Texas Instruments announced recently that, even though it reported better than expected chip sales during the fourth quarter of 2011, the company will shut down its plants in Texas and in Japan. Texas Instruments has seen an increased demand for its mobile chips but will close the two factories during the next 18 months while increasing its employee numbers at different plants. The move is an effort to cut costs, Reuters said. The company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $298 million, down from $942 million during the same quarter last year. Revenue also fell from $3.53 billion last year to $3.42 billion during the fourth quarter. “Everybody feared we’d end the holiday season with abysmal sales,” Cody Acree, an analyst with Williams Financial, told Reuters. “The reality is that end-demand is better than TI customers had originally feared. We’re not calling for great growth but we’re not heading into the abyss.” More →
Sprint has received subpoenas from Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington regarding its opposition of AT&T’s planned $39 billion T-Mobile USA acquisition, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division also issued a subpoena. Sprint has been a staunch opponent of the deal and its CEO Dan Hesse has said the acquisition will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. He also said that “clearly, purely, [Sprint wants] to win and block the merger,” when it was revealed that Hesse was working with 18 state regulators to block the acquisition. The deal is getting an in-depth investigation from both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. On June 22nd, AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the acquisition was on schedule for approval in March of next year. An AT&T spokesperson told Reuters that AT&T also received the same nine subpoenas. More →
AT&T confirmed on Wednesday that it will deploy its 4G LTE network in five markets this summer, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The carrier did not specify additional markets slated to be rolled out in 2011, but it did say 10 additional markets will be deployed this year and 70 million Americans will be covered by the end of 2011. By contrast, Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network is currently available in 55 markets and it expects to deploy in 23 more markets next month. AT&T said it expects its network to offer LTE data speeds on a par with its competitors. Hit the break for AT&T’s full press release. More →
It’s the company’s first, and we’re guessing it won’t be the last. Apple is constructing a pop-up store in Austin, Texas to coincide with the launch of the iPad 2 and the ever-popular SXSW festival, which is taking place over the next week and a half. It’s being reported that Apple has rented out a 5,000 square foot, empty retail location that it will stock with Apple employees and merchandise for conference goers traveling outside of their normal stomping grounds. No word yet on whether VeriFone’s CEO will create a video demonstrating flaws with Apple’s iPod touch EasyPay system, however. More →
Today, Texas Instrument announced a new, ARM-based, dual-core processor that has a lust-worthy specification sheet. The OMAP4440 processor, which is based on the Cortex-A9 MPCore, will have both cores clocked at 1.5GHz. The chip will provide a “1.25x increase in graphics performance, a 30 percent decrease in webpage load time, and a 2x increase in 1080p video playback performance.” The press release goes on to note that the new chip will support 1080p stereoscopic 3D, 1080p video conferencing, gesture recognition, two 12 megapixel cameras working in parallel, and a plethora of video codecs and formats.
The OMAP 4 platform is a highly-optimized system-on-chip (SOC) leveraging two ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore general-purpose processors, reaching speeds of 1.5 GHz per core, complemented by two ARM Cortex-M3 cores to power-efficiently offload time-critical and control tasks. High-performance multimedia capabilities are provided by programmable cores including a POWERVR™ 3D graphics engine, TI IVA 3 for high-definition/multi-standard video, TI image signal processor (ISP) for high-quality/high-megapixels imaging, TI low-power audio processor and TI digital signal processor (DSP) based on the TI C64x DSP for natural user interface and signal processing innovations optimized for mobile applications.
Texas Instrument says that the OMAP4440 will be shipped in sample quantities to manufacturers in the first half of 2011 with full production kicking off during the second half of the year. More →
There have been rumors floating around the internet about Verizon Wireless offering a second, “tiered” data plan, and that rumor was confirmed today. America’s largest wireless provider will begin offering a $15 monthly data plan to 3G smartphone users that offers 150MB data allowance. The carrier will bill overages at $15 per 150MB and the $30, unlimited data plan will remain unchanged.
