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Why Smartphones are the Smartest Gift for Graduation

Posted by Andrea Drag
  
  
  
  
  
  

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May through June is graduation season, and many parents are already thinking ahead to the fall. Upgrading your children's mobile device is an easy way to send your kids off to college with a graduation gift they'll love. This practical present will make it a breeze to stay in touch, no matter how far away their academic pursuits take them. The latest smartphones are also powerful technological resources that can provide plenty of organizational support to your college-bound kids - letting them work with the device over the summer will help them master its features before they take the next big step in their journeys. A bit of research will help you pick out the perfect smartphone for propelling your college students toward success in the upcoming semester.

Smartphones are a great resource for college students
Smartphones are ubiquitous on college campuses, commonly found in the hands of undergrads and graduate students alike as they go from class to class. Yahoo Small Business noted that 53 percent of college students currently own smartphones, and that number is likely to increase as more high school students who grew up in the age of smartphones head to the next stage of their education.

One of the reasons smartphones are so popular among college students is because of their use as versatile personal assistants. Business and international business students can surf their favorite news aggregates between classes. Out-of-state transfers can utilize the map app on their smartphone to navigate a new city and a big campus. Tech-savvy students use their smartphones as portable storage devices, carrying important files and class documents with them for class. The extracurricular oriented students will find their smartphones are a priceless asset to access email and social media on the go. Calendar applications provide an easy way for students in every type of program to keep their classes, homework and social life in order.

These are just a sample of reasons why smartphones make perfect gifts for recent graduates. The trick is finding the right device. A quick visit to your local Wireless Zone will make it simple to find a smartphone upgrade that's right for the college-bound members of your household.

Apple's iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy are great picks for graduates
Apple's iPhones are by far the most popular smartphone among the college-aged crowd, and the latest iPhone 6 has likewise been a big seller among millennial students. The new 4.7-inch model offers powerful hardware and a more streamlined design, along with the numerous innovations packed into Apple's latest iOS operating system.

If your kids are already Apple aficionados it makes sense to stay within the company's stable of products. Streamlined connectivity between products will make it easy for your students to transfer information from one Apple device to another. The iconic nature of the Apple brand also make the iPhone a great gift for kids with a flair for fashion.

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Smartphones allow college students to stay connected with friends and family.

Depending on the needs and preferences of your children, you may want to compare Apple's latest iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy S6. Well received as the best Android option on the market, the Galaxy S6 boasts a 5.1-inch screen that bests the iPhone in color and resolution, according to Laptop Mag. Samsung's flagship smartphone also features a better camera and longer battery life. These improved performance factors make the device a strong alternative to the iPhone if your college students aren't attached to Apple products.

The iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 aren't the only smartphones on the market with the power and functionality your student needs for college. The HTC One M9's 20-megapixel camera, for instance, is a great benefit to users with an interest in shutter work and photo editing. For busy students with a hectic schedule planned for their first semester, the long battery life of Motorola's Moto E smartphone may be the right choice. A quick conversation about college plans with your kids may provide you with the extra insights you need to pick out the right device.

In-store visits offer extra insights for smartphone shoppers
describe the imageTest running these devices for yourself, or even letting your kids help pick out their graduation gift while in-store, is the best way to feel sure about your smartphone selection. You'll also be able to get more information about your child's top choices from an expert associate. Visiting your local Wireless Zone provides you an opportunity to browse and size accessories your college students will need like headphones, cases and extra chargers. Outfitting your family with these extras before they go to college will ensure they can save their pocket money for pencils and paper.

 

 

 

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Top 10 Helpful Apps for Moms

Posted by Andrea Drag
  
  
  
  
  
  

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Motherhood is a challenging balancing act. One of the easiest ways to make more time for doing the things that make you smile is by taking advantage of the high-tech time-saver in your purse or pocket, your smartphone. The ten apps listed below are all geared toward making your day more efficient and reclaiming valued hours. Check out how these latest apps can turn your Apple iPhone or Android device into a combination monthly budget, to-do list, fitness planner, photo journal and more.

piggy bank10. Mint.com Personal Finance (free) Moms are often in charge of paying the bills, which is generally not a fun task. You can minimize the hassle of budgeting by keeping records on a regular basis. Smartphone apps like Mint.com Personal Finance make it easy to input spending on a day-to-day basis. Keeping track of the family's budget in this method stops the end of the month from becoming a stressful accounting chore. 

