05/12/2013 - AT&T will shuffle Mobile Share pricing and begin discounting out-of-contract plans next week
Whether or not you buy into T-Mobile CEO John Legere's UnCarrier strategy, we can't dispute the fact that it's at least making waves in the US wireless industry. Some of the network's biggest competitors are responding with new strategies of their own, and AT&T is one of them. Starting next Sunday, the GSM giant will make a few noticeable tweaks to its Mobile Share and Next plans. What's on the menu for December 8th? Quite a bit, so let's break it down.
Under the current plans, your per-smartphone cost goes down as your data plan goes up; for instance, you pay $50 per smartphone on the 300MB plan, but only $30 if you're on any plan that's 10GB or higher. And as it stands right now, you still pay that same amount after your contract expires. With the new changes, you can tack smartphones onto your plan at a flat rate of $40 a pop, but you get a $15 discount on each one if you aren't in a contract. (AT&T informed us that as soon as your commitment expires, the rate is automatically taken off, so you don't need to call in to make the adjustment.) Basic phones are lower too, seeing a drop from $30 per handset to $20.
Along with this change, the base cost for each data tier has moved as well; we'll add a table after the break to show what's different. The higher tiers get a significant drop to make up for the additional per-device charge, so keep that in mind if you have a lot of smartphones on your plan. On the other hand, the lower tiers become more advantageous when you add more lines. There's also a new 8GB plan that fits right in between the 6GB and 10GB options.
Hey hey, it's a party in the USA, or at least, it will be for UK-to-US travelers who are signed up to Three. The network has just announced that those intrepid pond-hoppers will be entitled to roam with their UK allowances of data, text and calls absolutely free. It's not just the US that's joining the party either, as it'll also apply to those journeying to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Macau. We assume, just like the other Feel At Home countries, that calls to non-UK numbers will still incur fees, and tethering's still a no-go option, but that hasn't stopped us splurging on some long-haul flights for this afternoon.
US wireless industry group CTIA has announced that a stolen phone database launched last year by T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon is now final, including integration with international carriers. That'll let foreign operators block stolen US device activations, a bone of contention for law enforcement officials stateside. They complained that the list was having no impact on thefts, since organized crime groups were simply dumping devices oversees where their serial numbers couldn't be detected. Police would prefer to also see kill switches installed in handsets to truly put a dent in phone-knapping, but carriers have strenuously objected to that idea -- strictly out of self-interest, according to some. For its part, the CTIA said that the completed database at least means there are fewer countries where gangs can hawk their stolen wares. Still, as the carrier group pointed out, if a stranger asks to "borrow" your phone for directions, just, don't.The Verge
We hope you weren't bent on using the Xbox 360 as a U-Verse TV receiver. AT&T is now telling customers that it will drop IPTV support for Microsoft's older console after December 31st, leaving viewers with little choice but to use a conventional set-top box. Subscribers will get a $99 credit in return for their troubles, the provider says. We've reached out to AT&T for more details regarding the move, but there are no signs of an official Xbox One substitute on the horizon.
Sure, it's not the first Assassin's Creed title to make it to mobile, but hey, it's the first one with pirates to hit your handset. On December 5th, you'll be able to download Assassin's Creed: Pirates on Android and iOS for $5. You'll be playing as captain, naturally, commanding a pirate ship and combatting with other vessels while looking for buried treasure. It will also feature characters from Ubisoft's other pirate-themed title, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. According to the game developer, the title uses a new 3D graphics engine made specifically for phones and tablets -- don't expect a PC or console-compatible version. While you'll have to wait till next week to start playing, you can watch the trailer here now.
Via: Venture Beat
23/11/2013 - Huawei's Ascend Mate successor said to feature higher-res display, slightly improved internals
We have seen a number of overly large smartphones come and go since Huawei debuted its Ascend Mate, and it would appear that the company is getting ready to introduce a successor soon. According to recent leaks, the Ascend Mate 2, as it'll presumably be dubbed, will sport a 6.1-inch display similar to its predecessor but with a higher resolution -- namely, 1080p. Internally, Huawei News reports that the next Ascend Mate is set to feature a 1.6GHz, quad-core Kirin910 chip alongside 2GB RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and Android 4.2.2 (with Emotion UI, of course). Obviously, we won't know the definite specs until the day the device is official, so don't make any final judgements just yet. For now, treat yourself to some additional leaked pictures at the source link below.
