miniListings going off-line

The miniListings website will be taken off-line as of July 31, 2014, and the miniListings property search service will be shutdown at that time as well.

For questions regarding the shutdown, please contact us at We will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner.

If you are interested in a mobile application for you or your company, please contact Aumnia at for a review of their product offerings and how they can help you to develop an engaging, high-performance mobile presence.

miniListings Buyer’s Guide – October 2012

It’s been an exciting couple of months in the mobile phone market, but things have started to calm down a bit so I can (finally) catch my breath. Before we dive into the phones, here’s a quick recap of recent events.

  • The iPhone: Obviously, the biggest announcement has been the iPhone 5, and it has met most everyone’s expectations from a hardware perspective – thinner, lighter, and more beautiful than the iPhone 4S. On the other hand, there have been some software glitches, most notably Maps, so not everything has been roses. However, the software glitches are not enough to keep it from grabbing this month’s top spot as I suspect Apple is working feverishly to address these problems. If you’re contemplating an upgrade, see my earlier post as to whether you should or shouldn’t.
  • Android: The Samsung Galaxy S3 continues to rule the roost in Android land. There are some worthy competitors on the horizon but they are mostly extensions of existing designs – HTC with their One X+ and Motorola with the RAZR HD MAXX. I suspect the Galaxy S3 will hold on to the top spot for the remainder of the year, although there is talk that Google is going to launch a new line of Nexus devices this month, which I can’t wait to see.
  • Windows Phone: My previous statements still apply: Microsoft is putting a ton of effort into their mobile platform, but I wouldn’t even consider switching until Windows 8 is out and proven across more than just Nokia’s Lumia line of handsets. I’ll be revisiting Windows Phone during the first quarter of 2013.
  • BlackBerry: Mom always says not to say anything if you don’t have something nice to say, so I’ll just leave it at that.

And now, onto this month’s recommendations.

Best overall phone
iPhone 5iPhone 5
Bigger screen, LTE support, thinner, lighter – what more could you want? Apple has produced another gem of a mobile phone. I wouldn’t say that it completely blows away Samsung’s Galaxy S3, but I have to give the iPhone 5 the edge – purely on aesthetics. If you’re torn between the two devices, take a look at my iPhone vs Android post. It’s from last September, but the recommendations remain valid.

Best phone: iPhone 5
The biggest advantage to the iPhone 5 on Verizon is that the GSM sim card slot is unlocked. For those who don’t know what that means, it means you can insert a SIM card from any GSM carrier (like AT&T or T-mobile) and use their service, a particularly useful feature for international travelers. You still need to sign a 2-year contract with Verizon, but the added flexibility is certainly a plus.

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy S3
Expect this to be a common theme throughout the rest of the article, unless you are on T-mobile.

Samsung Galaxy S IIIBest phone: iPhone 5
I could add more, but it’s already been said.
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy S3
Yes, it truly has become a two horse race in the mobile market at this time.

Best phone: iPhone 5
Nothing to add that hasn’t been said above.
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy S3

Galaxy Nexus by SamsungBest phone: Samsung Galaxy S3
The only one of the major carriers not to have the iPhone, so the Galaxy S3 pulls the top spot on T-mobile. However, T-mobile is starting to sell nano-SIM cards, so if you use T-mobile and are dead set on the iPhone, there may be hope.
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
OK, this is a bit of personal bias since I’ve been using the device for the last 6 months, but the Galaxy Nexus is a great device, and for $350 unlocked from the Google Play store, you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal, period. The biggest advantage to the Nexus is its stock Android build, meaning it is always first in line for the latest Android software (my Nexus is already running Jellybean, Android 4.1). But the part I like best is that it’s unlocked, which means you have the flexibility to go off contract or prepaid if you want. There’s significant savings that can be had by going prepaid over the life of a two year contract, in some cases as much as $1,000 or more. It’s worth looking into, and I’d suggest taking a peak at this article over at GigaOM if you’re seriously considering it.

As always, if you have questions about any devices, feel as though I left one out, or have personal experience with any of devices that you’d like to share, sound off in the comments.

The iPhone 5 is here: Should I upgrade?

iPhone 5Yesterday, Apple announced the iPhone 5 and a new line of iPods to the usual fanfare in San Francisco. If you want to feel like you were there, you can watch the announcement at the Apple site.

If you don’t have 2 hours to burn, here’s the summary:

  • iPhone 5Phone is same width, but display is now 4″ – 1136×640 (iPhone 4S was 960×640)
  • 18% thinner and 20% lighter
  • Support for 4G LTE on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint
  • Improved processor and graphics performance
  • Improved battery life – 8 hours talk/browsing time over LTE
  • Improved camera performance with built-in panorama capability
  • 1080p HD video with stabilization, face detection and photo capture
  • New 8-pin reversible connector ***this is a big deal as it obsoletes all old accessories unless you buy a special $30 adapter from Apple***
  • Major software updates include Passbook for storing things like loyalty cards and boarding passes, Apple Maps (instead of Google Maps) and Siri improvements.

