaking News that May Occur

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blogsitting Update

Actually got an answer to my request so my trip is taken care of as far as this blog goes. Looks like the person I'm working with has some really neat posts ready to rock, so I'm good there. I won't be able to bring a phone on the trip, so no pictorial journal of the whole thing, but I will be able to have computer access for a little while each night during the journey, so that's good.

By the way, I just got my prize from WhoGets: $80 in Staples gift cards! Better for me than a printer anyway...:) Thanks guys...and yes, this goes to show that the site works.

as to the Motorola w370, if anyone wants to buy that for me I'll PayPal them $55 to do so. Yeah, I know, this is like a classified ad post but there are a few things I need to get out of the way. Anyway, just email me and I'll give shipping information and suchlike if you feel like getting the phone so I can review it.

Hmm...looks like there's nothing new on the prepaid front *scans horizon*. Nope...unless something comes up before tonight you'll be hearing from someone else for the next week and a half. Hope things have been good for these last 500 posts, and hope to do another 500 just as good or better!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blogsitting anyone?

As you may know by now, I'm taking a ten-day trip starting Saturday to beautiful Washington D.C. with my eight-person high-school class (no kidding, private school). Anyway, I will at best be able to take an internet-enabled cell phone, so I need someone to "blogsit" for me, adding a ost or so a day here to keep everyone interested and such. So if anyone feels up to the job, email me...there will be compensation...

Going To Get...

Well, I decided to get a Slider Sonic from Virgin Mobile. Refurbished (you have to call them) it's $40, not bad for all the stuff it can do, though from what I hear it's not hackable like the Cyclops (meaning no ringtones, graphics, games, apps onto the phone). And no, I was doing a friend a favor...I'm still going to get the Motorola w370, though it may take a visit in person to Target to do so, and Target is awhile away. But I will review the Slider Sonic here shortly...

On the topic of Java stuff...

Just found (thanks to an anonymous commenter) out about MovaMail and MovaMessenger. Abailable at movamail.com and movamessenger.com respectively, they eliminate the need for a messaging pack to get decent email and IM prices...just buy a $5 per month web package and looks like you're good!

But...hmmm...they'll cost $3 a month each once MovaMessenger gets out of beta...

Kyocera Cyclops Cable for Cheap!

Well, I just bought a cable for my Cyclops. Even with tax (the seller is in Texas) the cable is really cheap...it's $8 plus tax (again tax is only for Texas)! It's really nice because with the cable I can load whatever I want onto the phone, and it's even nicer because it's about 40% cheaper tahn usual! Here's where to get it:



Hmmm...just ran across another airtime seller online. They have an interesting discount structure: after $250 in purchases, your discount doubles. On some services, the discount is small (on boost it's just .75% at first) but other discounts range from 2-5%, meaning that after $250 in airtime bought the discount goes up to 4-10%. Interesting...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cyclops Update

Hmmm...the Cyclops is actually getting better battery life now. Guess the battery just needed some breaking in, which is odd but explicable. I estimate that I'm now getting 60+ (maybe evn 72) hours of battery life between charges on my Cyclops with medium usage of texting, voice, IM and web. Which isn't so bad. Guess it might just be that this phone sucks battery when searching for a signal.

P.S. Anyone want to grab a Motorola w370 for the benefit of Go4Prepaid? Looks like they cost about $55 shipped (and minus a $5 bonus from FatWallet.com) so drop me a line and I'll pay for the order...Tracfone, as you remember, doesn't like me anymore...:)

GMail Mobile on Kyocera Cyclops? No Problem!

Want GMail Mobile on your Kyocera Cyclops (I do!) just buy a cable, use the former instructions to load games onto the phone to load GMail Mobile, then go here:


To complete the process. In my opinion, $13 for a cable to load the program plus $5 a month for web on is a lot better than paying a penny per email sent or received (or maybe 5 cents, depending on whether you have message packs or not). Sweet.

