New unlocked phone ready to go…

The Motorola Razer Maxx that arrived on Wednesday is now activated, loaded with my contacts, my email, all my apps, and of course, has a slot ready to receive the first SIM card, we will soon install, along with adding a SIM card to Tom’s unlocked SIM card-ready Motorola Razer.

As I had mentioned in the last post about our phones, the newer smartphones come with a slot only suitable for a micro SIM card as opposed to a standard SIM card which is much larger.  Many countries only offer standard-size cards.  This was a concern until I found that a nifty device exists, the SIM card adapter.

Needing a case/protector to fit the new phone, that was priced at $25 each at the Verizon store, I researched my favorite cell phone supply site:  There, I purchased the appropriate case for the phone and the SIM card adapter for a grand total of $9.97 including shipping.

If you shop there, use the coupon code: “freeship2 ” (minus the quotes) for free shipping on orders over $20.  I only spent $6 for the two items happily paying the $3.97 shipping fee.  It would have been over $38 for the two items purchased elsewhere.  I’ve been shopping at that site for years, extremely pleased with their products, pricing, return policy (only returned an item once), and customer service.

Much to my delight, the 368 photos I had on my phone automatically loaded to my Dropbox cloud on both my new phone and now to my Windows 8 laptop.  On numerous occasions, I’ve tried to move the photos on my old DroidX phone to my computer.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move them over. 

Somewhat adept at this technology stuff, the frustration factor was intense.  At times, I literally spent an hour or more trying to find a solution, utilizing software, apps, cables, Bluetooth, and sheer determination to no avail.

Yesterday, while setting up the new phone with most of my apps rolling over, Dropbox “suggested” we move over the smartphone photos.  “YES!”  I hollered at Dropbox. “YES!  Do it!!”

An hour later all the photos of those precious grandkids, Mother Nature’s whimsical morsels, those adorable dogs we’ve so much treasured, and the special foods lovingly prepared, finally in the Dropbox folder on my computer and my new phone. 

As much as I love learning technology, at times I am totally oblivious of how things work.  It was a total surprise to me that my old Droid X phone, now de-activated actually still picks up a WiFi signal and can be used to go online.  Had I taken the time to think about this, it makes all the sense in the world.  Live and learn.

Now, I am challenged by how we can use this 3rd WiFi receiving device (my old phone) when we already have two unlocked smartphones ready to install SIM cards in any country in which we’ll travel.  Once we leave the US, five weeks from now, we’ll surely figure it out.  In any case, this 3rd device is coming with us.

I’ll go back to shopping online (to be received at our mail service in Nevada, where we’ll be over the holidays) to find the perfect SIM cards that will not only work with our specific smartphones in any foreign country but also here in the US for the few occasions that we are in Florida between cruise ship sailings. 

Keep in mind, our two contracts with Verizon have expired.  We are under no obligation to continue to be connected with any carrier.  Thus, beginning January 3, 2013, we will request to be disconnected from Verizon and begin utilizing SIM cards for both phone service and data.  Yes, we’ll pay for the data we use via the cards and the calls we make.  Mainly, we’ll be making calls using SKYPE, most often at no charge. 

The data, although expensive using a SIM card will be as much as 90% less than the cost of using data offered by a cell phone provider. Thus, no need for cell service.  When we are using the previously mentioned XCOM Global MiFi device, as needed, in a few of the vacation home where wireless broadband is not available or working, the data on our phones will work from that connection.

In any case, the cost of the MiFi device, which may be needed for about four months a year on average, is roughly $400 a month, averaging annually at $100 a month.  In itself, this is less than we paid for our cell phones and Internet access in our home in the past. (When using the device from XCOM Global, which provides data only, we’ll only use the SIM cards for emergency phone calls when we aren’t near our computers to use Skype).

Would the average traveler have to go to this length to figure out how to use their smartphones?  No, a one month vacation or less would not require this much use of technology.  They’d gingerly use international roaming at exorbitant rates, potentially racking up $100’s in data charges if not careful. 

We’ve all heard the stories of youngsters playing games on their phones on cruise ships, resulting in $1000’s in charges that shocked the parents when they later received their final cruise bill payable before disembarking. 

That won’t be us!  We’ve been warned.  We’ll turn off roaming to prevent the cruise ship from charging us any more than we’ll need.  On the cruises, we’ve booked (eight so far) we’ll bite the bullet going online for short periods each day to download our email, upload our photos and of course, post our blog. 

So, enough about phones. On to other matters at hand, such as having guests for dinner this weekend here in Scottsdale, Tom’s two sisters and brother-in-law, and again, the following weekend when friends from Minnesota arrive for the weekend. 

Whew!  It’s about time we begin to relax!  Oh, then there’s Tom’s colonoscopy prep next Wednesday for his two tests next Thursday and taxes to prepare for the year’s end and more technology to learn, and 2nd passports and visa’s to process and the trip to Las Vegas for Christmas and Tom’s 60th birthday party and on and on.