Apple’s iPhone lineup and devices powered by Google’s Android operating system each have plenty of pros and cons when compared to the other. Those comparisons are quite common, of course, since each platform has such enthusiastic supporters. If you count yourself among the top enthusiasts out there and you think you know more about your mobile phone of choice than anyone else, we’ve got the perfect contest for you. More →
Rumor has it that Apple will be scheduling its annual iPod event for mid-September, which is a little bit later than in years past. This contradicts rumors from just last week that the event would be held in mid-August. Apple has held these iPod events every year since 2005. Last year, they announced their September 9 “Let’s Rock” event on August 31. With only a few days of shelf life left for this rumor, we’d expect invitations to start going out in the next few weeks.
However, as a rumor recap, whenever the event takes place, there’s strong evidence to suggest that we’ll see an iPod Touch refresh. It is likely that we’ll see a high-resolution Retina Display, along with front and rear facing cameras (just like the iPhone 4). The iPod Nano is also expected to get the refresh treatment, and some are wondering if it receive tiny touch screens as well. You might remember those. There may even be some iTunes announcements as well (cloud-based music streaming, anyone?), even though there are whispers that Apple is scaling back its ambitions in that arena, for the time being. In any event, let’s hope this shindig happens sooner than later — we’re counting the days.
It appears that U.S. Cellular has become quite smitten with the “Androids” these days. Today, the company announced that the HTC Desire will be available to its customers in stores and online on August 27. The Desire will join four other Android-powered smartphones in the US Cellular line-up, including the Samsung Acclaim and the Samsung Galaxy S, which will arrive in October. “For us, it’s not just about delivering this array of cutting-edge phones that our customers want and deserve […] We love making our customer’s lives easier”, said Edward Perez, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Operations for US Cellular. This phone is being released with Android 2.1, while Froyo (Android 2.2) is already available on several competing devices. Cutting-edge? We say maybe not, but we still think it’s a pretty solid device. More →
Guest post by a “connect” in the wireless industry.
Absolutely dread going to your location wireless provider’s store and having to be social? If it’s one of your worst nightmares, hopefully this will help you change that. Here are a few tips that might help you get a better deal on a phone and keep the hurt off your wallet. After all, if you’re like us… you’ll be buying a new phone every 6 months anyways. More →
Dear New Yorkers,
It has come to our attention that you lucky bastards are able to purchase pre-release Blackberry Bolds for a mere $1,300 right there in Manhattan. While this price is nothing short of egregious, we’re a little jealous that you can walk to your local mom and pop Blackberry shop and pick one up (sort of). BlackberryBusiness.com is selling pre-release Bolds at a “special offer” of $1,299.99 on their web site. According to Joe at Blackberry Business, who was holding the last one in his hand to make a sale as I spoke with him, “We got five a couple days ago, but we’re all sold out now.” Joe must be happy to have made some big money on pre-release 9000s.
Looks like you’re too late. Tsk tsk. Of note, even though the site shows pictures of an AT&T branded Bold, the ones available were unbranded.
Here in the United States, there are not legal limits on what carriers can charge for roaming, and things can get pretty pricey if you’re on a regional plan (which most people are not). This gets to be more of a problem if you’re a social butterfly on a continent with a lot of small, densely clustered countries. Last year, the European Union introduced caps on what European carriers are allowed to charge customers who roam in the EU. The current limit is 49 euro cents per minute for outgoing calls (about 72 cents US) and is being reduced to 46 euro cents (about 67 cents US). Incoming calls currently may be billed at up to 24 euro cents (about 35 cents US) and will be dropped to 22 euro cents (about 32 cents US). Rejoice, as these limits go in to effect this Sunday, August 31. Further, the European Commission wants the EU to impose a cap on SMS roaming of about 11 to 15 euro cents (16 to 22 cents US). While the economic consequences of price ceilings are something better understood by, well, an economist, we do applaud lower tariffs (didn’t you know that you’re supposed to italicize foreign expressions?).
All of the above prices, of course, exclude European VAT (Value Added Tax), so quadruple them for a more accurate figure.
Hear that loud ringing around the world? Can you feel the good vibrations? The Beach Boys are pleased. The Wall Street Journal’s Adam Ewing reports that there are an additional 305 million mobile phones sold in Q2, 2008, representing 12% growth from the year before. That means there are nearly a third of a trillion more phones in the world interrupting theater productions and Bar Mitzvahs everywhere.
