True unlimited mobile data does not exist anywhere (not even in the USA)

Unlimited internet data

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat, true unlimited mobile data plan does not exist in America. Or anywhere else.

So you ask me, “What do you mean by true unlimited?”

I answer by asking you, “How do you define unlimited?”

Unlimited internet data

I am using the USA as an example, because very often, people in other countries hear about “unlimited” data plans there and start clamouring for same in their own countries. So, let me help you understand what unlimited data is in practice.

Ordinarily, unlimited would mean, ‘without restriction’, ‘not confined’ and so on. But to the carriers, unlimited means, ‘as long as you don’t use too much data, you’re not restricted.’

You see, the way unlimited mobile data works is, if you’re a heavy user of data, the speed of your connection is slowed way down (throttled) after you reach what is called a “threshold” or “reasonable limit”. In some cases, the subscriber is cut off completely after crossing that mark.

For example, if you’re on a 4G or 3G unlimited data plan, your connection can slow to as low as 128kbps once you have crossed the threshold. I have to say here that the threshold is different depending on what data plan you’re on. A lot of the prepaid plans are usually upfront about the amount of bandwidth you enjoy at optimum speed before your connection slows down. This is not true unlimited data in my opinion.

True unlimited data for me would be to be able to use data the way I want without any form of restriction. That would be heaven for me really, but I’m not sure that it is realistic. The plans tend to have a severe impact on infrastructure. There are always a set of subscribers who download so much data (video, audio and games) at the expense of other subscribers.

It is worth noting by the way that in the USA, both AT&T and Verizon have long discontinued unlimited data plans.

As a Nigerian who has experienced the so-called unlimited data plans, I honestly must say that the slowing down of internet connection some way into my data plan subscription is always a bitter pill to swallow. As a matter of fact, it is always a very painful experience. I would rather buy an internet plan with a data cap that has the same speed all through my subscription period. That is my preference anytime any day.

But do stop dreaming about truly unlimited data plans. There is always one limit or the other. Those plans are only unlimited in name.

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These top techies all think that BlackBerry Passport is the best

Passport front

Passport front

Matthew Miller is perhaps the world’s top mobile tech reviewer. He has owned over 200 different devices running Palm, Linux, Symbian, Newton, BlackBerry, iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone operating systems. His current collection includes a Nokia Lumia 1520, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, BlackBerry Passport, Sony Xperia Z3, Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and many more. His verdict on the Passport:

I like the iPhone 6 Plus and my Android phones, but the BlackBerry Passport gets things done more efficiently and is a joy to use. (Source)

SuperSanusi is one of Nigeria’s leading tech bloggers. His present smartphone collection includes the Passport and HTC One M8, and he thinks too that the BlackBerry Passport is king of the pack:


Then there’s Mr. Mo, Africa’s foremost mobile tech blogger and reviewer, who has owned over 120 mobile devices running Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Android, webOS, iOS, Windows Phone and Firefox operating systems since 2001. His current collection includes a BlackBerry Passport, Nokia Lumia 930, Innjoo One 3G HD and Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 3G. He agrees with the sentiment that BlackBerry passport is highly underrated and is the most capable smartphone in the market:


I have only played with the Passport for a few minutes, and I think it is a great device. But the best? Are these fellas on to something? Do you agree with them? What device would you pick as the best smartphone in the market now?

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Mixed Emotions: First Impressions Of the Motorola Moto G

Moto G pack

Moto G pack

Two separate emotions are exactly what the Moto G evokes in me right now. One of excitement and surprise, and the other of gloom. In all fairness, this phone isn’t entirely to blame for my gloomy feelings. You’ve got to understand, that the Moto G was bought as a replacement for the very capable workhorse and multitasking monster of a tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Yeah, it’s easy for you to see why I would feel that way. But then, I can hear you wondering aloud, “who in their right mind would replace a Galaxy Note tablet with a Moto G?” Well, in all fairness to me, I’m not entirely to blame for that. It’s what we do at Mobility, so we can bring you reviews of a wide range of devices. So pin that on Mister Mo.

