Mobile Computing: BlackBerry Alternatives

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Mobile Computing News, Reviews, & Tips

Wireless News: Verizon Wireless Still Tops

In Consumer Reports' annual survey, readers again rank Verizon Wireless as the best national wireless service. Nonetheless, only 47 percent of respondents said they were either completely or very satisfied with their cell phone service--a low showing for any kind of U.S. service, the magazine notes. Among cell phones, those receiving the best overall scores include the Samsung e335 and Samsung SGHp735 (both with scores of 66; both offered by T-Mobile) and the Motorola E815 (with a score of 65; offered by Verizon and Alltel). Complete results are available online for Consumer Reports subscribers.

Business Travel News: US Airways to Keep Electrical Outlets

On a recent cross-country flight on US Airways, I plugged my notebook into an armrest power port. A flight attendant took notice and said, almost apologetically: "Enjoy that while you can." The airline would be removing the power plugs during its merger with America West, he explained.

But now comes good news: US Airways plans to keep power ports on its planes after all, bowing to customer demand. The ports are available on US Airways' Airbus jets only, however, and won't be added to the America West fleet.

Accessory Review: Podcasting in a Box

M-Audio's new Podcast Factory is a portable podcasting studio promising everything you need in one box. For $180, you get an XLR microphone with a stand; an audio interface device that connects to your notebook's USB port; and various software programs, such as Audacity. (Note, however, that Audacity is a free download.)

Beginning podcasters may wish the manual offered more hand-holding, and cynics will point out that you can create good-quality podcasts with equipment costing under $50. Still, for those who want to take their podcasting on the road, this all-in-one package may provide the head start they need.

Suggestion Box

Is there a particularly cool mobile computing product or service I've missed? Got a spare story idea in your back pocket? Tell me about it. However, I regret that I'm unable to respond to tech-support questions, due to the volume of e-mail I receive.

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