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Why Trust Diamond Certified Mobile Device Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: ClickAway (2014)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a mobile device company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified mobile device company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated mobile device company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE San Mateo County – Mobile Device – Sales & Service CATEGORY

Rick Sutherland is a 13-year veteran of the computer service and repair industry and owner of ClickAway, a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (800) 960-9030 or by email.

Rick Sutherland

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Rick Sutherland: Clicking on Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CAMPBELL — Following a successful career in the tire business, Rick Sutherland decided to start from scratch in an entirely new industry. “I started in the tire retail business when I was a teenager and worked my way up to being an owner of a chain, which I subsequently grew to 25 Bay Area locations,” he recounts. “After selling my company in 1999, I found myself retired at 43 years old. After about six months, I realized I needed to get involved in something else.”

As he mulled over his options, Rick narrowed in on what he perceived to be an opportunity in the computer service field. “As someone who’d been using computers for a long time, I’d always felt there was a lack of support for consumers and small businesses when it came to their technology, so I thought that might be a good business to get into. I started out by hiring one technician, and since then, I’ve grown the business and expanded to 40 locations.”

Today, as owner of ClickAway, Rick says his favorite part of his job is keeping score. “For me, running a business is like running a sports team, with sales and productivity being our scoreboard. In both sports and business, staying competitive is key, which is why I put a lot of effort into analyzing growth and motivating our team to keep going. It’s just fun for me to watch our team succeed and put up good numbers on the scoreboard.”

A resident of Los Gatos (where he lives with his wife, Lani), Rick expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a lot of different places in the world, and there’s no place like here,” he affirms. “We live a really lucky lifestyle, with a vastly diverse topography and culture, all topped off with amazing weather. You can’t beat it!”

Outside of work, Rick engages in a variety of active pastimes, most of which take place on two wheels. “I enjoy mountain biking with friends on local trails and going on motorcycle trips to places like Tahoe,” he says. “I also raced cars for 20 years and still have a passion for it, as well as a small collection of cars.” Additionally, Rick enjoys keeping up with his grown son and daughter, who are pursuing their own careers in New Zealand and Washington, D.C., respectively.

In his life and career, Rick espouses the virtue of practicing the Golden Rule. “Whether it’s my employees, customers, friends or family, I try to treat others like I’d want to be treated,” he affirms. “When it comes to customers, this means giving them the best possible service and quality, which actually ends up being good for business since people are willing to pay for an honest service that brings a good value. So, as long as we continue to do that, it just makes our job more fun and rewarding.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire (again) tomorrow, Rick says he’d do some traveling. “The responsibility of running a business makes it hard to be away for very long, so I’d take the opportunity to visit my son in New Zealand and my daughter on the East Coast.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Trying to qualify for a race back when I was racing cars. When you’re on the qualifying lap, it’s all or nothing, so you’re on the edge in every corner—one false move and you could wind up smashed into the guard rail.

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Plumed Horse in Saratoga.

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: French fries.

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How to Avoid Technology Heartbreak

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CAMPBELL — Technology may enhance the quality of modern life, but it also has the power to break your heart. The most common occurrence of this “technology heartbreak” comes in the form of data loss. Whether it’s personal documents or family… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Avoiding Technology Heartbreak

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Complete Video Transcription:

CAMPBELL — Host, Sarah Rutan: To avoid the heartbreak of lost personal documents and photos, you’ll need to take measures to protect the irreplaceable data on your… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

INDUSTRY INFORMATION - San Mateo County – Mobile Device – Sales & Service
  • Apple

  • Dell

  • HP

  • Lenovo

  • Microsoft

Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) (www.dca.ca.gov)
Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association – the Wireless Association (CTIA) (www.ctia.org)
Consumer Electronics Association  (CE) (www.ce.org)
Mobile Data Association (MDA) (www.themda.org)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (www.fcc.gov)

Know What You Want
Think About the Mobile Device Sales and Services You Require

The first step in choosing a good mobile device dealer and repair center happens before you call or visit any retailers in East Palo Alto, Foster City, Pacifica, San Bruno or near you. Instead, you'll spend a little time thinking about your needs and writing down ideas before you look into any specific contracts or carriers.

Answer the following questions and include questions of your own.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. Do I need a new cell phone or cell phone repairs or service?
  3. Am I more interested in owning a certain type of phone (iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry, LG, Motorola, htc, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Kycera, Palm, Nokia, smart phone, flip phone, tablet phone, phablet, etc.), or do I want to find the best contract deal regardless of the phone choices available to me?
  4. How often do I want to replace my cell phone—every time a new version comes out, or when my old phone becomes obsolete?
  5. Are hardware, software, apps and accessories important to me?
  6. Do I need an individual, family or business plan?
  7. About how many minutes of calls do I use each month?
  8. Do I need a large data plan to allow for email access, internet access and other types of heavy data usage?
  9. Do I like to text message, and do I need a plan that allows for unlimited texting?
  10. Do I make a large number of international calls each month?
  11. Do I need a cell phone that allows for tethering?
  12. Is there a cell phone carrier I wish to work with?
  13. What type of repairs or service do I need?
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What To Ask In Person
Meet with Smartphone Sales and Mobile Device Service Companies in Person

Once you've decided what you need from your new mobile device and what kind of contract and plan make the most sense for you, the next step is to stop by some local cell phone stores in Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City, South San Francisco, San Bruno or the San Mateo County city you live in.