Calling the Turk! Calling the Turk!

*Reads the title* yeah, that's about right. Email me, man.

For everyone else, I'm going to get the Motorola w370 soon, but I won't be reviewing it until very early June. Why? I'm going to be in Washington D.C. starting Saturday (10-day senior trip) and after that it's graduation. After that I'll have enough time to do a nic ereview of this phone. Hope this helps everyone!

Slice = $30

Well, the Slice is getting cheaper everywhere. It is now $30 at BestBuy, Circuit City and K-Mart. Where will it go down in price next?

P.S. Your clicks on sponsored links support this site, thank you, hint hint ;)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Boost Revamps Site

Boost Mobile recently (or relatively recently at least) revamped their site so that basically all their information is on one page, as far as major services and phones go. They have also introduced their CDMA-based unlimited plan into more of the mainstream, though it is still only available for California and Texas users...

Phones are as follows:
i415 - $30
i455 - $50
i855 - $150
i885 - $300
c290 (unlimited, CDMA) - $100

As usual, new phones come with $10 in airtime on iDEN, or a month of service on CDMA. And yes, Boost still has a $300 phone, and still charges $150 for a camera phone...

As to minutes, beside the unlimited plan (unlimited everything except 35 cent per day web and 10 cent to send text messages), there is the usual 20 cent per minute/10 cents mobile to mobile/nights and weekends etc. plan and the three monthly plans, as follows:

$30 - Unlimited walkie-talkie, 10 cent calling anytime
$50 - $30 plus 400 anytime minutes
$70 - $30 plus 600 anytime, unlimited night and weekend minutes

Unlimited web and text on the monthly plans (aka Boost Premium) are $10 a month.

Not very attractive if you ask me, unless you use GPS and walkie talkie a bit, but it's easier to figure out what everything costs so that's always good.

Highway to the T-Zone: What's on?

From the Cell Guru's site:

George gives a good summary of what you can access (5/13/2007):Here's the current T-Zones lineup:

Search for wallpaper, games, and tones FAQ about the service Browse tones, games, wallpaper
Account information, dollars, minutes, expiration date, Gold status, refill with credit/debit card or T-Mobile card Find a store that sells phones and cards with turn-by-turn directions (there must be a hack in here somewhere) A link to "My Album" (more on this later)

CNN, ABC News, ESPN Besides news, you can check the local (nearest big city) weather, search stock prices, and follow a sports event in almost real-time Amusing info. A group of static pages of things like pickup lines and cocktail recipes. The Body Mass Index calculator is occasionally useful, though.

My Album and My Journal are accessible on the web at www.t-mobilepictures.com and free from your phone. You can upload pictures and text from your phone (send to 222 for the album or 2222 for the journal), and also can upload through the web interface. You have 25 megabytes of online storage.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tracfone Promo codes

I jsut added airtime to my dad's Nokia 2126 (will add a double minute card to my mom's later today) and was looking for some good promotional codes...so, from Yahoo Groups' tracfone_users database here are the good ones:

58695 - 100 extra units on a 1-year card
51283 - 60 extra units on a 60+ minute card
51206, 56024, 52636, 56084, 55698 - 20 extra units on a 60+ minute card
58298 - 30 extra units on a 60+ minute card
57676 - 30 extra days on a 60+ minute card

Those are the best ones, as far as I can tell, taht are still working. Take a look at the Tracfone_Users Yahoo group for more...hope this helps everyone!

CheapPhoneCards Coupons

By the way, CheapPhoneCards now has new coupon codes. Here are all the ones that work and how much they get off on stuff:

cheap - 3% (old)
save8 - 5% (new, use this one)
cingular10 - 10% (might or might not work, only for GoPhone)

Hope this helps!

Movida Gets Cheaper

Well, I take it back...there is something to post about today: Movida.