Moto G about

Back to the Moto G impression, this phone perfectly fits into the Nigerian midrange mobile phone market. Of course this impression stems majorly from the price. The price is no doubt in the midrange territory. And seeing the package it comes in, it is clear that Motorola spared no effort to ensure they achieved this price point. The package is so small, you would almost wonder if there’s a phone in it. Opening the package reveals just phone and USB cable period. Any extra Accessory will have to be paid for. Get past this point, and it’s good news all the way. Almost.

Want a simple, beautiful, very well built phone that won’t require you to steal a bank to purchase? The Moto G should be on the list of your options. Want the latest version of Android in all its pure Google glory at a mid-range price point? The Moto G should be on that list. Looking for Corning Gorilla glass 3 scratch resistant protection, over a glorious and very pixel dense 720p display? I’m not going to stretch this too far before I’m accused of having been paid by Motorola to write this. Speaker volume is very loud though audio production is not very impressive. You will definitely notice the less than average audio quality during calls. Right now, that’s the only part of the phone that leaves a bitter taste in what in my opinion should be a mid-range mobile phone winner.

Expect my detailed review.

How to get a Moto G in Nigeria right away – Editor

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First Impression and Unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-8

The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition is Samsung’s second offering of the full tablet Galaxy Note. It shares the same name with its elder brother, but with an extension that bears resemblance to the naming convention of the auto industry. I kind of like the ring to the extension (ignore the fact that it is mouthful), as it gives the impression that you’re using a futuristic product. You know, the kind of product that cool dudes use.

Man Meets Machine

Meeting the Note 10.1 2014 edition in the flesh didn’t give me goose bumps. I had read extensively about it online, watched many videos and seen enough photos. I had even played with it in stores during many of my window shopping expeditions. As such, when I finally got it, it looked as it should. It is not the best looking tablet in the world, but the award for ugliness will not also be going to this guy. I do think that you will be impressed with its slim profile, both in thickness and the bezel. This tablet is what you’ll refer to as “model l’omo” – a reference to the slim profile. Also, though I had read about how light this guy was, I was abundantly shocked when I picked it up. I guess my mind had an estimated gauge of what the weight would be, and had suggested to my hand the amount of force to apply to carry the device. As it turned out, that initial force was too much. Pardon my Pig-Latin. If I had a simpler way to explain it, I would use it.

Setup

Powering it on the first time leads you through the initial setup for the device, kind of like powering up a PC for the first time. If you’ve gone through the initial setup process for a PC before, then you have an idea what this is about. Once you get through this process, you’re greeted by what in my opinion is a very beautiful and clean home screen. This leads me to what has impressed me the most so far about this device – its display. The display is very sharp and crisp. It is a joy to behold.

Technical Stuff

The Specs of the of the 2014 edition of the Note 10.1 on paper are really impressive. The version I have is the 3G version, powered by Samsung’s Exynos Octa-Core processor. It is actually two Quad-Core processors combined. The first is a 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor, while the second is a 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor. There’s also 3GB RAM on board helping to ensure that the device runs smoothly. So far, I have not had any issues, and Android is running smoothly. This is really something, as this is the first Android device that won’t go crashing on me after a few days of usage.

I should drop my “Pen” (S-Pen) here and let photos do the rest of the talking for me, before I get accused of saying too much in a first impression article. Enjoy the photos and stay tuned for the full review.

Photographs

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-8

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-3

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-4

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-7

Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-photo-6

And here is a screenshot of the home screen:
Samsung Galaxy Note 10-1-Screenshots_2013-12-10-03-22-14

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Look at this cartoon figure drawn on a tablet

Dayo cartoons art

Some months ago, I decided to learn a new skill and so took to learning how to draw. I started out with paper and pencil, but recently crossed over to drawing on mobile. Here is a sample that I did from start to finish on my new tablet:

Dayo cartoons art

I will leave it to you to guess which tablet it is. Meanwhile, what do you think?