You should have a list of questions you want to ask, which may include some of the following.

  1. What is the call quality like on each of the phones I'm interested in?
  2. How does this phone access the internet? (Most phones come with 3G [third generation] or 4G [fourth generation]wireless connections. The higher the generation, the faster the phone connection will be; however, 4G is still hard to access in some areas.)
  3. Which phones have good cameras?
  4. How is the battery life on each of the phones I'm considering?
  5. Does this phone only work on your network? Or can I take my phone with me if I change carriers?
  6. Can I transfer my contacts, apps and other information from my old cell phone to my new phone? Can you help me do that?
  7. Are there any additional fees and taxes on top of my monthly bill?
  8. Are these fees required by the government, or are they carrier fees?
  9. What are the terms for cancellation before my contract expires?
  10. Do you offer any guarantees for coverage or remove cancellation fees if special circumstances apply—such as if I move to an area this carrier doesn't serve before my contract expires?
  11. What can your mobile device company offer me that the competition can't?
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  • What To Ask References
    Interview Customers of Cell Phone and Smart Phone Providers and Service Companies

    It’s best to choose among Diamond Certified mobile device sales and service companies because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most others can’t. When you are looking for quality from a cell phone sales and service provider in San Mateo County, you can have confidence in Diamond Certified companies.

    That's because Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers of the smart phone, cell phone and mobile device providers in San Mateo County, including Foster City, Daly City, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Burlingame and the rest of the local area.

    If you can’t find Diamond Certified mobile device sales and service companies within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own.

    Start by checking out the company's license status on the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) website. There, you'll be able to see whether the license is active and if there are any outstanding complaints against it.

    The next step is calling some references provided by the mobile device dealer and service companies you're choosing among. While you're making reference calls, keep in mind, that references provided to you by cell phone dealers and smart phone service companies are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the smart device dealers you ask for references will likely give you the names of a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the cellular device company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied. Some questions you may want to ask are listed below.

    1. Are you happy with the service from this cell company?
    2. Were you happy with the range of phone options?
    3. Were you pleased with the range of cell phone packages and contract options?
    4. If you've called this mobile device store for help with your phone, contract or billing issues, were you pleased with their assistance and ability to help you?
    5. Is the store location convenient to your home or business?
    6. Is there on-site parking available?
    7. If you've gone into the store for help with your new mobile device or for other issues, was the store clean, tidy and welcoming?
    8. Do you get good service if you live or work in La Honda, Loma Mar, Millbrae, Emerald Hills, Half Moon Bay, Palomar Park, Pescadero, Colma or Daly City, Redwood City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica District, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Foster City and Burlingame?
    9. Are the staff at this San Mateo County mobile device store knowledgeable and helpful?
    10. Would you recommend this mobile sales and service location to friends and family?
    11. What's the best thing about this company?
    12. Is there anything I should factor into my decision whether to buy a phone and cell phone plan from this company or to rely on them for mobile device service?
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  • Review Your Options
    Making a Final Decision on a Mobile Device Service in San Mateo County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Now you've thought about what you need and want in a new mobile device, you've talked with some local San Mateo County cell service vendors, and you've interviewed references. So you should have an idea of what the cell providers in your area, including East Palo Alto, Foster City, Pacifica, San Bruno and beyond, can offer you.

    But before making a final decision on the best mobile device sales and service companies in San Mateo County with which to sign a contract, take another moment to consider the following questions.

    1. Was there one San Mateo County mobile device dealer that you felt best met your needs for pricing, equipment, accessories, cellular plans, contract details and service areas?
    2. Were you impressed with the store's location, appearance, staff and service?
    3. Is this San Mateo County cell phone provider eager to help you get the service and products you need and want?
    4. Does one mobile device provider offer better service in more areas near where you live, work and most frequently travel?
    5. Can one company save you money while still giving you the service and phone choices you want?
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  • How To Work With
    What to Know Before You Look into Mobile Device Providers in San Mateo County

    Some customers like to stick with the same provider and mobile device dealer when they're looking for a new cell phone or new contract. However, you may find greater peace of mind, if not a better deal and more fitting contract, by doing some research on local San Mateo County mobile device providers in Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City, South San Francisco, San Bruno and other areas near you.

    Not all providers carry the same products, contract deals, special promotions and services, so researching your choices before locking yourself into a contract is smart.

