Microsoft on Thursday announced a new round of challenges for its “Smoked By Windows Phone” contest series. If users with non-Windows Phone handsets can perform a variety of tasks faster than a Microsoft Windows Phone, they can win a limited edition Hunger Games PC (HP Folio 13 Special Edition) valued at $1,049.00. Even those who lose the challenge can still win, however, as Microsoft will be handing out unlocked Windows Phones to those willing to trade in their current smartphones. It should be noted, however, that this is a skill-based competition and has nothing to do with benchmarks. “The object of this Contest is for You to come into the Microsoft Store and try to beat the Microsoft Windows Phone in a series of five (5) “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge scenarios selected by Microsoft at its sole discretion including: (1) Pocket-to-Picture-to-Post, (2) Real-Time Information with Live Tiles, (3) Using the People Hub to Stay in Touch with the People You Care About Most, (4) Updating Your Status Across Multiple Social Networks, and (5) Local Scout (“Challenge”).” The contest runs from March 22nd to March 29th in Microsoft’s 14 U.S. retail locations. More →
AT&T has a lot of work to do before its emerging 4G LTE network provides coverage that even approaches Verizon Wireless’s year-old LTE network. Verizon LTE covers more than 200 million people across 190 U.S. cities as of December 15th — though the network suffered a major network outage early Wednesday morning — and the carrier is committed to continuing its rapid expansion in 2012. While AT&T’s 4G LTE service is only live in a handful of cities right now, a recent study conducted by wireless device testing firm Metrico Wireless shows that AT&T’s LTE network is no slouch when it comes to throughput. Read on for more. More →
BGR noted during our hands-on look at the LG Nitro HD that AT&T’s next-generation 4G LTE network has gone live in New York ahead of launch, and it looks like another market has gone live as well: Phoenix, Arizona. Our speed tests Thursday night on AT&T’s fledgling 4G LTE network were nothing to scoff at — we saw nearly 7Mbps down and about 9Mbps up — but AT&T subscribers in Phoenix will be excited to learn that early speed test results reveal blistering download speeds up to 40Mbps and upload speeds in excess of 10Mbps. Read on for more. More →
BGR exclusively reported last week that AT&T’s 4G LTE network has gone live in both Chicago and Atlanta, and at that time it was unclear if LTE was only available intermittently for testing or if the network had been soft-launched. Here we are a week later and the network is still live in both of these markets — and in the Dallas/Forth Worth area as well as in Houston, BGR has learned — so it is likely safe to say the latter is the case. More importantly in light of the fact that Labor Day is behind us and AT&T has been touting a summer launch for months, the carrier should make the launches official any day now. Considering AT&T’s network was recently ranked worst in the nation by J.D. Power, 4G LTE service can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, however, BGR was sent a video of AT&T’s new $700 Jetstream tablet running on the carrier’s LTE network in Chicago. A speed test shows that downloads peaked at over 22Mbps while upload speeds climbed above 6Mbps. AT&T’s previous-generation fourth-generation HSPA+ network is hardly lacking in the speed department, but it looks like LTE will top its performance and then some. A video showcasing a live test of AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds on the HTC Jetstream follows below. More →
Following BGR’s exclusive report on Monday revealing that AT&T’s 4G LTE network has gone live in Chicago, we have received new images confirming that the network is alive and kicking in Atlanta as well. A source has provided BGR with multiple images of AT&T’s 4G LTE service in action, and we have verified that the tester is indeed located in Atlanta, Georgia. Our source in Chicago had trouble finding full service, but Atlanta seems to be blanketed a bit better at this pre-launch stage. Using an AT&T Elevate 4G LTE mobile hotspot, our tester in Atlanta saw download speeds approach 25Mbps and upload speeds in excess of 8Mbps — much faster than the already speedy tests we saw up north. Again, these pre-launch tests do not necessarily represent the data speeds AT&T subscribers will see when the 4G LTE network officially goes live this summer. And just as was the case in Chicago, it is unclear if AT&T’s 4G LTE network has been soft launched in Atlanta or if service will only appear intermittently while the network is being tested. Images showing AT&T 4G LTE speed tests in Atlanta can be seen in our photo gallery, which is linked below.
AT&T’s 4G LTE network went live this past weekend in the Chicago area, and initial speed tests reveal impressive download speeds. AT&T has yet to announce the availability of LTE service in Chicago or any other launch market, but BGR has obtained exclusive images and speed test results from a source who has tested the network there. Ahead of an official launch, AT&T 4G LTE service is likely to be available only intermittently during testing, though it is also possible that Chicago has been soft launched following the launch of AT&T’s first two 4G LTE devices last week. Read on for more.More →
Verizon Wireless just sent us the 4G LTE-equipped version of Samsung’s flagship Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and we’re ready to deliver our initial impressions. First things first: this should go without saying at this point, but this puppy is ridiculously fast. Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network is unmatched when it comes speed and latency — from the user’s perspective, it’s pretty much like being connected to a Wi–Fi network. A few quick tests performed just outside New York City showed the blazing-fast speed we’ve come to expect from Verizon’s 4G network, ranging from about 12-15Mbps down and 3-5Mbps up. On the hardware side of the equation, Samsung’s LTE tablet has undergone a handful of cosmetic changes. Holding the slate in landscape orientation, the stereo speakers have been moved up the sides of the device to accommodate the power button and the volume rocker, which are now on the left side of the Tab 10.1 instead of up on top. The back of the tablet is also slightly different. It now features a gray plastic rear cover with a brushed metal effect. We like the look of the new back but unfortunately, the quality seems to be a bit lacking. Within a few minutes of removing the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 from its box, there were already a few scratches on the back case. Overall build is solid, however, just like our original limited edition 10.1 model, and it’s still remarkable that Samsung was able to make this tablet so thin. Check out our hands-on 4G LTE Galaxy Tab 10.1 photo gallery below for more photos of this sleek, speedy slate.
