As an owner of a smart device, you’re likely using a SIM card to get connected. A smart device is an electronic device that is connected to other devices or networks, like an alarm, GPS, smartwatch, car, thermostat etc. Currently, there are about 8 billion connected things in play globally. By the year 2020, Gartner forecasts that IoT (Internet of Things) will reach 20 billion! All devices won’t need a cellular connection. However, if your device has a slot for a SIM card you know that it needs a GSM connection. Since US Mobile is a GSM carrier, our service is compatible with these types of connected devices.
Different Devices Need Different Plans
Our a la carte approach to plans makes them well suited for IoT. The pricing matrix allows you to customize a cellular plan for your device.
Many of our customers are already using our plans for other devices than phones and tablets. Therefore, we are able to provide you with some guidance on what your device’s usage might be based on our current users.
When it comes to alarms, two popular alarms at US Mobile are PiSector Alarms and Kerui. Alarm systems usually just need texts or/and minutes, which means that plans start at $4/month (for text only) including fees. To get more insight on home security, visit our Alarm Plans Page.
Similar to alarm systems, many GPS Trackers need GSM connectivity. Reachfar and ATian are two examples of trackers using our GSM SIM card. Trackers usually need data in order to support the tracking functionality. It’s also common for the GPS to send out notifications per text messages. Therefore, a combination of data and text for $6/month is a suitable base plan. Depending on how you use your GPS, you might need to add more data but you can change your plan with ease through your personal dashboard at US Mobile.
The most popular connected car among our users is Audi but rest assured – the SIM card works in all connected cars. A data-only plan is the best way to go with a connected car. According to our internal data, the usage differs widely from 250 MB and 6 GB per month so we advise you to start with 1 GB per month and check your personal usage before making any potential adjustments.
A smartwatch differs from other smart devices we’ve mentioned, as they commonly need talk, text and data. The reason is that many of these wearables actually works like a simplified phone (or an advanced GPS tracker if you will). Two examples are MyFilip and Tinitell, which are smartwatches designed for kids. Our talk, text and data plans start at $9/month (again, including all fees) which is a good plan to start with if you have a GSM-connected smartwatch.
We hope this will provide some much-needed guidance in the jungle of IoT devices and plans out there. We welcome feedback and questions so leave a comment in the box below.
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The average person spends about five hours per day on a smartphone. The phone is constantly developing and one of the big trends we’re seeing for future is focused on the display. In order to maximize user experience, the screens are getting larger and they’re more flexible than before.
As phones have evolved, they have changed size, shape, and capabilities. But one of the most prominent feature in the phone evolution might still be the display.
The beginning of mobile phones
If we start from the beginning, we got the Motorola MicroTac released in 1991. A tiny screen, looking more like a calculator than a modern time phone display. A few years later, the Nokia 3310 was released and Nokia announced, on the MWC 2017, that this model will be making a comeback. As it’s released again, it will come in multiple colors but will remain “dumb” as it was back in 2000.
Blackberry Quark was released three years later than the 3310 and had a somewhat larger screen but similar capabilities. It wasn’t until Motorola Razr entered the market, that the display got some color.
When phones got smart
The second phase for mobile phones started in 2007 with the very first iPhone (iPhone 2G). The phones officially got smart. The definition of a smartphone, according to Search Mobile Computing, is: “A smartphone is a cellular telephone with an integrated computer and other features not originally associated with telephones, such as an operating system, Web browsing and the ability to run software applications”.
Beyond being data enabled, the display got a lot bigger and it was suddenly touch screen! Samsung also introduced the pen to the mobile screen. By clicking on the S Pen and double-tapping the screen, you could take notes while being on a call. Simply put, the phone was also a digital notepad.
Finally, in 2015 LG introduced the Flex 2 phone, which had the world’s first curved battery. This phone is dipping its toe into what is to come in the smartphone future.
The future of phone displays
Looking ahead, the trend in smartphone design is to have less prominent frames to give space for the screen itself. We call this phase Bigger is Better. When people started using their phones as entertainment systems, watching videos and playing games, the demand for a larger screen increased. With smaller frames (called bezels), the ratio screen-to-bezels increases. A good example of this is the iPhone 8 concept idea, where the screen essentially wraps around the edges of the phone. Currently, the highest screen-to-ratio-bezels is 91.3 percent.
Another approach to get a bigger screen is exemplified in Samsung’s Galaxy 8, which folds in and out like a book. When you carry it in your pockets it’s compact but as you’re about to watch a video, you can unfold it to enjoy a bigger display.
