Taking BGR to the next level — MMC acquires BGR

By on April 26, 2010 at 11:58 PM.

Taking BGR to the next level — MMC acquires BGR

BGR-logo

I wanted to share some amazing news with you all.

I am happy to report that BGR has been acquired by MMC. Moving forward, CEO of MMC Jay Penske and I are partners on BGR, and I couldn’t be happier. This will allow BGR to grow enormously. From a more comprehensive and diverse editorial staff — all the way to the relaunching of BGR as BGR.com with new features and functionality, the site will advance dramatically and continue our mission: to break the biggest stories in this category possible. I am the President, Editor-in-Chief, and General Manager of BGR, and will continue to run the business as well as the editorial aspects of the site — nothing will change there.

BGR was started by myself, Jonathan Geller, a little more than four years ago. In that time, it has grown from just a small passion project into a profitable, dominant online business that is ranked with some of the biggest sites on the web.  As I write this, BGR is, according to Technorati, ranked #49 out of every single site in the world. When I think back about how this was accomplished, and how with just a few great writers, and practically no infrastructure, we built something pretty mind blowing… I can’t wait to hit #1.

Thank you for making BGR your daily go-to for the latest mobile and gadget news, we will have more information over the coming weeks on what we are working on to make BGR better than ever. Press release is after the break!

- Jonathan More →

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BGR Breaks It Down: How to shop for a new phone

By on February 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM.

BGR Breaks It Down: How to shop for a new phone

cellguide

Guest post by a “connect” in the wireless industry.

Absolutely dread going to your location wireless provider’s store and having to be social? If it’s one of your worst nightmares, hopefully this will help you change that. Here are a few tips that might help you get a better deal on a phone and keep the hurt off your wallet. After all, if you’re like us… you’ll be buying a new phone every 6 months anyways. More →

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Yeah, AT&T is requiring messaging plans with feature phones

By on January 29, 2010 at 8:21 AM.

Yeah, AT&T is requiring messaging plans with feature phones

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After we whispered that AT&T might be requiring messaging plans when you purchase select feature phones, we were hit up by a flood of connects. Long story short, it’s true, and here’s the break down:

  • Phones that require a messaging plan at time of purchase include: Pantech Reveal, Pantech Impact, Motorola Karma, Samsung Flight, Samsung Impression, Samsung Magnet, Samsung Solstice, Samsung Mythic, Samsung Propel, LG Xenon, LG Neon, and the LG Vu.
  • It looks like the minimum monthly cost when buying a “Quick Messaging” phone is around $20. That’s a $5 200 SMS/MMS plan and a $15/month unlimited data plan. It doesn’t look like you can walk out of the door without paying less than $20/mo in features in addition to your voice plan.
  • There are slightly different requirements if you have a family plan, so check those out in detail with your AT&T liaison.
  • If you have an existing “Quick Messaging” device, you don’t have to do a thing. But, if you want to ever upgrade to a new device, you’d then be hit with the messaging feature requirement.

Not exactly the best news for those looking to keep their wireless bill pretty low (and straight forward). Catherine Zeta Jones, where you at?

Thanks, to all our connects that broke this down for us!

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How WIND Mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours

By on December 16, 2009 at 1:10 PM.

How WIND Mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours

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For our non-Canadian readers, it might be pretty hard to understand why there’s been so much hype about WIND Mobile finally launching. It is just a cell phone carrier after all, right? Kind of. It is a business at the end of the day, and a business hopes to be profitable (they want to make as much money possible), but the reason WIND is so brilliant is because they’re capitalizing on years of pillaging by Canada’s big three mobile providers: Rogers, TELUS and Bell. We’re not going to get into why Canada’s cellular options are so bad and expensive — Canada is a huge country, 90% of the people live within a certain amount of miles to the U.S. border, people expect coverage everywhere, it’s expensive to maintain — because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how revolutionary WIND is to the average Canadian cellular subscriber and how much money that person will save. Here’s an example of a standard Rogers phone bill for a BlackBerry:

  • $45/month for 400 minutes, unlimited calling after 9PM, and a choice of either unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling, my5, unlimited SMS, or an extra $100 minutes. Let’s assume you chose unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling.
  • $25/month for a 500MB data plan for your BlackBerry (BIS not BES)
  • $20/mo for unlimited SMS, caller ID and voicemail for a smartphone
  • Total with fees of around $93/month (excluding taxes).

