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Alternatives to the iPhone

Q:

I’ve been using the iPhone since it came out in 2007. And while I’m satisfied with the way it works, I’m considering changing phones just to have something different—in particular a larger screen. What, in your opinion, are the best alternatives to the iPhone? I use mine primarily for email, along with checking stocks and weather.

A:

I would go with an Android phone, which has plenty of apps that are similar to what you are used to, and which typically these days come with larger screens, some exceeding 4.5 inches. There are always new models coming out, and there are so many that it can be hard to recommend one. But, in my tests, I’ve been especially impressed with the Samsung Galaxy models.

Q:

I’m a Verizon user currently on 3G and we’ve been promised 4G in our area by end of 2013. Do you have any indication Verizon is actually going to continue with LTE service or is this just a smoke screen? Are they really going to roll out new 4G (LTE) service or is this just chosen markets?

A:

I don’t know where you live, or when or whether Verizon Wireless plans to offer LTE, the fastest cellular data network, in your particular area. But I can say that, for Verizon, LTE is anything but a “smoke screen,” and I’d be stunned if the carrier didn’t continue rolling it out. Verizon has deployed it in over 200 markets and says it plans to cover 400 markets by the end of 2012. It’s a key part of the company’s competitive strategy.

Every carrier that deploys a new network starts with a few “chosen markets,” and there are always some areas left out, even years later, for various reasons. But from everything I know, Verizon is planning a broad national LTE network.

Q:

I run Windows 7 on a Mac using Parallels Desktop. Can I use the normal Windows update process to keep Windows 7 up to date or will it compromise the Windows setup through Parallels?

A:

Your virtual copy of Windows inside the Parallels software is designed to work just like Windows on a physical PC. That includes the Windows update process, which I have used many times on Windows via Parallels. This is separate from any updates made by Apple to the Mac operating system, or updates to the Parallels program itself.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com


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