Mario Armstrong is joined on HLN Evening Express by life coach and radio host Jennifer Keitt and they get into a lively discussion about whether or not we’re addicted to our smartphones, how it’s affecting our kids, and whether or not we need to do something about it.
Black Friday 1 Cent Smartphones from AT&T
If you’ve been holding off on investing in a smartphone for your business because you can’t justify the expense, AT&T will make it real easy for you to stay productive on the go with its upcoming Black Friday sale where it plans to offer smartphones for as little as $0.01 cent.
You heard me, a PENNY for a SMARTPHONE.
If you don’t mind signing a new 2-year contract, selecting at least a $15 monthly data plan (in addition to a voice plan) and buying exclusively from att.com, you can a sweet deal on select phones. Click past the break for the full details. Read More
GoPayment NFC transactions Demoed at Google I/O Conference
This mobile transactions battle between Square, Intuit, and VeriFone is heating up! Looks as if Intuit just raised the stakes with the demonstration of its GoPayment mobile credit card processing application sporting new NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology that could set it apart from competitors in the market.
The current GoPayment system consists of a credit card reader that you plug into your smartphone’s headphone jack to swipe a customer’s credit card to complete a sale. Square and Verifone both have similar devices that you have to physically add to your phone for credit card swiping functionality.
Intuit’s GoPayment demonstration at this year’s Google I/O Conference shows NFC technology bring used to transfer credit card data via radio waves, eliminating the need for the actual card or any add-on card reader hardware. During a transaction, a user simply holds their smartphone (with their financial information stored on an accompanying mobile app) near a Point-of-Sale (POS) device or another smartphone that will read your credit card information and complete the sale. Thus making it easier and faster for customers to pay, and simpler for small business owners to get paid.
Innovation is happening rapidly in the mobile payment space and we want to be ready to help the millions of small businesses and consumers we serve benefit from the latest technology.
The mobile tech industry has been investing in the creation/evolution of the virtual wallet for quite sometime. Intuit, with this recent show of support in NFC and mobile credit card transactions, may have just fast-tracked itself to the front of the race. Look out for more mobile device manufacturers to start pumping out NFC-enabled gadgets like the Google Nexus S currently on the market (and what Intuit used for its demo) that can support this technology towards the end of 2011 and well into 2012.
[via: Business Wire]
Intuit GoPayment is the New Smartphone Credit Card Processor in Town
Recently announced, Intuit (the company behind QuickBooks) has released a smartphone credit card precessing service for small businesses called GoPayment that allows you to accept and swipe credit cards with your smartphone. The GoPayment service consists of the GoPayment app and a free card reader for low-volume businesses that attaches to your phone via the headphone jack.
What makes GoPayment so attractive for small businesses is instead of monthly fees, you are charged a transaction fee per swipe. The GoPayment transaction fees are very competitive at 2.7% of the total transaction + 15 cents for swiped transactions and 3.7% + 15 cents for manual (keyed in) transactions.
The GoPayment service is almost identical to the already established Square service where you also get a free reader and the basic per transaction fees mirror each other. Where GoPayment changes the game is if you do manage to do some heavy transaction volumes. With GoPayment, you can opt for a $12.95 monthly fee drop down to 1.5% + 30 cents for swiped transactions and 2.7% + 30 cents for manual transactions. Additionally, up to 50 users can use one account if you have multiple people accepting credit cards on your company’s behalf. GoPayment still isn’t any sort of Square killer, because you do need a merchant account to use Intuit whereas Square is merchant-account free.
Regardless of which one you choose, services like this are a Godsend for small businesses who don’t do enough transactions to justify the regular credit card processing fees; but needs to adapt to their clients “I don’t have any cash/checks on me” mentality that comes with the popularity of using plastic for all things financial these days.
GoPayment is available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry (as well as some tablets) and the app and card reader are free when you sign up.
Three New AT&T 4G Phones Announced at CES
This post is more of an update to my earlier post about the HTC Inspire 4G phone and the addition of the Motorola Atrix 4G and the Samsung Infuse 4G that will be available for AT&T customers sometime in the first quarter of 2011. Both are 4G phones and will run on the 4G HSPA+ network as AT&T starts to deploy it’s 4G LTE network in mid 2011.
The HTC Inspire 4G is a Single-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor; 4.3 inch 800×480 resolution screen; front and back cameras with 720p playback; and will be running the Android “Froyo” 2.2 OS.
The Motorola Atrix 4G will be one of the first smartphones to boast a dual-core Tegra processor; with a 4.1 inch 480×854 resolution screen (back down to human-size); with 1080p playback and front and back cameras (pretty much the standard nowadays)
The “Big Daddy” in terms of sheer size is the Samsung Infuse 4G with it’s hefty 4.5 inch screen. The Infuse will have a 1.2GHz processor and and will features a Super AMOLED screen with new technology that is supposed to cut down on glare in the sunlight. The Infuse will also run Android 2.2.