Reasons to upgrade

  1. 4G LTE support. It will make the phone much faster when browsing the web or using any apps that require internet access
  2. Faster processor. The phone will be even smoother, and many new apps will take advantage of the improved hardware (especially games)
  3. Better camera. As amazing as this sounds, the camera will be better, giving you one less reason to carry around a separate point and shoot.
  4. Larger screen. Room for a fifth row of apps will come in handy. I’ve been digging the bigger screen on my Galaxy Nexus for the last few months.
  5. Ego stroking. All the cool kids will have the iPhone 5. You don’t want to be left out, do you?

Reasons NOT to upgrade

  1. New connector. If you have a lot of iPhone accessories, it is going to be an extremely expensive upgrade. The $30 adapter supposedly does not handle analog signals, so any audio components you have for your iPhone, like speaker docs, will be rendered useless. Expect to pay for the iPhone and all new accessories when you upgrade.
  2. iOS6 improvements are not exclusive. The iPhone 4S will get all of the improvements from the iOS 6 software, so unless you really need LTE support or the bigger screen, you won’t be missing much.
  3. Cost. Upgrading mid-cycle in your contract isn’t cheap. You can expect to pay at least $250 extra for the privilege to carry an iPhone 5
  4. It’s evolutionary. You read that right – I left the ‘r’ out on purpose. Many of the features, both hardware and software are a catch up to what the latest Android phones have already (like the Samsung Galaxy S3), so the only thing you get by switching is access to the Apple ecosystem and a better camera.

Should you upgrade?

  • Definite Yes – if you have the iPhone 3GS or earlier, it’s time to upgrade. The improvements in speed and camera performance alone are enough reason to move up, not to mention the retina display, Siri, and the many other changes that have come along in the last few years.
  • Maybe – it’s a tough choice for iPhone4 users. If you haven’t invested a ton of money in accessories, then I would advise upgrading when you are eligible (don’t pay the penalty for an early upgrade). If you have a lot of accessories, I’d wait to see if they come up with a better adapter solution before upgrading, as I am certain there is going to be significant backlash over the new connector.
  • Definite No – if you have the iPhone 4S, I wouldn’t upgrade. The improvements aren’t drastic enough to pay the early upgrade penalty. Plus, you know the next iPhone is one year away that will have more improvements, including some feature that will make the iPhone 5 obsolete. It’s the Apple way.

    And just to show you how indistinguishable the iPhone 4S is from the iPhone 5, check out this Jimmy Kimmel video interviewing people on the street.

The iPhone 5 is available for pre-order starting 9/14 (tomorrow), with shipments and store availability starting 9/21. Anyone planning to stand in line?

miniListings Buyer’s Guide – September 2012

OK – it’s been a busy summer, so I apologize for missing the August update to our Buyer’s Guide. Fortunately, there weren’t any major phone releases between July and August, but boy have things heated up lately. In fact, I’ve been totally geeking out on the announcements of the past week, and can’t wait to see what’s coming the rest of the month. In short, if you’re looking at a phone upgrade, you’d better wait. Here’s why:

  • The next-gen iPhone is coming
    Apple has an announcement coming September 12 for the next generation iPhone. It’s unclear if the official name will be the iPhone5 or just the new iPhone, but what is clear is that it’s happening. All rumors are pointing to a device that is about the same width, but a bit longer to support 16:9 viewing. It is also expected to be just over 10% thinner than the 4s. Finally, it’s going to a smaller connector which could obsolete all of your current accessories (why they don’t go to microUSB like everyone else is beyond me, but that’s a post for another day). Leaked photos are also suggesting a two-tone aluminum backing to provide some design character. I figure it will support 4G LTE and would be pretty disappointed if it doesn’t. Otherwise, you should expect upgrades to Siri, some new software features, and the always unexpected “one last thing” that Apple is famous for. Bottom line, you should NOT be buying an iPhone right now. Instead, mark your calendars for September 12th to see what Apple has in store for us. By the way, it’s expected that pre-orders will start 9/21 with delivery by end of the month.
  • Nokia and Microsoft have launched new Lumias
    Nokia and Microsoft launched the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 this week. Generally speaking, I was a little disappointed with the announcement. There didn’t seem to be anything that was jaw-dropping from the event. I’ll stick by my prediction that Microsoft will still become a third option in mobile, but I wouldn’t suggest jumping into Windows Phone until Windows 8 is out and available on the Lumia (and other) handsets. In other words, I’m looking at first half of 2013 as the time to seriously start looking at Windows Phone if you’ve grown tired of your iPhone or Android device.
  • Motorola goes all in with RAZR
    Google subsidiary Motorola launched three new RAZR devices this past week, all of which look great and are upgrades to the existing RAZR product line. Building on the RAZR series, it consists of three models, the RAZR HD, RAZR HD MAXX, and RAZR M. The HD and HD MAXX are extensions of the existing model, with the HD MAXX sporting crazy battery life (by smartphone standards) of 21 hours of talk time and 13 hours of video playback over Verizon’s LTE network. I especially like the idea of the RAZR M, which has a smaller screen (4.3″ vs 4.7″) and a price point of $99 on contract that bucks the trend of ever bigger screen smartphones. The RAZR M is available for pre-order from Verizon, with the HD versions due out later this year. I really hope Motorola comes out with GSM versions of these devices for AT&T and T-mobile.
  • More is on the way
    Lost among all of the iPhone hype is an HTC event scheduled for the following week. HTC has no chance of upstaging the iPhone announcement, but it will be interesting to see what their next move will be. All bets are on either a Windows Phone announcement or an upgrade to their successful HTC One X. Either way, HTC continues to struggle in the shadow of Samsung, Apple and up and coming Chinese phone manufacturers ZTE and Huawei.
  • Sammy is tearing it up!
    On the heels of its high profile loss to Apple in court, Samsung announced that it has already sold 20,000,000 Galaxy S3 handsets. You read that right, 20 million. It is by far the most successful Android handset launch to date. As part of its courtroom victory, Apple is trying to get an injunction slapped on Samsung to stop it from selling the Galaxy S3 in the US, so if you’re thinking about getting one, you may want to do so before the court rules on Apple’s motion, which is expected to happen in early December.
  • Where’s BlackBerry?
    The sad, sad story that is BlackBerry continues. All hopes are riding on the BlackBerry 10 OS which isn’t due out until the first quarter of 2013. That’s right, it’s 6 months from today, which is equivalent to a lifetime in the phone industry. Delays in BB10 are not helping RIM as BlackBerry market share continues to evaporate, rapidly. If you’re still using BlackBerry, I urge you to switch, and you should be telling your friends to switch, too.