    Consider your priorities—

    • What exactly are you shopping for and why?
    • Do you want the most cost-effective plan?
    • Do you want the newest cell phone or mobile device on the market?
    • Is there a certain mobile device brand you want?
    • Do you want a contract-free plan or a prepaid phone, or do you want the security of a contract?
    • Do you want a huge amount of data, minutes and texting?
    • Will you be OK with monitoring your usage to fit into a less-expensive plan?
    • Do you need an individual contract, family plan or business plan?
    • Do you need a plan that allows international calling either to or from another country?
    • Do you want all of the extras of a service plan, or just a simple cell phone?

    Once you know your priorities, you'll know whether you need to look to a certain provider (for example, if you want an iPhone or Android-based smartphone, you'll need to seek out specific carriers and contracts that are compatible with that phone; if you are less concerned with brand or platform, you'll have more options available to you in terms of provider and contract specifications.

    What to Consider Once You Know Your Mobile Device Needs
    Now that you have an idea of what kind of mobile device, service, plan specifications and more that you need, you can start researching providers and products.

    When it comes to buying a new phone, think about these things:

    • Cell phone display size, type and specifications
    • Call quality
    • The overall design of the phone or mobile device, including size and appearance
    • The type of controls
    • Available accessories and add-ons
    • App preferences, availability and functionality
    • Battery life
    • Maximum and average data speed
    • Ease of navigation and menu function
    • Audio and video capabilities
    • Output and input
    • Whether the phone is locked or unlocked

    Cell phone retailers in South SF, Daly City, San Bruno, Menlo Park, Foster City, Burlingame, Redwood City and Pacifica, Broadmoor Village, Atherton, El Granada, Moss Beach, Portola Valley, San Carlos, Princeton by the Sea, Sharp Park and other areas of San Mateo County  offer a wide variety of services including:

    • Fees (such as activation, roaming, international calling, overtime use, information, data, etc.)
    • Retailer, local, state and federal taxes (some of which may not be required but are tacked on by the retailer)
    • Peak time usage, which may include fees
    • Use trackers and data gauges to help you avoid overage charges
    • Insurance options
    • Repair services
    • Warranties and service guarantees
    • Product extended warranties
    • Pre-paid plans
    • Cooling off periods for phones, services and contracts
    • Bonus plans, including additional text messages or calling minutes to other subscribers on the same network or within your calling plan
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  • Be a Good Customer
    How to Be the Type of Customer Mobile Device Providers Want to Work

    It's the responsibility of your mobile device sales and service companies to provide quality phones and other devices, solid contracts and good phone service. But you play a big part in your happiness with your cell phone sales and service, too.

    The following are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when choosing among San Mateo County mobile device sales and service companies in East Palo Alto, Foster City, Pacifica, San Bruno and other local areas.

     

    • Be clear and upfront with the mobile service companies. Let them know what you want from your new cell phone, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations in terms of service and contract specifications.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way, especially when you are frustrated or facing a disagreement or misunderstanding. Cell phone sales and service can be confusing, so remain calm and friendly. This can often lower tension, defray frustration and help you get the best result.
    • Before you sign a contract with a cell phone company in San Mateo County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the mobile provider representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being up front about your expectations and theirs, you can often avoid conflicts.
    • Be sure you understand the fine print of your mobile service contract before you sign. Ask about extra fees and taxes (either required by the government, the local area or the cellular company), learn about the cancellation or early contract change policies, coverage areas, minute and data limits, and other factors that can make your plan more expensive or your phone less convenient than you expect.
       

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Local mobile device sales and service companies in San Mateo County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Compare Your New Phone and Accessories with the Agreement You've Signed

Before you leave the store, check over your new phone and any accessories you've purchased to ensure that they match what's listed on your invoice. Be certain that you have the exact model of phone you wanted (including screen size, storage size, color, etc.) and any additional accessories you've purchased (including Bluetooth items, headsets, hands-free items, screen protectors, stylus, extra batteries, cell phone cases, etc.).

You should also review the terms of your contract. Ensure that you have paid for and are signed up to receive the services (texting, voicemail, data minutes, international calling, rollover minutes, tethering capabilities, etc.) and contract specifications that you requested

The invoice from mobile device sales and service companies in Foster City, Daly City, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Burlingame and the rest of San Mateo County should include the following:

  • The mobile device sales and service provider's name, local store's physical address, corporate headquarter address, and state license number.
  • A complete list of all services promised.
  • An itemized list of all items and accessories purchased.
  • The total cost for the cell phone service and equipment.
  • A written explanation of any product warranties and service guarantees provided by the product manufacturers and the mobile companies.
  • A written explanation of contract cancellation fees or penalties.
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Written Warranties
Invest in Mobile Devices That Come with Warranties

All new cell phones, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices should come with warranties on the hardware. Some also include warranties for software, accessories and service plans. However, those will vary depending on the items you purchase and the service provider you choose.

