Microsoft KIN Two Preview

By on May 5, 2010 at 12:01 AM.

Microsoft KIN Two Preview

Microsoft-KIN-Two-2

We’ve only been using the Microsoft KIN Two for about half a day. Even though that isn’t enough time to put a comprehensive review together, we can still comment on our initial reactions about the device.

The Microsoft KIN One and KIN Two are aimed at a non-professional crowd, mostly the young Justin Bieber generation. For phones in this category, they definitely do pack a punch. For starters, there is Microsoft Exchange support (no calendar support), an 8 megapixel camera with 720p video capture, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and all the social networking integration you could want. Microsoft actually is not very spec-heavy when pushing this device as they realize the specifications are almost irrelevant to the target buyer — and that’s smart.

The real issue is that we cannot remember a phone in recent memory that has felt so cheap and so clunky to use. Seriously. For some reason — and I am really not exaggerating here — I do not remember ever being so frustrated with a phone. It is slow and far from intuitive. There are feature phones that I would rather carry around with me. The one saving grace we thought the KIN had was that the data plans would be more economical than the traditional $30/month unlimited data packages. Well, we were wrong. The KIN Two goes for $99.99 on a two year contract after $100 MIR, but you still need that $30 data plan on top of your texting plan, on top of your voice plan (or family plan). I’m sorry, but I don’t see the advantage of a device this limited in this day and age, not with $100 Android devices, $100 iPhones, and $100 BlackBerry handsets (that all use the same $30/month data package). The concept is fine, but the execution is more a mashup of glitter, key lime pie, and a crappy stained glass window artist all thrown together under Sharp’s assembly lines.

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Yes, the added value stuff is cool — KIN Studio lets you see a historical archive of your entire phone, complete with text messages, photos and videos, and KIN Loop on the homepage is great in theory — but again, the execution here is the issue, and it reminds me of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR mess of a homescreen.

Going one step further, this device kind of spoiled my excitement for Windows Phone 7 — it is definitely not the same (though they do have the same base kernel), but it seems to be a little peak into that window, and from where I am standing, I don’t like the view. We have some photos ready to go in the gallery, plus the HTC Incredible makes a cameo for some size comparisons.

Click on over to our Microsoft KIN Two gallery!

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Rogers to continue policy of no charge tethering indefinitely

By on March 24, 2010 at 11:02 AM.

Rogers to continue policy of no charge tethering indefinitely

rogers-evil

Come one, come all for another instalment of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Rogers Wireless Edition. Today’s topic? Tethering.

  • The Good: No charge tethering (data used while tethering comes out of one’s monthly data allotment) for wireless data subscribers will not be left to expire come the promotions scheduled expiration date of May 3rd. From now on, this is a policy which will remain in place indefinitely.
  • The Bad: You need a data plan with a monthly allotment of 1GB or more (sorry $25/500MB, $40 Smartphone Data and Voice and Data plan users, you’re S.O.L.) and those with $100 family plan with 1GB of pooled data are ineligible. Need tethering? That’ll be a minimum of $30.
  • The Ugly: One Rate plans. If you have a One Rate plan Even of 1GB or more, you’re not allowed to tether. Example: If you have an iPhone with a 1GB One Rate plan you cannot tether, but if you put the same plan One Rate on a Rocket Stick you can. Does this make sense to anyone? It doesn’t to us so we’ve asked Rogers PR to fill us in on the reasoning.

So how does this news strike all of those Rogers customers out there? Are you pleased? Irate? Indifferent? Thirsty? Let’s discuss. More →

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Verizon Wireless to require enterprise level data plan for BESX access?

By on March 13, 2010 at 1:41 PM.

Verizon Wireless to require enterprise level data plan for BESX access?

BESX

A leaked Verizon training memo reveals how Big Red will be dealing with those who have plans to connect their BlackBerry to a new BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express (BESX); it is going to cost you a little extra. The memo explains that those looking to leverage BESX will be required to have an enterprise level data plan — which typically costs $45/month — as opposed to the standard $30/month BlackBerry data plan. RIM states the requirements of BESX are:

  • A BlackBerry smartphone
  • Subscription to an internet-enabled BlackBerry service plan from your wireless service provider

Not exactly 100% accurate, as the $30 standard data plan is an “internet-enabled BlackBerry service plan,” but, we suppose, not entirely false either.  We’ve got the leaked memo after the break. More →

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Verizon DROID data plan $30 with Exchange support for consumer lines

By on November 4, 2009 at 11:35 AM.

Verizon DROID data plan $30 with Exchange support for consumer lines

There have been rumors flying around the intertubes that Verizon is planning to charge an extra $15/month to allow your shiny new Motorola DROID to be hooked up to Microsoft’s Exchange email enviroment. Well, we are happy to confirm that, for consumer lines anyway, these rumors are false. The folks over at Gearlog received clarification from Verizon’s headquarters about the rumored $45/month data mandate, and it looks as though it’s for corporate responsible user accounts only. Individual accounts and family lines, whether you use Exchange or not, will still cost just $30/month. Good news for future DROID owners out there, and just the same as how the iPhone pricing works on AT&T.

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Nokia Booklet netbooks start infiltrating your local Best Buy

By on October 25, 2009 at 7:18 PM.

Nokia Booklet netbooks start infiltrating your local Best Buy

best-buy-booklet

Who wants to buy a $2,000 netbook? Well, if you’d like to walk away with one for $299.99 and a $60/mo AT&T data plan for 2 years, you can. Otherwise the smarter move would be to purchase it at retail price of around $599.99 and get a data plan from AT&T without a two-year commitment. But regardless of the method of purchase, if you want a Nokia Booklet, Best Buy has got ‘em. Will they sell you one before November 15th? Probably not, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. One more shot after the break.
More →

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AT&T to require smartphone data plans starting September 6th

By on August 21, 2009 at 1:00 PM.

