Verizon Wireless will soon publish an API that allows users to temporarily “turbocharge” their data speeds for a fee. The new API must be implemented into mobile apps by their developers, and it will offer users a “turbo button” that gives individual apps a speed boost. PCMag reports that the service will be tied to an on-device payment system, and subscribers will have to pay each time they want to temporarily increase their data speeds. These pay-per-use speed boosts will also be given priority when Verizon’s network is congested. In order to work, the turbocharge feature requires that an app utilize a “network optimization API” that Verizon doesn’t expect to publish until the third quarter next year. More →
Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said sales of the company’s Nintendo 3DS device in Europe and the United States were weaker than expected after the portable gaming console made its debut in April for $250. However, Nintendo dropped the price of the 3Ds to $179 after the company reported its first quarterly operating loss. The move quickly boosted sales in Japan and has reportedly resulted in a huge boost of sales in the United States, too. Nintendo sold 50,000 units between August 1st and August 12th before slashing the price of the console. The company then sold 185,000 more units during the rest of August after it reduced the price, a figure that’s up 260% from the same 19-day time period in July according to figures Nintendo quoted from the NPD Group. “Consumers are responding very positively to the new suggested retail price of $169.99 for the Nintendo 3DS,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “With Star Fox 64 3D and the new Flame Red color launching [on September 9th], and Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 arriving later this year, Nintendo 3DS will offer consumers cutting-edge entertainment and tremendous value this holiday season.” Read on for the full press release from Nintendo. More →
We’re here live at the Boost Mobile’s media event in New York City where the prepaid carrier just announced the Samsung Galaxy Prevail — its first CDMA Android powered smartphone. The Galaxy Prevail runs Android 2.2 (Froyo) and sports a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, Bluetooth, and free subscription to Telenav for voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. During our initial hands-on, it was immediately clear that the Galaxy Prevail does not have the same hardware prowess as other Samsung devices with the Galaxy namesake. There’s no 4-inch Super AMOLED display, it’s incapable of recording 720p video, and it felt a bit sluggish navigating through menus and panning on web pages. That’s not necessarily a deal breaker, though, as the Galaxy Prevail is available for a very reasonable $179.99 contract-free. When used with Boost Mobile’s $50 all-you-can-eat smartphone plan — which includes unlimited talk, text, and web browsing — the deal gets even sweeter. It’s certainly a welcome addition to Boost’s portfolio, especially for those looking to save a few bucks without sacrificing all that a smartphone can offer, but certainly isn’t going to woo many (read: any) users away from their current Android handset.
Typically, the word “shrinkage” isn’t a good thing, however… if you’re a wireless provider it could actually be a selling point. Today, Sprint announced a new program known as “Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage” for its Boost Mobile prepaid customers. As Boost’s website explains:
Boost will lower your monthly payment by $5 for every 6 on-time payments. Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage customers can shrink their monthly payments from $50 to as low as $35/month. BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage customers can lower their monthly payments from $60 to as low as $45/month.
The idea seems pretty ingenious, trying to retain budget conscious consumers using value-based incentives. The offering is available for both new and existing customers and all that is required is an on-time payment. Hit the read link to check out the potential savings. More →
Just like we said last night, June 20th will see the U.S. retail release of the Motorola i1. It will be available from Boost Mobile retailers as well as from both Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile. Pricing was not disclosed (we imagine it to be around $350), but we did get confirmation that you’ll be able to hook up the world’s first Push-to-Talk Android smartphone to Boost’s $50 unlimited voice and data plan. More →
Thanks to one of our connects, we’ve scored a shot of Sprint’s playbook which contains some upcoming launch dates. The first on the list confirms that the Motorola i1 we scooped way back will definitely launch on June 20th in stores. However, it won’t be available in stores for purchase until July 11th. Next up is the Samsung Intercept M910 (what some have referred to as the Samsung Moment II). The presumably Android-based Samsung Intercept is due to launch on July 11th as well, for online and in store purchases. What would the nation’s first 4G carrier be without some 4G market launches? We’ll see a number of cities get lit up for Sprint Speed in July, and some of these include Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Kennewick, WA, Pasco, WA, Visalia, WA and more.
Some huge news this evening in the world of prepaid mobiles as Sprint has announced its new strategies for Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. With some 60 million Americans using prepaid mobiles, Sprint feels the time is right to make an all-out assault on the market. Said Sprint’s Dan Schulman: “This is the year that prepaid moves to the forefront of the wireless industry. In the first quarter of 2010, more than half of the mobile gross additions in the U.S. selected prepaid, and we predict that approximately 70% of the net adds in 2010 will choose plans without a contract,” adding that “the no-contract market has clearly moved beyond the credit-challenged and lower income segments.” Here’s what’s in the pipeline.
