iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.
This week Google announced a ton of new products, including a new Google Home and a donut sized version of Google Home (called the Mini) that Leo says may be better than Amazon Echo. Though Leo says that Amazon has a huge lead, in the long run, Google may have the advantage. Meanwhile, Amazon did get a shot in the arm this week with the announcement that Sonos will partner with Amazon to bring connectivity of Sonos to the Amazon Echo. But that may be short-lived since Sonos plans to work with Google and Apple as well.
Kirk is going on vacation to the south pacific and needs an international plan for his phone. Leo says that T-Mobile started a free 2G-3G international data and texting plan and it has put pressure on other carriers to do the same. Leo always brings T-Mobile with him when he travels. Leo also recommends Google Fi because it uses various carriers. AT&T has a daily pass option, which is $10 a day. Verizon was the hardest to use overseas, but they've recently started the day pass like AT&T. Kirk should check with his carrier and see what they offer.
Russell has an iPhone SE and was using an app called Tether to use his cell phone as an internet hotspot. It doesn't work anymore, though. Leo says that it's been replaced by the hotspot feature in the phone, but his provider may not support it or may charge him a monthly fee to use it. Some carriers don't charge for it at all, like T-Mobile. But resellers, like Boost don't support it because the major carrier they work with doesn't. Will a VPN fix it? Leo says not for hotspotting, but a VPN will work for keeping his internet access encrypted and secure in public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Paul is having an issue with dropped calls and limited cell reception. He's told he needs a receiver to boost the signal. Leo says that receiver is called a FemToCell that plugs into his internet access and routes his calls through the net. He should call his carrier and tell them he can't use their service in his house and ask them to provide a FemtoCell. In most cases they'll provide it for free. He may need to threaten to cancel his service to get it.
Leo got the iPhone 8 and says that if you have the iPhone 6S, you're really not missing all that much. Yes, it's faster, but not that much faster. It's like having a Ferrari, but you can't open it up. It's a fast phone, but not worth $1,000. Leo also says that according to sales figures, the iPhone 8 isn't really selling as well as the previous model. Are people waiting for the iPhone X on October 27th?
Ron has a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and he's been emailing himself mp3s he makes in the recording studio. The phone holds onto the file for about a day, and then it disappears. Leo says it sounds like the download goes to his cache, which gets cleared out. Leo recommends using an app that will enable him to move it once he downloads it. Samsung's File Manager app will let him see that folder.
Barbara has an iPhone 5S that keeps bugging her to install iOS 11. Should she? Leo says if Apple thinks it can run it, then she can run it. Security improvements are a good benefit. Also, some apps may not run without it. But the reviews say it will slow it down. It will still be faster than an iPhone 5 running iOS 10, though. So she should go ahead. It'll be usable. She should check out this article at arstechnica.com.
Tom has been working in the technology industry for decades and he views his mobile phone differently than most. It's like a super computer in your pocket. Leo agrees saying that it's rapidly becoming the main computer for all our lives, and when you consider the time you spend on it over two years, even buying a phone for $1,000 isn't all that much money considering how much they are used. It's a great investment. But even then, $1000 is a lot to spend up front for anyone. The irony is that while the cost of mobile phones seem to be rising, the cost of a desktop is falling.
Marco is having trouble seeing his location on his mobile phone. It thinks he's in Jordan. Leo says that chances are the phone's GPS is having issues and the phone is using Wi-Fi triangulation to approximate his location. The problem is that sometimes the phone gets confused and sends his location somewhere else based on where his ISP is located.
Chris wants to know if he can disable the Bixby button on his Samsung Galaxy S8. Leo says that there wasn't a way to do this until recently. The latest firmware update allows it. Chris just has to press the Bixby button and then the Settings gear, and he can disable it. Leo wishes Samsung would let users reassign that button to something useful. Leo also says that mobile phones are so matured in their design now, that there isn't much that phone companies can do except add features that nobody really wants, like a Bixby button or removing the headphone jack for wireless headphones.