A new page on T-Mobile USA’s website makes some fairly bold claims about the carrier’s premier Honeycomb tablet, the LG G-Slate. In comparing the sleek device to its steepest competition at AT&T and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile says the G-Slate is “more than two times faster than the Apple iPad 2 on AT&T and Verizon, and three times faster than the Motorola XOOM on Verizon — and it’s less expensive, too!” At $399.99 with a 2-year data contract or $599.99 off contract, there is no question that the G-Slate is cheaper. Apple’s 3G iPad 2 is $729 with the same 32GB of storage and the Motorola XOOM is $599.99 on contract or $799.99 contract-free. Regarding the speed-related claims, some questions have been raised as to how T-Mobile came to those conclusions. “An independent third party conducted testing to compare T-Mobile’s G-Slate, AT&T’s iPad 2 and Verizon Wireless’ Motorola XOOM,” a T-Mobile spokesperson told BGR in an email. “The testing was conducted in two cities – New York and Seattle – across 30 locations and at least five repetitions with each device per location per market. The total sample size was 300 tests encompassing at least 70 percent of a market.” T-Mobile has once again pitted its 4G HSPA+ service against comparable networks from its two largest competitors, and according to this third-party study, the nation’s No. 4 carrier has again come out on top. BGR reviewed T-Mobile’s G-Slate tablet this past April and found that the hardware was best-in-class, though we were not impressed with Google’s initial build of Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
During Microsoft’s MIX conference in Las Vegas, Windows Phone director Joe Belfiore took the stage to demonstrate how well Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 9 mobile browser can render HTML5 websites. He fired up a device running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone “Mango” update with IE9 installed and hardware acceleration, and then started an HTML5 speed test pitting the Mango device against the iPhone 4 and the Google Nexus S. Belfiore was so confident in the new browser that he gave the iPhone 4 a head start. Nonetheless, IE9 loaded the demo faster and came out on top, having displayed the test at 20 frames per second. It was followed by the Android browser on the Nexus S, which rendered the same demo at 11 frames per second, and then the iPhone 4 at 2 frames per second. This wasn’t exactly an independent test given that it was preformed by Microsoft and likely under optimal conditions, but we are definitely still impressed with what we’ve seen so far — let’s just hope the update to Mango goes a bit smoother than NoDo. Hit the jump for the video comparison. More →
While Verizon Wireless just announced two new 4G LTE devices that are going to serve up insanely fast mobile broadband speeds, Samsung’s 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is the first one in our hands. We’ve been rockin’ and rollin’ over Verizon’s 4G LTE network for a little while thanks to the new mobile hotspot, and we’re happy to report extremely fast speeds around 12Mbps down and 5.5Mbps up on average — the fastest speeds that the device is rated for. In terms of size, it’s just a tad thicker than the original Novatel MiFi unit we rely on for our mobile connectivity. We haven’t had enough time to test battery life for ourselves, but we’ll report back. The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is available online from Verizon Wireless starting today, and will be in stores beginning tomorrow for $99.99 with a two-year service agreement. Check out our hands-on gallery with some comparison photos!
Following its announcement last month, LG’s Optimus 2X has become one of the most anticipated upcoming Android handsets thanks to the dual-core Tegra 2 processor buried within its sleek, slim case. Of course, all that will change on Thursday when new dual-core Android phones are introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but for the time being, all eyes are on the 2X. Zealous enthusiast blog Android Arena has uncovered a short comparison video that pits the Optimus 2X’s Tegra-fueled Web browser against the iPhone 4, and LG’s Android beast certainly appears to come out on top. Though the tests are anything but scientific and only two Web pages were visited on camera, the video clearly shows the iPhone 4 being bested by the Optimus 2X, which apparently loads images and other content much faster than Apple’s iPhone. Hit the break for the video. More →
There’s nothing like starting a carrier flame-war to get you through the rest of the week is there? PC Mag has just finished a mobile broadband study pitting the data rates of U.S. carriers AT&T, Cricket, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint 3G and Sprint 4G against one another. Now, before we all get hot under the collar, the study parameters clearly state:
We didn’t test voice quality, dropped calls or coverage areas; while those are very important measurements, these tests were all about mobile Internet. We ran approximately 1,000 rounds of tests (totaling more than 10,000 individual tests) in 20 cities.
The PC Mag data has crowned AT&T as the overall winner; not to mention the winner of the Southern, Central, and Western regions of the United States. T-Mobile, thanks to their HSPA and HSPA+ rollouts, took the speed title in the Northeast region. We understand that a cellular phone isn’t much good without the phone component, but what do you think about the network speeds? Surprised? More →
Some of you might be privy to a little bit of confidential BGR info, but for those of you who are not: I went to Chicago recently. In a car. Besides me harboring a hate for the entire of state of Pennsylvania, (because it’s ridiculously long to drive through) the trip was quite successful. One of the main reasons why I didn’t mind being in a car seven times longer than being in a plane was because I was blessed by two MiFi units; a Verizon Wireless unit and a Sprint unit. Plus, what better way to really test out two mostly identical devices on two completely different networks when you’re covering around 1700 miles round trip. I didn’t do a really vigorous string of tests or anything near our much-loved BGR Carrier Wars series. Instead I used one unit exclusively on the way to Chicago from New York City and the other unit on the way back. Here’s what I found…