Your mobile devices are expensive machines that should last and function well for a long time. To protect yourself, make sure that any new cell phone or other hand-held mobile device you purchase is covered by a warranty or guarantee that you can redeem in case of malfunction or factory error.

Nation-wide mobile device providers with stores in San Mateo County, including those in Daly City, Redwood City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica District, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Foster City and Burlingame and other areas, often offer the exact same warranty coverage as every other store across the country, so what one store offers, all others from the same company will match. However, that is not always true, and it doesn't apply to local retailers. You may be able to find better warranty coverage from some mobile device companies.

Regardless of which service or mobile device retailer you choose, the following items should be included in any written guarantee document:

  • The San Mateo County mobile device provider's name, physical store address, corporate contact information and state license number.
  • A description of exactly what the warranty covers. This should include whether the mobile device provider will repair or replace faulty materials or devices.
  • Any exclusions to the warranty must be explicitly stated.
  • Your responsibility in the case of a problem and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
  • How long the warranty is valid, and whether it expires on a specific day or is prorated (warranty coverage and amount owed for repair or replacement diminishes over time).
  • Any actions on your part that may invalidate the warranty (this may include unlocking or tampering with the phone or its components or accessories).
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Top 10 Requests
Mobile Device and Cell Phone Sales and Service Requests in San Mateo County

You'll find a bevy of different mobile devices, accessories, brands, services, contract specifications and more at local San Mateo County mobile phone stores and service centers in South SF, Daly City, San Bruno, Menlo Park, Foster City, Burlingame, Redwood City and Pacifica and other areas near you. Some of the most popular are listed below.

New Cell Phones at San Mateo County Mobile Device Stores
New cell phones include smartphones, basic phones, flip phones, and other portable phones. These phones may have touchscreens or physical keyboards, fit easily in your pocket or be used as a tablet (tablet phones are sometimes referred to as “phablets” as they combine the usefulness of a phone and tablet), connect to other devices, serve as in-pocket computers, be simple flip phones made for phone calls and not many other services, and more. New cell phones fit a variety of needs, uses and price points, and all come with different cell phone plans and contracts. Good San Mateo County mobile device providers can help you choose the best new cell phone for you and your needs.

Smartphones
Smartphones are multifunctional phones that serve a variety of purposes, including phone, sending and receiving emails and text messages, camera, internet device, address book, electronic reader, credit card, GPS device, flashlight, alarm clock, date book, notebook and more. They are loaded with features and apps that allow you to connect to others, play games, look up information, and more. Mobile device retailers in San Mateo County and the rest of the Bay Area often have a wide selection of smartphones and other smart devices.

Tablets
Tablets are portable computers that are smaller than laptops, yet larger than smartphones. They also offer more features than smartphones. Tablets are often used with apps, or to view online tv and movies. Many tablets can be used with word processing software, as an e-reader or electronic reader, and for working and pleasure. They are more portable than laptops and offer more versatility. There are even tablet versions specially-built for kids. Tablets come in a variety of sizes and price points, so learn your options before making a purchasing decision.

Prepaid Cell Phones in San Mateo County
Prepaid cell phones are those that you pay for before you use them each month or using prepaid credits. Prepaid cell phones are used the same way as cell phones and smart phones tied to contracts, except they come with no contracts, often have no activation fee, and usually require no credit checks. Prepaid cell phones are popular with people who don't want to be tied to a specific mobile device or cell phone provider, and who like the freedom to choose a great network with no annual contract. Most cell phone providers and mobile device services offer prepaid plans that are flexible and affordable. Prepaid rates may vary depending on the provider, device and features of services you choose.

Mobile Accessories
Mobile accessories include cases, adapters, chargers, cables, app-enabled products, stylus pens, SIM cards, micro SD memory and other memory cards, cell phone camera lenses, cell phone car accessories, cleaning and other care accessories, travel packs, headsets, charms and other decorations, screen protectors, extra batteries and other power options, and more functional and eye-catching add-ons for your phone, smartphone, tablet, and other mobile device.

Mobile Device Plans
Mobile device plans include any service plans for cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. These plans may include individual and shared plans, data plans, talk and text minutes and more. There are even family plans and business plans that help you bundle different devices together for additional savings.

Family Plans (Family and Friends Plans)
Family cell phone plans and mobile device plans are plans that let you group together a number of phones that are all paid for under the same bill. These so-called family plans are popular because they often give a deal for a large amount of calling minutes, text messaging and data usage for a reasonable cost. Most mobile device sales and service locations in San Mateo County offer family plans, and the top players (including Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others) often compete to offer the best family plans to draw in customers. Consider your options carefully before signing on for family cell phone plans, since the terms and usefulness can vary greatly.

