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Your dead iPhone is a gold mine – literally


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If you’re one of the more than 1 million Apple enthusiasts who pre-ordered an iPhone 4S this week, you’re likely looking to ditch your old phone.

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The day that Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) unveils a new iPhone is like the Black Friday of cell phone trade-in services. Gazelle, one of the best known of the so-called “recommerce” sites for electronics, said that it received a phone every six seconds during Apple CEO Tim Cook’s presentation on Oct. 4.

As sales of expensive smartphones grow rapidly, trade-in sites have also risen in popularity. Their services give customers the opportunity to make some cash off their old devices, which shoppers can use toward their shiny new handsets. At one point last week, Gazelle had offered up to $284 for some iPhone 4 trade-ins.

But what happens to your trade-in once you ship it to Gazelle, ReCellular, NextWorth, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) Trade-In, or any of the other recommerce sites out there?

First, cell phones are inspected for wear and tear and to see whether they still work. Damaged phones are assessed for salvageability.

All phones then go through a memory wipe. Each trade-in company said it wipes memory in two steps to ensure your data is completely erased from the phone. If the phone doesn’t work, the companies will physically destroy its memory.

“We make sure there are no late-night texts still on your phone,” said Joe McKeown, vice president of marketing at ReCellular.

Where old iPhones go to die

Phones that are in excellent shape are typically either sold directly to consumers on the trade-in companies’ sites, or they’re hawked on eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) or Amazon. Gazelle receives so many iPhones that it tends to sell Apple’s smartphones to wholesalers, since the recommerce company lacks the manpower to sell all of them on eBay or Amazon.

But it’s in the traded-in junk where it starts to get interesting.

Can the iPhone 4S win over consumers?

Old phones that are in workable condition and still have some demand for them (think Motorola RAZR, LG enV) are sent to wholesale partners. Those wholesalers have access to retail chains in and out of the United States that specialize in selling used feature phones to customers.

“You’d be surprised, but these wholesalers find demand for those items around the world — usually in developing countries where there’s not a lot of supply for those products,” said Israel Ganot, CEO of Gazelle.

New but broken phones are typically sold to wholesalers that recondition the devices and sell them back to carriers or retailers for warranty replacement handsets.

Gazelle said about 90% of its devices are resold. ReCellular said roughly 80% of smartphones and 60% of feature phones are ultimately sold back to consumers.

“Typically there is some value in a device, but if it’s so old or broken, it needs to be recycled,” said Jeff Trachsel, spokesman for NextWorth.

How old?

“We’ll get those old bag phones or brick phones that are about a foot long,” said ReCellular’s McKeown. “Every day you get something like that.”

Gazelle said it has a small museum in its headquarters of surprising things people sent in, including a Motorola (MMI) DynaTAC 1980s-era “brick” phone, a Motorola StarTAC phone, a pager, a first-generation iPod, and an original Nintendo.

But “ancient” and broken technology actually has a lot of value — to trade-in sites, if not to you. Most won’t pay more than a few cents for these old phones, but they’ll happily recycle them if you send them in.

There are 0.034 grams of gold in each cell phone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s the equivalent of 0.001 troy ounces, worth about $1.82 at today’s prices.

Melting millions from gold scraps

There are also 16 grams of copper, worth about 12 cents, 0.35 grams of silver, worth 36 cents, and 0.00034 grams of platinum, valued at 2 cents.

In bulk, that’s a ton of precious metal. In fact, ReCellular said it recycled enough gold last year to make 1,500 wedding bands and enough copper to make two Statues of Liberty. The trade-in companies all send parts to one of just two smelters in the United States, so that tiny amount of value becomes a treasure trove of bling.

“They’re doing this in very, very high volume,” said Ken Byer, CEO of Cloud Blue, Gazelle’s recycling partner of choice. “There’s more gold in a pound of electronics than a pound of gold ore, so it’s certainly worth it.”

So when you send in your old phone to get some cash, it could eventually become someone’s wedding ring.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/13/technology/iphone_trade_in/?source=cnn_bin

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Apple, iPhone

 

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Steve Ballmer still disappointed by Windows Phone 7 sales


We’ve been reporting for quite some time now that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been quite the disappointment in the smartphone industry. In an era where the iPhone is conquering the world with its unparalleled retina display, camera and usability, it’s hard for another company to even compare to the Apple giant.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the company’s financial analyst meeting on Wednesday and expressed disappointment of the Windows Phone 7 sales. “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year. … I’m not saying I Love where we are, but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” he said during the meeting.

The Windows Phone 7 made quite the name for itself when it came to marketing and advertising ploys but lacked the fan following that Google and Apple are often accustomed to. Interestingly enough, Samsung and HTC embraced the WP7 platform and plan to launch devices using the next version of WP7. Mashable says that these mobile enterprises have the majority of their chips invested in Google’s Android, which makes for most of their smartphone sales. Nokia is the only dedicated hardware partner for Windows Phones and who really uses Nokia phones these days anyways?

