Alltel to Battle the iPhone Buzz with ‘CellTop’

Today Alltel announced a new product called CellTop:

“An exclusive, patent-pending technology that offers customers an easier way to access, manage and organize a wide range of information already available on their Alltel Wireless phones. Celltop gives customers more control over their wireless experience through a unique and fully-customizable technology similar to the desktop on a personal computer”

Sounds like a great concept, and I’m all for ANYTHING that helps making a phone easier to navigate, but patent-pending?  This sounds an awful lot like Handmark products that have been around for years.  But it is nice to see carriers actually getting involved in the UX (user experience) field, and augmenting their products (sure beats crippling them, as some carries have chosen to do).

CellTop runs on the Qualcomm Brew platform, so it should be portable across multiple phones (and potentially carriers).  I wonder if any of the big guys will take notice of what a regional player like Alltel is up to?

More info and screenshots on CellTop can be found at

One Phone Number, for Life

Grand Central, a new ‘find me anywhere’ phone service just launched in beta. 

The basic concept is that you get to pick a ‘main’ phone number (many area codes available), and it stays with you for life.

Then, via the web interface, you can enter home, work, mobile, VoIP, and any other numbers you have, and when someone calls the main number, it will route them to any of your numbers based on rules you select.  It will also prompt the caller for their name, and based on that you can take the call or send them to voicemail (heh heh).  I’ve used several similar services in the past,and Grand central seems much more feature packed.  This is a MUST have service for any mobile professional.

Free service includes 100 inbound minutes a month, but during beta everything is free.

GigaOM has more details , and better yet, just go sign up for a free beta account and play with it for yourself – get a number soon, while there are still plenty easy-to-remember ones to choose from!


Update- Their support is AWESOME.  I received email response from 2 feedback notes I sent within minutes.  The second was a bug I (thought I) found, and the support guy and engineering were emailing back and forth in near real time as they fixed the problem and updated me.  Turned out not to be a ‘bug’, but a just a minor usability issue, I’m sure they’ll fix soon.  Either way,  VERY Cool to get that kind of support!!(is this Customer Service 2.0??)

Save a Life – Donate Your Old Cell Phones!

I was just reading this post over at MobileCrunch where Oliver Starr came up on a terrible car wreck last night.  Long story short, he used his cell phone to call 911 and probably saved a life by getting help there so fast.  Nice job Oliver.

I remember coming across a bad accident like this when I was a young kid.  Unfortunately it was in the pre-cell phone days, and it took way too long to get help there.  My parents shielded me from most of the trauma, but I am sure not being able to get help there right away may have cost some lives.

So, what’s my point?  Well I’m a techie, and I’m sure many of my readers are too.  That means we probably have a drawer / box / closet full of old cell phones laying around – I know I do.  While I’ve always heard about donating cell phones (NOT recycling them), it’s never really hit home on how important it can be, until now.

Getting old phones into peoples hands will allow them to call 911 (even without a service contract), and could save lifes.

What can you do?

Thanks for listening,