As of May 12th, Virgin Mobile will begin offering Beyond Talk plans. Ranging from $25 to $60 per month, each plan includes unlimited SMS/MMS, email, data and web. The $25 plan includes 300 minutes, the $40 plan 1,200 minutes and the $60 plan has unlimited minutes. Throw in an extra $10 per month and you’ll be able to hook a BlackBerry up to BIS. Yes, you read that right. $35 for a BlackBerry with unlimited data. If you’re a bit puzzled as to why Virgin is more focused on data and texts over voice minutes, the reason is simple: the amount of voice minutes used by young adults continues to plummet as email, IM and SMS grows at a rate of 150% during the years 2007 to 2009. Factor in 1800% growth in mobile data in this segment and it’s pretty obvious Virgin is one of the few companies that actually caters to the demands of its customers. This brings us to its new handsets. Virgin Mobile will be bringing the LG Rumor Touch and Rumor 2 ($149.99 and $89.99, both only available off contract), and Kyocera Loft ($69.99) into the fold with the BlackBerry Curve 8530 launching at the end of May with a retail price of $299.99.
As for Boost, not much is new in terms of plans (keep in mind it just announced that unlimited calls to 411, email and IM were recently added to its $50 unlimited plan which also includes all the talking, texting and web you wish), but now we know for sure that it will soon be carrying the Samsung Rant and Kyocera Incognito, Mirror and Juno.
Hit up the jump to check out the press release. More →
Remember the Opus One, the Android-powered iDEN handset from Motorola we scooped and then spec’d just before Christmas? Well apparently it’s going to be made official sometime in the next few weeks (hello, CTIA!) and will feature one added but obvious goodie: MOTOBLUR. Since we know most of you don’t have encyclopedic memories, here’s a bit of a refresher on what we’ve been told this phone is all about:
- 3.1″ hVGA 320×480 capacitive touchscreen display
- 3 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
- Proximity sensor
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
- microSD card slot
- 2.5mm headset jack
- Home, Menu, Back, Speaker buttons are capacitive buttons with haptic feedback
- iDEN PTT & PTX
- Android LBS which is integrated into the iDEN GPS engine
- “Enterprise email”
- Plastic-molded housing with some rubberized texture finishes
- 58mm in width, 118mm in length
- 100g weight
- 512MB Flash / 256MB of RAM
- 64k and 128k iDEN SIM card support
- Motorola dual-mic technology noise-canceling for noisy environments
- Flash Lite v3.1.x
- Some of the preloaded apps include: corporate email client with ActiveSync support, MOTONAV navigation app, barcode scanner, and document viewer.
Obviously without being official it’s not possible to confirm carriers, but naturally Sprint’s Nextel and Boost are going to get on board while TELUS’s Mike is said to be getting it in Q3. More →
When we say we have specifications, boy, do we mean it. One of our connects has sent us the full rundown on Motorla’s Opus One (their first iDEN Android handset) that we revealed a little while back. The features on the device are actually pretty reasonable, and we’d imagine it to sell for a reasonable attractive price-point at release. The Motorola Opus One will run Android 1.5 with iDEN service enhancements, make use of a “Zeus” CPU, and will feature a 3 megapixel autofocus camera.
Detailed list of full specs after the breakage! More →
We’re a little light on details at the moment, but we’ve just received a couple photographs of what we’re told is Motorola’s first Android iDEN handset, codenamed the Opus One. Original, huh? While these images come from a new connect, we’ve heard mumblings about this sort of thing for a little bit and the phone in the pictures mostly fits the description. We’re waiting for confirmed specifications, but in the meantime, enjoy the rest of the photos after the break! More →
Sprint seems to keep bleeding, keep, keep, bleeding subscribers. After losing 801,000 post-paid subscribers, which is slightly better than the 870,000 that analysts expected, Sprint might need to really change its game to do more than just stay afloat. Consequently, Sprint’s losses for the quarter are a whopping $478 million compared to $326 million YoY. Revenue dropped about nine percent to $8.04 billion. Interestingly enough, Sprint’s prepaid service, Boost, added over 600,000 subscribers thanks to Boost’s $50 unlimited plan. But with its Simply Everything packages including Any Mobile, Any Time, and hardware like the Palm Pre and HTC Hero, Sprint could be looking to shrink its quarterly losses in the future and maybe even see some positive gain.