iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.
Samsung has been quite vocal about its plans to build a smartphone with a foldable screen in it, and we could see that next year with the Galaxy Note. On the front it will look like a regular smartphone, but then you'll be able to open it up to a 6 or 7" tablet. That will likely cost a lot more, and Samsung has already said it will be raising the price of the next Galaxy S phone, starting at around $850.
Mark's son is about to be stationed in Japan and wants to know if he can bring his phone along. Leo says that he can, but he'll need to get the phone unlocked so he can use a local carrier. There may be issues with radio frequencies, though. He should check out the website prepaidwithdata.wikia.com to learn about what carriers and phones are best.
Michael has an old unlocked phone that he's trying to port to a new carrier, but it's not working. The company says it won't port an inactive number. Leo says the law requires porting numbers to his new service, but they could have found a loophole with an inactive phone. Leo also suggests doing a factory reset. That should clear out the carrier data. There's also something called APN settings which need to be cleared out so that the carrier can't reject it.
Rick switched to Google Fi and now the other carriers are offering unlimited. Should he go back? Leo says that Fi wasn't designed to be competitive, just transparent. So if he has a family plan and needs unlimited, then Fi isn't really practical. If he's getting a better deal with Verizon, Leo says that is likely a good move then. But he should remember that Google Fi is riding on three different carriers, so it offers him a wider reach in terms of signal and connectivity.
Allen is a HAM radio operator and came across a website called HamSphere. Leo says it's a software-based app for the smartphone or a Windows device so he could listen to HAM Radio using the Internet. Leo says it's a simulation, but it would allow him to talk to HAMs all over the world. It's called software-defined radio and he can even have a special call sign. It's worth a try.
Allen should check out HamNation here on TWiT. Maybe Bob Heil will talk about it.
Kevin has an iPhone SE and it's not updating anymore, so he needs to buy a new smartphone. Leo says that there's a life cycle for mobile devices, and even though it works just fine, technology will pass it up, and it will seem slower than it used to be. Apple will support a phone for three years before it starts dropping them off the update cycle. The iPhone's battery also has limited charging cycles of about 500 full cycles, or 2-3 years. And as the phone gets older, Apple starts slowing the phone down to keep it from overtaxing the processor and overheating it.
Samsung will be announcing the Galaxy S9 smartphone later this month at Mobile World Congress. We expect the phone to be more expensive this time around, at $850, and it will look a lot like the Galaxy S8. It will have dual cameras, but for the most part, it likely won't be anything major that would prompt an upgrade unless you're already in the market for a new phone anyway.
Rob has an old Android phone and he doesn't like his carrier. Can he unlock it and go with another carrier? Leo says he should as long as his account is in good standing. Even if he's no longer a customer, they should still do it for him. He should just call and ask them politely. He should not pay to unlock a phone, though. If he has to, Rob should go to XDA-Developers.org and look in there for instructions.
Photo apps of the week:
Bonnie uses Eset's Smart Security, But she recently saw that an external intruder was blocked. She's worried that while her PC was safe, her other devices may have been compromised. Leo says that Bonnie's router probably blocked the bad traffic that comes lurking. There are bots that are looking for security holes, though. Getting attacked is normal, but the router will handle 90% of the attacks. The rest is covered by antivirus. Her cell phone IP address changes constantly, so it's mostly pretty safe.