In the past week, James Cull talked about his unlimited-but-not-really phone contract, while Connor Turnbull has expressed confusion over why people are so keen on BlackBerry Messenger when phone contracts usually provide more free SMSes then you’ll ever use.

Do you think you’re getting decent value for money with your current phone contract?

I pay £25/month for mine on a two-year contract, and I get 2,000 minutes of voice calls to any network, 5,000 minutes of voice calls to people on the same network, 5,000 texts (to any network), and 2400MB of data (though I think that’s actually increased recently). I also got my handset, an HTC Desire, for free — and this was back in early 2010, in the first month it was available in the UK.

So that’s costing me £600 in total over the length of the contract; considering that the handset alone cost over £400 at the time I got it (and is roughly £300 now), I feel that this is good value. I can think of it as paying about £10/month for the calls, texts, and data, which is roughly what a mobile broadband dongle would cost.

However, before that, I was paying £40/month to the same carrier for less goodies: 1,000 minutes, 3,000 texts, 1GB data. I’d got lazy and not bothered to call and switch to a new price plan after my old contract expired, and of course they weren’t going to call and ask if I wanted to pay less! Even so, this was a great price when I signed up for it about four years ago.

Thanks to services like Skype and Google Voice, we’re getting closer to the point where we can ditch voice calls and texts and use all the features of a phone with just a data plan, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m happy to keep paying the current prices for now; are you?

Sharing photos from your mobile is becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s holiday snaps, embarrassing pictures from a night out, or just random shots, everyone seems to be snapping away and uploading it to their favorite social networking site.

Facebook’s growth has been practically exponential since its conception, and over three billion photos are uploaded to it every month. Some storage figures Facebook released claimed that they have over 1.5 petabytes (that’s 1500 terabytes, or 1.5 million gigabytes) of photo storage… and that was back in October 2008.

Minus is a new alternative for photo sharing on Android, to sit with Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. With Minus you can also share documents, videos and files. You can sign up for an account free via the Minus website and then just sign in to start sharing.

The question is: will this contend with Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr? It’s impossible to review Minus solely as an application as the service itself really needs some explaining as well, so read on for my thoughts about both. (more…)

Back in March, there were several rumours that BlackBerry’s Messenger service would launch on both Android and iPhone in an effort to maintain the service’s popularity, even if the device market share shrinks. I’ve always puzzled over the exact attraction of RIM’s smartphone platform. I don’t get it. Why are these things so darn popular? It turns out their popularity amongst teenagers comes mainly down to this service, so I did a little research. (more…)

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross platform messaging application available for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Nokia phones. The app works using the internet connection (3G, WiFi or mobile data plan) of your phone. Android, Blackberry and iPhone users can send and receive pictures, audio notes, and video messages too.
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I remember when I was a 14 year old kid that I had a curious fascination with album cover art. Whether it came with the albums or I made them myself for my mix CD’s, my albums always had some sort of a cover.

Nowadays you buy a digital copy of your favorite albums and you typically get a cover embedded in it or included as a separate PDF or JPEG file. You can put those files on virtually any kind of media player and you’ve got your favorite music everywhere. But what happens when you put your music albums to your Android device and for some reason your player doesn’t see the cover art? You get Cover Art Downloader from the Android Market and fix it.

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I love Netflix. I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (even better than sliced bread!). One thing that Android users have been longing for is a way to stream Netflix on their device — especially since the advent of Android tablets. This is also something that iOS users I know like to hold over my head when rattling off the list of reasons iOS is “superior” to Android…until now. Last week Netflix started rolling out their official streaming app to select Android devices.

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Every month, I shell out £30 (around $50) to my network provider for the privilege of making 600 minutes of calls, sending “unlimited” texts (as long as I don’t exceed 3,000) and surfing the web “as much as I like” (as long as I don’t exceed 500 MB). You’re probably thinking the same as me in that these definitions of “unlimited” and “as much as I like” seem a bit weak, especially as they seem to contradict the service I actually receive – I can’t send unlimited texts and I can’t surf the web as much as I like.

Other companies reward their customers handsomely for doing business with them — why not phone carriers?
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I know that as a student, I like to know exactly how much money I’ve got in my account when I’m out and about. But having to log into your online banking portal via your browser can be a bit of a pain every time you want to check your financial affairs.  Managing your finances, however, using your Android phone means you can update your account statements immediately giving you more control over your budgeting and a clearer overview of what you have and, more importantly, what you can afford to spend.

There is a wealth of personal financial software out there on the Market; these are my five personal favorites. (more…)

We’ve covered a lot of Android photography apps, from cameras to editors to social photography apps. I want to know how many of you actually use more than the stock camera, though. Do you add filters and frames and special effects, or do you not even crop your pictures before sticking them on Twitter?

Vote in the poll, and let us know what you do in the comments below!

Cars have come a long way since their inception and have become full of technology. From built-in GPS to iPod integration to in-car Android, your car has become a computer in itself, but you still have that powerful phone in your pocket. Well, take it out, mount it on your dashboard and kick start your newly-digital car journey!

In today’s extended roundup, we’ll be taking a look at all sorts of applications for use within your car such as travel news, navigation and radio. Be sure to grab yourself a cup of tea or something, because this is going to be a long drive! (more…)

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