Hybrid Cellular Begins

I’ve been on the bandwagon for a cell phone service that can be both a cellular phone service, and a voip service that allows you to make calls with your cell phone over wi-fi.  Well, I might be a little late to the party here, but it looks like it’s finally happening.  Check out Republic Wireless.

It looks like they’re working in partnership with the Sprint network.  $19 a month + taxes gets you pretty much unlimited everything.  And, so long as you’ve got wi-fi connectivity, you’ve got a cell phone that can make calls, do data, etc.  If you’re not in range of a wi-fi connection, the phone seamlessly switches over to the Sprint cellular network.

They’re very much still in a beta form as they are only allowing sign ups in waves, and seem to be several weeks out for accepting people through the waves.  They also are only allowing a single band phone at the moment, which limits your cellular network coverage.  According to their site, they’ve got plans for a dual band phone that should be out by the end of  the year though, so that should drastically expand the possible cellular network.  That’s particularly important to me up here in North Dakota where cellular service is notoriously spotty to begin with.

My current contract, with AT&T isn’t up until May (I think), so I can’t even begin to look around too much until then, but you can bet I’ll be checking out Republic when I get there.  As long as they can port my current number over, and the phone they are offering is a dual band, I’ll likely give them a try.  After all, $19 is a far cry better than $90 and the service can’t be much worse than the combination of AT&T and my current phone.

What am I missing?  Are there any technical issues with a hybrid service like this?  I can’t think of any.  They say that it’s seamless, so there’s no switching or apps involved.  Imagine, stopping off at McDonalds for a quick cup of joe, and making a phone call off their free wi-fi at the same time!

Fun and Expanding Combinations of Mobile Gadgetry

Mobile and wireless technologies allow us to be productive, communicate and even play while away from a tabletop PC. Many shoppers look to versatility within a mobile device’s functions, for few people buy a gadget for only one purpose anymore. While some specialty gadgets allow mobile fun enhancement, the overwhelming demand for multiplicity has phones acting like laptops, and tablets acting like PCs, which by no means is a bad thing. Here are only a few of the hundreds of new products or product ideas and adaptations that expand and enhance the fun part of mobile and wireless technology in 2011 and perhaps 2012.

Purchase Options

Slightly different than ordinary online shopping, mobile phones and tablet technology allow special apps downloads that transform your mobile device into a secure payment method. Store your credit card data, for example, behind firewalls and pay for your coffee, electronics or other sundry goods with a swipe of your device in front of a scanner. No more shall you risk an unscrupulous person standing behind you taking a cell phone picture of your credit card: It’s never visible anymore.

Mobile wallets also allow the surf-and-buy options as well. You simply access that area within your device for the stored information. You don’t have to dig in your wallet or purse or risk misplacing it or having the card casually swiped by a passer-by.

Online banking through your mobile device is growing in popularity as well and for much the same reasons.

Data Exchange

Personal Area Networks or PANs are being developed as you read. There is potential for you to transfer your business card, swap photos or other chosen documents or chosen information directly from device to device, simply by holding the two together and waiting for the confirmation beep. There are security issues to be resolved in this experimental technology, of course, but the cost reduction in equipment expansion and maintenance by network providers make this technology high on the Watch For List. Never forget someone’s name or email address again, and what hard-core texter wouldn’t like expanded contact options?

Find deals as you walk by a store. Have sales data available for the business person and save data costs when uploading new information and pictures at the family or class reunion, all without the time, effort and cost involved in current methods.

PSP Phones

Gaming, whether an involved, downloaded game or a game app, is becoming increasingly popular. Fill up those wait times in line, on the plane or for appointments with a bit of play time on your smart phone.

Those devices that can comfortably accommodate primary billing as either phones with enhanced gaming capability or gaming devices with communication capability used to be the stuff of science fiction lore. However, Sony Ericsson developed if not the first then the most advanced PSP—PlayStation Phone—on the market.

Gamers, never leave your favorite games at home or juggle multiple devices again. Take them with you in the Sony Xperia. Cell phone and text junkies, never fear: You still have your full complement of communication options here, too. There are drawbacks to this PSP, but the concept is terrific.

Look for more along the combined phone/gaming/overall functionality as the year progresses. The response to this device and others like it are enough for developers to focus on perfecting this technology and not relying on just expanding the game app arena.

The author of this article is Holly Adams, who writes for Coupon Croc. Get the latest cellphone and mobile accessories online and save when you shop with an Argos discount voucher.