Finally, continuing on the LG Flex track, we have Samsungs “Project Valley”. This is the project name for Samsung’s foldable phones, marking a new trend in the smartphone industry. The bendable display concept is to have a foldable compact handset that can be unfurled if required. There are several iterations of the Samsung Project Valley, including one phone that folds up to become a wearable. The foldable smartphone would be the first one in the world, and it’s expected to hit the market in 2018.
No matter what the future holds, we’ll stay on top of it so make sure to follow us on Facebook. In case you’re looking for a new phone, we recommend that you head over to our shop to get a new or older model phone. They’re unlocked as per usual.
eSIM was one of the hot topics at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelon 2017. But what is it? eSIM stands for “embedded SIM” (also called eUICC). It’s a standardized SIM chip open to multiple mobile operators globally. Meaning, if you have an eSIM you don’t have to replace one SIM card with another when switching carrier. Since the eSIM can be programmed remotely, it allows you to choose another carrier by just messaging the old and new provider.
One of the main promoters for it is the GSMA. GSMA is an association representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide. They are working on specifications for the eSIMs so that it will truly work globally, on any device, with any operator.
The future of eSIM
The future of eSIM is still unclear at might have significant implications. Deploying an eSIM-based device could be costly, complex and will probably include some initial growing pains. In the long run, however, it should optimize cost and also extend the life and usage of a device. Since you don’t have to worry about compatibility, there is no need to switch a device just because you want to change operator.
eSIMs are currently more common in IoT devices, tablets and cars but whether or not it will find acceptance in smartphones, is still unknown. In the automotive sector, manufacturers have started to equip cars with an eSIM to lower manufacturing costs and simplify logistics. It’s then up to the car owner which operator they want to use, in whichever region they’re in.
Apple and Samsung are leading the pack within the telecom industry and have been talking to network providers to adopt eSIMs for coming smartphones. Apple already equips some iPads with a single SIM, based on their own version of the embedded SIM technology. Although it’s preprogrammed to Apples’s choice of network, you are able to decide which operator you want. Samsung is bringing the GSMA enabled eSIM to its Gear S2 Classic 3G, which is a start.
The eSIM is positive for environmental reasons as it would minimize the discard of SIM cards.
It would also increase consumer freedom, and lower cost, when it comes to:
- Using a local operator when traveling or relocating to another country.
- Switching to a carrier with a better deal and/or coverage.
- Changing phone without the hassle of cutting a SIM card.
- Using the same SIM for different types of devices, not having to decide in advance if you want it for your smartphone, watch or alarm system.
Since US Mobile is all about freedom, we’re all for the adoption of eSIMs in the industry. We’ll be following the development closely!
Source Main Image: WaowTech
You don’t want everyone to see that you have downloaded a dating app? Or you have some photos on your phone, which you want to keep secret? No judgment, you probably have your reasons!
Here is how you hide the content you want to keep to yourself.
Hide photos in an album
Maybe you want to show your mom some photos from last spring break. Or show a coworker some wedding photos. You might not want to show ALL of the photos in the album, so simply hide them.
Go to Photos, click on the photo you want to hide. Click on the box with an arrow in the low left corner to get a menu with potential actions. Press Hide and confirm.
The photo is now invisible when you’re in the Photos view, where you can sort photos per date and memories. The photo is still available in the Album view. In case you want to have a moment to yourself and look at all your hidden photos, you’ll find it in the album called Hidden. If you want to unhide a photo, you do the same procedure but instead of hiding, you can choose Unhide in the menu.
In case you want to kick it up a notch, you can also hide photos which require a password to access. Just download an app like Keep Safe Photo Vault.
Hide apps in invisible folders
There are multiple ways to hide certain apps you don’t want people to see. We give you three alternatives.
A simple trick to hide apps is to place them in folders already containing a lot of apps. Your app will then disappear in the clutter.
Demanding but oh-so-sneaky
Another way of doing this is to create invisible folders, which is somewhat cumbersome but we’ll walk you through it step by step.
Step 1: To create an invisible folder you have to start by creating an app which won’t be visible when it’s on the home screen. Create an invisible app by opening this link in Safari. Press the box with the arrow and select Add to Home Screen, which saves a white app.
Step 2: Go back to the link and save the image as a photo. Use this image as the background image on your phone. Go to Settings, Wallpaper, Choose a New Wallpaper, then choose the white image.
