According to a report filed by Bloomberg, Windows Phone maker Microsoft will pay Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia more than $1 billion as part of the two companies “smartphone software agreement.” The publication cites “two people with knowledge of the terms,” and goes on to note that Nokia will be responsible for paying Microsoft a “fee for each copy of Windows [Phone] used.” It’s widely assumed that the purported agreement, and fee, were part of Microsoft’s campaign to keep Android off of Nokia hardware. The duration of the deal is being reported as “over five years.” Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has publicly stated that he wants Nokia branded hardware running Windows Phone software in market before the close of 2011. More →
As we’re seeing now with Apple’s current MacBook Pro line, delayed shipping dates and sell-outs are often good indicators of an imminent product refresh. Discounts are also a good sign that a popular product is nearing the end of its life. With that in mind, new reports of retailers and carriers showing dwindling iPad inventory or discounting Apple’s tablet could be indicative of an impending next-generation iPad announcement. 9 to 5 Mac reports that British retail giant Carphone Warehouse is sold out of the 64GB iPad Wi-Fi as well as each of the three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models. Carriers Orange and T-Mobile have slashed prices on current iPad inventory in half, so customers can now get an iPad for as little as £99.99 on a two-year contract. Finally, European retailer Ingram Micro is sold out of three iPad models, and is showing low inventory on the other three versions of the iPad. Apple is expected to launch the iPad 2 in March, though the company has not made any official information available surrounding the device. More →
We’re going streaking… at T-Mobile… on February 2nd! Hmm, that may have come out wrong. What we’re trying to say is that Dell’s 7-inch tablet, the Streak 7, will be hitting the shelves of T-Mobile in just two days on February 2nd — a date we’ve heard kicked around before. The device will retail for a very reasonable $199.99 with a signed, two-year contract (after a $50 mail-in rebate). For those that need a quick refresher, the Streak 7 was announced at this month’s Consumer Electronics show and will boast a dual-core Tegra 2 processor, HSPA+ radio, front-facing camera, and Android 2.2. A Galaxy Tab or a Streak 7… that is the question. More →
As rumors of iPad subsidies becoming available from U.S. carriers this year gain momentum, The Times reports that similar strategies in the U.K. do not appear to be paying off in the short term. Orange, T-Mobile and Three each recently began offering discounts on the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G when purchased alongside a new service contract. The 16 GB iPad model, which typically costs £529 in the U.K., is available for just £199 when purchased with a £25-per-month data plan. While sales performance at T-Mobile and Three is still a bit of a mystery, The Times reports that Orange sold just 1,000 subsidized iPads during the first week of availability. The sales figure has not been confirmed by Orange, but if it is anywhere near accurate it could indicate that customers don’t have much interest in signing up for yet another data contract — especially one tied to a device that is anything but a commodity at this point. More →
We just got a report that Best Buy’s new line activation system for T-Mobile is down, and apparently has been for almost a week. One of our readers wrote in to let us know he has been trying to purchase a Google Nexus S with a new T-Mobile line of service, but has been unable to due to Best Buy’s activation issue. After repeated calls to store representatives, one admitted that they are not able to activate his Nexus S with a contract, and that he’d have to pay full retail for the device. We’ve pinged Best Buy for comment, but has anyone else had trouble out there trying to buy a Nexus S with new line of service?
We just received a tip from a Best Buy ninja of ours, and well, it seems that Radio Shack isn’t the only game in town in you’re looking for an Apple iPhone. Best Buy will be offering up Apple’s iPhone 3GS for free for one day only, this Friday the 10th. This offer is valid to both new lines, additional lines, and also qualified upgrades. We have been told that all stores have inventory levels to support the promotion, and it’s an instant rebate type deal. Who’s up for a free iPhone?
Is controversial radio-host Howard Stern on the verge of signing a three-year deal with Apple, Inc. to host an iTunes radio program? According to whomever operates the Sirius Stock News (@SIRI_STOCK) Twitter account, yes. Yesterday, the account posted a tweet that stated:
Howard Stern on the verge of signing $600 million 3 year agreement with Apple to host an Internet/TV/iTunes broadcast. $SIRI
The idea of Stern and Apple joining forces seems unlikely, but is — if you really stretch your imagination — plausible. We’ve reached out to both Apple and Sirius and will update this report with any additional information provided.
