All posts by paksoftpro

AT&T cancels early upgrades, inviting Lumia 900 buyers to switch to Verizon

AT&T cancels early upgrades, inviting Lumia 900 buyers to switch to Verizon

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I missed this story by a couple weeks, but now that I know about it, am kind of ticked. AT&T has cancelled their early-upgrade policy for everyone with contracts that end after March 2014. Customers who had been counting on upgrading their phones at the 20 month mark are now forced to wait the full 24 months. For buyers of the Lumia 900, this amounts to some sour lemons.

Sour Lemons for Lumia 900 Buyers

I was one of the Lumia 900 launch day buyers, signing a new 2-year AT&T contract on April 4th 2012. Then, as all Lumia 900 buyers know, a mere seven months later, Windows Phone 8 was released, a brand new OS that the Lumia 900 could not upgrade to. Yes, Nokia and Microsoft have done a good job supporting the old hardware, but especially now, it is clear that any new app from popular app makers coming to Windows Phone will most likely be exclusive to Windows Phone 8. We Lumia 900 owners are more and more in the cold.

The only comfort we had was that after 20 months, we would be able to upgrade to a shiny new Windows Phone 8 device. At the time of our purchases, that was AT&T’s policy and we were relying on it. And with November right around the corner, I was very much looking forward to my upgrade.

By cancelling the early-upgrade policy for all buyers of Lumia 900s, AT&T has chosen to kick their customers while they’re down, and it is unfortunate. I would urge AT&T to provide some early upgrade accommodation for those buyers. If not for good will, then to prevent customer exodus.

Why Not Just Switch to Verizon and Get a Shiny New Windows  Phone 8 Device Early?

Let me help AT&T with some math. If I were to walk away from my AT&T contract at the 20 month mark, I would owe them a $125 cancellation fee. ($325 minus $10 for every month of completed service). Guess what AT&T, Verizon is willing to give me a spanking new Lumia 928 now for $29.99 if I sign a contract with them). Maybe that price will be more like $0.01 around Black Friday, which will coincidentally be around the 20 month mark for launch day Lumia 900 buyers.

Considering that AT&T would have charged us $36.00 for an early upgrade anyway, moving to Verizon will only cost us $89.00 more than what we had already planned to pay. Not bad for snagging a Lumia 928 that costs $499 off contract.

Would I pay $125 out of pocket to upgrade to a new device four months early? Quite possibly. AT&T’s willingness to disrespect those who jumped on the Lumia 900 bandwagon definitely doesn’t compel those customers to stick around…

Send this around!

If you are a Lumia 900 buyer (or just emphasize with us), feel free to share this article on social media. The more it appears, the more likely AT&T will be to change their policies.

Now Windows Phone 7.8 Update brings stuck Live Tiles – is it better off being avoided?

The Windows Phone 7.8 update for my Lumia 900 looks great. I installed it the day it came out. Unfortunately, it apparently comes with a bug that cripples app live tile updates. Reports are coming in from Windows Phone 7.8 users across the web  reporting that their app Live Tiles have been shutting down.

This has been the case for my Lumia 900; one by one, all of my app live tiles stopped working. Today, they are all frozen.

So far, from what I can tell, neither ATT, Microsoft, or Nokia have acknowledged the problem or stated when a fix might be available. Some users have had success hard resetting their phones, however, the nature of this bug being what it is, I fear they will encounter the same live tile locking once their queues build up again. Strangely, my LG Quantum, which I upgraded myself to Windows Phone 7.8, has not encountered this issue. Yet.

So for all of you Windows Phone 7.5 users running the Lumia 900 (or maybe just 7.5 in general), I would recommend you hold off on this update until this issue is resolved; at least if you want your app live tiles to work.

Social Lister 1.7 Update Brings Even Faster Speed Tweeting

A list of sent messagesA couple months ago, we released Social Lister, an app that makes it easy to organize your tweets and other social posts into incremental lists. After a few hundred downloads, we’ve decided to do more with the app.

Today, we make Social Lister much more useful. It is now possible to specify key words that can be quickly added to outgoing tweets. This is very handy if there’s a set of hash tags and handles that are often part of your posts. Personally, I’ve been using the app a lot recently to tweet about upcoming Microsoft conferences. Check out the video! If you like what you see, an ad-free version of the app is only a dollar (with a free trial), and we also have a free ad-supported version as well!

