Microsoft will lower its Zune Music Pass from $14.99 per month to $9.99 per month beginning on October 3rd alongside the service’s launch in Canada. The service will now be priced in line with Spotify and similar services. Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace is home to 14 million songs and a Zune Music Pass subscription provides unlimited streaming access to the music. Unlike other services, Zune Music Pass allows subscribers to keep 10 songs per month. Microsoft’s move is no doubt an effort to attract customers who might otherwise but attempted to join a number of competing music subscription options including Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and even Apple’s upcoming iCloud service. Zune Music Pass subscribers can access their playlists and library from any Windows Phone, a PC or from an Xbox 360 console. More →
Research In Motion will lay off 2,000 of its employees, or about 10% of its total workforce, as part of a cost optimization program. “The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company and it follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone,” the company said in a statement. The BlackBerry maker is also reorganizing several of its top management positions. RIM’s company statement does not mention any changes to the Co-CEO and Co-Chairman roles held by Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. RIM recently lost several executives, including the Vice President of digital marketing and media and the BlackBerry PlayBook senior product manager, to competitors including Samsung. Read on for the full press release. More →
According to Reuters, Microsoft has asked Samsung to pay $15 for each Android smartphone it makes. The Redmond-based firm believes that its software patents cover the technology used in Samsung’s Android devices and if history is any indication, Microsoft will get its way. In April of last year, HTC signed an umbrella agreement with Microsoft in which it was allowed access to Microsoft’s patents for an undisclosed fee estimated to be $15 per device. South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper said that it expects Samsung to bounce back with an offer to pay Microsoft $10 for each Android phone it manufactures. Samsung has also recently been locked up in a number of lawsuits with Apple that have seen the Cupertino-based company accuse Samsung of creating “copycat devices” that infringe on Apple patents. More →
Rumor has it Dell has a new 10-inch Android Honeycomb tablet up its sleeves, and a few details about it have been leaked. The Dell Streak Pro could offer a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip — standard fare for Honeycomb tablets these days, it seems — 1GB of RAM, dual-microphones, a 5-megapixel camera, and 2-megapixel camera for video chat. There may be three different models, too, including a 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB version. The hardware sounds nearly identical to what’s available in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, but the Streak Pro is rumored to measure 12.9mm thick — a good deal beefier than the 8.6mm thin Galaxy Tab. The difference, however, is that the Streak Pro could ship with support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Rumor has it the Dell Streak Pro could land next month, although that seems like a stretch since AT&T has yet to deploy its 4G LTE network.
According to a recently filed report, nearly 1 million Windows Phone handsets were sold in the month of February alone. Using the same algorithm that successfully predicted when Microsoft hit 1 million units sold, The Next Web estimates that 3.38 million Windows Phone handsets have been sold thus far — 877,000 of which occurred in February of this year. The company’s new mobile operating system, which entered a fairly saturated market place, has posted respectable sales figures since its launch late last year.
Microsoft can also celebrate another, software-related milestone achieved with the Windows Phone ecosystem: 10,000 Marketplace applications. Adding over 1,000 applications in the last two weeks, the Redmond company has pushed its total app count over the five-digit mark. Microsoft officially announced that its mobile store had crossed the 6,000 application threshold back in January of this year. Many Windows Phone users are still waiting for the first major software update to the platform — codenamed NoDo — which is scheduled for release later this month. An subsequent update planned for later in 2011 is scheduled to bring multitasking and support for third-party push notifications to the platform — which should spur application development even further More →
BGR has obtained a memo being sent around to third-party Sprint retailers that sheds a bit more light on the company’s recently announced $10 Premium Data fee. The fee will be applied on all lines that upgrade to or activate a new smartphone after January 30th. The $10 tariff will apply to all individual lines and all family plan lines — so three smartphones on a family plan using equals an extra $30 per month. The memo states that the move will allow Sprint to “offer simple and affordable unlimited data plans” while “maintaining a wireless network able to meet the growing appetite for mobile data.” The only customers exempt from the new fee will be those customers tied to select corporate accounts. Hit the jump for the full memo and make sure to sound off in the comments!
Thanks, Tony! More →
In a coyly named and vaguely worded press release, U.S. wireless carrier Sprint announced that it would “increase its postpaid rates by applying a $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge to activations of smartphones beginning Jan. 30.” The company notes that smartphone users, on average, use “10 times more data than users of traditional feature phones.” As the press release reads:
Sprint defines smartphones as devices with robust operating systems that deliver a rich wireless experience by bringing the full function of mobile applications and programs to life, including Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, and the Instinct family of devices. The Premium Data add-on charge previously applied to HTC EVO 4G, HTC EVO Shift 4G and Samsung Epic 4G devices.