 

headphones9. SoundHound (free) Mom's with Apple devices will always be able to catch the titles of the radio track thanks to SoundHound. The app is capable of identifying songs in just four seconds by listening to the tune on the radio or simply recording your voice while you hum along to the tune. Using this app will make it easy for you to expand you music library and learn a bit more about the types of artists your kids are bumping on their iPhones.

 

cooking 18. Epicurious (free) Moms tasked with preparing meals for their families on a nightly basis know that getting stuck in a culinary rut is not fun. Thankfully, a nearly infinite cookbook is always at your fingertips in the form of your smartphone. Epicurious available on Apple, Windows and Android devices offers a database of over 30,000 recipes. It can store favorites as go-to options, including recipes from Epicurious and others collected from your favorite cooking sites. 

cooking 27. BigOven (free) Sometimes your busy schedule prevents you from making as many shopping trips as you'd like though you and your family still need to be fed in the evening. The BigOven app, available on Android, Apple and Windows devices, has a novel "leftovers" feature. Simply input different ingredients in your kitchen that you'd like to clear off the shelves and the app will scour its 250,000 recipe database for dishes that match your ingredients.  

shopping bag6. Coupon Sherpa Mobile (free) A bit of extra research goes a long way when it comes to making smart purchases for the home. Coupon Sherpa Mobile boasts having regularly updated savings opportunities at over 5,000 well-known retailers. This app will save you time spent hunting for deals by collecting coupons for stores you already frequent. This convenient shopping app is a must for moms who want to spend less time running errands and more time at home.

 

emergency

5. smart-ICE4family (paid) Part of being a mom is being ready for any emergency. The smart-ICE4family app provides direct access to a long list of emergency services from one easy-to-use interface. The app delivers the user's location to services automatically and can hold notes about your family's medical details. Having this information handy on your phone can be a lifesaver if a family members is rushed to a hospital and their medical records aren't available. 

 

planner4. Things (paid) With a smartphone in your hand and the right app, you can review an entire day's worth of chores and goals with a single glance. Things is such an app, and you'll find using it helps you keep to your schedule without letting important appointments slip through the cracks. Errands are conveniently sorted by date to ensure your mobile to-do list never gets too confusing or overwhelming.

 

fitness3. FitStar Personal Trainer (paid) Exercise can help give moms the extra energy they need to stay motivated and moving throughout the day. Finding the time to visit the gym or track calories, however, can be a serious challenge. FitStar Personal Trainer eliminates obstacles of fitness lifestyles by bringing professional workouts to your smartphone. The app asks questions after every workout to check your fitness level and suggests routines for your next visit to the digital gym.

 

photos2. 23snaps (free) Your smartphone makes it easy to act as your family's professional photographer, but sharing those photos conveniently is another story altogether. That's why 23snaps, which streamlines the process of organizing and sorting photos of your kids, is such a great download for moms. You can even create a profile for each child to make browsing through existing photos as simple as possible. 

 

bed1. Sleep Machine (paid) At the end of the day, nothing helps to make sure you've got energy and enthusiasm for the rest of the week like a good night's rest. Apps like Sleep Machine allow you to create playlists and mixes that help you slip into a slumber more easily. Tracks can be set to smoothly transition from one to the other, allowing you to drift off into sleep without being distracted by jarring changes in music.  

 

We hope all you Moms found these apps helpful and fun. Be sure to visit your nearest Wireless Zone for amazing Mother's Day deals just for you! 

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Get your hands on the HTC One M9 before deciding on your next smartphone

Posted by Andrea Drag
  
  
  
  
  
  

Check out the new One M9 and see what feels different about the HTC's flagship phone.

  atihome.com wzdata Personal andread My Documents My Pictures HTC girl taking selfieYou'd be mistaken if you were to believe that the search for the perfect Apple iPhone alternative began and ended with the latest Samsung Galaxy. In reality, there are numerous high-end smartphones offering their own handful of technological perks that help them stand out from the crowd. The HTC One M9 is one such smartphone that offers enough style, functionality and power to appeal to discerning smartphone users. Learning more about the unique combination of features that the device has to offer will help you make a more educated decision during your next smartphone upgrade.

Perks push the HTC One M9 into view
Striving to distinguish itself from  Apple and Samsung, HTC added a few twists to the routine smartphone formula. An article on ZDNet.com points out that the most noticeable way that the HTC One M9 breaks away from the mold is by fitting squarely into the user's hand. While Apple and Samsung devices continue to inch up in size, HTC has committed to developing a device that users can still hold snugly in their palms while on the go.

