AT&T has dropped its requirement that all customers purchasing “quick messaging devices” — or QMDs for short – subscribe to an unlimited texting plan. According to Fierce Wireless, AT&T implemented the rule in January 2010 before quietly discontinuing it sometime in February of this year. The unlimited texting plan was priced at $20 per month, and while it’s no longer mandatory, AT&T does recommend that customers purchasing a messaging feature phone continue to sign up for an unlimited plan. AT&T’s portfolio of QMDs includes the Samsung Strive, LG VU Plus, Pantech Impact, and Samsung Solstice II, among others. AT&T subscribers can also opt for a cheaper $10 monthly plan that provides just 1,000 text messages per month. More →
According to leaked internal documents, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless may soon offer new unlimited voice/text/web plans. One image, obtained by TmoNews, suggests that T-Mobile will quietly launch a new “Truly Unlimited Data + Talk + Text” option on April 13th that will retail for $79.99 per month. T-Mobile will supposedly not cap data for this plan, but will instead reduce data throughput speeds (throttle) after a user surpasses 2GB in a single billing cycle. Another image leaked by Droid-Life suggests that Verizon Wireless is also gearing up to release a new unlimited plan for just $50 per month. It will supposedly include unlimited mobile to mobile calling, text, and web for customers opting for service without a contract. We’re thinking this could be limited to feature phones only, given Verizon’s choice to call it “unlimited web” instead of “unlimited data” — “unlimited data” is terminology Verizon typically uses when referring to smartphones. Neither carrier has officially announced the new plans, however. Hit the jump for more images. More →
Viber, the popular iPhone application that allows for free calling to other Viber users, has been updated to version 2.0.1. After applying the update, Viber users will be able to send and receive free text messages to one another, complete with notifications. Viber has also been updated with a number of UI changes — the favorites have been moved, the calling mechanism has been improved and now shows the current state of any Viber call, and the application now has a deactivation feature. The update is available in iTunes now. More →
In response to last week’s tsunami, AT&T has announced that its wireless customers, in the United States and Puerto Rico, can call or text Japan for free through March 31st. AT&T has also said it will not charge its wireless postpaid customers for international long distance calls or texts to Japan that were placed after March 11th. Similarly, AT&T wireline customers can seek credit for up to 60 minutes of direct calls placed to Japan during the March 11th to March 31st time period. Anyone who wishes to donate $10 to the Red Cross can do so by texting “redcross” to 90999. More →
Like Sprint’s ZTE Peel iPod touch case, the Apple Peel 520 gives Apple’s iPod touch the ability to connect to a cellular data network. Unlike the ZTE Peel, the Apple Peel also allows users to send and receive voice calls and SMS from an iPod touch. In other works, the Apple Peel picks up where Sprint’s iPod case left off. It looks like Yoison, the company behind the Apple Peel, is already working on a next-generation Peel that brings several additions to the table. The most apparent change is a redesigned case that makes the iPod touch look like an iPhone 4. Other changes include added support for Apple’s fourth-generation iPod touch (the current Apple Peel 520 supports the third-generation model), and GPRS data support in addition to EDGE. Unfortunately, however, it looks like 3G is still off limits. Yoison has not yet made any announcements with regard to pricing or availability. Hit the break for a video of the new model in action. More →
According to a report filed by GearLive, AT&T is preparing to update its text messaging offerings with the changes taking effect next week. The changes themselves are pretty straight forward. In a two for one swap, Ma’ Bell will be discontinuing its $5 per month, 200 message and $15 per month, 1,500 message plans replacing them with a $10 per month 1,000 message offering. The $20 per month, unlimited messaging plan will be left untouched. Those who currently subscribe to one of plans being discontinued will be allowed to keep the feature until their next change of service. What do you think? Is this move going to save or cost you money? More →
According to a report from ZDNet blog Hardware 2.0, Google’s Android platform is being plagued by a bug that Google is, for the most part, ignoring. The bug causes SMS messages to be delivered to the wrong recipient and occurrences appear to be random. Relegated to “Priority-Medium” on the Android developer forums, the bug was first reported to Google over six months ago in June, 2010, and yet it has still not been addressed. Perhaps the simplest description of the issue comes from the developer who first reported it:
- Send SMS message to RecipientA.
- Message appears to be successfully sent to RecipientA.
- RecipientX receives message.
- ‘View Message Details’ in RecipientA thread, shows ‘To’ field as being RecipientX’s MSISDN (phone number).
Numerous subsequent posts on the thread confirm the bug. In an on-site poll, Hardware 2.0 also asks readers if they have been affected by this SMS bug. At the time this post was written, 30% of poll-takers indicated that the bug has affected their Android phones at some point. More →
Regional wireless provider U.S. Cellular has announced three new prepaid calling plans just in time for the holiday buying season. The new plans, which all include unlimited text messaging, will offer 200, 400, or 1000 talk minutes and retail for $29, $39, and $49 respectively; the 400 minute plan will also include 5GB of monthly data usage.
“With balancing the budget on the minds of many, prepaid plans can help customers stay on top of spending and don’t require a contractual agreement,” quips the press release. “U.S. Cellular’s new prepaid plans offer spending flexibility through unlimited messaging choices and graduated levels of included voice minutes.”
Apple finally approved (or accepted) Google’s official Google Voice app for the iPhone just minutes ago, and while 3rd party versions of the software were allowed back in a couple months ago, sometimes there isn’t anything like the official version. We messed around with the app and here are some of our initial thoughts:
- We love how straight forward the app is to use. You’d think this would be the case for any application, but Google really nails the usability angle here.
- Dialing a number quickly and efficiently is the most important part of a phone calling app, and since you have to manually switch to another app and not the iPhone phone app, you don’t want to waste more time by jumping around tabs, and different screen views. On here, hit the dialer tab, and you’re ready to dial. Also of note: Google Voice for iPhone makes use of outbound dialing, so you never have to wait for an incoming call to ring your phone, you just “dial out”.
- One major issue with Google Voice’s web apps and iPhone-optimized website, was that the experience was kind of lousy. You’d want to dial or shoot a quick text message off but couldn’t due to the fact the entire UI was in Safari, thus it scrolled around, sometimes would be a little delayed, etc. The app provides very quick access to SMS creation and sending, especially for conversations not yet started. This is important here, because the faster these tasks get, the more people will use Google Voice and centralize their calling/texting habits and behaviors.
- The inbox view is great — you have all your voicemails, incoming calls, missed calls, text messages and recorded calls in one neat, and super clean-looking list. You can also manually view just a specific category like voicemails or text message if you’d like, however.
- Push notifications on here are lightning fast, and are so, so necessary.
All in all, this is close enough to an integrated experience like Android offers to make iPhone-using Google Voice users extremely happy. Now if they could only work on their voicemail transcriptions… Check out our hands on photos in the gallery!
Our Inbox is flooded with complaints from frustrated Google Voice users who are unable to login to their accounts. Navigating to Google Voice via the browser simply yields a 502 error and trying to access GV from the ; the reports began to flow in about 30 minutes ago. Sound off Google Voice users. Is it working for you?
UPDATE: Google Voice seems to have just come back up. We’re not sure what caused the outage, but we’ve reached out to Google and will update this post with any response.