There you have it, AT&T wants to win over the Android folks (just in case “Big Red” does pick up the iPhone) with its announcement of three new 4G phones at CES. We will have to wait and see how smooth they work over AT&T’s HSPA+ network.
Rolling Stone Magazine Outs AT&T 4G Phone, 4G Network Soon To Follow?
[photo credit: Android Central]
Yeah, you heard me – It looks like Rolling Stone Magazine got the drop on all of the geeky, tech, sites where you would normally expect info like this to come from.
If you’re a smartphone addict like me, then you should be aware of all the current and upcoming HTC Android OS 4G phones depicted in the Rolling Stone ad:
– HTC EVO (Sprint)
– HTC G2 (T Mobile)
– And the recently announced HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon).
The “new kid on the block” (showing my age) that appears in the back of the other phones in the ad is the HTC Inspire from AT&T. If AT&T is willing to let Rolling Stone of all publications drop tech goodness like AT&T’s first 4G phone, then AT&T’s 4G network couldn’t be too far behind….Right?
All My 2011 CES attendess, keep an eye on HTC and AT&T and let us know (via the comments section) if they announce anything during the conference.
Update: the folks over at BGR have the details on an AT&T LTE (4G) announcement at CES today. (Now that makes more sense)
NFC is the New Black
The Lowdown: Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology has been making the rounds this past year as companies are starting to develop and enhance ways to utilize it in everyday settings. To refresh your memory, or to hip you to the game altogether, NFC is comprised of small chips encoded with information that can be decoded when a compatible device is in proximity of the chip. Any type of information can be stored on the chip, and devices that can decode the information can be as small as (you guessed it) a cell phone.
Specifically, by adding the technology to cell/smart phones to enable people to pay for items by linking a credit card or bank account to a microSD card with NFC tech built in and simply waving the phone over a POS device at the time of sale. Major companies like Visa and Bank of America are testing this out as we speak.
Google has decided to enter into the fray with their newest Android mobile device, the Nexus S, that will have NFC built into the phone – no need for an additional micoSD Card). Nexus S owners will be able to wave (or hover) their phones over NFC chips that can embedded into stickers, t-shirts, posters, business cards, etc. and decode/display the information.
Concurrently, Google has launched its “Hotpot” service that works with Google Places that offers businesses NFC-enabled window decals to display at their locations. The idea is that passers-by with NFC readers (like smartphones) can hover their device over the window decal to automatically learn more about the business, get special deals/offers, read and write reviews. The end result, more people using Google Places, and more foot traffic to businesses.
Does all this sound familiar? Well, I am a fan of QR code technology that enables people to create funny-looking barcodes encoded with information that can be decoded with QR code reader apps on smartphones. QR codes can be encoded with any type of information and can be made into the same stuff that NFC can be made into. The difference is that QR Code has to be scanned manually by decoder apps in conjunction with smartphone camera, versus NFC, which readers only have to be in proximity of a chip to decode the information.
Where am I going with all of this? It seems as if we are still waiting for QR Code to be accepted by the masses, and now in comes NFC technology already stealing some of it’s thunder. While NFC (chips) sounds WAY cooler than QR Code (barcodes), and is easier to use, QR Codes are easier/cheaper to produce and can be used over the web as well…
My Verdict: I think as smartphones become more and more of a de facto NECESSITY for everyone, and you start to see the entire contents of wallets and pocketbooks being replaced by smartphones, I think both QR Codes and NFC tech will have their respective place in our “can’t live without” device.
But I must ask – How could you use NFC or QR Codes for your business?
Join WebEx Meetings From Your Smartphone…Then “Handoff” To Your PC
Most small business owners I know are road warriors – always on the go looking for the next opportunity. That leaves a very small amount of time to sit in an office knee deep in meetings. As a result, the ability to conduct or attend a meeting while mobile is essential to staying on top of all that’s going on.
But merely dialing in and listening to others while they “ohh” and “ahh” over eye-catching, color-filled slides and screenshots of fascinating accounting figures isn’t enough for your typical jet-setting entrepreneur who needs to be included in all aspects of the meeting.
One of the most well-known web conferencing services that has recognized the need for people to attend meetings on the go via a smartphone is Cisco Webex. Download the WebEx App and via your iPhone or BlackBerry mobile device (other smartphone users can join meetings via mobile web browser), users can attend meetings and communicate/collaborate with other attendees with the same type of functionality of your typical desktop or laptop WebEx meeting.
The cool thing about the WebEx app is if you are attending a meeting en route to your office and want to continue the meeting on your desktop or laptop computer, with the flick of your wrist, you can “handoff” the meeting from your iPhone to your computer without interrupting your current session. No logging out of the meeting on your iPhone, just to look through your email inbox to find the link to the meeting and log back in hoping you didn’t miss any of those entertaining sales projections!
So if you are one of those road warriors who needs a more interactive way to attend meetings via your mobile device, check out the Cisco WebEx Mobile app …because we all know you wouldn’t dare miss all those presentation slides!