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HTC’s latest device has plenty of surprises in store.

 A next level camera with plenty of tricks
Advanced camera functionality is quickly becoming a necessity if a manufacturer wants its smartphone to compete directly with industry leaders. HTC has equipped the One M9 with plenty of software features that will invite photo-friendly smartphone users to visit their local smartphone provider and try out the camera for themselves.

For instance, users can switch between the One M9's four unique capture modes easily and on the fly, according to Digital Trends. Built-in software can also turn your photos into printable cards, the ability to create your own custom photo capture modes and transform your photos into new themes for the phone's home page. Users can even program their camera to automatically take a photo when the viewfinder senses a smiling face. These and other built-in software upgrades help users get the most out of the device's 20 megapixel camera

Reliable software will appeal to Android purists  atihome.com wzdata Personal andread My Documents My Pictures M9 Girl on phone
Fans of the Google Android operating system will find plenty to love on the HTC's newest smartphone. HTC has long been known for delivering one of the most cohesive, user-friendly executions of the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS on the market, and the manufacturer hopes that the latest release will stay true to brand. Again, the HTC One M9 offers users extra customization when it comes to the look and feel of their phone's interface. The layout that the device displays applications in, for example, can be modified for the user's convenience.

HTC's iterations of Android have also been some of the most timely updated OS upgrades in previous smartphone generations. Those looking to take advantage of a finely polished Android experience will be hard pressed to find a better deal than the HTC One M9, according to Computerworld. While none of these perks may seem like enough to stray from a user's favorite brand, smartphone buyers may feel different once they give the lightweight, powerful HTC One M9 a test drive in the showroom of their local Wireless Zone. Afterall, you can always earn a bit of extra insight about a phone's performance when you try a device out for yourself.

 

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Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

If you’re like most of us, the holidays are a whirlwind time focused on friends and family. That’s the good part. The bad part is trying to decide what sort of gifts to get your loved ones that will stand out and make them feel special. Our best suggestion? Don’t focus so much on what you’re going to buy, but who you’re buying it for. Most people fit into broad categories you can use that make shopping for them much easier.

Outdoorsy types will love things that will help protect their mobile devices while they are out doing cool but messy activities.  Take a good look at waterproof cases, rugged cases, or even something like glass screen protection. These all make excellent stocking stuffers, no matter who you're buying for.

Teens will bow down to your greatness for giving them a device designed with their needs in mind. Think large screen and plenty of storage for all their movies and music, with enough horsepower to keep game-playing fast and furious.  

Everyone has at least one audiophile on their shopping list, and there are plenty of gifts to choose from that will feed their need for music. Bluetooth enabled speakers can be paired with any mobile device. Or for something more personal, a set of high end headphones can let anyone enjoy a concert without the whole world listening in.

There are going to be a lot of great deals available on Black Friday, so make your choices now to score a direct hit when you go out and make your holiday dash through the stores.

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App of the Month: WAZE

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  
Tags: , , , ,

First, let me tell you that WAZE is probably the most relevant traffic app available. Why? Because it is a unique hybrid of advanced mapping technology and social media. The nuts and bolts aspect of WAZE, getting from Point A to Point B in the most direct way is pretty much spot on.  Simply type in (or speak) a specific address, or even something like “pizza in Danbury, CT” to start your journey.  WAZE will provide the most direct route, alert you of problems along the way, and give you a surprisingly accurate ETA for reaching your destination. Plus, as a bonus, you can share your route via SMS or email. The recipient can even watch your progress via this link to see if you encounter traffic along the way. Simply incredible!

What helps the app really shine is the continuous stream of travel data that is input from other users as they drive to their various destinations. Is there a car broken down on the shoulder on I-95? Just a few taps on the screen and everyone in the area knows to look out for it. The same thing goes for traffic, accidents, road hazards, and (yes) speed traps. This continuous stream of data is more accurate and more reliable than anything that could ever be generated by other means.

Instead of relying on data provided by the DOT or local traffic cams, it uses real time input from actual drivers. This means no matter how remote the area is you are traveling in, there’s likely to be a real time report of value to help your trip. Stuck in a seemingly endless traffic jam in unfamiliar territory? No problem. WAZE also offers up alternate routes and shows exactly how much time is saved by using them. My all-time record for time saved is 53 minutes (really!) when part of I-84 was closed due to an accident. While everyone sat on the hoods of their cars and waited, I happily sailed along on some very obscure back roads to arrive at home on time for dinner. The laundry list of great features also includes providing accurate local gas prices, and a trip calculator to take you to the best gas price in whatever town you may find yourself. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s so good it’s scary.

