How the Nexus 5 is helping homeless people find homes and jobs

Google Nexus 5 review rear camera
The Nexus 5 may not be sold through the Google Play Store anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there making people’s lives better. Mobile4All is a community pilot program in San Jose, California, made to get smartphones into the hands of homeless people, in order to help them better communicate with the world, find homes, jobs, and more. Google donated 150 Nexus 5 devices to the scheme, which is part of the Community Technology Alliance (CTA), and each has its own custom plan, Wi-Fi connectivity, and customer service team.

Is it making a difference? According to several reports, yes. Speaking to KTVU, Holly Leonard describes how having a reliable Internet connection and a working phone changed her life for the better. After living in her car for a year, Leonard now has a home, can send out resumes, and is back in touch with her family.

She told the New York Times, “People don’t put out ‘for rent’ signs anymore, so the Internet is the best way. You can’t even go get a paper application for a lot of things. You can’t get a job unless you get online.”

Jen Padgett, the Community Technology Alliance’s CEO, said: “I think we can consider it a basic need for someone who is homeless. It allows us to put them on a level playing field with the rest of the world.”

The service isn’t free, but comes at a reduced rate. For $30 per month with BetterWorld Wireless, the phone has unlimited calls and SMS, plus 500MB of included data. It also includes call waiting, caller ID, and a voicemail number, but crucially, no contract and alternative ways to pay other than through a bank account.

A selection of pre-installed apps are added to the phone before it’s handed out, such as Skype, Google Voice, and a free calls app from MagicJack. To ensure the phone is easy to use, it has a custom user interface designed by students at a Santa Clara school, and for anyone who wants one of the phones, a special training course must be attended. The Mobile4All scheme, and its partners, send alerts through to the phones with information on available homes, jobs, and even important weather reports.

Other CTA partners include Vodafone and Citibank, and more than 1,000 additional phones have been pledged. The scheme will be introduced in other cities — with Detroit and San Francisco at the top of the list — in the future.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Mobile

Most Android antivirus apps fail to provide malware protection, study shows

A study by AV-Comparatives analyzed the effectiveness of Android antivirus apps in protecting against the 2,000 most common malware threats. Alarmingly, only 23 of the apps were able to detect 100 percent of the malware samples.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Product Review

Sony's Xperia 10 falls frustratingly short of budget brilliance

Better know for premium products, Sony does also have a budget smartphone range, but can the Sony Xperia 10 compete with great cheap phones from Nokia and Motorola? We put it through its paces to find out how it measures up.
Mobile

Walmart to launch it’s own low-priced tablet, powered by Android 9.0 Pie

Walmart will soon launch its own low-cost, kid-friendly tablet, which will be powered by Android 9.0 Pie. The price and release date for the device are still unknown, but it will reportedly feature a MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM.
Mobile

Safeguard your Sony Xperia 10 smartphone with one of these cases

If you're looking for some protection to keep your Sony smartphone safe, or you want a different style, we've got you covered here with a list of the best Sony Xperia 10 cases. There are clear cases, rugged cases, wallet cases, and more.
Mobile

Sony's Xperia 10 smartphone boasts a 6-inch screen and is now available

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Mobile

FCC to help first responders pinpoint 911 callers in multistory buildings

When someone calls 911 from their cell phone, wireless carriers provide operators with an approximate location. Now the FCC wants the carriers to provide vertical location data to pinpoint 911 callers inside multi-story buildings.
Mobile

Latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone will pop up on April 10

Samsung will show at least one new Galaxy phone off on April 10, it has confirmed in a teaser tweet. The Galaxy A90 may make its first appearance, and it's rumored to have a pop-up camera and a notch-less screen.
Mobile

Leaked ZTE concept phones are crazy, possibly fake, and totally worth seeing

Renders of what may be ZTE concept phones may show how the manufacturer could avoid using the notch on future devices. They're crazy -- and maybe not even real -- but they're definitely worth looking at.
Mobile

The iPad Mini, Apple's tiny titan, makes a huge return with powerful new specs

Apple has finally revealed the iPad Mini. With all-new and upgraded specs, support for the Apple Pencil, and a fantastically inclusive price, here's everything you need to know about the iPad Mini.