Images of Microsoft’s next mobile operating system, Windows Phone “Tango,” were published on Wednesday, showing off a number of new features. Tango will reportedly feature the ability to export contacts to a SIM card, handle multiple attachments in a single MMS message and manage roaming both domestically and internationally, according to WP7forum. It is also rumored that Microsoft is building a native voice recording application for MMS messaging. The images suggest that the company will be dropping the minimum hardware requirements of Windows Phone handsets down to 256MB of RAM and the camera requirements down to just 3 megapixels. The OS will warn users with a message in the Marketplace if they attempt to download an application that requires additional memory. Earlier reports have indicated that Tango may only be released for lower-end devices, but official details are expected to be revealed at Mobile World Congress later this month. Purported screenshots from Windows Phone Tango follow after the break. More →
No doubt a response to Virgin Mobile’s serious push to reign supreme in the pre-paid market, T-Mobile today announced two new unlimited pre-paid plans which go live this Wednesday. Under the new plans, $15 will net users unlimited text, picture and video messages with nationwide voice calls at 10¢ per minute, while $50 offers the same in terms of messaging but allows for unlimited nationwide calls with no per-minute fees. Definitely not bad plans if you’re looking to kill off a landline and not get locked into a lengthy contract commitment, but we’d have loved it if T-Mobile were to introduce a third plan with data. We mean, they are trying to play it both ways, right?
Level with us — for all the complaining you do about your carrier not offering an affordable unlimited talk plan, how many minutes do you actually spend yapping on your cell phone per month? If you’re anything like the average person, you’re not doing it all that much. In fact, your use of data and texts far outweighs the voice minutes you log on a monthly basis, and what calls you do make are shorter. Since 2008, the CTIA has said voice calls are quickly going the way of the Dodo, with the average call length dropping over 20% from 2008 to 2009 alone. This comes at a time where the use of text messages alone increased 50% year-over-year, with half of America’s teens said to be sending more than 1,500 texts per month. So why is it that people are talking less? For starters, there’s convenience. Shooting someone a text, IM or email is far faster and less obtrusive than a phone call, allowing the recipients to carry on with their daily activities and respond at their leisure. Then there’s social customs. As rude as some might think it is to fire off a text in the company of others, we cannot imagine anyone who would prefer to sit in awkward silence as their friend carries out a 2 minute conversation about what’s happened on last night’s episode of The Hills. Not only that, but according to NPD analyst Ross Rubin, “handset design has become far less cheek-friendly” in recent years with most feature and smartphones requiring users to go through a multi-step process before initiating a simple phone call. So what does the future hold for the wireless industry? In lieu of the traditional charge for voice minutes, industry analysts are predicting that carriers will instead charge for the amount of data used…and we’re not sure that is going to be better.
Virgin Mobile fired shots across the bow of its pre-paid competition this morning as it officially launched the Beyond Talk plans that we told you about just under a week ago. Starting at $25, the main selling point of the Beyond Talk service offerings is that they all feature unlimited text, email, data and web. The reason for the difference in price between the plans is the number of minutes you get. The $25 and $40 plans are good for 300 and 1,200 minutes respectively, while the $60 plan offers unlimited voice. For an extra $10, you can add BlackBerry data. Of course you won’t be able to use a BlackBerry on Virgin until the end of this month when it launches the Curve 8530 for $299.99, but the prospect of a pre-paid BlackBerry plan for $35 is worth waiting a few weeks for, right? 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 →
Hot on the heels of the Mini and GT350, LG announced the GS500 Cookie Plus. Carrying on in the tradition of the plain old Cookie which sold some 10mm units world-wide, in reality the Cookie Plus aims to please with a “cartoon-like UI” complete with 18 blinding themes, a 3 megapixel camera enhanced by the devices ability to edit pictures before firing them off as an MMS (this should thrill paranoid, sexting weary parents), FM tuner, all the social media support a tween could ever hope for and dozens of widgets. Pricing was absent from the press release, but the GS500 Cookie Plus will start to hit shelves in Italy and France next month with 45 more countries to follow. Oh, how could we forget — LG “plans to offer a full batch of new Cookie handsets in 2010″. Cute. More →
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!
Oh no… one of our close AT&T connects informed us that AT&T might be following in Verizon’s footsteps and requiring a mandatory feature plan with some feature phones. More →
Like we exclusively reported yesterday, Verizon is overhauling most of their voice, text, and family plans. To start things off, there’s an Unlimited Talk rate plan which will run $69.99/month that can also be upgraded to $89.99 to be all inclusive of text, photo, and video messaging, dubbed the Unlimited Talk & Text plan. Continuting the revamp, we have new Family SharePlan plans like $119.99 which will get you unlimited voice, and $149.99 which will include voice as well as unlimited messaging. Those rates apply for the first 2 lines, and each additional line is $49.99. Our other exclusive scoop on Verizon redoing featurephone data plans also turned out to be spot on, as Big Red will now start requiring a $9.99/month 25MB data plan with select “multimedia” handsets. You can look for these new plans to get into effect starting January 18th. Hit the link for the rest of the details! More →
One day after it was announced that WIND Mobile is allowed to launch its network without without delay, Canadians across the country are still giddy with excitement as they anticipate the impending launch of the nation’s fourth major wireless carrier. And while WIND has yet to publicly announce plan pricing (or a specific launch date, for that matter), HowardForums user Windsider has publishing what is claimed to be the official plans and their respective pricing. So without further ado, hit the jump to check out the plans; they’re impressive to say the least.
Thanks to everyone that sent this in! More →
We’ve been following T-Mobile’s Project Dark ever since it was a little twinkle in the eyes of Robert Dotson’s crew, but now the day has come for it all to become official. There are a lot of different options to chose from, but for simplicities sake we’re going to focus on the two biggies. Individuals will be able to get unlimited talk, texts and web for $99.99 with Even More (Contract) and $79.99 with Even More Plus (no contract). We admit that the plans aren’t anywhere near as good as we or anyone else had initially thought, and no doubt a lot of people who sign a contract aren’t going to be thrilled at paying a lot more than their contract-free counterparts, but hey, at least another major carrier has entered the unlimited business for the second time. Now where are those new handsets at?
Oh yeah. You read that correctly. We’ve received a couple tips about MMS possibly being down completely for some AT&T subscribers and a quick call to AT&T’s customer care line revealed that there is a known latency issue with MMS in all states with no estimated time of repair.
So we ask you, dear readers: is your MMS feature working on your iPhones?