The carrier, which is the foremost in selling old Sprint handsets as their own phones (LG 225 for $50 if I remember correctly, LG 125 for $30, Sanyo 200 and UTStarCom 7025 for $30 I guess), has now started a small, Latino-oriented portal for buying ringtones, graphics and games, plus their previous text messaging services, and has redone their rate structure slightly, aiming for more revenue per month and settling for less per minute...

They started a new $35 refill, the main purpose of which is to give people a 140 minute a month plan with unlimited nights and weekends (though on Movida they still start at 9) I guess. But other than that the monthly rate structure remains the same.

The regular prepaid structure has changed, however. All airtime cards now give 10 cents a minute anytime, and all except the 30-day $20 card expire in 60 days, for a minimum of $15 a month, up from $10. But hey, if you use more than 75 minutes a month this plan is better than the previous one, and it's really nice to see plans with 10 cents a minute coming to all the major carriers (PagePlus, T-Mobile, Net10, now Movida) with no fees to get there.

Another really neat thing is the new Movida Amigos program, askin to T-Mobile's Gold Rewards. After you've spent $200 on Movida airtime (if you're paying the minimum that is now just over a year and a half of service), you call up Movida and they start giving you one point for every dollar you spend on a Movida airtime card. These points can be redeemed as soon as you buy even the $20 card, but it's best to wait...because 20 points gets you $2 in credit, 30 gets you $4 and 50 gets you $8. So if you're willing to spend $50 on airtime before redeeming your points you get $58 total, which translates into a cool ~8.6 cents a minute on the "MoviDIME" plan. Dunno, but that beats any other Sprint prepaid by a nice margin. And if you use the monthly plan, that turns the $30 a month, 120-minute plan into one that's effectively $25.90 or thereabouts...not bad for 120 minutes and unlimited nights and weekends starting at 9 p.m.

So yeah, Movida is stepping it up.

All's Quiet on the Prepaid Front...

Don't see anything new on the prepaid front...well, prepaidwireless has the expensive, cheaply-unlockable Sony Erocsson w300 music flip for $100 on XE Mobile (again, easy to unlock and $150 value or so). But that's sorta expensive...and it's old news really...

But there will be news next week. Don't know if I can tell it or not, but it has something to do with prepaid phone card sites.

Also, I will get the forum up (it has vanished since it last fell into disuse!) probably this week, but right now I have studying, homework, testing and various breeds of work to do otherwise...

One last thing: the amount of sponsors you visit (hint: they're in that little white box) is directly proportional to when I get the Motorola w370...so support this site ;)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Whatever happened to Cellphoner.net?

...it's still there, but now to get to it you have to go to www.cellphoner.net/forums. And it doesn't look good at all...:(

The solution? Make the official Go4Prepaid forum! Expect it to be up either this coming week or three weeks from now...and expect signing onto it to have something to do with giving away phones :)

PagePlus LG vx4500

Looks to be a good phone, and it's coming to BabbleBug by the end of today! The price will be $50 (or two for $90) on this solid, though grey-haired (not so much as the Audiovox 8600 though) flip phone with a color internal screen and an external one for good measure. And, on top of it all, I'll be reviewing this phone soon. So stay tuned!

GrandCentral: Call Forwarding To Whatever You Use

I just signed up yesterday for xxx-88x-POEM, which forwards to my Cyclops. And, if need be to my LG 3280 Tracfone. And if need be to another cell. Whatever it forwards to, things are pretty neat with GrandCentral.

You get to pick your number, and they have numbers in all the major cities that I can see, and you can configure your "ringback tone" if you want, and set up voicemail, etc. Plus, it's all free right now! I have to say, now I don't feel so guilty that I'll be changing my cell number relatively often to keep up with my sometimes voracious minute needs (I talked an unthinkable half hour on my phone last night...most of my calling was after 7 p.m. but still same cost for me), because no matter what number I'm on people can still reach me. Coolness.