We’re crossing our fingers that Nokia will be able to show some sort of result for the slow-rising WP7, but we won’t be holding our breath. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can’t get enough of the iPhone, or even Droid phones for that matter.

Source: http://www.businessreviewusa.com/technology/software/Steve%20Ballmer%20still%20disappointed%20by%20Windows%20Phone%207%20sales

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Google, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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Windows Phone 7 Update To Add IAP, Other Stuff


Windows Phone 7 has a serious amount of catching up to do both in market share and with apps if it wants to seriously compete with the iPhone and the App Store, but we’ve always seen the handheld as a promising contender. Part of that reason has to do with its Games Hub, which is essentially a mobile take on Xbox Live. It’s packed with promise, and Microsoft has continued to take the steps in the right direction. Today’s news is a good example of that: the next release of Windows Phone 7, Mango, will allow in-app purchases and add-on content. This is huge, as we all know free-to-play is a meaningful mobile model.

There’s more, of course. In the Fall-bound update, Microsoft will introduce badges that you can put on your avatar after earning certain achievements. Also, it’s bulking up its network support, cleaning up the UI in a significant way by introducing sensible views and blades, and it’s integrating a lot of Xbox Live “Extras” into the actual Hub. If you really want to dive into the nitty-gritty, this blog post and this earlier blog post on the Windows Phone Blog both break it all down pretty well, canned as it is.

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In addition to the former stuff, Microsoft has also announced a bunch of new games slated to hit the platform within the next few months. Most of them are unknown to us, but if you have a 360 or a Kinect, these two brands might ring a bell: Toy Soldiers and Kinectimals. Yeah, mobile versions of these titles are coming. Can you hear me shrugging? I’m shrugging.

It strikes me as weird that we’re still in a wait and watch stance on Windows Phone 7 a year or so out of release, but the platform still doesn’t feel as robust as Microsoft wants it to be. Updates like this, though, are definitely a sign of solid progress.

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Source: http://toucharcade.com/2011/08/17/windows-phone-7-update-to-add-iap-other-stuff/

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in iPhone, Mango, Microsoft, Windows 7 Phone

 

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Nokia Plans 300 Media Apps For Windows Phone


Nokia has inked a deal with a Canadian developer to produce more than 300 media applications for its upcoming Windows Phone offerings, as well as for its existing line of Symbian and MeeGo-based smartphones.

Under the deal, Toronto’s Polar Mobile will build apps that format content from a number of international publishers for display on Nokia’s various platforms. Content providers involved in the deal include WiredUK, Kompass, Advertising Age, The Globe and Mail, Shanghai Daily, and 7DAYS.

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“Nokia is excited about the opportunity to team up with Polar Mobile to bring hundreds of quality apps to consumers around the world,” said Richard White, general manager for Nokia Canada, in a statement. “Polar Mobile’s ability to scale and attract a global set of brands is strategic in supporting Nokia’s efforts in offering compelling apps and experiences for our users.”

Polar Mobile uses Nokia’s cross-platform Qt development framework to help publishers produce mobile versions of their content for Nokia platforms. It’s one of the technologies that Microsoft is hoping will incent major content providers to include Windows Phone in their mobile strategies once Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 devices become available–most likely in the first half of next year.

Application choice could make or break Windows Phone. Microsoft claimed there were about 9,000 apps available for the OS as of March. By contrast, the number of apps available for Apple’s iPhone and Google Android devices is well into the six figures.

Under a deal reached earlier this year, Nokia agreed to use Windows Phone 7 as the exclusive operating system for its U.S. products. The Finnish phone maker also will offer Windows Phone-based devices in a number of other international markets.

What’s not clear is how long the company plans to continue offering products based on other operating systems. Symbian’s share of the global mobile OS market is slipping, and Nokia recently sold off future support and development rights to the platform to Accenture. MeeGo is a joint effort between Nokia and Intel, and runs Nokia’s slick new N9 smartphone.

Nokia shares were flat at $6.07 in early trading Wednesday.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/231500119

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Android, Apple, Nokia, Symbian, Windows Phone 7

 

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Nokia to Bring Windows Phone 7 Devices to China Mobile


Nokia plans on launching Windows Phone 7 handsets through China’s largest mobile phone carrier as the handset maker tries to fend off competition from Android devices and Apple’s iPhone.

The smartphones would operate on China Mobile’s 3G network using the TD-SCDMA standard, said Nokia executive vice president Colin Giles during a speech in Beijing on Friday. China Mobile has more than 600 million users or about two-third of the country’s total mobile phone subscriber base.

Giles, however, did not give a specific launch date, and only said the phones would be introduced some time in the future.

Nokia reigns as the top selling handset manufacturer in China. But the company has struggled to maintained that position as sales for Android devices and Apple’s iPhone grow, according to analysts.