Business Mobile Plans in San Mateo County
Most San Mateo County mobile sales and service retailers offer competitive voice and data plans for businesses. These include sharable data plans, flexible texting and voice, and large banks of data for use by businesses large and small. As with any cell plan, you will be locked in for a certain amount of time, so shop carefully for the business plan that best suits your business size and needs.

Mobile Hot Spots
Mobile hot spots, sometimes called WiFi hotspots, are compact boxes that supply powerful Internet connections to multiple WiFi-enabled devices. They are often used in homes to connect a family's cell phones, smart phones, tablets, computers, internet TVs, mp3 players, gaming consoles, cameras and more to wireless networks. The hotspots work in a certain area, so you may need more than one hotspot device if you have a larger home or office.  These may be especially useful in Brisbane, Colma, Emerald Hills, Hillsborough, San Gregorio, West Menlo Park, Woodside and less populated areas where internet connections can be spotty.

Mobile Device Repair / Cell Phone Repair
Retailers and independent shops often offer mobile device repair, including cell phone repair, tablet repair, smartphone repair and more. These services may include cracked screen repairs, battery replacement, virus removal, Andriod repair, Windows phone repairs, iPhone repairs, charging port repair or replacements, water damage repair and more. Not all repair shops repair all phones or provide all types of cell phone repair services, however, so be sure you call and talk with a technician before stopping by to be sure that they are able to service your type of phone.

Popular Cell Phone Brands in San Mateo County and the Greater Bay Area
There are dozens of cell phone manufacturers, and each offers a unique array of services, components, hardware, software, apps, accessories and features. Those listed below are some of the more popular manufacturers of cell phones, tablets, connected devices, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

  • Samsung
  • Nokia
  • Apple
  • Motorola
  • HTC
  • LG
  • Sony
  • Blackberry
  • Amazon
  • Acer
  • Google
  • Pantech
  • Nenovo
  • Panasonic
  • Toshiba
  • HP
  • Verizon
  • Sony Ericsson
  • Spting
  • T-Mobile
  • Kyocera
  • Palm
  • Sanyo
  • Casio
  • Vizio
  • AT&T
  • Cingular
  • Siemens
  • Cricket
  • Philips
  • Ericsson
  • Hitachi
  • Qtek
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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Cell Phone, Smartphone, Tablet and Mobile Device Coverage Terms

Choosing and buying new mobile devices, smart phones and mobile service plans can be confusing. The glossary below will give you access to some of the terms and definitions most often used by local cell phone retailers and service providers.

As always, you are the customer, and it's your right to completely understand all terms on contracts and devices before making a purchasing decision, so ask your mobile device and cell phone provider if you don't understand something or need help deciphering contract language before you make a final decision.

3G
The third generation of technology after analog cellular phones and digital phones is often referred to as “3G” or third generation. 3G devices usually feature high data speeds, always-on data access and greater voice capacity than 1G and 2G phones.

Also known as: third generation technology, 3G phones, 3G tablets, 3G technology

4G
4G, or fourth generation phones, are becoming available and more popular. These feature even faster speeds and greater connectivity than earlier models.

Also known as: fourth generation, 4G phones

accessibility
Options on mobile phones, cell phones and other digital devices that aid those who have hearing and vision difficulties that make using non-accessible phones or mobile devices more difficult. Greater accessibility gives those with vision, hearing and other disabilities greater access to the internet and mobile services through phones, smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices.

Also known as: low-vision accessible phones, hearing accessible phones, open access devices, ADA devices

accessories
Mobile accessories include cases, adapters, chargers, cables, app-enabled products, stylus pens, SIM cards, micro SD memory and other memory cards, cell phone camera lenses, cell phone car accessories, cleaning and other care accessories, travel packs, headsets, charms and other decorations, screen protectors, extra batteries and other power options, and more functional and eye-catching add-ons for your phone, smartphone, tablet, and other mobile device.

Also known as: mobile accessories, cell phone accessories, tablet accessories, cell phone add-ons, cell phone extras

activation fee
A one-time fee for activating service on a new mobile device. Activation fees sometimes apply to customers using existing devices and choosing a new mobile service provider.

Also known as: start-up fees, signing fees, activating fee

add-a-line
Add inga new line of service or new phone to your existing cell phone or mobile device account.

Also known as: adding a line, add-a-line fees, add a line fees, fees for adding a line

Android
The operating system and software platform created by Google. Android-based phones use apps and programs specially written for Android devices.

Also known as: Android platform, Android phones, Android tablets, Android-enabled

anytime minutes
Minutes that you can use anytime; these are usually not tied into night and weekend minutes, family plans, friends and family plans and other contract plans. Some plans include antyime minutes to prevent overages and give customers greater flexibility with their cell phones, smartphones, mobile devices and contracts. Anytime minutes may include phone, text and data minutes.

