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Do you have fond memories of your old flip phone? 

Younger Device Owners More Likely to Hold On to Used Cell Phones and Tablets, Don’t Recycle or Trade-In

Who’s got the tighter grip on their old electronics? Don’t look at the baby boomers. Young people (ages 18 - 49) are more likely than their older counterparts (ages 50 and older) to stockpile their old or used cell phones and tablets. But that’s not the only surprising thing to come out of our most recent survey: We discovered that only 24% of our survey responders have ever tried to recycle their electronic gadgets. Nostalgia may account for why these younger individuals refuse to trade in smartphones and other technology. 

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My name is Alison, and I’m not a gamer. The first step is admitting it, or at least that’s what I hear.

Before you hit the back button on this post, hear me out. I may not be a modern-day gamer, but I definitely dabbled back in the day. I know what up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-B-A-Start means, ok? I beat an entire game of Contra once (just once) by using that trick. I’ve destroyed probably 75% of the United States during my Rampage playing days. Princess Peach and I tear it up in Mario Kart™.

However, I tend to get that foggy, blank look when people try to talk to me about the games of 2014. I work at ecoATM with an awesome group of people who happen to love video games, so I’ve been surprisingly clued in to the events of E3 this year (that’s the Electronic Entertainment Expo). So without further ado, here are the coolest E3 announcements in the eyes of a total n00b: 


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1. Nintendo’s “amiibo”

Or as I like to call them, “Action figures that do what?” These figurines work by scanning them over a Wii U GamePad. Then, that specific character will be able to play in a number of compatible games, like Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart™ 8, and Mario Party™ 10. For example, I previously mentioned being BFFs with Her Royal Peachness. By scanning her amiibo, I can insert her into a game and play as her opponent or as her partner in crime. If we had these things when I was growing up, I probably never would have seen daylight again.


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2. Dance Central: Spotlight

There are two game types in this world that I am guaranteed to enjoy:

  1. Racing
  2. Dancing

So it makes sense that I’m excited about the release of Dance Central: Spotlight by Harmonix for Xbox One. I’m always a fan of games that make you get up and move instead of sinking into the couch, which brings me to my third pick…


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3. Upcoming Wii U Game Releases

I haven’t wanted a game console this bad since I asked my mom for a Sega Genesis for Christmas. Nintendo had me day dreaming about the Wii U after it announced a slew of upcoming new games that were made for a nostalgic person like me. Check out this lineup: 

  • Super Smash Brothers
  • Star Fox
  • Zelda
  • Mario Maker

Maybe this will be the year where I get back into video games? Anything is possible. But for right now, I’ll just stick to finishing blog posts (cue Mortal Kombat: “FINISH HIM!”). 

Alison is the Community Relations Specialist at ecoATM.


30 Years of Mobile


Evolution of my phones…

"Kill Switch" Technology and What It Means For You


Remember 10 years ago when a cell phone was just used for making calls?

Remember 20 years ago when people wore little black beepers on their person to be notified to go to a pay phone and call someone back?

Remember 30 years ago when you had add a tape to your answering machine? (Yup, I am getting old). 

Despite my exponential gray hair problem, I find it liberating and frightening at the same time to watch any technology progression. Liberating in the sense that we have seen advances that have truly made the world a better place by bringing everyone closer together while still residing a world apart. Frightening in the sense that innovation and advancement is happening at a rate that few can truly grasp.   

I’ll be using this space to spend a large amount of time writing information down and cataloging technology, the advancements, and the hiccups. I’ll try to break down technology aspects of our kiosk into interesting tidbits, and bring you knowledge of the latest mobile phone technology and how it affects you, the consumer and ecoATM, the e-Waste recycler. 

The “Kill Switch”

The “kill switch” should be up for Technology Term of 2014. It is a term widely discussed by the mobile ecosystem, which includes cell phone manufacturers, carriers, consumers, law enforcement and even politicians. The definition of “the kill switch” is the ability for someone who has lost his or her particular mobile device to prevent someone else from using that mobile device. Ever. It turns the device into a brick, ideally a worthless brick.    

But why create the “kill switch” at all? The answer is money and memory. Let’s start with money!

If something you own has value, it will always be the target of someone trying to take it. How are phones valuable if they are setup for a specific individual’s carrier account? That is actually the easiest part. Most phones pre-2014 come with a basic Factory Reset mode.   This mode basically wipes all the data off the phone and makes it look like no one has ever used it before.

Let’s put this into some context: A criminal steals a phone and then performs a Factory Reset on the phone. They then remove the SIM card and go sell the phone to someone who thinks they are just buying a “used” phone at a much cheaper price. 

The cell phone theft problem isn’t getting better; it’s getting worse and this particular crime is on the rise across the US. Thankfully the entire mobile ecosystem is stepping in to assist. By introducing the “kill switch,” cell phone manufacturers are trying to prevent crooks from being able to Factory Reset devices. If a mobile phone is unable to be reset then, in theory, someone who buys it will see the device is stolen and if nothing else, won’t be able to use it.

There are lots of other bells and whistles with the technology, such as being able track the location of the device (if it is on, or connects to a network) and being able to set a message that will display on the screen, giving someone who recovers the phone a means of being able to contact the owner. While both of those aspects are important, the ability to lock the device is the most critical as it prevents someone access to utilizing the device and accessing your data.

Data or memory access is the second important topic when anyone talks about the “kill switch.” If someone has data on his or her phone that is sensitive, “kill switch” technology allows for the phone to be erased remotely. The good news about this remote erase is that the device still cannot be used by other people without having your backing web account ID and password. During the activation, the phone checks to see if a bit in secure memory has been flipped or not, and it basically requires anyone who tries to reactivate the phone to go through another authentication step. The bad news is that because the phone was erased, it’s now impossible to track its location or monitor when it comes online. Basically, the remote erase technology is a nuclear option that turns the phone into a worthless brick unless it comes back into your position.

As I mentioned, cell phone theft is rising and in our opinion, a multi-faceted approach to curbing the problem is needed. We believe there are four key pillars to fighting cell phone theft, with “kill switch” technology being one of them:

  1. Educating the public
  2. Robust reporting and cooperation with law enforcement
  3. Effective “kill switch” technology
  4. Accessible and useful databases

What do you think about this technology?

Randal is the Director of Product Management at ecoATM.

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My moms first phone. Bless.