Over the life of your cell phone contract of three years (yes, it’s three years in Canada), you’ll have paid approximately $3348 to Rogers, and you’d have a brand new BlackBerry 9700 for which you paid $249.99 for. All in all, $3597 before tax. Here’s a WIND plan:

  • $45/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited SMS to U.S. and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding
  • $35/month for unlimited BlackBerry data

We’re at $80/month with unlimited everything, no contract, and no fees to change plans or features.

Sure, a difference of only plus or minus $13/month might not get everyone excited, but think of it this way… you don’t have to pay $500 to cancel your contract, you can elect to pre or post-pay, and never have to ever worry about overages unless you’ve got a lot of pals overseas. The option of unlimited anything is a downright comforting thought for consumers. As long as you can get over the $200 additional entry fee for an unsubsidized but very fairly-priced handset (note: Rogers charges $599.99 for a contract-free Bold 9700 as opposed to WIND’s $450), WIND looks incredibly attractive. Plus, you won’t get tied to the tree and spanked. Metaphorically, of course.

It isn’t all rainbows and ponies, however, as we have to take coverage (when you roam on Rogers, for instance, you’ll only get EDGE as WIND uses the same AWS 3G spectrum T-Mobile uses and is incompatible with Rogers, TELUS, and Bell), customer service, and profitability into consideration. The bet is that WIND makes so much that they can continue to save you money. Funny, isn’t it? Again, they’re a brand, brand new network, but with a boatload of cash behind them, some very smart and attractive pricing, plans, devices, and services, we think they have an amazing shot. They’ve also permanently disrupted the Canadian wireless landscape for the better, and within days or weeks, you’ll start to see better pricing from red, green, and blue. Thus giving our Canadian friends something they’ve long hoped for — competition.

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iPhone /iPod touch OS 3.1 now available for download

By on September 9, 2009 at 2:58 PM.

iPhone /iPod touch OS 3.1 now available for download

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Just like that. There’s a whole slew of new features and much-needed bug fixes in OS 3.1. Apple iPhone OS developers have been enjoying some of them for quite a while, but there’s also some new things that have snuck into the fold. Let us know what you guys find — here’s the official updated list for OS 3.1:

Being updated…

Thanks, Cori!

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Nokia N86 8MP's kickstand alone is smarter than some phones

By on May 2, 2009 at 9:48 AM.

Nokia N86 8MP's kickstand alone is smarter than some phones

We aren’t exactly drooling in anticipation over the upcoming Nokia N86 8MP. After some time spent with it back at CTIA, we basically said it was an ok handset but it definitely wasn’t the most solid Nseries on the planet. It essentially seemed like any other Nseries device in Nokia’s arsenal — with an 8 megapixel shooter slapped on. Well, if neat little features like this one keep popping up we’re going to have to rethink our position. Everyone’s favorite Symbian guru, the Symbian Guru, was digging through the N86 emulator and it looks like the handset’s kickstand is more than just a tiny swiveling piece of plastic. Apparently a little sensor somewhere beneath the kickstand allows the N86 to open an application each time it’s flipped open. Badass. It also appears as though any app on the phone can be set as the kickstand-triggered app, leaving the possibilities nearly endless. Instant access to the movie player, music player or photo viewer jump out as obvious options but take it anywhere you like. No, this nifty little trick isn’t enough to completely change our minds about the handset but we have to give credit where credit is due — good thinking, Nokia, good thinking.

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Overlooked webOS features reviving Pre envy

By on January 21, 2009 at 12:27 PM.

Overlooked webOS features reviving Pre envy

In a recent interview with Roger MacNamee of Elevation Partners, Sarah dug up some pretty great features of webOS that had gone relatively unnoticed until now. No, the interview she did isn’t new, but all of the hype flying around at the time let some pretty awesome and intutive functionality go unnoticed. We’ll let MacNamee do the talking here – from the interview:

But better than that, it does stuff for you. So when you wake up in the morning, it has taken your calendar — if you ask it to — and downloaded the maps for you whole day, it’s downloaded the wikipedias for the people you’re going to visit and the companies you’re going to see… Why is it on PCs you have to go and do all that?