Oh, and you can get your own number at www.grandcentral.com.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Edit: 139 is the new 155

Edits in bold...

Yes, Tracfone just changed their phone lineup slightly. On all GSM phone areas the free phone with the "twofer" deal is now the Motorola c139. Personally, it's a step down, but it is definately a newer, more valuable phone, despite the fact that at its inception it had a problem with losing minutes and despite its lo-fi monophonic ringtones. But anyway, the free phone has changed (and that's all for now) and as I have said over the past while any change would be change for the better.

And yes, the 60-minute cards are real, useable on whatever phone you want.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Trac is Back

Well, all the phones that were out of stock yesterday are back "in stock". Including the Motorola w370 and excepting the v176, which will probably be taken down soon. So if you want a "twofer", feel free...

Kyocera Cyclops & Virgin Mobile, Part 2

Okay, here's the second part of my Cyclops review. Having covered the parts of the phone that make it, well, a phone, I will now cover the extra-phone-icular stuff....

First off, Kyocera has built some nice features into this phone's firmware, though in my opinion the interface still seems soooo 2002, probably because the regular Kyocera graphics and everything on the external screen (which isn't very bright at all; they shoulda used a REAL black and green display instead of whatever they used) are pixelated. And there's wasted space on the text messaging and picture messaging forms, but whatever. I could go on with a laundry list of problems with the user interface on the Cyclops but in doing so I'd reveal that the phone has a TON of functionality built in, from the usual calculators and such to a nifty little way to quickly find phone numbers: press the number for the letter the name starts with, then scroll.

And to dispel any premonitions about the camera, it works very well in good light, not so well in indoor or bad light. 640x480 gives you a sharp picture generally, but if you want to go large the 1.3 megapixel (1280x1024, so yes it's a true 3 versus 1280x960) resolution is certainly there, though on a really sharp picture you'll not be able to send the photo, and in any case it'll take longer (640x480 photos send really quickly...in seconds...on the network...but more on that later). For a picture in good conditions, take a look at http://farm1.static.flickr.com/193/493167919_d7e793df7e_o.jpg. As you can see, on a good day the phone will actually make full use of all its pixel count (side note: this picture was taken last weekend on a church camping trip).

And that brings to the end the really phone-related features...no wait...the phone has really good (fast) Java capability (fast for apps, see later) and comes with a dearth of wallpapers (no big deal) and ringtones (big deal...all the ones on there are annoying), forcing you to either buy a $2 or $2.50 ringtone (my choice was the former) or buy a cable and "roll your own". Annoying, that.

Anyway, to the services, which are what make this phone really good...

First off, this phone was the first one to incorperate Virgin Audio Messaging (VAM). It's a Java app that basically receives up-to-30-second-long audio SMSes and sends them. First 100 are free for now, then they're 10 cents (figures zeroed-out monthly). Anyhow, though this service shares many of the features of the Kodiak push to talk used by Cingular and Alltel, it's not nearly as fast, so it's very apt that Virgin Mobile didn't market it as such.

Next on the coolness scale is e-mail. I haven't really messed with it but the Java-based client (which works with AOL, AIM and Yahoo mail, plus some ISPs' services) is good enough, and clean enough, plus you get notifications when you get new email. And emails are part of your messaging bucket (like text, IM and picture...!...messages, which can be as cheap as a penny apiece), which is nice, though in actuality a data connection for the email on Virgin Mobile is cheaper than a penny per message.

IM is nice too. The only annoying thing is that if you use predictive text (Kyocera's positively painful Zi method, wresting the prize from Motorola's iTAP) a text entry window pops up which requires a few more button presses than the usual text box. But other than that, IM is a joy to use...too bad you can't get on AIM and Yahoo simultaneously, for total IM compatibility (if you don't count Google Talk...Windows Live works with Yahoo now). You get a message (like on email and VAM) when you get a new IM, including on the outside of the phone, if the app isn't running, and it takes about 10 seconds from pressing OK till you get that message (opening the app, opening the data connection, receiving the message). Which isn't horrible.