As for this month’s recommendations, nothing has changed since July. So instead of re-hashing that report, Just click here and you can see my latest device recommendations.

RealtyTech has acquired miniListings

I’m very pleased and excited to announce that RealtyTech has acquired the miniListings product and website. RealtyTech is a California Corporation based in Thousand Oaks that offers real estate agent websites, IDX MLS Search systems and internet marketing for real estate agents, brokers and companies. We are in the process of migrating the product to RealtyTech and expect to have the transition completed shortly.

The good news is that miniListings is being transferred to RealtyTech as is. In other words, you will not notice any changes in the look, feel, operation or performance of the product. The better news is that you will now have access to the full line of RealtyTech products and support staff. I would urge you to visit their website,, to see the complete line of website, IDX MLS search, and internet marketing products they offer to real estate professionals.

Here is a short FAQ that answers some questions about the transition.

miniListings migration FAQ

Who is RealtyTech?
RealtyTech is an internet marketing and technology company based in Thousand Oaks, CA that provides real estate agent websites, IDX MLS Search systems, and internet marketing services for real estate agents, brokers and companies. You can learn more about RealtyTech and their products at

When does the change take effect?
We are in the middle of migrating the product to RealtyTech and expect to have the transition completed around September 4.

Will I be able to integrate miniListings with other RealtyTech products?
The short answer is yes – you will be able to. You can contact RealtyTech at 877.832.4428 to learn about their website, IDX MLS Search and internet marketing products and how your miniListings mobile search application can be integrated with them.

Will there be a change to the miniListings look, feel or operation?
No, miniListings is being migrated as is, so neither you nor your clients will notice any changes to the look, feel, or operation of the product.

Will the MLS coverage area change?
RealtyTech has relationships with all of the major MLS organizations within Southern California including CRMLS, CrisNET, VCRDS, CLAW, Sandicor and SBMLS. The listings data available through miniListings will not be affected by the transition.

I’m using a custom URL for my miniListings app, will it be affected?
You may continue to use your custom URL with your miniListings mobile property search application. We are updating all of the necessary domain records, so there is no action required on your part.

I’m using a QR code, will it still work?
Yes, QR codes that you are using will continue to work as is. There is no action required on your part.

Who do I contact for technical support questions?
For technical support questions, you can contact RealtyTech at 877.832.4428, or submit an email to

How will billing be handled?
All of our customer accounts are being migrated through this process, so billing will be handled by RealtyTech. Since we do not have access to your payment details through our secure payment processor, you will be contacted by RealtyTech to update your billing and payment information.

Who should I contact regarding billing questions?
If you have billing questions related to your account, you can call RealtyTech at 877.832.4428 or send an email to


If you have a question that has not been answered above, feel free to ask it in the comments, send an email to, or call RealtyTech at 877.832.4428.

miniListings Buyer's Guide – July 2012

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App Review: Location Sharing / Safety Apps

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Thought Leaders: Carolyn Lowe

Carolyn Lowe, a Real Estate Marketing Consultant with Coldwell Banker in Orange County, CA, is this month’s Thought Leader. With over thirty years of experience in the industry, she brings a unique perspective when working with her clients. An avid reader, Carolyn enjoys staying up to date on the latest technologies, figuring out ways to…

What is a “phablet”?

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miniListings Buyer's Guide – June 2012

We have officially entered what I like to call “upgrade season”. What exactly is upgrade season? Well, if you use an Android phone and want to upgrade, or are looking to switch/upgrade to one, now is the time to do it. The manufacturers have released their latest devices, so now is the time to lock…

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