In short, put your old-fashioned GPS up for sale on eBay and download WAZE for your phone!

 

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Smartphones: Is bigger always better?

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the latest mobile device releases these days. One maker boasts their newest smartphone has a 5.4” screen, a second points out they have a 5.5” screen, and yet another touts their chart-topping 6.4” screen. So which one is best?  Is bigger really better when it comes to smartphones?

If you’re like me, comfort is high on your list of must-haves with a new device. While I am truly tempted by the monstrous screens on the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Note 4, I would feel a bit conspicuous pulling it out in public just to send a text. However, if you ask my wife the same question, she would tell you the larger screen is a great way to catch up on her reading at the beach, for watching a video while waiting to pick up my son after school, or easily answering all of her email while on the go. I guess that means the decision is a bit like buying a pair of shoes. Make your decision based on how you will use the device, how well it suits your user style, and how well it fits you.

Personal preferences aside, there are some real-world physical limitations to keep in mind. As you can see in the graphic below, not everyone’s hand is large enough to use – let alone hold some of the larger phones currently available.

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I recommend two simple tests to try before making your purchase: First, grasp each phone firmly in the space between your thumb and index finger. How much grip do you have with the larger phone? The larger phones also tend to weigh more, which can negatively impact comfort.

Second, hold the phone in one hand and swoop your thumb across the screen in an arc; much like a windshield wiper. What percentage of the screen does your thumb comfortably reach? Is it enough to cover your typical day’s app usage?

For iPhone users, Apple built in some help for those with limited reach: Tap the home button lightly twice, and everything at the top of the screen jumps to the middle, making it much easier to access – regardless of phone size. Additionally, some apps like iMessage have controls that live in the lower right corner, near your thumb.

Most users with large phones end up learning how to operate them with two hands, or developing “unusual” ways to hold them. I feel that if you start looking like a contortionist, you might want to consider moving to a smaller phone.

Another often overlooked part of the purchase decision comes from answering the question: “How will I carry this”? Does the phone fit into your typical pants or shirt pocket? How about a small “evening out” purse or your everyday “mom bag”? There’s nothing in my wardrobe that a large phone wouldn’t fit comfortably into, and my wife could hide a full-size PC in the day-to-day bag that she lugs around.

After all that, what’s the best advice I can give? It’s actually quite simple: Try the new device on for size before making a purchase; and don’t just try one – test drive a couple of alternatives. Your wireless retailer genuinely wants you to leave happy and satisfied with your shiny new purchase, so take the time to choose wisely.

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Verizon's Family Locator Helps You Keep Track of Loved Ones

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

In today’s fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, families often have to deal with wondering “where is everyone”? Fortunately, there is a simple tech solution to this problem, and it’s probably already in your pocket! With Family Locator, you can keep tabs on your family’s whereabouts whether they’re at work, school, the mall, or even an outdoor event.

How It Works
It’s easy to get started using your Verizon Wireless account. Once you add Family Locator to your account, you simply send a text message to the phone of everyone in your family that you would like to be able to monitor. Once your family’s devices have been enabled*, you simply log on to the Family Locator portal on your PC to set up profiles, add locations such as school or work, and schedule text or email alerts for each phone. Once this is done, you’ll be able to receive updates with the location of your family member’s phones, so you can keep your loved ones close even when they are far away.

What it Does
-Locate Your Family Anytime: Get locations, including street address, a detailed map, and turn-by-turn directions to every family member.
-Receive Arrival and Departure Updates: Family Locator will text or email you when family members leave predetermined locations such as work, school, or home.
-Schedule Automatic Updates: Have Family Locator find your family members at a certain time and text or email you with their locations.
-Stay Connected with Family Messaging: Text family members after locating them with the integrated messaging feature.

Bonus Features
For your younger family members, there is an excellent free add-on that allows you to manage the content they receive on their mobile devices. Parents can choose from 3 tiers of filtering: Children 7+, Teens 13+, and Young Adults 17+. By setting these simple boundaries, you can protect your children from questionable content even if you aren’t around to help guide them.

Have a teen driver in your family? Get an estimate of how fast they are driving each time you locate their device. Let them know you care by watching out for their safety while they are on the road.