And yes, Sprint's 1x web is no joke. Web on the Cyclops is plenty fast for the price (10 KB per penny if you're paying by the month...almsot as cheap as Amp'd...), both sending (remember I said picture messages were fast) and receiving, and though you can't download "alien" Java apps, ringers or graphics onto the phone via OpenWave (stupid evil fascist materialist Virgin Mobile pigs heh) you can browse the web otherwise with ease, whether you're looking at Facebook or GMail, though OpenWave will positively butcher normal HTML pages.

Lastly, if you don't like the annoying fact that Virgin Mobile wants you to buy their stuff, only cable can free you from your preturbed state. Sorry, couldn't resist, but in truth a $15 cable from eBay plus the knowhow shared in the last few posts will grant you the power to use your phone even more...Opera Mini anyone? Who said Virgin Mobile phones weren't hackable?

So, besides build quality and battery life (want an extended battery? How does $50 sound for double life? I'm still thinking about it...) and the fact that Kyocera's phone interface isn't pretty, this phone is a winner. I hope that newer phones won't have the sorta wierd isses mine has, and if that hope is granted this is a solid phone.

So there's the Kyocera Cyclops review...and no, I'm not giving away this phone. :) It's my main cell now.

Kyocera Cyclops & Virgin Mobile, Part 1

I don't think just a few minutes (before school) is enough to give a good review, so I'll quickly talk about the three aspects of a phone that make it a good phone...and whether, by this measurement, the Kyocera is a good phone...

In the area of call quality, I have no complaints. The phone picks u a Sprint signal better in low-signal areas than did the Slice or any of my other Sprint-based phones to my reckoning, despite its having an internal antenna, though the difference between it and the other phones wasn't much. Call quality in eneral is good...nothing to complain about in that area.

Battery life, on the other hand, reminds me of Nextel: 36 hours of light to moderate usage where I go. With heavier usage the Motorola v323i I had got a bit over two days. I have a feeling the Cyclops wouldn't do well on standby times. So I'd suggest getting a car charger for this phone :(.

Last, build quality: junky. The keypad is annoying in that some keys "pop" slightly out and it's annoying to press the next time...and the phone in general isn't built too well. Too bad this is Virgin's top-of-the-line phone for now...:(

More review later...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I thought I was going to review the Cyclops tonight, but I wanna go to bed, so look here tomorrow morning for the review :)

30 For Life - Going Dead?

I just read on Tracfone_users (the Yahoo group) that the Tracfone "30 minutes for life" promotion will end June 30th. As in phones activated after that date won't get the promotion, unless Tracfone extends the offer. All I have to say is, in the immortal words of Robert E. Lee, "Too bad! Oh, too bad!"

Out Of Stock Tracs?

I just checked Tracfone's website and the following are "out of stock". Which means, hopefully, that they'll be replaced...

Cingular (GSM4)

Motorola c155 "twofer" deal - Hopefully this means that they're running low on phones, so they're coming out with a different one, not that they're stopping the deal altogether...strangely the regular refurbished phone isn't out of stock...

Motorola w370 - No surprise here...the phone just came out...it'll be in stock soon...

Motorola v176 - Not much surprise here...the site refers to retail sotres...I'll bet Tracfone sold the last of them in their own warehouses before they put the w370 up.

T-Mobile (GSM5)

Motorola c155 "twofer deal" - See above

Actually, for T-Mobile, all "free phone" offers are "out of stock". Wierd. Leaving the option of buying refurb ($10) or new Moto c155s, or c139s ($15), or the Motorola v170 ($40).

Dobson CellOne (GSM6)

Um...let's just say choices are limited. The only phones in stock are the refurbished and new Motorola c155s. Hmph.