Via: GSM Arena
Source: Huawei News
Among the many surprise costs that annoy cellphone owners, unwanted text message service fees can be the worst; they're hard to stop, and not always worth the effort. Those fees may not irk many US subscribers after today, though -- AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile now stop "problematic" premium SMS services from billing their customers. Donations and those all-important talent show votes will still go through. Verizon isn't part of today's announcements, although the company's General Counsel William Petersen tells us that Big Red is already "winding down" premium SMS services. There's a good chance that these shady messagers will simply change tactics, but they'll at least have a tougher time scamming phone owners.
The follow-up to AT&T's Unite LTE hotspot has arrived in time to keep folks connected during their holiday travels. Like its predecessor, the newly launched Unite Pro has a 2.4-inch touchscreen panel where users can change the WiFi network's info, as well as monitor usage and battery life. The Unite Pro, however, ups the ante by connecting to as many as 15 gadgets, while promising up to 16 hours of use in one charge and having the capability to juice up a device jacked into it. What's more, the portable modem even packs LTE-A and dual-band WiFi support. Those upgrades do come at a premium -- while the original Unite cost mere 99 cents with a two-year contract, the Unite Pro will set you back $50 up front when it's available on November 22nd. Feeling particularly jazzed about the hardware? Head past the break for a video overview.
16/11/2013 - LG G Flex appears on the FCC with AT&T-friendly LTE
Those on our side of the pond who've been lusting after LG's intriguingly flexible handset might've seethed with jealousy after finding out it's heading to Asia and Europe later this year. Thankfully, it appears that the US will get its very own version of the LG G Flex too, if this FCC filing is any indication. The document reveals a LG D959 -- the G Flex's model number -- with LTE band 17, a sure sign that the phone is headed to the Ma Bell network. Other tidbits gleaned from the listing suggest that the G Flex also has quad-band GSM, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and GPS, most of which we already knew. At last, it seems that we'll be that much closer to seeing how LG's bendy smartphone compares to the curvy competitor from Samsung.
If you've been jonesing for that other flagship Windows RT tablet, you won't have long to wait. AT&T has just announced that it will release the Nokia Lumia 2520 on November 22nd for $400 when paired with a two-year data contract. It will launch only in black, unfortunately, rather than the vibrant colors you see above. However, there is a perk if you're going all-in on Nokia hardware -- buy a Lumia 925, 1020 or 1520 at the same time and the carrier will drop the 2520's price down to $200 with a two-year agreement. If you're eager to learn more about the LTE slate, you can check out AT&T's quick tour video after the break.
Update: We've since confirmed with AT&T that the Lumia 2520 will be available for $500 contract-free, as Nokia originally promised.
31/10/2013 - Just A Handful of Passes Remain for Europe’s Largest Ever Connected Car Forum - Telematics Munich 2013
This week's Feature of the Week is Auto Recharge. As its name suggests, Auto Recharge is a useful feature that allows your customers account balances to be automatically refilled. This helps to promote customer retention and ultimately drive revenue.
The post Feature of the Week: How to Use Auto Recharge to Ease Customer Payments appeared first on IPsmarx Official Blog.
The NSA's been rather busy over the past few years, tracking everything from your emails to phone calls, and now the New York Times is reporting that it even conducted a secret project to collect data about the location of American's cellphones in 2010 and 2011. The project was ultimately not implemented and only recently surfaced in a pre-written answer for the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, should the subject come up in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. According to the Times, details about the project are scarce, and Senator Ron Wyden said that "the real story" behind the project has yet to be declassified. The answer obtained by the paper reads:
"In 2010 and 2011 N.S.A. received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format, but that data was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes."
Source: New York Times
01/10/2013 - Toshiba's TransferJet adapter does high-speed video transfer from micro-USB, smartphone chip coming next year
Toshiba's TransferJet has kept relatively quiet since we got the full explanation (spoilers: high-speed data transfer over very short distances) on stage at CES 2013. Finally, several Toshiba products are now ready for launch. Alongside a compatible SDHC card, there's also has a new micro-USB adapter that plugs into your (Android-only, although Toshiba are in discussions with Apple) smartphone, enabling those much-faster-than-Bluetooth data speeds over a distance of a few centimeters. It worked without a hitch on the show floor here at CEATEC, and the TransferJet duo is set to go on sale this December.