UPDATE: Blog softsquatch.com has published a post taking credit for the tweet and calling the whole thing a hoax. This new information, like the original post on Twitter, has not been authenticated by anyone of authority from Sirius or Apple. More →
Apple has shifted a major manufacturing contract from Japan-based FOSTER to two Taiwanese companies, Taiwan Economic Times reported earlier this week. Taiwan-based manufacturers Hon Hai and Cheng Uei have been tasked with building the OEM headphones that ship with Apple’s iPhone — a contract likely worth over $300 million. FOSTER loses the business after a stretch as the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone headphones, and the job will now be split between two Taiwanese companies. Cheng Uei will build the cords, speakers and control switches while Hon Hai will insert the wires and assemble the earbuds. Cheng Uei also manufacturers the chargers that ship with Apple’s iPad, and is in the process of expanding its facilities to increase output. More →
We were alerted to a blog post on Kik’s site just moments ago, and it seems that Research In Motion has not only removed Kik Messenger from its App World portal, but it has also disabled push services for existing users. We reached out to RIM for comment and here is the company’s official statement:
RIM became aware of a number of issues and customer concerns regarding the Kik app and service. Following discussions with Kik, the app was removed from BlackBerry App World on November 12. Upon further investigation, RIM concluded that Kik had breached contractual obligations. Based on the broad scope and seriousness of the issues and concerns, RIM terminated its agreements with Kik and withdrew RIM’s support for Kik’s service.
Thinking about treating yourself to one of Verizon’s DROID smartphones right before the holidays? You’ll definitely want to check out this latest deal from AmazonWireless. The online retail giant has the full compliment of DROID devices from Big Red — the DROID Incredible, X, 2, and Pro — on sale for a single penny for those opening a new line of service. The offer is good now through November 22nd and includes free activation. If you’re thinking about jumping over to Verizon, how can you go wrong with a deal like this?
Now, if you’re already a VZW customer, and the DROID Pro has caught your eye, Best Buy is offering the new candy bar set for a very reasonable $99.99 with a signed two-year agreement; that is a full $80 below the on-contract price being offered by Verizon. It also looks like Best Buy’s $100 offer is being served straight-up, with no mail-in rebate or other forms required. Man the holidays are a great time to buy a cell phone.
Let us know what you think of the two deals!
PSA: The Apple iPad can now be purchased online or in stores from both Verizon Wireless and AT&T. As a quick recap, you’ll notice that pricing is the same from both carriers (16GB: $629, 32GB: $729, 64GB: $829) despite the fact that AT&T sells the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G and Verizon Wireless is only selling the iPad Wi-Fi model. This is because Verizon chose to bundle a MiFi 2200 with each iPad. And to stay competitive with AT&T’s iPad deal, Verizon will not require a contract. Instead, the carrier is offering month-to-month data packages of 1GB for $20, 3GB for $35 or 5GB for $50. AT&T’s data packages for the iPad remain unchanged — $15 for 250MB each month, $25 for 2GB, or $30 for unlimited data if you’re grandfathered in. The most important takeaway by far is still the fact that a piece of Apple hardware is now being sold by Verizon Wireless. Needless to say, it bodes well for the future. More →
You think signing a 2-year cellular contract is bad? Think about our poor brethren up north! Canadian carriers frequently require a 3-year contract in order for customers to obtain the most aggressive handset discounts; which means you are stuck with your phone of choice for an entire 36-months. Pretty rough. According to a memo obtained by BGR, the company will allow its customers to upgrade to a new device after only 30 months of service when inking a new 3-year deal — previously, the carrier allowed such an upgrade after only 24-months. What do you think Canadian friends? Sound-off.
One of our Sprint sources just messaged us to let us know that the Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab is set to launch right around November 14. How about pricing? Well, we’ve also been told the 7-inch tablet will sell for $399 with a 2-year agreement and $599 full retail. That’s all we have for now, but you can be sure we’ll keep digging!