Let's just hope this means tomorrow or the next day Tracfone revamps their lineup to include such phones as the Nokia 1112 (they've gotta have some refurbished ones by now) or even the Motorola c139 refurbished. It would also be really nice to see the new phones come up and the Motorola w370 come online...

But anyhow I have a Cyclops review to do :)

Cyclops Fun

First off, I'll have that Cyclops review out tonight...so come back soon!

Second, the Cyclops has now been totally hacked, dude. No more paying $2 (like I did) for a dinky MIDI ringtone...just grab a cable and you're good to go, with the instructions from here:


This particular post talks about putting games and various other apps (including the luxurious Opera Mini...a nice alternative to built-in OpenWave) onto the phone. However, there's a link there for if you want to take pictures off the phone, or put ringers and backgrounds on.

Have fun everyone!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nokia 2126i Fun &c

Dude, like whoa. The Nokia 2126i is holding its own against the LG 3280 as the most audacious CDMA Trac out there...

1. Want to put ringtones and graphics on your Nokia 2126\2126i? Feel free...http://www.howardforums.com/showpost.php?p=9174869&postcount=82.

2. Rumor has it that Nokia 2126i's are ringing up at Wal-Mart for $15 instead of $30...with the 60 extra starter minutes! Go to a Wally World near you and have the friendly cell phone guy scan the package to make sure...but if you're new to Tracfone and this deal is golden (I'm 99% sure that the 60 minutes don't get applied if you move an old account) this is the time to buy.

Last but not least, keep clicking ads here and signing up for cellphoner.net if you haven't already! Derek got back with me on the Virgin Mobile Kyocera Marbl but if I get enough ad clicks to pay for it I'll go ahead and buy the Motorola w370 and review it right here, then give it away to one lucky winner!

And sorry about the review for the Cyclops...I should be working on Calculus right now (AP test tomorrow...wish me luck!) but since that test ends tomorrow I should have enough of a breather to get the Cyclops review out then. Stay tuned!

CircuitCity Deals

At http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Prepaid-Wireless-Phones/sem/rpsm/catOid/-12830/N/20013161+20016441+20012830/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do you can get a few of Virgin Mobile's phones for cheaper than anywhere else.

The Slice is $29.99 there with free shipping (though I'm sure tax applies), beating Virgin Mobile's own site by $10 plus tax (whew, who ever thought a phone thinner than half an inch would be sold for $30 prepaid?). If there's a store nearby you can pick one up there.

The Audiovox 8610 "Vox" (yeah, the old phone) is $17. You have to pay extra for shipping though, and tax...so not a great deal (old phone anyway).

Oh, and the Kyocera Oystr is $10 (plus shipping, tax, tax on shipping) but it's not a great phone anyway.

Last but not least, the Switch_Back, as seems to be the trend, is down to $80. Nice if you need a phone with a keyboard.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Various and Sundry Fun (Virgin Mobile & Tracfone)

A few things for Virgin Mobile and Tracfone...

...first Virgin Mobile...

1. The Marbl is now $20 via Virgin Mobile's website, putting it in line with all the other places that are selling it, which is nice...the phone's only worth that, if that much, anyway.

2. Phone for sale! A near-new Slice with about $55 of airtime on it for $65 shipped. A friend switched to another service and wants to get back the money he paid for the airtime. Again, the phone is worth $40 so spread it around if you yourself don't want it...

...second Tracfone...

1. If you want to send a picture message on a Tracfone, or receive one (MMS in general actually, picture or not), the message takes one unit plus 0.5 units of "web airtime" which can add up to 2 or 2.5 units total because GPRS isn't fast and GPRS is all the Motorola c261 has.

2. The Motorola w370 is out on Tracfone's website if you use GSM4 to buy it! Wonder what True Tones mp3 player means...and I'm wondering whether I'll get enough ad clicks this month to get it...

