According to a report on Wednesday from industry watcher DigiTimes, Acer is seeing higher than expected interest in its upcoming line of tablets. Demand is so high, the report claims, that it exceeds the initial supply Acer has ordered from its manufacturing partners. The strong demand comes from various cellular carriers around the world that are seemingly eager to bundle Acer’s upcoming devices with data plans. According to the report, Acer plans to launch four devices between now and April: The 10-inch Windows 7-powered Iconia W500, which will launch mid-March; the 10-inch Tegra 2-equipped Iconia A500, which will run Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) when it launches in late March; the 7-inch Android-powered Iconia A100, which will launch in April; and the supersized 4.8-inch Gingerbread smartphone dubbed Iconia Smart, which will also launch in April. Acer noted that initial limited inventory is due to a short supply of key components, such as touchscreen displays. More →
The recent resurgence of “iPhone nano” rumors has Wall Street analysts working overtime. They already love Apple, which has basically been printing money lately, and rumors of Cupertino cooking up a smaller, cheaper iPhone could certainly send Apple’s mobile profits even further skyward. In fact, one analyst thinks a cheap version of Apple’s iOS-powered smartphone could expand its addressable market by a whopping 600%, therefore potentially giving iPhone profits a 250% boost. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi thinks Apple needs either needs a cheaper iPhone or more carrier agreements in order to increase its smartphone market share — a notion that borders on the obvious. The former option, a cheaper iPhone, could be achieved by building a smaller phone with a smaller display panel. But Sacconaghi loses us entirely when he pitches another possibility that Apple might address new customers by offering an iPhone that doesn’t require a data plan. Apple has more muscle than any other cell phone maker right now, no doubt, but carriers would never sell an iPhone that didn’t help them reel in the dough on precious data plans. More →
In a press release today, Chinese electronics manufacturer ZTE announced its plans to open a carrier-centric, cloud-based app store at next week’s Mobile World Congress. The store will allow wireless providers to “manage their own-branded delivery services and content” online and off; the store can also be configured to work on PCs and tablets.
“Operators can in turn give their customers access to a vast range of applications and content such as videos, games, animations and books,” reads the press release. “Many middle/small operators around the world are expected to take advantage of the applications store services to expand and develop their business.”
The name of this newfangled store? iMarket — let the lawsuits begin. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
We have been getting tips all morning that RIM’s BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) has been down for a number of hours nationwide, for all carriers. Unfortunately this outage looks like it’s not just the email portion of the BIS service, but all data as well, which is quite frustrating. Is your BlackBerry data not working? Hit us in the comments with your carrier and approximate location, alright?
Thanks to everyone that sent this in!
Now that Google has finally brought incoming number portability to its Google Voice service, we wanted to ask: how many of you have taken advantage of the new feature? It’s a difficult call to make and many people have reached out to us to ask us what our thoughts on it. Since you’re porting your existing number, you’ll need a new number for your actual cell phone and that’s where things can get tricky for some people. Also, many people have early termination fees to consider, so that adds another roadblock. So, what’s the verdict? How many of you taken the plunge, and if so, are you happy that your number is now able to be used on a variety of phones on practically any carrier and that you can control who calls you and where?
ComputerWorld has published a study that sheds some light on which manufacturer and wireless carrier in the U.S. provide Android users with operating system updates in the most timely fashion. Data was collected on handsets released by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon from 2009 through 2010. The report examines how many phones were upgraded to Froyo (Android 2.2), how many days it took to receive this upgrade, and what percentage devices are still waiting. The study indicates that HTC has delivered the most Android 2.2 updates to its handsets (50%) while Motorola updates its devices the fastest (54.5 days after 2.2 announcement). In terms of carriers, Verizon took the top spot — taking just 58 days on average to push out 2.2 updates — and was followed by Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T respectively. The report notes, “Between June and December, AT&T failed to upgrade a single one of its nine Android phones.” Ouch. What do you think? Any surprises here? More →
Among the top carriers in the U.S., AT&T is the worst by a healthy margin. The news comes from this year’s Consumer Reports reader survey, which ranks Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile along with some regional carriers. Verizon Wireless was ranked as the nation’s top major carrier, though its score of 74 positions it in the No. 2 spot overall behind U.S. Cellular. Readers were asked to grade each carrier on several criteria including value, voice service quality, data service quality and customer support. The ratings were on a scale of “Worse” to “Better,” with three increments in between. AT&T received the lowest possible rating of “Worse” in eight out of nine categories, managing too eke out a next-to-lowest rating for SMS service quality. In response to the survey, AT&T had this to say:
We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience. The fact is wireless customers have choices and a record number of them chose AT&T in the third quarter, significantly more than our competitors. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent – the equivalent of just one call in a thousand – of the industry leader.