With Family Locator, you can monitor as much or as little as you feel appropriate, and caring about your family has gotten a little bit easier thanks to technology. Visit your local Wireless Zone® Retailer to learn more.

 

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Wireless Zone App Of The Month: Battery Doctor

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

App of the month: Battery Doctor

Let’s face it; everyone has had their battery run out of juice at some point in their ultra-connected life. Today’s smartphones are power hogs compared to the simpler days when flip phones ruled the landscape. HD screens, GPS locators, streaming media, and constant Facebook updates all combine to quickly deplete what is already a finite resource.

Enter Battery Doctor (Android / iOS). Our October App of the Month is a great way to keep track of your power consumption based on what you use your device for most. It also shows how to conserve that precious resource by disabling functions or apps that are silently reducing your air time, and provides different charging modes for your device to maximize battery life. The high point of the app is the one-touch optimization feature to really save you time and energy. (Pun intended)

If you still find that your battery runs out at the most inopportune moment, don’t give up hope just yet. You can always add a car charger to your glovebox, or for the best protection, a Mophie Juice Pack will provide you with nearly double the power! Stop by Your local Wireless Zone® Retailer to see how we can help.

 

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Softcard: The new way to pay with your phone

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

Softcard is an exciting new way to make electronic payments while you’re on the go. Instead of wasting time fumbling for credit cards and worrying if your data is being compromised, Softcard offers a quick and easy way to pay, while also protecting your important financial information.

The secret to Softcard’s success is already embedded in most current Android smartphones. The NFC chip allows your phone to complete a secure data transfer using something called (appropriately enough) “Near-Field Communications”. Much like how your laptop communicates with your router at home, your phone now becomes your credit card. Simply place it near an NFC- enabled checkout terminal at one of over 200,000 (and growing) local merchants, enter your PIN, and the transaction is completed. It’s really that simple. Plus, if the phone is ever lost or stolen, you can freeze your phone’s wallet to protect your assets with a single click or call.

Through Verizon’s partnership with American Express, there are a number of promotions that make changing the way you pay even more attractive. From instant credits to cash back, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

 

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The LG G3: Crashing the flagship device party

Posted by Chris Cardinal
  
  
  
  
  
  

As the last entry into the top tier device group for 2014, LG had a lot to live up to. Given the overwhelming success of the Galaxy S5 and the juggernaut that is the iPhone, there was little room for another player.  With the G3 LG has met the challenge and in some cases, surpassed their competition.

With the G3, LG has taken an Android power-user’s wish list and packed it into a sleek device that boasts features such as: 2.5GHZ Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM (wow), 32GB of built-in storage with support for micro SD cards up to 128GB (again, wow), a 13 megapixel camera (with infrared laser focus!), and of course an amazing QuadHD screen. The G3 also holds its own in the looks department with a sleek brushed metal look body that just feels “right” in your hand. The G3 is easily the most user-friendly phone with a screen size of 5.5 inches.

So how does it perform in day to day use? One word: Amazing.  Even with a benchmark-setting display and screaming processor, it can easily run for an entire day under moderate to heavy use on a single battery charge. Speaking of the battery, another great feature of the G3 is its removable battery; which means you can always carry a quick-change spare if you are an ultra-heavy power user of your mobile device. LG put a lot of research into battery life, and it shows bright and clear in the final product. The 13 megapixel camera takes excellent photos, even under low light, which is the true test of any camera. The more I use it, the more I like it and appreciate the exceptional effort that went into its design. Stop by your local Wireless Zone® Retailer to take a test drive and see the difference for yourself.

Thanks LG!

TECH SPECS:  

LG G3

Dimensions

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm (curved)

Weight

5.26 oz. (149g)

Screen size

5.5 inches

Screen resolution

2,560 x 1,440 (534 ppi)

Screen type

IPS LCD

Battery

3,000mAh Li-Ion (removable)

Internal storage

32GB

External storage

Up to SDXC standard/2TB theoretical

Rear camera

13MP with OIS

Front-facing cam

2.1

Video capture

3,840 x 2,160 (4K)/30 fps

NFC

Yes

Radios

SK Telecom/ Korean Model:
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900)
UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps (850/900/1900/2100)

LTE (800/1800/2600)

Bluetooth

v4.0

SoC

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801

CPU

2.5GHz quad-core

GPU

Adreno 330

RAM

3GB

Multimedia

SlimPort/DLNA

Wi-Fi

Dual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Wireless Charging

Yes

Operating system

Android 4.4.2 (near stock)

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