Xbox 360 Taking Note From Cellphone Providers

What does Xbox 360 and Verizon have in common? Well they both provide a service where you buy a device at a discount with a two year contract. that’s right, Microsoft will start selling the Xbox 360 at a discounted price so that you, the consumer, can have it on the cheap as long as you pay a monthly fee for two years. Is this deal worth it and will other companies like Sony and Nintendo follow suit?
First, what do you get out of this deal? You get a 4GB Xbox 360 with a Kinect and one controller for $99, which already sounds like a sweet deal… But here’s the catch. You MUST sign up for a monthly fee, which includes their Xbox Live Gold membership, for $15 a month. That may not seem so bad on the surface, until you do the math. You can get Xbox Live Gold with a years subscription, pretty much anywhere, for $60. You can even get a family plan service with four members getting Xbox Live for $100! So, $60 for one year of service… divided by 12 months equals $5 a month!

Ok, you may feel like you’re getting ripped off here with this $99 Xbox deal… but it gets worse. Now, without doing the math you can justify that $10 more a month for the big discount you get on the Xbox. Until you do the math again. Ten additional dollars a month for two years equals $240. Adding the price you paid for the discounted Xbox and the $15 a month equals $459 in all. Taking a quick look on Amazon brings up the same 4GB Xbox you get with this deal for $286, and found in most stores for $299. If you bought this same Xbox on Amazon with Two years gold membership it would be $406 all together.

Hm, so you can either save the cash now and get a discounted Xbox or save money for a few weeks/months and get the normal prices Xbox. In the first instance, going for the discounted Xbox, you’re paying more than $50 in the long term. While saving money up to buy the regularly priced one saves you $50. to some, the immediate ownership of an Xbox may be enough to pay extra each month. But consider this as well. This deal is ONLY through Microsoft’s online store, which means there is no middle man like Walmart or Amazon to give money to. This means this extra cash is going right to them and some thing Microsoft should offer a bigger discount, or lower monthly fee, because of this.

So should we expect other companies to do this? Sony has a service like Xbox Live, but you don’t need it to play or purchase games online, it’s just a premium service. While Nintendo has a free online service. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony offered something like this in the future, when it was clear how much profit Microsoft made from this experiment, but there is no reason Nintendo would jump into this kind of deal.

Is this a scam though? Would anyone be willing to do such a silly thing? If your a “hardcore” gamer, then you would probably pass up this deal. Most gamers know that the Xbox360 has been around a while and Microsoft has been whispering about a new console possibly appearing in 2-3 years. But other folks out there may not see this as a bad deal, and it really isn’t that bad in the long run. Overall you’re paying only $50 more, and that’s spread over a two year span. While if you have $100 in your hand right now, you can get a 4Gb Xbox with Kinect and Xbox Live immediately. Which is great for someone with not a lot of disposable income each month which is how all cellphone providers have been doing it for over a decade.

Oh No Nokia! Samsung takes the Lead in Cellphone Market

Well, it was a nice run while it lasted. With a 14 year long streak of being number one in the cell phone market, Nokia is now officially number two behind Samsung, the creators of the popular Galaxy S line of Android Phones. Nokia has been the leader of cellphone sales for well over a decade, and why wouldn’t they be? they practically pioneered the market with affordable cell phones and durable hardware. My first phone was a big hefty Nokia with it’s green screen and limited features. But what has lead to Nokia’s slow decline and can they save themselves before it gets any worse?
Nokia was on the forefront of cellphone sales and technology advancements for some time. Their strongest sales were in affordable feature phones while their weaker sales, at least recently, as been in smartphone sales. You can mirror Nokia’s fall with Samsung’s rise as more and more of Samsungs Android devices began selling better and better. The Galaxy S line, Samsung’s strongest device yet, rivals all smart phone sales and iPhone’s simplistic design. Samsung went a different route than iPhone, by going simple, but BIG. With Samsung’s large clear LCD screens with bright colors and high definition, they were the best looking and best running phones on the market. That combination of simplicity and function pushed it to the number one slot with over 92 million phones shipped, ahead of Nokia’s shipped phones at 83 million, and far ahead Apple’s at 35 million.

