This is just what a subsidiary of Bandwidth.com; Republic Wireless asked a group of beta testers a few months ago. Yes, I be one of them. This is not a plug for Republic Wireless but just some ramblings and observations of an Geezer Geek.
One of my first observations is that there has been a few companies following in RW footsteps, not copies of their business plan but alternatives to the more traditional plans that you can get with the big cellular companies (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint). Its worth to note that most of these start-ups are purchasing their bandwidth from Sprint. So kudos to Sprint for this.
These new start-ups are called: A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). MVNO is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure. Instead, MVNO’s have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.
Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, republic wireless is an innovative new carrier spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to our members. Leveraging the power of the Internet and an engaged community of users, republic wireless offers unlimited voice, text, and data service for only $19 per month, with no contract.
republic wireless is a division of Bandwidth.com, whose network and solutions also power other innovative communication services such as Google, Pinger, Skype, Groupme, RingCentral, Phonebooth, and many others.
Ting’s premise is that it offers customers more choice with their plans, an even reimburses them for unused minutes – something no other wireless provider can claim.
Ting’s services run on Sprint’s 3G CDMA and 4G WiMAX networks, though Ting is not owned by Sprint. Customers can choose from plans that start at a mere $3 per month for 100 voice minutes, and can add text and data packages that also start at $3 per month. If you go over your allotted minutes, Ting will just bump you up into the next tier instead of charging overages.
Newcomer (and MVNO on Sprint’s network) Voyager Mobile is teasing a “frequent talker program” that will give all kinds of perks for the more talkative among us: call your Aunt Ruth a lot and you’ll get phone upgrades, free months of service and smaller nice-to-haves like air mileage and gift cards. That’s helped by Voyager starting off at $19 a month for unlimited voice, although picking a smartphone in the early catalog will hike that to a still rather thrifty $39 for all-unlimited voice, text and WiMAX data.
Fon is the world’s first global WiFi network built by people like you. We think of it as crowdsourced WiFi. As a member of the Fon community, you agree to share a little bit of your WiFi at home, and get free roaming at Fon Spots worldwide in return. Sharing WiFi with Fon is safe and secure, and you won’t even notice when others are connected because Fon only uses a tiny portion of your bandwidth.
If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional mobile carrier, you may want to keep your eye on the above ventures as well as new ones as they come along as I’m sure they will. For one I hope that the days of being held hostage by the Big-4 are coming to a close.
Following are some very useful links if your looking for some software.
Republic Wireless is a subsidiarity of BroadBand.Com and on November 8th they rolled out their new concept of what a smartphone service should be. Currently they are only offering 1 phone (LG Optimum), which is anything but high end. But the premises of the plan is headed in the right direction. So here is how I see that direction.
Republic has developed a technology that when the phone is in an WiFi covered area, it will place all Data/Voice/SMS requests using WiFi. When you are not in a WiFi covered area it will fall back to cellular – All For $19 A Month
Android phones are spectacular little devices because they’re able to so much that others simply can’t, but one big snag in that greatness is that many of those best features require that the phones be rooted. Whether you plan on installing custom ROMs or not, you may want to root your phone just to use the great apps that require root access. Here are the ten most essential apps available for Android that require root.
Rooting, for those of you that don’t know, means giving yourself root permissions on your phone. It’s similar running programs as administrators in Windows, or running a command with
sudoin Linux. With a rooted phone, you can run more apps or install custom versions of the Android operating system. Note that there’s a big difference between installing a custom ROM on an Android phone and just rooting it. Custom ROMs may offer plenty of features that aren’t available direct from the manufacturer, but most of them can be added to a rooted phone by simply installing the right apps. That’s what we’re after today.
If you haven’t rooted your phone yet, but would like to know more about the process, be sure to check out our always up-to-date guide to rooting Android phones.
Superuser Allows Other Apps Root Access
Superuser is the first app a user should install after rooting, if the rooting method didn’t do it already. “Rooting” a phone allows a user to establish total control over the device, but Superuser is the app that provides the button for that control. With Superuser installed, any app that needs root privileges to run will have to ask permission, and an informative pop-up will display with the option to give it those privileges. This app is an absolute must for any of the other apps on the list to even run.
Titanium Backup Automates System Backups
Titanium Backup is an enormously useful app. Not only can it backup apps, but it can backup apps and all their data, and it can delete apps—even system apps or bloatware. Making regular backups of all your apps (and their data) can ensure that if you ever really screw up, say in trying to install a custom ROM, that you can still have everything the way you left it should you need to wipe the entire phone and start from scratch. For more detailed information, see our full guide on using Titanium Backup.
ShootMe Takes Screenshots with a Shake
It’s a sad fact that Android ships with no way to take screenshots. ShootMe is an extremely simple, user-friendly app that rectifies that situation, but it needs the phone to be rooted first. ShootMe’s greatest feature is that it allows you to choose from several options in deciding what the trigger should be for the screenshot to take place—whether it’s shaking the phone, covering the light sensor, or just yelling at it (my favorite).
Metamorph Applies Visual Themes to Anything
Metamorph is a small app that allows you to theme any part of Android by applying simple patch files. Learning how to make your own themes isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world, but most users don’t bother—there are plenty to choose from, made by other users who are absolutely nuts about theming. Parts of the system that can be themed by Metamorph include the lockscreen, menu screens, individual apps, or just about anything else that’s ever displayed on the screen. It’s all possible.