Oh, and please check around and see if anyone wants the Slice...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

T-Mobile Deal @ Target and Marbl

Looks like Target has a really nice deal with T-Mobile stuff right now. You can buy a $100 card and get a free Nokia 6030 on T-Mobile To Go right now, at a Target store. Then you can return the phone and get about $30 back. Presto! Cheap (7 cent per minute) T-Mobile To Go airtime! If only we had a target around here...

By the way, derekm2008, please claim your Marbl within the next 24 hours or it's going to be possible to win it starting next week...

Trac Promo Code

For Cinco de Mayo, Tracfone is giving out a 100-minute promotional code on their 1-year airtime card, for 500 minutes total and thus 20 cents a minute (11.11 cents a minute with the double minute plan, since promotional codes don't double):


In other words you get 20 cent minutes and 6 cent texts on all Tracfone airtime $40 and abobve...not counting the 30 minute bonus program or the double minute plan.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Direct Refills for Amp'd and Boost

BabbleBug just came out with instant, direct (no PINs required) refills for Boost Mobile and Amp'd Mobile. You give them your phone number, pick your refill amount, hit Buy and wait for the airtime to show up on your phone. Boost Mobile even has a "flex-payment" option, where you can pick your refill amount, whether that's $10 (the minimum...you pay 50 cents extra for purchase sunder $20) or $97.52 ($99 is the max). Neat, huh?

Virgin Mobile Updates & Tracfone On Dobson

Sorry that I've not posted in a few days...I've been busy and my high-speed internet connection went out for a few days. but I'm back and have some info...first to Virgin Mobile...

1. The Kyocera Cyclops is now my main phone, as I couldn't justify the cost of an unlimited plan, and will be moving this fall to Colorado. I'll have a review of this phone probably tomorrow.

2. Calling derekm2008! Calling derekm2008! If you don't post on cellphoner.net and PM me back with your address, I can't send you the phone you won!

3. Virgin Mobile has a policy about lost\stolen phones, or rather phones reported as lost\stolen: they sell you another one at what is usually a sizeable discount. I found out the prices of each phone, should that happen to you:

Cyclops - $50 (no better than Wirefly)
Snapper - $35 (If I remember correctly)
Slice - $25
Marbl - $21.50
Oystr - don't remember
Slider Sonic\Switch_Back - $45 (niiice)
K7\K9\udiovox 8500 - $7
Shorty\K10 Royale - $10

Sometimes you'd be better off to just get the phone new (I'm pretty sure these phones can be refurbished) and change your number, but on the more expensive models you actually get a good deal, should theft or loss strike.

And now to Tracfone...

They've apparently signed on another carrier for GSM service: Dobson CellularOne. For Texas and such areas, you'd actually get better coverage with Dobson than with Cingular, so this is nice...and in some places you'll get a local number with them where you wouldn't othewise. The downside to this is that Cingular-based Tracfones are still the only ones that can do anything other than talk and text (the Motorola w370 won't show up on either T-Mobile or Dobson Tracfone service anytime soon). But hey, it's SingleRate! If you want to buy a Dobson-based Tracfone, just change the "tech=" part of the Tracfone Orders website to gsm6.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Oystr - Now with $20 of Free Airtime

Oh, and Kyocera's Oystr (Virgin Mobile of course) has joined the ranks of the Shorty and the K10 Royale as being available for free with $20 in airtime, or rather $20 including $20 in airtime upon activation. So now you have a choice of "free phones with new agreement" that spans the sturdy though black-and-white Shorty, the color, web-enabled Royale and the lame flip Oystr. Not great phones, but the price is right.

Virgin Mobile Slices Slice Prices

Okay, couldn't resist the title...

but anyhow Virgin Mobile has just taken $10 off of the price for both colors of Slice on their website. So they're now $40, $10 more expensive than the Marbl. I'd say the $10 is worth it unless the only thing you do on your phone is talk. I'll bet more price cuts will happen soon...

And the winner is...

...derekm2008! Thanks to everyone for entering...look for another giveaway relatively soon...