WE CHAT

Our niece uses We Chat, used by eight million people, to share text, pictures, video and phone calls. She likes the fact that it uses less of her phone’s data plan and saves her money.

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TEST DRIVING THE GALAXY

Samsung is so sure that iPhone users would like a Samsung phone better if they tried one out, they’re offering a 30-day trial of the latest Samsung Galaxy and other Samsung phones for $1.

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GETTING THE JITTERS

A friend’s 93 year-old mother is getting a new phone so she can call a ride service to be picked up when she’s out and about. She’s never used a cell phone. We suggested the Jitterbug. We’ve mentioned this before and what we really like about it is you can talk to a human if you’re lost.

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CALL 200 FRIENDS AT ONCE

“Popcorn Buzz, ” a free Android app, lets you talk to 200 friends at once using either your phone’s Wi-Fi or cellular connection. To set it up, you send your friends a link. Or if you’re already using “Line,” an app owned by the same company, you can access your existing friend list.

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A BETTER LANDLINE

We had an AT&T phone for decades, but then technology advanced and they didn’t. So now we have still have a land line, but it’s not theirs. (For that matter, even they want to get rid of their land lines.)

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CHEAPER CALLS

A company called “KnowRoaming” makes calls cheaper for international travelers by selling a $30 SIM card that automatically switches between providers to eliminate roaming fees. It’s thin and sits on top of your regular phone card, so you never have to take it out.

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BEYOND THE LANDLINE

We just read that landline phones will be phased out – meaning “cutoff” — in about five years. We’re ready, now that our cell phone is connected to a speaker that takes calls and plays music.

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MARRIED TO YOUR PHONE

One of the things we like best about our Samsung smart phone is not having a contract. We have a T-Mobile prepaid phone plan and can walk away any time. But what if you signed up for one of those multi-year contracts? You are married to your phone.

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ADDING PHONE SERVICE FROM A MENU

We won’t forget the time Joy racked up a $264 hotel phone bill for three hours of casual conversation with a girl friend. She’d run out of minutes on her smart phone, so she decided to switch to the hotel phone. A new phone plan from Virgin Mobile would have skipped that.

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SENDING SHORT VIDEO MESSAGES

“Qik” is a new Skype app is for sending short video messages to groups of friends. Skype was an early conduit for free video calls. Until now it was used mainly for long — 40 minutes or so — calls. Qik limits you to 42 second calls that don’t take up more than 5 megabytes of space on the recipient’s phone. It competes directly with WhatsApp and SnapChat.

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