Adfree Blocks Ads Anywhere on Your Phone
Adfree may actually be the greatest root-essential app available on Android, and it’s one that you never see unless it needs updating. All Adfree does is block ads, but it does it for everything on the phone. Since the app works by blocking ad-serving sites at the IP address level (by modifying the phone’s Hosts file), it doesn’t slow your system down, and it does a remarkably good job. Even if you don’t mind ads in your browser, using Adfree makes “free” apps from the Market much more tolerable, since most of them have pop-up ads that tend to ruin the experience otherwise.
SSH Tunnel Encrypts All Internet Traffic on Your Phone
Recently mentioned SSH Tunnel is an app that allows an Android phone to connect to the internet using an ssh tunnel for a completely secure connection. It’s great for those times when you’ve got no data signal, stuck at work or a coffee shop that only has public Wi-Fi available, and you need to be sure that nobody is snooping your sensitive personal information as you connect to sites like Gmail or Facebook.
Tasker Can Automate Almost Any Task
Tasker by itself doesn’t require root privileges to run, but some of its more impressive features do. Giving Tasker room to do what it does best is definitely a good thing, since it can practically automate your entire phone given the right amount of power. Rooting your phone is the only way to give it that kind of access.
SetCPU Controls the Speed and Behavior of Your Phone’s Processor
SetCPU has been, is still, and will probably be for quite some time the de facto tool for controlling a rooted Android phone’s processor speed. SetCPU allows the user to exert total control over how fast, or slow, the processor runs at any given point in time. As an example, SetCPU can force the processor to sit at its lowest setting whenever the screen is turned off, but to use a range between 240MHz and 806MHz as needed while the phone is awake. For phones that have the ability to drastically overclock, SetCPU can help ensure that they don’t overheat by keeping watch on the temperature, and acting accordingly. Overclocking or not, battery savings and overall performance can be greatly enhanced using this app.
Busybox Adds True Linux Commands to the Android System
Busybox is often called “the Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux,” because that’s what it basically is. It’s not an actual app that you run, but instead provides all the Linux/UNIX commands that we know and love. Without the commands installed, the barebones “Linux” that Android runs on top of can’t really do too much, making apps like Terminal Emulator nearly worthless.
Wireless Tether Turns Your Phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot
Finally, Wireless Tether. For many users, this feature is the single most important thing in the world of mobile devices, so having the ability to use it is a must. Wireless Tether turns an Android phone, regardless of carrier, into a full blown W-Fi hotspot for any nearby devices that need one. It’s as simple as that, but only rooted phones can use it.
There are plenty of other apps out there that only work with rooted phones, and it doesn’t seem likely that the carriers are ever going to allow phones on their networks to sell with root capabilities baked in. If you want the added functionality of these apps, there’s just no way around it. You’ve got to go rooted. So, if you’re convinced, head over to the rooting guide to see what’s required to set your phone free.
Know of any other great apps for rooted Android phones? Have a personal favorite that’s not on the list? Share them in the comments!
I want to pass along my experiences in case others may find it useful. I decided to root my Vortex the other day Ver: 2.2.2. The reason for the root is that I was tired of all of Verizon’s Bloat Apps taking up the little space that there is on this phone. I found an app that did it just find: GingerBreak; Google it. I was really full of myself. I then installed ‘Titanium Backup (root) for Android‘. I backed up the apps I wanted to delete and deleted the apps, which TB allows you to do.
Everything was going fine, but as usual I started getting too brave for my own good. I deleted Bing! Unfortunatley, when you do this, it also deletes some required files and put the phone into the dreaded Verizon Loop.
So, off to Google…. After trying various restore procedures and much searching on the various errors I was just about ready to use it as a paper weight. I came across an article on rolling back the Vortex to Ver: 2.2 which is what it ships with. The procedure has many steps and the instructions need to be followed to the letter. Not an area I have ever been very good at.
The end of the story is that it worked like a charm, I was not back to a clean device with Froyo 2.2. The upside of this is that now the Z4Root app works like a charm to root the phone. I installed Titanium and removed the Verizon Apps, leaving Bing on this time.
The downloads and full instructions on rolling back the LG Vortex to 2.2 can be found at: Rolling Back Your Vortex
There are just too many cell phones or Smartphone’s to choose from. I recently decided to up grade my phone as I wanted a phone that supported WiFi. I would say that if the phone manufactures are not careful that they will lose business based on a consumer’s unwillingness to do extensive research. I looked at a variety of phones which is what I will share with you in this article.
Old Phone: BlackBerry Curve 8330
I really like this phone, and the only downside with it is that it doesn’t support Wi-Fi. I got this phone when I was still with Alltel. As with all BB, its strengths are with messaging, data compression and battery life. These are all requirements I was looking for in my new phone. BB has some draw backs when it comes to apps and of course their browser. With 6.0 around the corner, the word is the new WebKit browser will be a real upgrade and will be backward compatible to phones with the 5.0 software. Read more…
Here are a few methods to maximize your cell phone minutes. They are not illegal just a little sneaky. I am currently working with Alltel and on a Blackberry Curve. Two of these methods require a smartphone and the third should work on any phone with Alltel My Circle.
My Circle is an alltel specific program that allows you to specifi a number and then any calls to or from that number will not count against your plan min.