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No new Symbian and MeeGo apps from January 2014

Symbian-MeeGo-no-new-apps-jan-2014

Symbian-MeeGo-no-new-apps-jan-2014

With the recent announcement of a Microsoft takeover of Nokia, it should not come as a surprise that Nokia will be discontinuing support for new Symbian and MeeGo apps from January 1, 2014. Symbian used to be the world’s number one smartphone OS by far. MeeGo was the original planned replacement for Symbian. Though MeeGo gained popularity among Symbian fans, Nokia dropped it for Windows Phone after the current CEO arrived.

From what I gather, both Symbian and MeeGo apps already existing in Nokia Store will still be available for download by users. Also, developers will still continue to get paid when their existing apps are purchased. However, developers will no longer be able to publish new apps or update existing apps in the Store after January 1 2014.

In my opinion, January 1, 2014 is the real burial date for both Symbian and MeeGo. RIP.

News & Image Source

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Half of connected smartphones in Nigeria are BlackBerry

RIM Press Conference, Lagos

RIM Press Conference, Lagos

At a press conference by RIM yesterday, Robert Bose, Regional Manager Director for the Middle East and Africa, spoke about how RIM is doing in Africa and Nigeria in particular. He stated that according to Informa, 2 million out of the 4 million smartphones connected in Nigeria are Blackberry smartphones. He spoke of how BlackBerry is the number one smartphone in Africa overall and highlighted how mobile access is opening Africa and Nigerians in particular to the internet. He said Nigerians are BlackBerry people, who are fulfilling their social needs through the BBM service.

When he left the stage, Waldi Wepener, Regional Director -East, Central and West Africa, took the stage and made announcements of RIM’s expansion of its local presence in Nigeria. He announced the first official branded retail store in partnership with SLOT Nigeria. He also announced 60 free software upgrade centres accross Nigeria, where BB users can take their device and have its software updated for free.

A second phase of training for developers on developing for BlackBerry 10 was also announced at the event. In addition, it was announced that RIM is the technology partner for Lagos Fashion Week.

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PlirisBlaze Means Business [Updated]

image

Right from the word Go, PlirisBlaze is a Nigerian mobile brand that makes out like it means business.

A Nigerian smartphone brand? Does that surprise you? This is not the first time a Nigerian company is venturing into the making of smartphones. Anyone remember the Anabel smartphones? They were a range of Windows Mobile smartphones made by a Nigerian company. There was also Zico, though that was a feature phone brand.

My suspicion is that there are still other Nigerian brands that will make their way into this smartphone manufacturing space. However, the Pliris Blaze is already here, and we’ve taken it through it’s paces to see what it brings to the table.

Yes it does. At least, amidst other Nigerian mobile phone efforts. And I dare say that this is a Nigerian phone that shouldn’t be ignored. I also suspect that PlirisMobile Nigeria Limited, the company behind the Blaze mean business. Well, keep your fingers crossed and come with me as we explore this device.

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Packaging & Accessories
The packaging is a winner – a white box with contents neatly arranged. But the accessories are just as good. They are all in white too, reminding one of Apple’s signature. Included accessories include: earphones, 4GB microSD card, microUSB cable, charging point, standard battery, and extended battery.

It is a complete package.

I See You…
Yes I know that it is said, Never judge a book by its cover. the Pliris Blaze, and it did not disappoint in the looks department. First and foremost, this is a gorgeous looking phone, even though at times I feel like I’ve seen this design before from another manufacturer. Never mind. What’s important is that it’s a well designed phone and feels solid in the hand.

Of course, it is the usual PDA-style slab design, with the 4.0 inch multi-touch capacitive screen occupying most of the front space. Above the screen, you find the Android label to show that this is an Android powered phone. There’s also a front facing camera (1 megapixel) for video calls, and an LED indicator. Below the screen, you get four capactive touch buttons that are not very sensitive to the touch, but on the average gets the job done.

The back of the phone is where its beauty really shines. The combination of off-white and silver colour for the back cover is really tasteful. You will also find a 3.0 megapixel camera with dual LED flash.