Purchases are very much appreciated, and will go directly to a Lumia 920 fund :)

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View Social Lister in the Windows Phone Marketplace View Social Lister Free in the Windows Phone Marketplace

An attendee’s thoughts on the Nokia 9/5/2012 Launch Party

When I saw the tweet with the URL invite to Nokia’s NYC Chelsea event, I honestly didn’t know what I was signing up for. Essentially I was to join them for a “treat” at 6 PM. After getting approval for the trip from my employer and my better-half, I booked a roundtrip Amtrak ticket from Washington DC.

On the train, I used my Lumia 900 + LTE to stay appraised of the Lumia 820 and 920 announcements; OK, I now knew the devices I was heading up to see, and perhaps some of the accessories.

After arriving in NYC and having my obligatory New York pizza, I headed over to the event in Chelsea, and chatted it up with a bunch of other dedicated Windows Phone fans. And the opinions on how to market and improve the OS and devices were everywhere; some attendees thought the new Nokia hardware spoke for itself and would naturally be victorious this fall. I suggested that Nokia and Microsoft had to get their products in front of the mainstream “Panera Bread” family crowd; I noticed a lot of the attendees were hip single 20-somethings, so I thought that idea should get in somewhere. I also threw in that the Halo games should be ported over to Windows Phone in some shape or form; adults got to have their FPSs too :) In the meantime, none of us had any idea what the event would look like.

Finally, around 6 pm, we were led into the building, boarding a giant freight-like elevator, and were lifted into the event. And it was a styling party. Nicely stocked bars, large video screens highlighting the new Windows Phone 8 UI, stations with various demos setup, and sinful Hors d’ourves. Perhaps because I was in the first group of attendees, I was handed a set of Nokia Monster Purity ear buds (retails for $99.99). OK, more than half the cost of my trip was just reimbursed :) There were raffles for other prizes, but having won something already, I decided to bow out of further drawings.

First I talked to a very enthusiastic Nokia lady who showed off the new Lumia 920. We went through the mapping capabilities, the Window 8 start screen, and perhaps the first killer feature I saw, the fact that the Lumia 920 screen works even if the user has gloves on. This is a big deal if one is waiting for a bus in the cold; I’m not sure California based smartphone makers can truly relate to that like Nokia can. She also showed off the PureView camera stability features, such as how video shot with the camera has automatic jitter reduction. Supposedly the lens “floats”. Neat.

She then ushered me to another demo station modeling after a kitchen, and a different demoer showed off Nokia’s charging and speaker accessories. There’s the fatboycharge pillow, which is just that, a pillow you can plop the Lumia 820 or 920 on, and it will charge them without wires. Very cute and neat :) There was also a JBL speaker system that could play music off the Lumias simply by placing the phone on the speaker; the NFC handles the rest. The demo was a little glitchy, but I’ll write that off to the hazards of demoing pre-production products. The colors of the accessories were bright and appealing; really, Nokia needs to figure out how to partner with Ikea, as the design preferences of the two companies jive with each other. Why not have colorful Nokia products on Ikea kitchen islands in Ikea stores? I tried to bring up that idea, but really, the demoers were more intent on demoing the hardware, and not on collecting marketing ideas. Fair enough.

I then had the pleasure of talking to a Microsoft representative who works with their developer marketing efforts, and got an in-depth tour of Nokia Music, Nokia’s new music streaming app. A key new feature here is once you assemble a playlist, you can actually download 30 minutes of music to listen to offline. Very nice for gym rats. And it’s free. Another attendee and I asked about Windows Phone 7.8; no info. We asked about what US carriers would have the Lumia 820 and 920; no info. We asked about a specific release date: no info. We asked when the Window Phone 8 SDK would be released; no info. Then something strange happened. I thanked the rep for the great party, and asked him what Nokia and Microsoft wanted me (and the other attendees) to do to spread the word about these phones, and to further the platform. I didn’t get an answer; he really didn’t have one. This was kind of weird; Nokia and Microsoft went to the expense to throw this great party, they’ve shown us a great time, and have impressed us with their new hardware. But they don’t know what to do with us next. We’re their biggest fans, and at least at this point, they don’t seem interested in using us proactively to win converts. Maybe that’s not their strategy.

The next demo was perhaps the most impressive, involving the Lumia 920 PureView capabilities. A flower vase was placed in a dark cubby, and attendees were invited to shoot flash-less pictures of it, followed by a demonstrator using the Lumia 920 camera to do the same. All of our pictures were awful, and the Lumia 920′s picture was almost flawless. Clearly the Lumia 920 is going to rock for indoor low-light photography, as well a nighttime outdoor photography. Barring any unexpected announcements from Apple and the others, Nokia’s camera tech is going to be in a class of its own this Fall. Hopefully US consumers will care.