AT&T to require smartphone data plans starting September 6th

AT&T subscribers, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that as of September 6th, AT&T will begin requiring that all smartphones sign up for a smartphone data plan. The good news is that customers with smartphones purchased prior to September 6th with non-smartphone data plans will be grandfathered in and will not have to upgrade their current plans. Note that if you currently use a feature phone with a data plan and you upgrade to a smartphone on or after September 6th, you will not be able to keep your current MediaNet plan.

We’ve been hearing rumblings to this effect for a few weeks now but as of this morning it’s 100% confirmed thanks to an internal email from one of our ninjas. AT&T’s claimed reasoning behind the move: to ensure customers receive a predictable bill each month. Mmm hmm. Note that this only applies to smartphones purchased from AT&T or a dealer of course, so those of you who opt for unlocked handsets should be unaffected. Hit the jump for the internal email circulated today at AT&T.

More →

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Rogers HTC Dream and Magic to retail for $549.99; 6GB/$30 plan might return alongside nation-wide calling plan

By on May 21, 2009 at 1:25 PM.

Rogers HTC Dream and Magic to retail for $549.99; 6GB/$30 plan might return alongside nation-wide calling plan

When Rogers Wireless announced it would be carrying both the HTC Dream (G1) and Magic this coming June, the company held back on pricing. Thanks to one of our ninjas however, we found out that both devices are destined to have an off contract price of $549.99. Due to Rogers’ somewhat crazy subsidization system it’s hard to say exactly how much each device will be on contract, but we’re hearing a 3-year contract could be the standard $400 off — or $149.99. We shall see. Hit the jump for an inventory screenshot of the Magic and some more Rogers news.

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Upcoming Rogers smartphone plans leave data users high and dry, again

By on February 1, 2009 at 9:02 AM.

Upcoming Rogers smartphone plans leave data users high and dry, again

Just like the last time Rogers updated its smartphone plans, we’re torn between loving them and hating them. While they do include a taste of everything for what are pretty reasonable prices for the Canadian wireless marketplace, we can’t stand how Rogers insists upon making its customers choose between a smartphone plan with a completely crap amount of data or another plan entirely. We get that from Rogers’ point of view it’s a “smartphone plan” because it has data included, but 500MB is not a lot of data at all – especially when Rogers touts the fact that tethering is included. Hit up the jump to check out the plans (all prices are CAD).

More →

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Verizon Wireless kills Pay as You Go data plans, data plans now mandatory

By on November 2, 2008 at 9:26 AM.

Verizon Wireless kills Pay as You Go data plans, data plans now mandatory

This has been rumored to be coming but VZW E dropped the bomb on us all by leaking a Verizon Wireless document detailing some drastic changes to Verizon’s data plans. Starting November 14th, 2008, all new PDA / Smartphones will require a $29.99/month or greater data plan. Gone are the pay as you go data plans, 1X data block plans and the 10 MB $24.99/month plans. The good news is that those who are currently signed up for any of the now canceled plans will not be forced to change. If you have a data block, you can keep your data block and continue to use Wi-Fi instead of EV-DO for you data connection. The bad news is that once you swap out your phone for any reason, you will be forced to upgrade to a $29.99 or higher monthly plan. The leaked document also notes that a similar plan will go into effect in 2009 for select Mobile Web 2.0 phones. Since the document mentions HTML web browsing capability as the criteria for a mandatory data plan, we assume this will affect phones such as the LG Dare, the LG Voyager and the new Krave ZN4. With this change, you will be forced to subscribe to the $15/month VCast plan that provides unlimited data for email and web browsing. This move, though controversial, is not entirely surprising. Verizon is apparently trying to better montize the growing interest in smartphones and generate a constant revenue stream by requiring data for all its advanced data-capable phones. Oh, one other thing. You know all of the hot new phones set to hit store shelves in November? Don’t be surprised if we see them become available after November 14th when this new mandatory data plan policy takes affect.

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Rogers caves on iPhone plan pricing!

By on July 9, 2008 at 1:20 PM.

Rogers caves on iPhone plan pricing!

How’s this for a little community activism? Following a massive public outcry against their criminally high data plan for the upcoming iPhone 3G, Rogers has announced a revised tariff that is much more consumer-friendly. The new plan is being offered on a promotional basis, and offers 6GB of data for $30/month. Sure, it’s nothing close to the unlimited data offered by AT&T for the same amount of scratch, but it’s a sizable improvement over last week’s stats. It seems as if the promotional plan is valid for anyone that activates a new iPhone 3G on a 3-year contract before August 31st. Even so, you might want to go start camping out at your local Rogers dealer, especially if rumors of diminished shipments hold true for launch day. This should make everybody happy.

[Via Engadget]

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Rogers makes new BlackBerry plans official

By on June 20, 2008 at 2:09 PM.

Rogers makes new BlackBerry plans official

Rogers has just released a slew of new BlackBerry data plans for your emailing and browsing pleasure. There’s still no unlimited BIS option, which is a bit confounding given the upcoming unlimited iPhone Data plan, but this is Rogers after all, so we’re not terribly shocked. The new plans breakdown as follows:

  • $30 – 300 MB
  • $60 – 1 GB
  • $80 – 3 GB
  • $100 – 6 GB

Um, yeah. That’s not cheap, though we have a hard time imagining a scenario in which 1 GB of data isn’t enough for average monthly usage, let along 6 GBs. Then again, with the upcoming Bold and its 3G radio, the potential for exorbitant data usage will certainly increase.

Thanks, Paul!

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