Also known as: freedom minutes, flexible minutes

app
Software and special features downloadable to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablests. Apps add functionality and usefulness to hardware and include categories such as games, email features,  QR and bar code scanners, alarm clocks, note taking apps, website-integrated apps (such as Facebook and Pinterest). Most mobile devices come with some factory-set apps preloaded on the device; more can be downloaded free and for a charge from app stores. Apps need to be compatible with your device's operating system. For example, iPhones require Apple-based apps, while Android-based phones require Android-based apps.

Also known as: application, mobile app, digital app, smartphone app, tablet apps, apps

bandwidth
The capacity of a given data line to carry signals to connected devices. The higher the bandwidth, speed the more information and data can be carried in a certain amount of time.

Also known as: connectivity, bandwith size, bandwith speed, download speed

basic phone
A cell phone that offers basic wireless services and standard features such as phone calls, text messaging and limited Internet browsing.

Also known as: feature phone, flip phone, early-generation phone, simple cell phone, dumbphone

bill cycle
Billing cycles are month-long cycles in which charges start and end. Most billing cycles correspond with the date you signed up for the current contract, so your bill cycle may not be the first of the month through the last day of the month, and may instead start and end mid-month. It is vital to know when your billing period ends and when the new bill period begins so you can keep track of the minutes and data used during the billing cycle and avoid overage charges. Most cell phone companies will work with you to set your billing cycle to a date that is most convenient for you to remember and pay.

Also known as: billing period, contract cycle, monthly billing cycle

Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that connects devices to other close-range Bluetooth-enabled devices and accessories. Bluetooth technology is most useful to pair cell phones and other mobile devices with headsets, speakers, printers, and other accessories to provide handsfree calling, wireless music connections, wireless printer connectivity, and wireless mouse and keyboard connections.

Also known as: Bluetooth pairing, pairing, Bluetooth enabled, Bluetooth connectivity

broadband internet service
High-speed data transmission fast enough to support apps, streaming, video, gaming, online TV, downloading, and high-speed Internet access is available through broadband internet service.

Also known as: broadband internet, broadband connectivity

business plan
Business plan are s designed to meet the needs of large and small business owners and workforces. Business plans may require a minimum number of business lines to qualify for the contract.  Most local mobile sales and service retailers offer competitive voice and data plans for businesses. These include sharable data plans, flexible texting and voice, and large banks of data for use by businesses large and small.

Also known as: business mobile plans, business data plans, business cell phone plans

camera phone
Mobile phones with onboard cameras are known as camera phones. All smartphones and most traditional cell phones come with camera phone features that can capture, send and store pictures. Smartphones will allow you to upload and save photos to the cloud for later viewing. If phone-based photography is important to you, be sure to check out the phone camera capabilities and specifications for the phones you're most interested in buying, as the quality of cameras and the images they take can vary greatly among brands, models and generations of phones.

Also known as: phone cameras

carrier
The mobile device company that provides your wireless service is known as a carrier. AT&T, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Cricket, and Verizon Wireless are examples of carriers.

Also known as: cell phone provider, mobile device service provider, cell phone carrier, cell service carrier, mobile carrier, cell phone company

cell phone repair
Retailers and independent shops often offer mobile device repair, including cell phone repair, tablet repair, smartphone repair and more. These services may include cracked screen repairs, battery replacement, virus removal, Andriod repair, Windows phone repairs, iPhone repairs, charging port repair or replacements, water damage repair and more. Not all repair shops repair all phones or provide all types of cell phone repair services, however, so be sure you call and talk with a technician before stopping by to be sure that they are able to service your type of phone.

Also known as: smartphone repair, cracked screen repair, cell phone repairs, mobile device repairs

connectivity
Connectivity allows your phone to connect to other devices and networks through wifi, Bluetooth and other connection avenues. Connectivity allows you to share files, use accessories and utilize the internet.

Also known as: cell phone connectivity, internet connectivity, wifi connectivity

coverage area
Coverage area is the area in which a  specific wireless device receives service.

Also known as: coverage, cell phone coverage, wireless coverage, cell phone coverage area

data
Information sent to or from a user's cell phone, smartphone, tablet or other mobile device, not including phone calls and text messages.  The internet, email, games, apps, syncing and other functions may all use data.

Also known as: data usage

data allowance
The amount of data allowed to be sent to or from a user's smartphone, cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device per billing period. Going over one's data allowance usually results in added fees or overage charges.

Also known as: data package

deactivation 
The permanent termination and cancellation of wireless service. Deactivating service before your mobile device contract has ended may result in early deactivation fees or early termination penalties.