Samsung can’t contribute all it’s sales on the smartphone market though. Samsung is actually fourth in smartphone sales while it’s cheaper slimmer feature phones are what vaulted it to the top. At our own store we see more Samsung used cell phones go out the door than Nokia, though they are close. So what can Nokia do to fix this situation? So far, beginning last year, they have been pushing their Windows Phone line of Lumia’s. They are gorgeous and run really well, but Windows Phones are still relatively new to the market, at least their most recent OS iteration.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, smartphone sales are only a small part of a companies overall success. If Nokia can’t recapture it’s feature phone market, no matter how good their smart phones may be, they will never refurbished cell phonesrecapture the number one slot. With HTC, Motorola and iPhone nipping at their sales base, they are defending their position from all fronts. They are no longer the leader of the market and have less to defend themselves if things go more south, and the other companies smell blood. Samsung continues to push their Galaxy S line with their third generation, not to mention their heavily marketed Note tablet smartphone hybrid, this year. Nokia has simply been pushing their Lumia line, and have delayed it’s shipment to several countries due to supply demands.

It’s still the beginning of the year and we have many surprises and releases coming up, especially for the holiday season. Will Nokia push ahead or will Samsung continue to dominate? It’s latest Galaxy phone and the Notes sales will be a telling sign in the months to come.

Turn Your Smart Phone into a Dash Cam

If you’re lucky, you have never been in a situation where you have been in a car accident. Or even worse than that, a car accident that wasn’t your fault but you still get stuck with the bill because there were either no witnesses or no evidence. Well, worry no more! With every single smart phone touting video cameras, some in HD, it was inevitable that someone would make a dash cam app for your car. If you have a car dock for your phone, you’re already set up for this app to work. I personally tested such an app and I’ll give you the general run down on the perks of having such a device.
If you have an Android phone, an app called Dailyroads Voyager, is available for free on the Android Marketplace. This app is loaded with options, but before you download the app be sure to update your phones operating system, as anything before the most recent updates will make your camera bug out. After downloading the app you’ll have a plethora of choices before you. You can set it to turn on automatically when it detects your car dock. Not all car docks have small magnets that alert your phone of this, so that option may not work for you.

Another great option is the button overlay. When you turn on the app you can still use your phone as a GPS, but the app can still be controlled from any app within your phone. It overlays a button in the bottom right corner
Dailyroads Voyager in action.
(which you can move in the options) that allows you to turn on and off the camera, or save the files immediately. Speaking of files, Dailyroads comes with uploading options. You can set it so that anytime you reach a video limit it will upload the file to a server of your choice and then delete the file on your phone. This insures you don’t clutter your phone with video files and it will automatically start a new one. The other great thing about that option is that you have these videos saved for good. You can use them for fun, or to keep copies in case you were in an accident and your phone was damaged.

You can also customize how large your video files are by quality or length. The options are so varied that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a setting that works for you. I do warn you though, you absolutely should have your android charging in your car while this app is running. Having your phone video record AND GPS navigate is quite a drain on any battery. I took it for a test drive and was surprised at how it also kept track of where I was while recording. One annoyance was that I have a rooted phone and cannot update my operating system, so the video was a bit wonky and it kept beeping every time it started a new recording. Of course, my Droid Razr is actually a refurbished cell phone, so it was rooted before I even got it (previous owner did it). If your device isn’t rooted, you should be fine.

I highly recommend getting a Dash cam app if you do a lot of driving. It’s not simply out of paranoia, but it is great for insuring any accident that may happen is documented correctly. It would be a wonderful thing if everyone’s car had this on board, would lighten a lot of headaches. Safe driving everyone!

The Death of Landlines?

