In today’s world, land line phones are becoming ancient technology. More and more customers are leaving phone line systems for VoIP systems, while others, myself included, operate solely through their cellular service. It never ceases to amaze me, however, that the quality of cellular service at home leaves something to be desired. I have moved three times in the past two years, and haven’t been able to average more than a 2-bar signal in any of my homes. Excessive dropped calls, poor reception and sound quality, and the especially hated voice mail notice from calls that never rang. Sound familiar? Well it may be time to invest in an amplification system to boost cellular signal while around the house.
The setup is simple, intuitive, and available for purchase from several manufacturers. It consists of a pair of antennas, one high gain and one low gain, and an amplification system. The system works best if the large gain antenna is mounted outside of the house, but it is not necessary. The system improves your service by relaying the signals from the high gain antenna, through the amplifier, through a smaller antenna mounted somewhere inside the home and out to your cellphone . Transmitting works in the reverse fashion starting from the cell phone, to the small antenna, then through the amplifier and out the large antenna to the service tower. The benefits to be gained here are two fold. First, the antenna that communicates directly with the tower will have a much stronger response (higher gain) to the signals, both in and out, than the cell phone because of its sheer size. Secondly, the signal is being amplified again through an in-line amplifier. The result is a serious increase in local signal to your cell phone resulting in better battery life, fewer dropped and missed calls, and just plain better quality service. This type of setup is not limited to the home either. There are also systems available for installation in your vehicle which operate on the same principle.
Popular Science has a full length article describing these setups and even points out some manufacturers and models of devices available today.
Read More | Popular Science
Google Inc. and eBay Inc. announced today that they have reached an agreement to benefit users, merchants, and advertisers over our entire planet. Google will begin to place ads on eBay and will become the exclusive provider of text ads outside of the US.
They will also launch “click-to-call” advertising, a feature that makes it easier for businesses to connect with customers. As of today, “click-to-call” works this way: you provide your phone number, Google calls you, and connects you with the company. In the near future, Google and eBay will use their VoIP clients (Google Talk and Skype) for click-to-call. They will begin to test the two components at the beginning of next year for several months.
Meg Whitman, eBay Inc. President and CEO, claims, “By combining the power of eBay in e-commerce and Skype in communications with Google’s leadership in search and advertising, we can increase the usefulness of the Internet for shoppers, merchants and advertisers around the world.” Okay, but couldn’t you just become “Googlebay” and spend a smidge of the profits on feeding the planet?
Read More | Google
Owners of compatible Sprint cellular phones looking to get a daily fix of their favorite Major League Baseball team can now do so courtesy of a deal inked between the cellular provider and MLB which provides access to streaming game audio content. Gameday Audio will be available for purchase for $5.99 per month via the mlb.com WAP site, accessible from Sprint’s Vision home deck while on the Nationwide Sprint PCS Network or the Power Vision Network. Fans can choose either the home or away teams’ flagship station coverage or, where available, games broadcast in Spanish. The service is available on sixteen different multimedia handsets in Sprint’s line-up.
Read More | Sprint-MLB Press Release
Verizon Wireless and LG Electronics formally took the wrapper today off of their Chocolate by LG mobile phone, which as been creating a huge buzz in the United States for sometime now. The Chocolate by LG phone is priced at $149.99 after a $50 instant online discount and new two-year customer agreement.
The Chocolate by LG phone is designed to have a “sleek, ultra-thin minimalist style” and a slide design which reveals a glowing red touch sensitive keypad. The device doubles as a MP3 player tied into Verizon’s V CAST Music online music store and also offers a wide array of other features, including Bluetooth, a microSD memory expansion slot and a 1.3 megapizel camera.
Read More | Verizon Chocolate by LG Product Page
The next fashion phone has arrived, in the LG Chocolate VX8500. Verizon has just launched the phone at a price of $149.99 with a two-year contract in an online special. Not too shabby for a sleek slider phone that features EV-DO, Bluetooth, MP3 and WMA support, 1.3 megapixel camera, V-CAST support, and just looks good, don’t you think? The phone can be purchased, starting today, on the Verizon Wireless website. Those who want to wait to try before they buy, the phone should be hitting Verizon retail outlets on August 7. If anyone picks one up, be sure to send us your Unboxing images!
Read More | LG Chocolate On Verizon
Plantronics unveiled their fall line up of Bluetooth enabled headsets today. Five standard headsets, ranging in price from $149.95 to $79.95, as well as a stereo headset model priced at $139.95 were showcased.
The top of the line for Plantronics’ non-stereo Bluetooth headsets is the Discovery 655. This model features what Plantronics describes as a fashionable look and ergonomic fit while weighing a mere nine grams. It uses digital signal processing to reduce background noise and has an AAA charging pocket which provides up to 10 hours of talk time. The other most interesting model is the Pulsar 590E Stereo Bluetooth Headset which, like the name implies, is designed to work with music-enabled mobile phones for wirelessly listening to music and answer/end calls without needing an adapter.
Read More | Plantronics Fall 2006 Line Up Web Page
Virgin Mobile USA and Kyocera Wireless are looking today to outfit America’s youth with what they consider to be a hip new metallic ivory handset. Dubbed the Oystr, this phone is priced at $29.99 and available starting now.
The Oystr sports a clamshell design and a “lustrous white color”. Beyond this, features include an internal color display, two-way speaker phone, text messaging, Web browsing, a weight of three ounces and up to 220 minutes of battery talk time.
Read More | Virgin Mobile Oystr Product Page
About 6 months ago, with great anticipation, we picked up the Motorola RAZR V3c for Verizon. Boy, were we ever excited! Unfortunately, our high expectations led us to great disappointments.
Our biggest complaint half-a-year ago was the phones battery life. That annoyance has grown into a huge problem. Six months ago, twelve hours of marginal use cost us half of our battery life. These days it is more like ten hours of minimal use sends the phone into the annoying Motorola “can’t turn off the stupid low-battery alert even though the phone is on silent and helps run down the remaining battery life even faster” chime.
Belkin today announced a new cordless phone for using Wi-Fi hotspots to make Skype calls. The new Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype is priced at $149.99 and will be available in August.
The Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype has what Belkin describes as an intuitive interface, incorporating familiar Skype features. To make a call, one uses the on-screen color menu to locate a contact and view online availability. Other features include WPA and WPA2 security with PSK support and 802.11b/g compatibility.
Read More | Belkin Product Page
Cingular has a stylish new clamshell handset out today which features high speed HSDPA technology. The LG CU500 is priced at 99.99 with a 2-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.
The LG CU500 is a 3G phone in a black, ultra-slim clamshell design. Besides being able to access multimedia services like streaming video at broadband speeds, the CU500’s feature profile includes a built-in music player with external controls, dual speakers, microSD memory card support, Bluetooth 1.1 support, a 1.3 megapixel rotating camera with video recording, a speakerphone and a talk time of up to 3.5 hours.
Read More | Cingular LG CU500 Press Release