Step 3: Go to Settings and adjust the contrast on your phone. Increase the brightness to the point when you don’t see the app anymore. The only thing you will see is the title of the app but we’ll come to that.
Step 4: Tap and hold on any icon until they all begin to jiggle. Move the invisible app on top of the app you want to hide, creating a folder. Let the invisible app be on the first page and move the app you want to hide to the next page in the folder by holding the app and dragging it to the right.
Step out of the folder and you’ll see that it’s invisible, containing the invisible app. The last hurdle is to remove the name of the folder.
Step 5: All folders need a name, and iPhone automatically suggests a name when you create a folder. In order to make this folder invisible, you need to open this link. Copy the empty text between the two parentheses and paste it into the folder name. Voila! You finally have a truly invisible folder. It takes some work to get to this point but you can fill the second page of the folder of all sorts of secret apps.
A third alternative, which is a bit easier than the last one but more permanent (at least till you reboot your phone) is to:
- Create a new folder
- Move the apps you want to hide into that folder
- Tap and hold on any icon until they all begin to jiggle
- Grab any app in the folder and drag it to the right beyond the last tab in the folder
- Push the home button while still holding the app icon and the folder will disappear.
Hide Your Search History
Finally, you can also choose to browse in private. Open Safari, click the page icon in the low right corner, tap Private. If you want to clear your search history, tap Settings, Safari and choose Clear History and Website Data. In case you always want to browse the internet in private, you can always download the DuckDuckGo search engine and use it instead of Safari. It never stores your search history.
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If you’re with one of the bigger carriers, you could be paying $70 per month for your mobile phone. US Mobile’s mission is to offer inexpensive cell phone plans, and the average customer is paying less than $20 per month. Switching would mean that you save around $600 per year. Sounds good right? Let’s take a closer look at how we manage to offer a great service at a lower price than our competitors.
Just pay for what you need
The first question you should ask yourself is if you’re paying for things you don’t use? With unlimited plans, it’s likely that you’re paying for more talk, text or data than you actually use. Have a look at your last bill to see how much you really use. Based on that information, you can see how much a custom plan would cost at US Mobile. Our matrix offers no less than 252 different plans.
Pick the talk, text and data plan you need and calculate how much you would save by switching. In case your first plan isn’t perfect, you can always change to a different plan next month.
You’re in total control
When you join US Mobile you get a login to a personal dashboard. As you login you will get an instant overview of your usage and how much you have left of your plan.
If you consistently have to buy addons in the middle of the month, it might be more inexpensive to buy a larger base package the next month. And vice versa, if you’re not using all the talk, text or data that you have purchased, you could go with a smaller plan the coming month. It’s inexpensive AND transparent.
Don’t put up with hidden fees
Isn’t it funny when you think you’re going to pay one amount and then you get to pay another 30% in hidden taxes and fees? No, it’s not and you shouldn’t allow that to happen. Your bill with US Mobile is made up of three different components:
- Your plan, consisting of talk, text and/or data.
- A $2 monthly service fee, which you could call a “line fee”. If you go to our plans‘ page, this fee is always included automatically no matter what plan you choose.
- Finally, to be fully transparent, we do have one fee which we don’t mention in our matrix which is the Federal Universal Service Fund. It’s only applied to plans containing minutes and it’s as low as $0.10 if you have the smallest package, up to $0.49 if you have the 5000 minutes plan.
In case you need to top up during a month, you will pay the same amount as the matrix shows. You will never encounter surcharges with us and since it’s prepaid, you will never spend more than what you have budgeted for.
Bring your own device
We encourage our customers to bring their own device. As long as your current phone is unlocked you don’t need to buy a new phone. In case you want a new phone, we do offer unlocked phones in our shop. However, we don’t offer subsidized phones. Other carriers might offer you a “free” phone and in exchange lock you into a multi-year contract and let you pay off the phone every month. We don’t believe in contracts, we want you to able to come and go as you please.
If you do choose to buy a subsidized phone with another carrier, we recommend you to sum up how much the total payments amounts to. Often you’ll end up paying more over the course of two years compared to if you had paid for the phone upfront.
The first fix isn’t for free
We never try to “upsell” our customers, we just want you to pay for what you need and will use. Another thing we don’t do is offer limited discounts in order to convince you to join us. Our prices are consistently low and new customers don’t get a better deal at the expense of existing loyal customers.
How to lower your phone bill
As if these affordable plans weren’t enough, we regularly post tips and tricks on how to make your phone bill even cheaper. Here are two of our readers’ favorites:
Main Image Source: Stockphoto through Facebook
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