Toshiba's spokesperson added that pricing for the pair of adapters will come in at around 10,000 yen (around $100), although it was the tiny chip sat next to it that really piqued our interest. Toshiba is planning to get its TransferJet tech embedded within smartphones and other products in the future, which could make a far more convincing argument for the file transfer technique. One module chip has been given a December production date, although the company wouldn't spill the beans on exactly which devices we'll see it in.
Darren Murph contributed to this report. %Gallery-slideshow99600%
Wearables are coming and DoCoMo wants to be involved from the start. Here at CEATEC, the carrier has dedicated a quadrant of its booth to prototype wearables (at least some of it was Vuzix hardware), with several different demo sessions offering glimpses into how it all might work. First, however, the wearable itself. We saw several different models and many had Vuzix written somewhere on them. It appears that NTT DoCoMo has been working more closely on the software interfaces and real world applications, and so it didn't really push (or even mention) technical specifications.
On the "Space Interface" demo, however, the headset paired a camera with an infrared sensor, both in the middle of the device, to gauge where your hands are. You could then interact with characters on screen, poke, push and pick them up and move 'em around. These are very early concepts, but DoCoMO's already working to make these virtual objects shareable, allowing multiple people to manipulate the same thing. Darren embarrasses himself while playing with a virtual bear after the break. Oh, and we've got more on the wearable too. %Gallery-slideshow99595%
Source: NTT DoCoMo
Atop a pile of gold coins, in a treasure chest. This is how you present a Dragon Quest collaboration smartphone to the Japanese public. %Gallery-slideshow99593%
Look, we're with you: pre-orders are for losers. You're giving over your hard-earned cash so some company can bank interest and gauge sales allocations, just to guarantee you get it on day one. You'll be glad to know then, pre-order hater, that Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and its Galaxy Gear smartwatch are available for purchase sans pre-order via AT&T's website and stores on October 4th. Those of you less averse to pre-orders will still get your Note 3 a few days earlier on October 1st. Still undecided on the Note 3? Our review's right here to help you make that decision. Dig it!
Smartwatches sure are multiplying faster than rabbits. One of the newest devices hoping to make it to market is the A.I Watch: a companion gadget that's also a standalone Android phone, similar to a Chinese creation we saw in August. According to its developers, you can use the A.I Watch to make and accept calls -- à la Hot Watch -- even if it's not connected to a phone via Bluetooth. That's because it has its own SIM card slot and supports 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM bands, as well as 3G. They also claim that its unspecified 1.2GHz dual-core processor is powerful enough for downloading apps from Google Play, loading Maps for navigation, streaming videos and accessing social networks, among others. The A.I Watch runs Android 4.0.4, has 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, a 1.54-inch 240 x 240 touchscreen display, a 500mAh battery and a 5-megapixel camera.
If the device ever makes it to retail, it'll sell for $279 each, which is around the price of Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Right now, however, the device's fate hangs in the balance as its creators work to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo to cover mass production costs. Check out videos of the A.I Watch in action after the break, and enjoy a chuckle over one of its watchfaces that looks undeniably Metro-esque.
We're hearing from tipsters and a number of other sources, including Google's own Product Forums, that a bug is causing some Google Hangouts messages to be sent to the wrong recipients. A few awkward situations have already ensued, according to TechCrunch, such as internal company communications being sent to ex-employees. The privacy bug seems to crop up when users of the old Google Talk platform try to connect with users who have migrated to the newer Hangouts service, so it sounds like it could be a transitional thing. Meanwhile, some of us here at Engadget are experiencing the more fundamental (though thankfully less embarrassing) problem of not being able to log onto Hangouts in the first place.
Not only is Alcatel One Touch on a roll in Europe and Asia, it's starting to make more strides in the US. Sure, this isn't the company's first rodeo in this neck of the woods -- the Shockwave came to US Cellular last fall, while the Idol has been available online as an unlocked handset for a few months -- but it's refreshing to see it get its foot in the door with one of the big four networks. This morning, Alcatel announced that it has two budget-friendly devices coming to T-Mobile next month: the Evolve (pictured above) and the Fierce (pictured below).
The Fierce is the nicest of the pair, featuring a 4.5-inch qHD display with a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1,800mAh battery, 5MP rear camera and Android 4.2. The Evolve, on the other hand, has a 4-inch WVGA screen, Android 4.1, 1GHz MT6575 SoC, 4GB total storage, microSD support up to 32GB, a 5MP rear camera and 1,400mAh battery. Certainly prime material for the budget category; the Fierce will come in silver and slate and will retail for $170 off-contract (that's $20 down with monthly payments of $6), while the Evolve will start at $100 off-contract ($28 down with $3 monthly payments). Alcatel tells us that both phones will be offered for a slightly lower cost during the holiday season, in case you're looking for a more basic smartphone for the kiddos.