But Do You Have Character?
We have established that the Pliris Blaze is a beautiful phone. But then, does it have character? Will it be able to deliver on its promises? Our testing shows that this is a phone that passes, though not with flying colours as there are a few character flaws.

1. There’s Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) running in the veins of this baby. All the goodies of Gingerbread are here, multi-tasking, wifi-hotspot, plus all the apps available in the Google Play Store.

Well, that’s only half the story. The manufacturer has done a little tweaking of the OS to spice up your experience. For instance, Instead of the stock Android homescreen, you get an option of two homescreen launchers built into the OS. Zeam home screen launcher is enabled by default. But you can always change it by pressing the home button.

Also, there are a number of apps that do not come pre-installed on the stock Android OS that are here out-of-the-box. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Angrybirds, Texty, etc. This is some serious savings on your precious bandwidth.

2. The Processor is a Qualcom chip clocked at 700Mhz with 512MB RAM to go along with it. While I would have loved to see a higher processor, this is good enough for most tasks.

3. Memory card slot with a 4GB card installed. If that’s not enough for you, you can get a card with higher memory up to 32GB and the phone will handle it without issues.

4. There’s HSDPA for fast Internet usage.

5. There’s multi-media catering to your photos, videos, and music needs. I must say though that pictures taken with the camera of this phone won’t impress your friends. It is only a 3 megapixel camera afterall. But the music and video players deliver well.

6. There’s a front facing camera for video calls and chatting.

7. The manufacturer has included an extra battery and a 10hrs extended battery pack in the box. This should supply all the needed juice for the phone to make it through the day.

8. There’s FM radio and terrestrial TV as the manufacturer puts it to keep you entertained and informed. I was able to watch local stations on the phone. Really nice.

9. There’s a dual SIM card slot, which means you’ll be able to use two numbers at the same time.

10. The music and video players deliver very well. The speaker on the back of the phone also produces good sound.

You Are Not Perfect
The only phone that is perfect is called “No phone”. Unfortunately, the Pliris Blaze is a phone and it is hereby imperfect. Yes, it’s got character, but it has also got some character flaws.

Dual SIM functionality: maybe it’s the unit that was sent to us, but the dual SIM functionality just didn’t work. The phone only registered SIMs in the first SIM card slot. I swapped the SIMs back and forth and it was the same result all the time. After several attempts, I just gave up.

Update We did get the dual SIM functionality working eventually. Apparently, we did not insert the SIM card properly the first time. – Editor

Display/Screen: the 4.0 inch screen is very bright and remains readable under direct Sunlight. It is capable of displaying up to 16 million colours. However, touching the screen in use is a different ball game. It turns out that the screen is not very responsive to touch. And one cannot help but wonder if this is a capacitive touch screen.

Call Quality: Call quality is average on the whole. Occasional dropped calls, low audio during calls are some of the weak points of this device.

Camera: The 3.0 megapixel camera sports a dual LED flash. Just to put it bluntly, the camera on this device is not impressive at all.

Conclusion
This is a Nigerian phone that means business, despite its many flaws. The Blaze is currently sold in the market for N50,000. With right pricing, it should do well in the market.

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How Are South Africans Using Their Mobile Phones?

Mobile Phones
It is no longer news that the mobile phone is a multi-functional device. Mobile phone users all over the world are doing much more with their phones than just making phone calls. To them, the mobile device has become an indispensable part of their everyday lives.

The question however is, ‘How are South Africans using their mobile phones?’

To give us an idea, we refer to a study carried out by a Johannesburg-based research company Synovate.

According to the study, 84% of South Africans say they simply cannot live without their mobile phones and that they use them for all kinds of things. Nothing new there. The question is, what are those things and in what proportions are they used?

Here are key points from the study:
• 87 percent use the alarm-clock function.
• 82 percent use their phone cameras to snap pictures.
• 66 percent listen to or download music on their phones.
• 71 percent play games on their phones.
• 46 percent use their phones for internet browsing.
• 47 percent watch video clips on their phones.

