Contract Cutters

With all the talk of cord cutters over the past several years I have got to thinking about things we shell hundreds of dollars out for without really thining about if there is an alternative.  And I realized of all of my household bills, (internet, cable, electric, gas, insurance, cell phone, etc “excluding student loans”) my cell phone bill was the highest.  AT&T was getting $150/month of my money ($1,800/yr).

When i first assessed this, there wasn’t really all that much I could do, other than switch to a lesser carrier.  Then came the family plans.  I started to run the numbers on switching and realized that it would raise my bill by about $15/mo.  So I didn’t bother.

AT&T Next and Family Plans

A bit later yet, I decided to look into not doing the full 2 year contracts.  This is great, I can have even newer and newer models all the time.  Up to this point I have unlimited data on my device and my wife has 3GB/mo.  The family plan that looked like it would suite us would be the 10GB/mo shared (and a bonus, we get internet sharing, a feature I wanted but did not want to pay for).  At the end of the day I would be losing my unlimited, my wife would have more data, we would get internet sharing, but we would be paying ~$15/mo ($165/mo | $1,980/yr).

At the time I wasn’t really interested in any of the new models of phones.  My wife’s 920 was starting to age a bit but still in good shape, but overall we had no need to change devices.  And I started to look at my pricing options.

  1. Same old contract $40/phone – $100-20% = $80/mo + 2 phones($40ea) = $160/mo
  2. NEXT $15/phone (plus $5~$50 extra per phone) – $80/mo + 2 phones($15) = $110/mo + ($10-$100) $120-$220/mo
  3. Off Contract $15/phone – $80/mo + 2 phones($15) = $110/mo

Let’s Look at the Numbers by Life of Device/Contract

My current plan is to try to make devices last 3years (or more) and spend no more than $300 on the device.  So lets look at the number.  I’ll base my NEXT off of the most comparable option the 24mo (30 installments) with cheapest iphone6

  1. Off Contract – $110/mo x 36mos + $600($300/device) = $4,560 ($760/yr per line)
  2. Same Old – $160/mo x 36mos + $2($1/device avg) = $5,762 ($960/yr per line)
  3. NEXT – $140/mo x 30mos + ($110 6 remaining) = $4,860 ($810/yr per line)

Now the next can vary a bunch because you can, instead of paying the last 6 installments, give your phone back to AT&T (if it is in perfect condition).  Also that is an iphone 5c so prices can go way up from there.  The normal contract is more expensive than NEXT here because that 3rd year you are still paying $40/device even tho you are out of contract.  Even at it’s worst this saves me $100/year.  And realistically, our devices will last more than 3 years, we don’t spend $300 on them and I can repair many things myself or we have cheap backup devices.  Since we buy used/mid range deviced I priced the 2 yr contract + NEXT with last year models/cheaper devices.  If you bump up to current models that price goes up fast.  This does assume you do not upgrade at 24 or even 30 on the NEXT plan, if you do then obviously the price will go up.

Conclusion

Of course this isn’t for everyone.  Some people are perfectly happy paying a hefty price to make sure they have the latest and greatest.  That’s not me.  Also, I am not afraid to get on ebay/cl to pick up some used devices to use for parts when need be.  In fact, when my phone breaks I usually get it fixed for free or even make money selling the spare parts.  The whole point of the article is just that, now we have much more control in how much we pay for our cell phone bill.  You can drastically lower your bill without lessening your experience by much.  I simply buy used phones or just mid tier models rather than the premium devices.  I never have been one to need the most expensive of anything and luckily my wife likes saving money more than she likes showing off what her phone can do.

Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro

Microsoft has just announced it’s own line of Windows 8 tablet/ultrabooks, the Surface RT and Surface 8 Pro. The Surface RT is geared towards competing for tablet money while the Surface 8 Pro is a full fledged, high powered, Windows PC that has a form factor more like a tablet.

Tablets Are Redundant Pieces of Hardware

As I have posted before, I personally have little to no use for a tablet (in their current form) other than as a toy. I currently have a 7″ Android tablet that I play around with once in a while. Continue reading “Should I Buy Microsoft Surface RT or Surface 8 Pro”

Microsoft Smart Glass, Airplay, and DLNA

I like the presented features of Smart Glass. Although, I can’t help but feel that most of these features should have developed nicely through DLNA. DLNA as a group set out to make home media experience a nice seamless cross-platform experience, but so far has not been fruitful. Airplay on the other hand is a successful product but, it completely locks you into the Apple ecosystem so you have to buy a Mac, an AppleTV, and a iPhone/iPad/iPod to really get much out of it.