The Now Network certainly isn’t going to win over the hearts and minds of wireless consumers with this latest move. We’ve reached out to Sprint to find out when current Sprint customers will be forced to pay the additional fee and what options, if any, are available. The full press release is after the break. More →
At the Le Web conference in Paris France, Facebook’s platform chief, Ethan Beard, told technology blog TechCrunch that his company’s Facebook Connect service now has 250 million users making monthly connections via third-party sites. Mr. Beard went on to note that 100 million of those users began using the Connect service within the past year and that Facebook is adding nearly 10,000 sites per day.
Do any of you utilize Facebook connect to authenticate to sites other than FB? Login with your Facebook account below to drop us a comment. More →
While its name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, the LG E-Note H1000B is finally a reality. The pricey Windows tablet features a 10.1-inch 1366 x 768-pixel touchscreen, a 1.66GHz processor, a 16GB SSD and 1GB of RAM. Despite a rogue press image on LG’s H1000B page showing the tablet running Windows XP, Windows 7 is indeed LG’s OS of choice — it ships with Windows 7 Starter but Professional is just an upgrade away. The H1000B also features an SD card slot, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth and an $850 price tag when bundled with a portable WiMAX router in Korea. LG has not announced any details surrounding launches in additional markets. More →
Last month, we told you about Bell Mobility’s plans to charge a $10 premium for access to the highest speeds on its HSPA+ network. This month, it looks like that report is becoming a reality. BGR has obtained a memo that indicates that Bell will launch the Novatel Wireless U547 data stick — capable of 42Mbps speeds — on November 23rd. The memo boasts that the U547 will be able to achieve real-world downlinks ranging from 7Mbps to 14Mbps in select markets; at launch, Toronto will be the only market with 43Mbps HSPA+ coverage. The new data stick will retail for $199.95; the memo did not indicate if there would be subsidized pricing.
Like all good things, the new, higher speeds will not come free of charge. Bell will be taxing U547 users an extra $10 per month to access the face-melting speeds, but said users are not required to purchase the add-on; the device will still operate at 21Mbps without it.
There you have it. Let us know what you think.
Like the idea of the Nokia N8 but need a physical keyboard? You’re in luck, as it looks like the Finnish company’s E7 handset might be right around the corner. Via a tweet responding to a user question, Nokia has seemingly outed its E7 handset for a December 2010 release. The aforementioned tweet reads:
E7 is scheduled to ship starting from Dec10. Exact availability varies country-by-country. Check your local nokia.com site
For those that need a quick refresher, the E7 is a full-QWERTY horizontal-sliding device with a 4-inch AMOLED, polarized screen and packs a peta-band WCDMA radio, quad-band GSM radio, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, 16 GB of mass storage, 8 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and dual-LED flash, HMDI connector, and 1200 mAh battery. Any takers? More →
T-Mobile announced Monday that it will release the T-Mobile Comet on November 3rd. Manufactured by Huawei, the T-Mobile Comet will be the least expensive Android phone in T-Mobile’s lineup when it launches later this week. The Comet will be available for just $9.99 with a 2-year postpaid contract, or “less than $200″ off contract. As a sub-$200 prepaid phone running Android 2.2, the Comet is a terrific option, featuring a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen display, HSPA connectivity, Wi-Fi, microSDHC support and more. While we can’t confirm exactly how far below $200 T-Mobile will price the Comet, we can confirm that Costco will be selling the Comet for $149.99 when it becomes available. Hit the break for T-Mobile’s press release. More →
We’re not sure if we should blame U.S. wireless carrier Sprint for coming up with this idea, or Bell Canada for running with it. BGR has just obtained a memo that indicates Bell customers will have to fork over a $10 per month premium for access to the company’s HSPA+ wireless network. The memo seems to indicate that the first set of devices to succumb to this fate will be a “Turbo Stick” and “Turbo Hub”; the memo is vague enough (mentioning “high speed devices”) that it could include smartphones. This may be the unfortunate reality we’re all going to have to deal with as carriers go to 4G; or in this case “4G.” If you’re a Bell customer, feel free to sound off and let us know what you think.