Also known as: service cancellation, early deactivation, cell phone deactivation

early termination
Canceling a smart phone, cell phone, or other wireless mobile device contract before the agreed-upon term has ended. Early termination fees may apply

Also known as: early termination fees, early contract termination, mid-term contract cancellation

family wireless plans
Family wireless plans, family cell phone plans and mobile device plans are plans that let you group together a number of phones that are all paid for under the same bill. These so-called family plans are popular because they often give a deal for a large amount of calling minutes, text messaging and data usage for a reasonable cost. Most local mobile device sales and service locations offer family plans, and the top players (including Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others) often compete to offer the best family plans to draw in customers. Consider your options carefully before signing on for family cell phone plans, since the terms and usefulness can vary greatly.

Also known as: family and friends plans, multi-user cell phone plans, family calling plans

flip phone
Flip phones are cell phones that include a screen and keypad on the same side of the phone and an additional flap that flips over the keypad to open and close the phone during and after use.

Also known as: dumb phone, early generation cell phone

hands-free wireless device
Hands-free wireless devices allow one to use a cell phone, smart phone or another mobile device without holding the device in one's hands. Hands-free devices may be equipped with Bluetooth or other headsets or speaker phone options.

Also known as:

hard reset
Hard resets restore mobile devices to their original factory settings .Hard resets remove all apps that have been downloaded, app preferences, photos, contacts, system settings and other data stored on the device.

Also known as: factory reset, complete reset, complete phone reset, complete system reset, factor phone reset

individual plans
Cell phone data plans for single wireless lines. In opposition to family plans and multi-phone business plans.

Also known as: single-phone wireless plans, single mobile device plans

mobile hotspot
Most mobile sales and service retailers offer competitive voice and data plans for businesses. These include sharable data plans, flexible texting and voice, and large banks of data for use by businesses large and small. As with any cell plan, you will be locked in for a certain amount of time, so shop carefully for the business plan that best suits your business size and needs. The number of devices that may be connected at one time may be limited to a specific number or flexible depending on the amount of data that's being consumed at a time.

Also known as: mobile hot spots, home mobile hotspots, WiFi hotspots, WiFi hot spots

network extender
Network extenders extend your wireless connection to areas where your wireless coverage doesn't reach. Network extenders may be purchased from local mobile device retailers.

Also known as: wireless network extenders, wifi extenders, internet access extenders, network hubs

new cell phones
New cell phones include smartphones, basic phones, flip phones, and other portable phones. New phones may have touchscreens or physical keyboards, fit easily in your pocket or be used as a tablet (tablet phones are sometimes referred to as “phablets”), connect to other devices, serve as in-pocket computers, be simple flip phones made for phone calls and not many other services, and more. New cell phones fit a variety of needs, uses and price points, and all come with different cell phone plans and contracts. Local mobile device providers can help you choose the best new cell phone for you and your needs.

Also known as: new smartphones, new flip phones, new mobile phones, buy new cell phones

no coverage area
Areas and locations where cell towers does not exist and where wireless service and cell phone signals are not accessible.

Also known as: no service areas, no cell signal areas

prepaid cell phones
Prepaid cell phones are phones that you pay for each month before use or that are run using prepaid credits. Prepaid cell phones function the same as cell phones and smart phones tied to contracts, except they have no contracts, often have no activation fee, and usually require no credit checks. Prepaid cell phones are popular with people who don't want to be tied to a specific mobile device or cell phone provider, and who like the freedom to choose a great network with no annual contract. Most cell phone providers and mobile device services offer prepaid plans that are flexible and affordable. Prepaid rates may vary depending on the provider, device and features of services you choose.

Also known as: prepaid mobile devices, prepaid smartphones, prepaid wifi connections, prepaid phones, contract-free cell ohones

SIM cards
SIM cards stand for subscriber identity module cards. SIM cards can be moved between mobile devices. SIM cards are used to authenticate users, store subscriber information or apps, store contacts and text messages, and retain other information the user wants to keep on their phones.

Also known as: memory card, subscriber identity module

smartphones
Smartphones are multifunctional phones that serve a variety of purposes, including functioning as a mobile phone, sending and receiving emails and text messages, as a camera, internet-accessing device, address book, electronic reader (e-reader), credit card, GPS device, flashlight, alarm clock, date book, notebook and more. They are loaded with features and apps that allow you to connect to others, play games, look up information, and more.

Also known as: smart phones, smart cell phones, modern cell phones, new cell phones, new generation cell phones

SMS messages
SMS messages are short, text-only messages sent from one wireless device or smartphone to another.

Also known as: short messaging service, text message, text messaging

soft reset
Soft resets are the process of turning mobile devices off and on again using the power button. Soft resets don't affect data, apps or programs on your cell phone or mobile device. Soft resets are most often used when mobile phones and tablets lock up, freeze, don't respond or have other issues that need a reset to repair.

Also known as:

sync
Sharing, storing and accessing the same information across multiple devices and online locations is known as syncing. Syncing is often done for contacts, calendars, emails, documents, photos, and other items used on multiple devices or in the cloud.