It’s not uncommon to meet someone who doesn’t have a landline, especially people who graduated from college this past decade. That generation is the first large generation to have cell phones through high school and into graduation of college. This means, when they finally get their own place, they are already accustomed to their cellphone being their only means of communication through phone lines. Why get a landline anyway? If anyone wants to get in touch with you they already know that you’ll most likely have your cell phone in your pocket, and if someone calls, that you don’t want to answer, you can more easily refuse the call then you would on a landline. So what does this mean for landline phones? Are they going extinct, or are they going to stick it out for a bit longer?
Everyone that I know from college, and out of college, between the ages of 20-30 are all living their lives without a landline. When asked I get responses like “Why spend the extra cash on a phone I can only answer when I am home?” “It would be like paying a monthly fee for an answering machine at home”, “I already have a phone on me, it’s no longer my home number people call, but my number”. The other benefit of having a cell phone, be it a used cell phone of a refurbished cell phone, is to have an assistant in your hand.

Smart phones are on the rise in sales thanks to their extra features and being able to download more apps to make the phone exactly what you want it. Your phone can have a to do list, email, games, GPS navigation and much much more. Landline phones can have a few of those features, but there is no reason for a company to output all of the features a smart phone has. All of those features are only useful because you can carry them around with you. ”It’s what customers want,” said AT&T spokeswoman Sue Sperry. “It’s what customers are relying on, a phone and computer in their hand.” With more and more smart phones being resold to stores and sold as used cell phones at a huge discount, it is becoming more and more affordable for anyone to have a smart phone.

It turns out though that we may be stuck with landlines for some time. ”The cell network depends on the wired network,” said Sperry. “People don’t realize this. Cell calls depend on the landline network. It’s the same for all carriers. Cell calls have to be switched and identified.” So until we find another way to send information we may continue to have phone lines lining every street and crowding our views. I look forward to a future where these wires will be taken down, but until we advance wireless technology we will have to just suck it up.

Used Cell Phones That Hold Their Value the Longest

The average time someone has their cell phone, be it a smart phone or feature phone, is about 18 months. Which is surprising as most cell phone plans end at 24 months, giving you the usual discounts that come with renewing your plans. More and more people are buying used and refurbished phones that others trade in to receive cutting edge smart phones as soon as they are released. For example, we saw a big increase of Droid Razr cell phones for trade in’s. And when I say “increase”, I mean from zero trade in’s to actually getting that phone in trade in’s. I mention that because that phone was only two months old when we started getting trade in requests, which is typically unheard of for any cell phone so early in it’s life. This was mostly blamed on the recent release of the Droid Razr MAXX which made many folks immediately trade in their two month old smart phone.
But what about the instances where you may actually have your phone from 18-24 months and want to trade it in? Typically you want to trade in your electronics for cash sooner rather than later as they lose more and more value as time goes by. There are a few exceptions to this time rule, by that I mean they lose value much slower than other cell phones. In this article I’ll mention a handful of used cell phones that hold on to their value a bit longer than normal that they won’t lose too much if you continue to think it over.

The most obvious cell phone to hold it’s value for the longest is Apple’s iPhone. The main reason for this is they are the only ones who make that phone, so the price for it is artificially increased due to high demand. Unlike Android phones, that have multiple companies using their operating system which offer dozens of various smart phones at different prices, Apple is the only place you’ll get iOS. So with that in mind, it isn’t surprising to see used iPhones ranging in the 100′s of dollars even after two generations of phones later. We see an increase of iPhones with every new generation and most of them are two generations old, which is good in a recycling stand point as it shows people tend to hold on to their iPhone for at least two generations (not all of course).

The next used cell phone to look into trading in are series phones. What I mean by “series” is a phone series that is popular, like Samsung’s Galaxy S or Motorola’s Droid Razr. Motorola Razr series had the same effect that iPhones had, in that people bought them because they were pretty darn cool. Razr’s are sleek, fast and typically media machines. When the Droid Razr brought back the old Razr name it came back as a huge hit. People remembered that name for sleekness, and the Droid Razr mirrored that in every respect. So it will be likely, much like Razr’s past, that all future Droid Razrs will have a long profitable (for the consumer) used and refurbished cell phone future. Galaxy S is Samsung’s series of phones that are best known for their incredible screens. When you hear Galaxy S, you immediately think crisp large displays. Even with the Galaxy S 3 looming in the near future, the Galaxy S 1′s are still trading in at a great price!