Even though the growth seems substantial, it represents a slowdown from last year’s 21% rate. Much of the growth is attributed to countries where you don’t drink the water emerging markets. The global smartphone trend is exploding, however. It is expected that the market share will grow by over half to nearly 200 million phones. Worry not — iPhones are selling. The report includes more detailed statistics that we won’t bore you with, but we’re seriously hoping that these things don’t cause brain cancer, because the Amish will be the only ones left.
A less-than-classy move by Verizon Wireless will put them in the AT&T Rebate league … AT&T currently sends “rebates” in the form of those impossible-to-ring horrid orange prepaid debit cards — after about two months. Verizon, which has historically been excellent at processing of rebates in less than a month and as of now issues rebate checks, is switching next week to AT&T’s prepaid debit card system. Leaked future rebate forms show text stating:
“Your rebate will be paid with a Verizon Wireless Rebate Card. This is a debit card that can be used instantly. Your card is issued by Citibank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Citi Prepaid® Services is a Citibank, N.A. business.”
Of note, the rebate cards are a pain in the tuchus to use — like most “gift card debit cards”, cashiers are never sure whether to run them as debit or credit, what codes to hit, or how much is on them. People that have worked in retail have seen these cards rendered useless a number of times. The other disadvantage to such cards is that they often expire quickly. A check is much easier to deposit, forget about, and use however one pleases. The reason this move is negative for customers is because of how complicated these cards can be to redeem and they often expire rapidly, thereby rendering your rebate useless. Plus, do you really want to carry something with a picture of VZW’s Test Man around in your wallet? That won’t get you in to any bars, kids.
In an ethically-questionable business move, Canadian carrier Telus is pushing customers off of an “unlimited” data plan – with force. Reports note that the carrier is discontinuing it’s $75 “no-cap” plan used with data cards and moving them to a $65 1GB package. This is a huge problem for users in rural parts of Canada where only dial-up internet service has been available. Telus is citing its Terms of Service as a reason to discontinue customers who are on the plan.
The TOS states: “You will use the service for customary voice, messaging and wireless Internet data purposes only. You will not use the service for: multi-media streaming; voice over Internet protocol; or any other application which uses excessive network capacity or may otherwise adversely impact other users, that is not made available to you by TELUS. You will not resell the service to any other person. You will not abuse any flat rate or unlimited use service plan offered by TELUS.”
Carrier terms of service are often nebulous and they themselves have a tendency to wonder what the hell they mean. Some users are asking what “customary” is. Your definition, our definition, and that of Telus will probably yield three entirely different results. Either way, we think that this is particularly sketchy and shouldn’t be tolerated by affected Canadians. Throw some ‘bows, fellas.
Five parcels of Johnson County, Kansas land, belonging to none other than Sprint, have unpaid property taxes this year. Sprint is delinquent to the county to the tune of $18,216.54. If you notice a sudden drop in Dorothy and Toto’s readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic scores, you’ll know who is responsible. According to Sprint, the mistake is due to an oversight by their unnamed property-tax-paying department. Sprint continues to be committed to education, which is why they ensure that there is no signal anywhere near a school – so those young ne’er-do-wells can’t text in class. Wait, that’s just poor coverage.
The iPhone 3G must have a lot of frequent-flyer miles, because it’s certainly getting around. Today, over 21 additional countries including: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia and Uruguay have launched the iPhone 3G. This brings iPhone availability up to 43 countries total, and an expected 70 by the end of 2008. Worry not – many more nations will experience the buggy joy that is the Jesusphone II. How many countries have you been to? We might hit up Mexico, we heard they don’t extradite people from there for leaking phones… The real question is, any of our international friends buying an iPhone 3G today?
Apparently the iPhone 3G isn’t the only hot new data device that is suffering some 3G issues. The Blackberry Bold, which has not yet been released in the United States, is reportedly losing its 3G signal and falling back to technology from the days of yore EDGE in lots of places. That’s a little better than the iPhone is faring, which according to the report stays in 3G with very low signal strength. Can you hear us now? Well, so much for everyone thinking it was an AT&T network problem.
Note from BG: I’ve been saying this forever! Anyone out there getting the “Searching for Network…” issues?