Also hot off the rumor wagon, Engadget is reporting that Verizon is testing calling plans with unlimited, any-mobile-to-mobile minutes — a la Sprint — in select markets across Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The plans range from $60 all the way up to $130 — offering between 450 and 2000 minutes — and include unlimited text messaging. The unlimited mobile-to-mobile offerings are available until the end of 2010 at which point, we assume, Verizon will either expand or cancel the plans depending on demand. More →
Today, MetroPCS announced Dallas/Fort Worth as their second LTE, 4G market to go live. You may recall that the company announced the availability of LTE in Las Vegas, NV just several weeks ago. Currently, the pre-paid mobile carrier offers the Samsung Craft as their only 4G handset; the device retails for $299 with monthly plans costing $55. The company reiterated that their “4G LTE network rollouts in the remaining MetroPCS markets are planned for later this year and early 2011.” More →
Saddleback Leather Co., a San Antonio based purveyor of leather products, has sent us a few items to give away to you, our beloved readers. The company sent us over a large gadget pouch (retail $55), which is designed to fit Apple’s iPad but will fit any gizmo of similar proportions, as well as a small gadget pouch (retail $31) that is perfect for the mobile device of your choosing. The raw-hide pouches are made of thick, high-quality leather, very unique, and come with the following warranty:
All of our products are fully warranted against all defects in materials and workmanship for 100 years. If you or one of your descendants should have a problem, send it back to me or one of my descendants and we’ll repair or replace it for free or we’ll give you a credit on the website (be sure to mention the warranty in your will).
To enter the giveaway:
- Drop a comment below and specify whether you are interested in the small pouch, large pouch, or if it doesn’t matter.
- Multiple entries will disqualify you and the devices are not included in the giveaway.
- The contest will run from now until Monday, September 13 at 11:59 PM ET.
Verizon is offering a very interesting new cellular plan “for eligible consumers in select Texas and Louisiana markets” coined “Unlimited Any Mobile plans.” The press release reads:
Eligible consumers may sign up for a single line Nationwide Unlimited Talk plan that allows the customer to call and send text, picture and video messages to anyone in the United States regardless of service provider for $59.99-$79.99 monthly access. Nationwide Family SharePlans will also have the new Unlimited Any Mobile plan options for $99.99-$129.99 monthly access.
Current customers are eligible to move to the new plan without penalty and without having to renew their contract. The five plans available look like this:
Single Line Plans:
- 450 minutes for $59.99
- 900 minutes for $79.99
- 700 minutes for $99.99
- 1400 minutes for $119.99
- 2000 minutes for $129.99
You qualify for one of the new plan if you have a phone number with the 210, 214, 254, 318, 325, 361, 430, 432, 439, 469, 512, 682, 806, 817, 830, 903, 915, 940, 956 or 972 area code. A Verizon spokesperson would only say that the offerings “are promotional plans specific to some customers.” Here’s to hoping that the unlimited mobile calling plans are wildly successful and propagate throughout the country. Would anyone else like to see these plans expanded beyond Texas and the Bayou? More →
After last year’s embarrassment at SXSW, AT&T is going overboard to ensure a similar wireless network meltdown does not happen again this year at the annual technology conference in Austin, Texas. To avoid a second such disaster, AT&T is throwing a ton of cash and bringing in an equal amount of equipment for the SXSW conference including:
- Installing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Austin Convention Center. The DAS is comprised of 50 antenna nodes that provide the equivalent coverage of eight cell sites.
- Improving the cell sites in the surrounding area by utilizing 30MHz of spectrum for 3G instead of the standard 10MHz and upgrading the system to include the 850MHz band and HSPA.
- Bringing in three temporary cell sites that are positioned in areas expected to see high traffic.
- Improving the backhaul by beefing up the fiber optic connections that serve the eight cell sites of the DAS and the three temporary sites. According to sources within AT&T, the backhaul capacity has seen a fourfold increase.
The stakes are high for AT&T as a network failure could wipe away any gains in consumer confidence AT&T saw following its favorable review from PC World last week. With its reputation on the line, will AT&T and its 3G network rise to the occasion or will it crumble to its knees under the strain of a mob of iPhone-toting geeks? Predictions are welcome in the comments. More →