So if your used cell phone happens to be an iPhone or part of a popular series of phones you can probably relax and think over your decision to trade in or not. But don’t wait too long, though their price holds up a bit longer than other cell phones, they still lose value with time, and it is always better to sell early than to sell late.

Meet the Winner of March’s ResellerRatings Contest!

Stephanie was our big winner this month, not just because she is one of our customers, We strive to make our customer service the best it can be, and the only way we can do that is with feedback like Stephanie’s. This months prize was different from before. We let the winner choose from three different prizes ranging from bluetooth headsets to gift cards. Stephanie chose the Jabra SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset!
Every first week of the month we choose five random customers who left us feedback on resellerratings A week later, after giving everyone time to respond, we pick one out of the five emailed customers at random again and that last random pick is the winner! Lets hear what Steph has to say about her experience here at TheBlueDot.

I can honestly say that Blue Dot is awesome. They had exactly what I wanted and needed at a great price. I couldn’t believe how fast the free shipping was! It was fantastic. And my purchase works perfectly and has made my life so much easier. What makes it even better is we got it in time to go on our vacation! Blue Dot is the best place to buy your cell phone and accessories for your cell phone. I keep checking back to see if there’s anything else I want to buy. Thanks Blue Dot! You made our vacation so much easier!

Any and all reviews are important to us here, so if you ever purchase anything from us please leave us feedback. By simply leaving us any type of feedback you automatically enter our contest with a chance to win prizes of up to $100 in value!

What Does the Future Hold for Smart Phones?

Looking to the future can be fun, especially when it seems that much more realistic when seeing how quickly technology advanced just this past decade! I remember watching Star Trek growing up and seeing those cool Data Pads that worked as a handheld computer. I thought that would be such a cool device to actually have, and here I am, sitting next to my Kindle Fire which is even better than the show portrayed (specifically it being in color). Sci-fi seems to be the natural predictor of the future lately which only makes it seem that much more exciting. But what real advances will we see in the next ten years? What should we expect and how soon?

PC, Tablet and Smart Phone Merging

Over ten years ago, if you told someone you would have a hand held device with the internet, games, phone, email and almost anything else a PC could do back then in the palm of your hand, they would probably scoff at you. Or, at the very least, say it would cost a fortune. Yet now we have dozens of smart phones that do those things, some you can get for free with a new plan! Smart phones have seen a huge explosion in popularity over the years and tablets have only begun to become a mainstream device, thanks to the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. The first hints of phones and tablets merging is the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note, a gigantic phone, or tiny tablet… or both, which does anything a tablet can do as well as a phone. The size of the screen screams tablet, but the 4G speeds and calling capabilities scream cellphone.

It’s hard for me to imagine being without my computer tower, but I know that this technology is on it’s way out as well. Cloud computing seems to be on the rise which will lead to people simply having a screen that connects to a central super computer service. This computer could then run any game on maximum settings, and keep up with any and all computers out there. So if your computer is essentially a screen connected to a massive interface, then it’s only a matter of time for that screen to simply be another tablet, and then your smart phone. Service like OnLive does this kind of thing already, and once our internet speeds get faster, this will become more of a reality.

Wearable Technology
Nokia has been working on nanotechnology that would allow you to stretch, curve and shape your phone into almost any shape, along with the ability to take a picture of a pattern and copy it. Want your phone to look like a bracelet that matches your purse, Nokia’s Morph could potentially do that. Not only would that be pretty cool, it would be very handy in masking potential technology you’re carrying around if you happen to be in a bad neighborhood. The possibilities of nanotechnology are endless, allowing electronic surfaces to clean themselves, be see through, change shape and even detect chemicals in the air. The examples Nokia Morph showed in their demo were pretty coo,l but I can only see this being a possibility if those abilities are worth the cost it is to develop them into each phone. The only one I see being extremely viable on the market is bendable tech, which is great for someone who may be a bit rough with their phone.