Microsoft Smart Glass Has The Extra Features

One difference is that Smart Glass is bringing more than simple media sharing across screens. Continue reading “Microsoft Smart Glass, Airplay, and DLNA”

Easily Share Calender Events Across IOS, WP7, PC, Mac, and Probably Android

Every try to set up an event with your friends and have to text someone the date, time, or location multiple times? Or maybe you even have to call them. If you just put the event in their calendar then a lot of these problems can disappear. This is a feature that has been around for a while on different platforms but I don’t think that it gets the recognition that it deserves. Managing schedules is one of the biggest uses for a smartphone and many of us don’t ever see the full potential of our devices in that aspect. Siri has the neat new voice calendar entry which can be very useful but one issue with moving towards using smartphone calendars instead of the big one on the fridge is staying in sync.

Sync Your Gmail Calendar With WP7

Continue reading “Easily Share Calender Events Across IOS, WP7, PC, Mac, and Probably Android”

#smokedbywindowsphone Win $100 Or Maybe A New WP7

If you haven’t been watching anything about CES 2012 then you might have missed Microsoft’s little competition. It is called #smokedbywindowsphone. Basically it is a speed test of sorts between @benthepcguy and whomever wants to challenge him. The contest varies from person to person too instead of it being a lopsided test set by Microsoft with WP7 having an advantage. In fact, Andoid, iOS, or whomever the competitor is should have the advantage because the test is done based off what the challenger uses their phone for mostly.

WP7 Faster Than iPhone4s And Galaxy Nexus

So far I have seen the iPhone4s and Galaxy Nexus get #smokedbywindowsphone. And keep in mind the test was done to the advantage of the iPhone4s and the Galaxy Nexus because the tests were tailored to the challenger using those devices. Obviously if someone has great knowledge of both Android and WP7 or iOS and WP7 they could easily rig the test against WP7 if there is anything that Andoid/iOS are better at.

This is such a great competition because it shows people that WP7 can not only do what iOS and Android can but that it can actually do it faster. And to boot if you do win you get $100. If you lose it looks like you might get a free WP7, I assume as long as they last that is. Check it out on twitter by following @benthepcguy or searching for #smokedbywindowsphone. While you are over there follow @Brad_Billman.

Does Android Really Have More Features Than WP7?

I personally admire the Android operating system as a mobile platform. However, even as a techie, I do not care for the extensive amount of work it takes to customize the platform. I know it is usable as is but not that usable. That said I have not used Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich yet so I am strictly speaking on previous versions of Android.

Windows Phone 7 Is The Best All Around Smart Phone

Windows Phone 7 is the best mobile operating system if you are looking for a reliable and responsive smart phone. It has much less of a learning curve than Android and most tasks that a common user would perform are much more efficient on the Windows Phone 7 platform. Just take a serious look at what most common users do on a smartphone.

Most Common Users’ Task For A Smartphone

Continue reading “Does Android Really Have More Features Than WP7?”

HTC HD2 Leo Running 8107 WP Bench

UPDATE: I have been getting traffic from people searching for “force 8107 update” so I don’t want anyone to be disappointed. Here is a link to do it force 8107 update

I opened up WP Bench this morning and saw that the newest device in their stats was the HTC HD2 Leo running WP7 8107. As some of you may or may not know the HTC HD2 Leo is natively and Andoid device but has been hacked to run WM6.5, WP7, and even Linux Ubuntu.

I personally find it pretty impressive that before the 8107 update has really even been released to very many real WP7 devices, some has already hacked it onto an Android device. I have seen a few different guides already showing you how to force the 8107 update to our WP7 devices, so I assume the method for getting onto the HD2 was similar.

Why Would Consumers Shoot Themselves In The Foot?

I am a big advocate of Windows Phone 7. Love it, hate it, deal with it. Many people have their favorite platform for various reasons. This is not about how much better WP7 is than IOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS, or any of that. Just a little rant about the overall ignorance of the masses and a bit about my platform history.

Consumers Are, At The Moment, Working Towards Killing Off The Options Of Consumer Smart Phones

Continue reading “Why Would Consumers Shoot Themselves In The Foot?”