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Virgin Mobile Archive
My First 24 Hours With Android and Virgin Mobile and Why Apple Currently Has Won The Experience Battle
When I was a youngster, I busted my butt at the supermarket every week. And about once a quarter, I bought the new Nike Air Jordan sneakers. These sneakers were crazy expensive and my mother would yell at me (mainly because people were robbed for their Jordans in NYC) that I shouldn’t spend so much on sneakers. But I remember that even though they were expensive, there was something magical about wearing them. I can’t dunk a ball (though I was good at the three) but walking around Brooklyn in the sneakers just made me feel a bit cooler than if I bought just the basic sneakers.
When people ask me why the iPhone has been so popular, I reply by saying, “it’s the white headphones.” I only owned an iPhone for three weeks when it first launched because there was no AT&T signal in my apartment building in Manhattan. When I returned the iPhone, I went with a Samsung ACE which has Windows 6 Mobile. The phone has been great, it handles email great, phone calls with Sprint have always been rock solid and I like the keyboard. It’s a great utility phone, but it doesn’t have the white headphones.
I’ve taken two flights with Virgin Atlantic in their Upper Class service (I used points back in the day when the points from Delta transferred – it was sweet!). The experience from the second I arrived at JFK and LHR was absolutely amazing. Virgin Mobile has tried to copy the “look” of Virgin Atlantic but I am not sure the experience offered is the same.
I am not an Apple fanboy, but there is no doubt that when you buy an Apple product or visit one of their stores, it’s like slipping your feet into a pair of Air Jordans. I think Apple has realized that making a phone is easy, it’s making an experience that is much harder. These mobile devices are attached at our hips, in a purse, a fanny pack, or a belt clip night and day. And so the experience is so important today with technology. I bought an Apple iPod Touch during the holidays on Amazon and just opening the packaging made me think the device was made for the experience.
Late last year I wrote about Sprint’s deal where they offered a free LG Optimus S Android phone if you sign up for a two-year contract. Today I am back with what appears to be the best Android deal to-date.
The deal is for a LG Optimus V no-contract Android phone with Virgin Mobile. The deal is available at Target stores nationwide for $129 and you get a bonus $20 Target gift card which you could hypothetically use to buy a $25 Virgin Mobile top-up card. You could also use it to buy a super huge bag of M&Ms – your call. Most stores are already showing zero inventory so you might have to hit a few stores to find one in stock. If you don’t see one on the rack, make sure to ask the employee to check in the back as Target has a tendency to hide product in the back.
The phone retails on the Virgin website for $149 and up until this week, the best deal was $129 at Radio Shack and Best Buy. The LG Optimus V phone comes with Android 2.2 which I hear is the Froyo version. All of the reviews suggest that it’s not a top-of-the-line Android phone but is at the top of the midrange priced devices.
Continue reading “Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V Best Android Deal To-Date” »
Last month, our own Curtiss Grymala posted an email he received from Virgin Mobile outlining changes to his account. Curtiss is an unlimited Broadband2Go customer and uses Virgin’s MiFi device to get Internet access at home. The email Curtiss posted noted that on February 15, the changes would go into effect and from what I’ve heard – the changes have gone into effect today.
Regarding the speed change, the email noted, “Your data speeds will be limited for the remainder of the monthly plan cycle. During this time, you may experience slower page loads and file downloads and lags in streaming media.
Your data speeds will return to normal as soon as you buy a new Broadband2Go Plan.” Since you “buy” a new plan each month on the pre-paid service, your data level would begin at zero each month.
A Sprint employee posted several important changes to the Virgin Mobile unlimited Broadband2Go program today. The big change is that the cost is going up to $50 (it was $40). From the announcement, “This change was necessary because Virgin Mobile is committed to continuing to provide the best possible overall customer service. The $40 Unlimited Broadband2Go offer introduced last summer has been overwhelmingly popular. This added to an unprecedented thirst for mobile data that Virgin Mobile and all of the nation’s wireless carriers are seeing more and more.”