The Nokia Morph video showed quite a bit of cool possibilities, but it is still simply a tech demo and the Nokia’s Morph price is probably going to be rather steep. Though there has been no word on this phone since the tech demo.

Sony electronic paper Screens as Thin as Paper

Speaking of nanotechnology, screens are getting thinner and thinner! Screens as thin as paper have already been developed allowing full color displays. What does this mean for our future? A few ideas come to mind, such as magazines with moving ads, or even a thin movable piece of plastic that could make any surface, be it a window or wall, into a touch screen interface. You could have a huge wall that appears empty, then activated into your HDTV, or have it display moving photographs, scenery from around the world or just simply the weather! Sony has already developed a super thin screen that can bed and flex in any direction.

The future looks pretty exciting when it comes to technology! Each and every year brings new and fascinating devices that bring us closer to the future shown to us in sci-fi movies, some tech even surpassing those movies all together.

TheBlueDot Reviews the New Xbox 360 Dashboard

First thing you’re probably wondering is how the xbox 360 has anything to do with phones. Well, the new big dashboard update actually incorperates some Windows phone 7 controls into the mix. That’s nice and all, but does the whole package improve upon the old dashboard layout, or does it fall flat?
Upon first glance it has a very familiar look, if you have, or have been keeping up with the new Windows Phone layout. The font, the boxes, everything matches it’s tiny OS cousin. The biggest change is the complete integration of Xbox’s hit console add-on, Kinect. I was pretty excited about this because I have had the Kinect since last year, and I only really use it for the occasional party and video voice controls. Now, I can use the voice controls and my hands to navigate almost every aspect of the Xbox menu. But I was suddenly saddened to see that the software update also updated the Kinects sensativity. It almost always detects both of my hands, regardless of which is up and moving around, which causes the hand control to stutter in every direction as it struggles to find out which hand I am using. this was kind of a let down, but it may be because I need to either re-calibrate, or brighten up my living room… even though it is rather well lit to begin with.

The voice controls are almost perfect, and I really do mean “almost”. Controlling the dash and what Netflix movie to play is a snap. The only let down here is that you find yourself repeating “show more”, “next list” and so on. We live in a world where our own mobile phones can figure out what we want by speaking it. Why can’t the Xbox do the same when we say something like “Play Dirty Jobs” or “Search Discovery Channel shows”. Instead we are stuck saying “play one” or “play three” when we see the shows in a specific order on the dash.

Now it may seem like I’m complaining a lot here, but I actually love the new layout and improved voice controls, though the motion controls may need a bit more work. I don’t have a Windows 7 phone, but after seeing some live demos I can tell you that the future is rather bright for the new and improved mobile phone OS. For instance, you can control all your movies and shows via the zune controls in your phone, making your own cell phone a smart remote. That is cool enough, but already they want to integrate games from your phone to the big screen in your home. They showed off a demo of Kinectimals on the Windows phone where you can make new pets and play games with them. Once you get home you can then scan a code into your kinect where your new pet will suddenly appear on your TV! Pretty cool stuff, and shows a lot of potential for future phone to console game integration.

Black Friday Tips for Late Nighters

Black Friday is upon us shortly and with the knowledge and experience of staying up all night in lines and malls, I have a few tips for the newbies among us. Even if you’re used to staying on lines or staying up all night, some folks get irked when they are being towed around by a slow shopper. Don’t worry, TheBlueDot is here for you in your time of need. No, we don’t have some time machine or magical device that will just deliver all the items you need for the holidays. But we do have a few tips and tricks for those not used to the stress of late night shopping and slow tow shoppers.
The Late Night Blues!