And when you’re late — get this — when you’re late it — remember, this things has GPS, it has a clock, and it has your calendar. So it not only knows where you are, it knows where you’re supposed to be and when; and so when it realizes you’re going to be late, it says “Hey, not only are you going to be late, but I can take care of it for you. I’ll send an email to your assistant or to the people in the meeting, which would you prefer? And oh, by the way, here’s the map.” This is the beginning of a new wave.

Pretty smooth Palm, pretty smooth. This is actually a great interview and if you haven’t watched it already we highly recommend you do so. It’s refreshing to see an investor who is actually not only knowledgeable when it comes to to the industry, but also incredibly enthusiastic about a portfolio company and its products. As an aside, we still find it amusing that people ‘in the know’ refer to the HTC G1 as the “Google Android”. Ain’t no branding like Google branding… Hit the jump for the full interview.

More →

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Gmail team keeps cooking, issues email-to-doc feature

By on December 17, 2008 at 2:36 PM.

Gmail team keeps cooking, issues email-to-doc feature

Google has really been putting the work in lately as far as Gmail is concerned and it seems like new features have been rolling out every day. We were just barely getting used to the new task manager when SMS came out, and then before we knew it Google managed to surgically remove some of the pain that typically comes along with PDFs. Another day, another new feature as the G Team unwraps a handy new feature allowing Gmail users to convert an email to a new Google Doc with a single click. What’s more, when the feature is active it also enables a new keyboard shortcut that will open a new Doc with two quick keystrokes. The new doc creator can be activated from the Labs tab in settings, near the bottom of the ever-growing list. Ok Gmail team, good work but we’ll expect something new by Friday.

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Google adds simple task manager to Gmail Labs

By on December 9, 2008 at 9:33 AM.

Google adds simple task manager to Gmail Labs

Apparently, people have a lot to do these days. If we had a dollar for every web-based task manager out there, well, our next giveaway would probably be a diamond-encrusted Vertu. For web developers, it makes perfect sense; if you can manage to get people reliant on a web-based task manager you’re looking at a pretty fair number of pageviews each day from each user. Those developing all of these task managers may want to take notice however, as Google is treading on your turf. The king of all things web has just announced the addition of a simple task manager to the Gmail web UI by way of Gmail Labs. It’s no mistake, by the way, that the new Tasks item sites atop the Labs list. For the time being it offers pretty basic though useful functionality but you should expect some big and interesting things to come of Tasks – Google Calendar integration, mobile implementations and so on. For the time being, Tasks sits atop the Gmail UI as a new frame that is always visible unless you minimize it or choose to pop it out into a new window of its own. You can add new tasks quickly and easily, and even instantly link an email to a new task by checking the box on its row and pressing shift + T or choosing “Add to Tasks” from the More Actions box. Despite being pretty basic for now, Tasks already contains more than enough functionality to become a very useful tool to assist users in managing everything that takes place within Gmail and slightly beyond. As the Tasks team flushes the product out however, look for it to jump outside of Gmail and put some serious dents in the SaaS task management game.

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Google Continues to Roll Out Gmail Labs Features

By on July 11, 2008 at 1:01 PM.

Google Continues to Roll Out Gmail Labs Features

It appears that Google is just about finished rolling out its latest enhancement to Gmail and so far we like what we’re seeing. Gmail Labs was first announced last month and is exactly what you think it would be if you’ve ever played around with Google Labs before; a collection of experimental Gmail add-ons. Initially available only to US and UK users, we’re now getting word that other regions have gotten a taste of the Google juice as well. Google explains Gmail Labs as follows:

Gmail engineers come up with new ideas all the time. Gmail Labs is our place to try them out and get your feedback. None of these features are really ready for prime time yet, so they may change, break or disappear at any time.

Access to the new feature set can be found on the Labs tab under your Settings menu and there are currently 13 experimental features to play with. There are a few items of interest to us at this point and the first is Quick Links. Quick Links is essentially a Gmail-specific bookmarks toolbar. It gives you easy access to custom searches or anything else you might feel like bookmarking. It would be great if we could easily customize the sidebar and move the quick links box to the top however. The second Labs add-on we like is the ability to customize keyboard shortcuts. Enabling this feature will add a new tab to the settings menu where you can configure shortcuts to any keys you like. Finally, we like that Google has added a Mouse Gestures feature. Enabling it allows you to “hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view.” We’re huge fans of the easyGestures add-on for Firefox so this is right up our alley. So if you’re a Gmail user, and who isn’t these days, definitely spend a few minutes checking out the new Labs section.

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