Smartphones were also ranked in the same issue of Consumer Reports, and all but one of the top devices in the country are powered by Android. In fact each of the four variants of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone received top honors, either solely (Sprint’s Epic 4G, T-Mobile’s Vibrant) or as part of a tie — the Fascinate tied the Motorola DROID X for the No. 1 spot on Verizon Wireless, and Captivate tied the Apple iPhone 4 on AT&T.
[Via Houston Chronicle] More →
Today, via a press release, HTC announced that it would bring its compact, Android handset — the Wildfire — to “multiple regional North American carriers beginning in Q4 2010.” The Wildfire is a mid-range Android set with a 3.2-inch QVGA touchscreen display, 528MHz processor, 512MB ROM, 384MB RAM, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, 1300mAh battery, and Android 2.1 with Sense. The European and Asian Wildfire variants contain both 900/2100MHz HSPA and 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM radios. Pricing was not made public in the brief. Hit the jump for the full announcement. More →
One of our Verizon Wireless sources has just forwarded us an internal email detailing some data issues in the Midwest. According to the email, the issue affects only data, not voice, and is currently happening in over 3 states. Additionally, it looks like there is an issue with “RIM’s Switch” that is playing with the emotions of all carriers nationwide, not just Verizon. How you looking out there BGR friends? Phones working ok?
Strategy Analytics released its Q1 2010 metrics report for the U.S. Wireless carriers and it paints an interesting picture of the mobile landscape stateside. As expected, Verizon and AT&T led the pack with 92.8 million and 86.9 million customers, but were pretty much neck and neck where it really counts with churn, service revenue, data percentage of service revenue and ARPU being fairly similar when scaled. T-Mobile and Sprint showed a slight decline with each losing tens of thousands customers and reporting churns more than double that of Verizon and AT&T. Despite losing more customers than T-Mobile, Sprint still had the upper hand in service revenue, data percentage of service revenue and ARPU. Those were the figures for the big and medium players, so hit the jump to see how the little guys did. More →
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdams confirmed that the wireless carrier is considering rural carriers as a means of expanding its 4G network. Under this plan, Verizon Wireless would license its 4G spectrum for a small fee to rural operators who could then re-sell the service. Either Verizon or the operator would assume the cost of building out the network and each would benefit from the agreement – Verizon would get a wider 4G footprint and the rural carrier would receive local mobile broadband coverage and a roaming agreement for coverage outside of its home network. Folks with more deer than people should not jump for joy quite yet as McAdams confirms that this is a low profit initiative for Verizon and, as such, may take a while to roll out. Nonetheless, those whose only option for broadband is still 56K dial up would agree that late is better than never.
Additional details on the underlying architecture of Windows phone 7 hit the internet today, courtesy of a leaked document that fell into the hands of tweakers.net. Many of the hardware requirements are already known, but there are quite a few other tidbits which shed some light on the inner workings of Microsoft’s latest smartphone OS. Just keep in mind when you’re reading this that all of the information is tentative and may change once Windows Phone 7 is officially released later this year. Hit the jump when you’re ready! More →
We really love the boys and girls over at RIM, but if you haven’t already noticed, they’re pretty much stuck in 1998. Why do we say that? Well, RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (who is absolutely brilliant) started spewing off his nonsense on data conservation at MWC and how “manufacturers had better start building more efficient applications and more efficient services. There is no real way to get around this.” Oh, but there is, Mike. It’s called actually having a wireless data network that can handle the things consumers and businesses want to do on their phones, and it’s called planning. More →