Some stores allow you to wait inside, at least the first 20 or so shoppers. But many stores like Toys-r-Us and even a few malls don’t open their doors until they say so. When this happens, like we all remember with the long late lines with the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3, it’s good to bundle up and get comfortable. When I waited outside for the Nintendo Wii I brought a beach chair, sleeping bag, chips, tea, and a blanket. The sleeping bag was for when I just arrived late at night and just fell right to sleep. The blanket, chips and tea were for when it was getting close to opening the doors. To help the time pass you can talk to your fellow line goers, bring along your tablet or smartphone and watch some movies, or bring along your favorite book to read. Just remember, Black Friday is not known for being warm and comfortable, so please remember to bundle up!

“But it’s too Early!”

If you think it’s too early to line up at a store Thanksgiving night for some big deals, then it’s actually the perfect time to get there. Some people go right after Thanksgiving dinner and get on line in hopes to snag a high demand
Where are your chairs and blankets!? Newbies…
product in low supply. I got on line for the first time for the Nintendo 64, when I arrived at 1am the line was already 30 deep and when the doors finally opened I didn’t manage to snag the N64… I felt like I wasted an entire night. Don’t let that happen to you, this year there aren’t as many low supply goodies out there, so this may not be necessary, but that won’t be true every year. Go early, go prepared, and get what you came for!

Are You Don Yet?

I have this uncanny ability, according to my friends, in which I can go shopping with anyone and never get annoyed with how long they take. I drive my girlfriend and her friends to the mall, hold a bag and never complain, never moan, and never get upset. How? I blame my shopaholic sister and mother growing up. But the real trick is to not really pay much attention to the shoppers. Entertain yourself by looking around the store, maybe build your own opinion on styles in your head, look at your cell phone and catch up on news, or just zone out and think about a few plans the coming week. If that doesn’t work, plan a place you want to go and shop. Either break off from the group and have fun on your own, or take your time shopping with them in tow. Just be patient, some people, girl and guy, like shopping more than others. If you have a smart phone or even a book, just remember to bring it along and at least keep yourself busy that way.

Go Out of Town

I lived in a rather populated town, so when people wanted a big electronic item, they all lined up and crowded the local Best Buy or Walmart. If you have a car, leave those folks in the dust and find an out of town store someplace less populated. Why? Because even the people in that town may go into a bigger town for more stores, giving you a better chance to snag the newest gadget at there Best Buy while all the suckers wait in line in the nearest city. Give the store a call the day before first to be sure they even have the item stocked for tomorrow. Some stores in lower populated areas get neglected with big stock items so always call first.

Don’t Get Mad at The Employees

If they are out of an item or don’t know when the next shipment comes in, please don’t get mad at them. When I called over and over about the Nintendo Wii my friend, who worked at Target, told me that 99% of the time the store never knows when they will get a big item like that, and even if they do know when, they rarely know how many they will get. Especially when said item is in such low supply all over the country. One store told me they may expect 20 or so units on a Thursday, but when I showed up they only had 5 come in and they were already gone. It’s not their fault, they are at the whim of the suppliers and are only doing their best. Just remember, they’re people too, and are trying their best to get you what you want.

New York Subway to Get T-Mobile AT&T Phone Service

Who has the better apps? Who has the better maps? Who has the better phones? Verizon and AT&T, the two powerhouse cell phone providers, constantly try to find ways to one up each other. A recent development paints the picture that AT&T has taken the next big step.

After a three-year delay, Transit Wireless, LLC announced in July it had secured the financing needed to build a network that would allow for cell phone service in all 277 New York City subway stations. AT&T, along with T-Mobile, have each signed 10-year agreements to gain access to this new network.

The total project is expected to cost 150 to 200 million dollars, and be completed within 6 years. In addition to the cellular service, the network will also provide Wi-Fi. Through signal propagation, both of these services may also be seen in large sections of tunnels. Within 6 months, the first 6 platforms will be completed.

With the subway being a primary means of transportation for many New Yorkers, many experts expect this move to give AT&T greater dominance in the New York Metro area. This leaves the question: What will Verizon do to top this bold move by their biggest competitor? Keep your eyes and ears open, this is going to get exciting! So glad to hear I will be able to use my AT&T Blackberry on the subway.