Also known as: syncing, synchronize, synch devices, sync devices, synchronize mobile devices

tablets
Tablets are portable computers that are smaller than laptops and larger than smartphones. They also offer more features than smartphones. Tablets are often used with apps, or to view online TV and movies. Many tablets can be used with word processing software, as an e-reader or electronic reader, and for working and pleasure. They are more portable than laptops and offer more versatility. There are even tablet versions specially-built for kids. Tablets come in a variety of sizes and price points, so learn your options before making a purchasing decision.

Also known as: child-friendly tablets, work tablets, tablet computers, tablet phones, phablets, portable tablets

tethering
Connecting a mobile device such as a phone or tablet to a laptop or computer using a data cable or tethering feature, which allows the computer or laptop to access the internet using the mobile device’s wireless network connection. This is useful for homes that do not have internet connections or wifi connections, yet have cell phone access with tethering services.

Also known as: tethering mobile devices, tethering phone to laptop, phone tethering, computer tethering, data tethering

three-way calling
A feature available on some cell phone plans and mobile devices that allows you to speak with  two other parties on two other phone numbers simultaneously.

Also known as: 3-way calling, three way calling, three number connections

wi-fi
A short-range, wireless, high-speed internet connection available to wireless data devices.

Also known as: wifi, wi-fi internet access, wi-fi connection, public wifi, public wi-fi

wireless phone plans
A package of services (including voice, messaging and / or data allowances) offered at a set monthly access fee. Mobile device plans include any service plans for cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. These plans may include individual and shared plans, data plans, talk and text minutes and more. There are even family plans and business plans that help you bundle different devices together for additional savings.

Also known as: cell phone plans, mobile phone plans, mobile device plans, cell phone calling plans

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ About Wireless Mobile Devices, Cell Phones, Tablets and More

Q: Why choose Diamond Certified mobile device sales and service companies?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a mobile device sales and service companies with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only mobile device sales and service companies rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified mobile device sales and service companies.

Q: What are cell phones?
A: Cell phones, often called mobile phones, are hand-held personal phones with built-in batteries and antennas that can be carried with the user.

Q: What is the difference between a cell phone and a smartphone?
A: A cell phone is any portable telephone which uses cellular network technology to make and receive calls. The name comes from the cell-like structure of these networks. There is some confusion about cell phones being a different thing to smartphones, but technically, every mobile phone, from the latest Android handset to the simplest feature phone, is a cell phone. It is all about the technology used to transmit your calls, rather than what the handset itself can or cannot do. As long as a phone can transmit a signal to a cellular network, it is a cell phone.

Q: How do I choose the right cell phone plan for my needs?
A: Different wireless and mobile device companies carry different plans, so you'll want to talk with local mobile phone providers about the plans they offer. Take into account how you use your phone, any special services you want, and what type of phone or mobile device you're looking for. Remember, once you sign a contract for cell phone plans, you will be locked in for the duration of the contract unless you choose to buy out of the plan or pay still penalties for early cancellation, so check out all of your options and be prepared to stick to the plan you've chosen for a year to two years, or however long the contract you've signed.

Q: What is a SIM card?
A: SIM cards identify each cell phone to their network, which allows it to function. Cell phones that require SIM cards are unable to make calls, send messages or connect to the internet if their SIM card is not inserted into the phone.

Q: Can all cell phones be used on all plans?
A:No. If you want a specific phone and that is your highest priority, you will have less options as to the carriers and plans open to you. This is especially true if you want to continue using your current cell phone with a new plan and new carrier. If you are open to buying a new phone and have no requirements as to brand, you will have many more options. Many carriers and plans have agreements with  certain cell phone manufacturers, and will not host all types of phones, so ask what phones are available to you from each mobile device service you contact.

Q: Why might I want to buy a prepaid cell phone?
A: Prepaid cell phones are those that run on prepaid minutes rather than contracts and plans. If you want to know exactly what your monthly rate will be, don't want to have to worry about overage charges and other additional fees, prepaid cell phones may be a good option for you. Prepaid phones are usually available in all makes and models, so you won't be choosing between new model phones, certain brands and other specifications.

Q: Is it possible to find an eco-friendly cell phone?
A: Yes. There are eco-friendly cell phones that are made of recycled materials, organic components and recyclable packaging. The Samsung Reclaim boasts up to 80 percent recycled materials. Other cell phone manufacturers also offer more eco-friendly phones. Some cell phone plans, including those by Credo Mobile and Earth Tones, help fund earth-friendly initiatives, buy carbon credits and support other eco-friendly goals. All cell phones have available green accessories such as charging cords that automatically turn off when the phone is completely charged to help save energy. Using eco-conscious accessories can help save energy and make using a cell phone more energy efficient.

Q: Can I get help if I have problems with my cell phone provider or mobile device dealer or service company?
A: The FCC handles complaints against wireless phone services. File a complaint with the FCC by visiting http://www.fcc.gov/complaints.

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