Nokia’s financial report for the second quarter indicated this downward trend as its mobile device shipments for China sank to 11.3 million, a 53 percent decline from the previous quarter. In the report, Nokia said competition and pricing tactics from rivals drove down shipments for the company’s smartphones. Distributors and carriers also purchased fewer devices due to already higher inventory levels for Nokia products.

Globally, Nokia saw smartphone sales fall 32 percent in this past quarter. But the company hopes to reverse those fortunes once it begins launching smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has said he’s confident the devices will first ship later this year and then in higher numbers in 2012.

Nokia’s move to launch smartphones through China Mobile will allow the company to tap a vast user base, said C.K. Lu, an analyst with research firm Gartner. But the devices may not appeal to most customers given their estimated high price.

“Nokia’s strategy is to use Windows Phone to position its smartphones as higher-end devices,” Lu said. “But if you want the mass market, you have to drive down the price.”

He noted Android handsets have already reached the low-end market and cost 1,000 yuan (US$157) to buy an Android device. A user would then need to buy the SIM card separately along with a service package. In comparison, Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 devices will probably cost at around $300, according to Lu.

“I think this Windows Phone 7 will help them, but I don’t think it will have a big effect,” he added.

For the first quarter of 2011, Nokia had a 22 percent share of China’s smartphone market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Samsung had a 18.1 percent share, while Motorola grabbed a 12.9 percent share.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/238041/nokia_to_bring_windows_phone_7_devices_to_china_mobile.html

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Apple, iPhone, Nokia, Windows Phone

 

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Windows Phone 7 Tips & Tricks: Managing Apps


One of the great things about Windows Phone 7 is the increasing number of apps available for the platform, which reached 10,000 individual apps in the Marketplace in a much short time than either the iPhone or Android!

Some apps are official ones designed to promote websites and online stores, while others are simply useful tools – but all are available via the Windows Phone Marketplace which can be accessed via the Marketplace tile on the Start screen.

There are various things you can do with apps on the Start screen, interestingly, such as adding and removing app shortcuts. These might be simple, static tiles, or live tiles that display new information – useful if you want to keep tabs on the weather!

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Checking Download Progress

When downloading apps from the Windows Phone Marketplace you can check the status of the download using the Check Install button. This will display a progress bar that shows you how far the app is from being downloaded.

Note that if you are downloading games, you are best advised to use your phone on a Wi-Fi connection rather than 3G, as the phone will refuse to download large files as a courtesy to mobile phone operators.
Adding and Removing Apps from the Start Screen

If you have an app that you really like and want to access it regularly, rather than swiping left to access the Apps list you can add it to the Start screen. Simply open the Apps list, find the app concerned, tap and hold its icon until the menu appears and select Pin to Start. This will send the app to the foot of the Start screen, where you can tap and hold the app to drag it into a new position.
Rating and Reviewing Apps

As this is a comparatively new platform, Windows Phone developers need plenty of encouragement, and the other users need to know which apps they should be trying and avoiding.

This means that you need to start rating and reviewing the apps that you are using, something that is really easy to do. Whether you love or hate the app, your feedback can help others, and all you need to do is open the Apps list and simply tap and hold the app in question. From the context menu, select Rate and review, leave your thoughts and a star rating out of five!
Remove and Uninstall Windows Phone 7 Apps

There are times when you might want to get rid of a particular app, either by removing it from the Start screen or deleting it completely from your phone.

If you don’t want an app cluttering your Start screen any longer, simply tap and hold the tile and wait for the screen to change – the other tiles will fall away slightly leaving the app tile prominent – and tap the “unpin” icon in the top right-hand corner.

Meanwhile, if you want to drop an app from your phone completely, open the Apps list, browse to the app in question, tap and hold the icon and select Uninstall from the context menu.

Seconds later, the app will be gone!

Source: http://www.devicemag.com/2011/08/05/windows-phone-7-tips-tricks-managing-apps/

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7

 

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Groupme 3.0 hits 90 countries, Windows Phone 7 users


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Group messaging service Groupme, which we’ve already covered in the past (heck we even spent few minutes interviewing co-founder Jared Hecht), has been updated and released in 90 countries. In addition, Windows Phone 7 is now also on the list of supported platforms, allowing Microsoft’s early adopters to join the conversation.

In addition, version 3.0 also brings support for “Questions,” which are envisioned to spark the conversation, help users plan their night out, find out what’s good in some restaurant, and so on. You can either direct a question to a few people or an entire group, or even post it to Twitter and Facebook and let the world respond. At the moment, questions are supported on the iPhone, Android, and Groupme’s website, with more platforms coming soon.

Direct Messaging is also included in this release, for those instances when you don’t need to say it to the whole group. Moreover, thanks to the web chat support, now you will be able to chat with your group from a comfort of your PC or Mac, relying on the full keyboard to keep the conversation rolling faster.

Like it? Search for Groupme in the app store you use or visit Groupme’s website and take it from there.

Source: http://www.intomobile.com/2011/08/03/groupme-30-hits-90-countries-windows-phone-7-users/

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Android, Facebook, iPhone, Windows 7 Phone

 

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