Pebble, the (massively) Kickstarted e-ink watch that connects to your smartphone, is about to become available at AT&T stores. Both brick-and-mortar and the online store will sell the device for $150, with availability starting online this month and expanding to physical stores at some point in October. AT&T touts its exclusivity as "the exclusive carrier for the hot new Pebble smartwatch," despite the fact that it's been available via Best Buy for some time now. Regardless, smartwatch owners now have one more venue to scoop a Pebble at come September 27th. Head past the break and relive our review of the Pebble in video form.
Source: PR Newswire
Codelathe's considerable expertise with Tonido's personal cloud storage gets a new venue today: Windows 8. After downloading a pair of apps -- one for your Linux rig, Mac or PC, and one for your mobile gizmo -- you're all set to stream most files from your home machine to your Redmond-running device. What's more, you can download whatever you're streaming so you can still use it if you go offline -- but keep an eye on your data cap if you're planning to pull down that Blu-ray rip of Looper.
Samsung and others have promised to deliver TV over 4G using the LTE Broadcast standard, and it looks like you can now also add AT&T to the list of those hoping to make it a reality. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed that the carrier intends to use the slice 700MHz spectrum it acquired from Qualcomm back in 2011 for an LTE Broadcast network of its own designed to deliver video to LTE-enabled devices (and lighten the load on the rest of its wireless network in the process). Stephenson didn't offer too many more details than that, however, saying only that the carrier is now almost "all about architecting networks to deliver video," and that we can expect to see the technology "mature in scale within the three-year time horizon." As Fierce Wireless notes, Verizon has also said that it hopes to deploy some type of LTE Broadcast service in time for the 2014 Super Bowl, although it, too, has remained light on specifics beyond that.
Source: Fierce Wireless
A couple of days ago Motorola introduced the Developer Edition of its new Moto X for Verizon and as promised, it's followed up with one for GSM networks. If you're into running custom software, this is the one to buy if you want a Moto X on AT&T (it's also compatible with T-Mobile's LTE) thanks to its unlocked bootloader. Otherwise it's the same as the earlier model, with "Developer Edition" branding on the back and 32GB of storage inside. You'll have to live without Moto Maker customizations, but picking this one out of the sudden rush of Developer Edition models available may be the toughest part.
18/09/2013 - T-Mobile reprimanded for false advertising by industry watchdog (update: T-Mobile responds)
Apparently AT&T isn't the only one thinking that T-Mobile's Uncarrier advertising campaign might be a touch too aggressive. The National Advertising Division, which is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has put out a statement scolding the magenta carrier for "flawed" advertising claims against its GSM rival. It takes particular issue with the assertion that T-Mobile offers 50 percent more bandwidth than AT&T because it only compares HSPA networks and doesn't take into account the latter's ever-increasing LTE grid. The NAD goes on to conclude that there's "insufficient evidence that AT&T's combined network, including LTE is more (sic) likely to be slowed by congestion than T-Mobile's," suggesting that T-Mobile halt all pronouncements otherwise. If it wishes to continue those claims, the NAD says it should outline the conditions where they would occur, such as the situations, locations or type of phones required to have an advantage.
Further, the NAD recommends that claims such as "most advanced technology" and "faster 4G service" should be discontinued as well as the use of its 4G / 4G LTE coverage maps. It also said that T-Mobile's call quality claim was overly broad. T-Mobile has responded to NAD, stating that it believes it's already communicating its message well, but will take the suggestions into consideration. John Legere, T-Mobile's outspoken CEO, has already taken to Twitter to voice his defense of the company's bold marketing approach, which we've embedded after the break. We've reached out to T-Mobile for a statement and will update this post when we get it.
Update: T-Mobile's Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Seivert has seen the NAD's recommendations, and while they'll be taken under advisement, his company won't be changing its tune:
NAD's findings are a validation of our marketing approach. In fact, today's NAD findings won't result in any substantial changes to our marketing claims. We will continue to spread the word about our coast to coast 4G coverage, superfast 4G network, and superior call clarity, along with our message of simple, no annual service contract plans, unlimited data and the best upgrade program, JUMP!
Source: ASRC Reviews