As you probably know by now if you read HTMLCenter or CenterNetworks on a semi-regular basis, I am a happy user of the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 with their $40/month unlimited Broadband2Go plan. It’s been a fantastic resource over the last 5 or 6 months; enough so that I even canceled my satellite Internet service in favor of it. Unfortunately, that may be coming to an end very soon.
Virgin Mobile dispatched an e-mail earlier today informing me that the terms of the “unlimited” plan are going to change in February. No longer will the plan really offer unlimited data; instead, each plan will have a cap of 5 gigabytes/month. That’s pretty standard for a mobile broadband plan. However, instead of cutting off your service or charging you exorbitant amounts of extra fees for going over your cap, they’re going to follow the path laid out by satellite Internet providers. They’re going to reduce the speed of your service.
At this time, they haven’t really said what speeds we’re supposed to be getting on the current plan, nor what those speeds will become if we go over our 5 gigabyte cap.
The thing that concerns me most is the accuracy of their bandwidth tracking application. At one point last month, their website was reporting that I had used almost 5 terrabytes of bandwidth during the month (which is obviously way off). If the usage reporting is going to be that far off, I’m worried about how quickly they might think I’ve used up my 5 gigabytes. Continue reading “Virgin Mobile Unlimited Data – Not So Unlimited Anymore” »
Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, (just a few hours after I finally canceled my satellite Internet service), my access to the Internet through my Virgin Mobile MiFi device stopped working. After trying to restart the device a few times and doing some other troubleshooting, I decided to call Virgin Mobile to see if they knew what was happening.
When I finally got through to a technician (around 3:15), they told me that they were aware of the outage and that I should try connecting again in about four hours. We still went ahead and tried it throughout the rest of the day anyway without any luck. By 9 p.m. last night, it still wasn’t working, so I decided to call back and ask for an update. The Virgin Mobile technician told me they were still working on the outage and asked me to try again in about two hours.
By the time I went to bed around 11 p.m., the service still was not back up. It was back this morning when I woke up, though, so they did get it fixed sometime overnight. Still, though, the outage lasted for at least 8 hours, possibly quite a bit longer.
It’s been a little over a month since I first started using the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 wifi hotspot. I used it almost exclusively as my Internet provider for most of the month of September, and I have to say I continued to be impressed by it throughout the month.
There were a handful of times that I had to reset the device because it stopped responding; and there were one or two instances when I actually had to reactivate it. Other than that, I very rarely had any issues with it at all.
I did find it difficult to get a signal while inside the conference rooms at WordCamp Baltimore last month, but I’ve gotten pretty good coverage everywhere else I’ve used it. I have actually gotten into the habit of watching shows on Hulu since making the switch to the MiFi device. Occasionally the buffer empties out and the video starts to stutter, but most of the time it does pretty well.
YouTube videos are still somewhat slow to download and watch, but they are okay.
While I didn’t download any huge files (like DVDs or anything) over the last month, I did use the service pretty heavily and never had my service capped or limited as a result; so it would appear that the service really is unlimited. The Virgin Mobile account administration area does keep a log of how much you’ve used the service, but, in my case, the log is supposedly 57 pages long, so it’s difficult to see exactly how much data I used during the month. It appears, though, that I used approximately 7 gigabytes of data during the month of September.
Continue reading “The VirginMobile MiFi 2200 – A Month Later” »
NY-based Buzzd and Virgin Mobile have announced a new partnership that will bring the buzzd local city guides to the Virgin Mobile customer base. The service is named "buzzd on Virgin Mobile" and will provide event information to major cities around the U.S., Europe and India.
Using the location features of the mobile device, buzzd can provide information about the location you are currently at and find hot events near you. The new service reminds me of another location-based service we covered, Sense Networks. The content on buzz comes from sources including Flavorpill, TimeOut and Zagat.
Standard text and data rates apply when using the Buzzd service. My mother uses Virgin Mobile and her screen is TINY – how she could use a city guide on the phone is beyond me. In fact, if I remember when I picked out the phone for her, all of the Virgin Mobile devices have small screens.