The last demo I saw was of the Lumia 820; it’s a nice phone, albeit its lacking the PureView camera capabilities, the 920′s RAM (although the 820 takes SD cards), and HD resolution. It does have a removable and customizable rear cover though, allowing easy access to the battery. Not a bad phone at all, although the 920 is clearly the superior model.

I won’t go into detail about the delicious food and drink I had during the event (not really worthy of your time), but I’ll tell you that Nokia took care of us. The beanbags on the rooftop for resting up were also a nice touch, and the views of NYC were stunning.

The woman I spoke to first found me again, and asked me what I thought of the new phones. I told her I was very impressed, and again, what would they like me to do, now that they’ve shown me a good time. She said to simply be a fan. I don’t quite know what that means, but I hope this write-up is a good start.

Best of luck to Nokia and Microsoft; you have a great OS and top-notch colorful hardware. Now you just have to get the mainstream non-techie “Panera Bread loving” crowd to care. Seriously, get your wares on display at Ikea…

Paul Katz
Windows Phone App Maker (www.paksoft-productions.com)
Chief Software Architect (www.limeleap.com)

An album of the event can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set

LaPanCosiBon – Your Free Fast Casual Dining Companion App!

Looking for the closest Panera Bread? Wondering which fast casual chain is offering special deals? Need to do a quick nutritional check before ordering? LaPanCosiBon makes it easy to get timely information about the best fast casual bakery chains in the United States: Panera Bread, Cosi, Au Bon Pain, La Madeleine, and Corner Bakery.

  • Quickly find which restaurant chains are running promotions by using the Unified Feed feature, which combines each chain’s Facebook feed.
  • Look up menu and nutritional information for each chain
  • Find the restaurant closest to you and get directions
  • Access a restaurant chain’s Twitter and Facebook pages
  • Give the restaurant chains feedback by easily tweeting to their Twitter addresses

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LaPanCosiBon is the essential Windows Phone companion app for your fast casual dining experience! And its free! So give it a try. Unified Feed will definitely help score you an extra cookie or muffin every so often :)

If you like the app and/or have feedback, please review it in the Windows Phone Marketplace! Every review helps!

View LaPanCosiBon in the Marketplace

See a video demo after the break.
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Never re-type another social post with Post Protector!

Tragically, millions of social posts destined for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are lost every year! Have you ever used the “Me” tile to post an update, only to lose what you just typed due to a weak cellular network or issues with the social networks themselves. We’ve all been there, and, it no longer has to be this way! Post Protector fixes this, sparing all of us from having to re-type our status updates.

Launching Post Protector immediately allows you to type in a post, and trigger Windows Phone’s social post dialog. It also maintains a history of your post attempts, allowing for easy resends if your message doesn’t initially go out.

Use Post Protector for all your social posts, and never re-type them ever again due to random network issues! Also, write out posts on the subway or airplane, and send them out once your network is available again. Truly every Windows Phone user can benefit from this app. And its free!

Given how helpful this free app can be for every Windows Phone user, I would ask every reader to help spread the word via four small favors:

1) Try the app, it’s free!

2) If you like it, please review it in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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3) If you like it, please share why on Facebook and Twitter!

4) If you like it, please “Like” the app on Post Protector’s Facebook page

Thanks so much, and enjoy the app!

You can get this free app using the following QR code and hyperlink:

View Post Protector in the Windows Phone Marketplace

New Apps Released: Social Lister and Social Lister Free!

We’d like to announce a new app called Social Lister! It provides an easy way for individuals and businesses to send out list-based social messages about things they care about or want to share.

The idea came from wanting to personally send out social messages listing out the reasons why Windows Phone will rule the world, with the incrementing and pre-text automatically handled. This is something that no existing app prior to Social Lister seemed to provide well, particularly if one is fond of landscape mode. So we went ahead and wrote it!

It’s perfect for sending out reasons why someone should vote for a candidate you support, use a product/service you might be selling, or really anything else you are passionate about. It works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Live.com

The homepage for the app is http://www.sociallister.net. As alluded to as a possibility in the video, we now have a free ad-supported version of the app, Social Lister Free. The ad-free paid version is only $0.99.

Below are the Marketplace links and for your convenience, the QR codes!

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View Social Lister Free in the Windows Phone Marketplace View Social Lister in the Windows Phone Marketplace

Thanks for your consideration! I hope you try out the app!