Now that you have an idea, we would love to hear from you. How are you using your mobile phone?

The information above was lifted from the Y’ello magazine, a quarterly magazine published by MTN South Africa.

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Blast From The Past: the Nokia E71 Still Rocking


The Nokia E71 is a phone that was released at a time when there existed in Nokia a dichotomy between enterprise and multimedia smartphones. The Nokia E71 belonged in the category of the E-series devices with the E tag standing for enterprise. Thankfully, today that dichotomy no longer exists. In my opinion, the distinction between those two categories was pointless.

It’s been three years since the release of the E71, and I am amazed at how much relevant it still is in today’s smartphone space. While the E71 has limitations due to lack of certain hardware and perhaps software present in today’s smartphones, you still will not feel very much left out carrying one around today.

My reason for saying this is really simple: much of what can be done with today’s smartphones can also be done with the E71. Period.

I have been carrying one around for a week now, and eish! It is delivering very well.

  1. This is still a very beautiful and very well built phone
  2. It is still enjoying support from the manufacturer.
  3. This guy takes care of all my social networking needs.
  4. I am able to edit and view office files on it, be they Word, Excel or Powerpoint. As a matter of fact, I am writing this article with the E71.
  5. With Joikuspot Premium installed, I am able to use it as wi-fi hotspot.
  6. This baby lets me use keyboard shortcuts when typing and editing documents.
  7. It’s got very impressive battery life.
  8. When it’s time to get my groove on, I launch the music player and blast away. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist.
  9. While I won’t get the Nokia N8 picture quality from it, the 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash manages to snap decent photos.
  10. I know I won’t be able to have an erotic conversation with the delectable lady Siri on the E71, but I am still able to initiate a call by telling my phone to call someone from my contact list using the voice command feature.

There you have it! Three years running, and the E71 is still rocking. That’s impressive.

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Cost of Internet Access: Nigeria and South Africa

MTN SIM

I must admit, to my shame, that I am one of those Nigerians who think that the price we pay for internet access is exhorbitant. Of course, this kind of thinking is based absolutely on ignorance of what is happening in other parts of the world. Had we been properly informed and educated, we would know that we are in Heaven in Nigeria as far as internet access is concerned.

For example, when you recharge with N200 on Etisalat, you get 15MB of data free to use for the monthweek. We should simply ask ourselves, Does this happen on Etisalat in other parts of the world? While I haven’t done my research, my guess is that the answer to that question will most definitely surprise us.

I recently came to South Africa to live and work. Naturally, I would need to choose an internet plan to use so I can continue to represent Mobility and keep in touch with the world. I had been told that as far as tarrifs go, MTN is the network to look at. So I decided to continue the tradition of “Every Where You Go”.

You can imagine my surprise when I checked out their prices for the different range of internet bundles they offer, and compared it with what obtains on MTN in Nigeria. The difference was too clear. The tariffs for internet access on MTN South Africa are certainly higher than that of MTN Nigeria.

Here Is The Comparison
For starters, Pay-as-you-use internet on MTN SA cost R2.00 Per MB (N40.00).
On MTN Nigeria, it cost 155kobo per KB which translates to N50.00 per MB

1day plan with 150MB data cap on MTN SA cost R50.00 (N1,000.00).
The same plan on MTN Nigeria costs N500.00

1GB data plan on MTN SA cost R289.00 (N5,780.00)
The same plan on MTN Nigeria costs N5,000.00

2GB data plan MTN SA cost R389.00 (N7,780.00)
5GB data plan MTN Nigeria cost N8,000.

As we can see, the figures speak for themselves. In my uneducated opinion, I would expect that internet tarrif in SA would be cheaper as they don’t need to power their cell sites with generators, and they do not need to spend money on diesel to keep those generators running like their Nigerian counterparts do.

For all it is worth, MTN Nigeria and other networks are working miracles to bring us internet access at the price they do, given all they have to deal with in our environment.

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