Republic Wireless went live on Tuesday with its impossibly cheap $19 unlimited talk, text and data plan, presenting a service that could potentially save some users a tremendous amount of money each month. “Newsflash: anything a cell network can do, the Internet can do better and cheaper,” Republic Wireless touts on its website. “So we think a truly smart smartphone should make a habit of using Wi-Fi for everything. Surfing. Texting. Sharing. And, yes, even talking.” Read on for more. More →
A new wireless carrier named Republic Wireless, a part of Bandwidth.com, will begin to offer unlimited voice, text and data plans on November 8th for just $19 per month. How is that possible? Republic Wireless will route calls and text messages over Wi-Fi networks when available, and when you’re outside of one it will send the calls over a standard cell network. According to GigaOm, Republic Wireless will buy minutes in bulk from Sprint and then resell them to its customers. The carrier will offer special Android phones with support for voice calling over Wi-Fi networks using technology similar to UMA, a feature in several of T-Mobile’s Android and BlackBerry devices. Reportedly, Republic Wireless will also offer unlimited 3G without any data caps. More →
China Mobile has yet to convince Apple to partner on an iPhone that supports its proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network, but that hasn’t stopped the carrier from attracting customers to the device. In fact, China Mobile added 5 million new iPhone users in just four months, and it now serves a total of 9.5 million iPhone users, Bloomberg said. Each of those customers can use text, voice and 2G data, and all of the iPhone models it sells are unsubsidized. That may sound like a turnoff, but China Mobile has increased its iPhone user base by building out a nationwide Wi-Fi network to make up for its 3G shortcomings, and the carrier is also offering rebates worth as much as $440. The carrier plans to add an additional 1 million hotspots throughout China during the next three years, too. China Unicom has been an exclusive iPhone partner in China since 2005 and while it has less 3G subscribers than China Mobile, it is able to offer a 3G-capable iPhone because it operates a WCDMA 3G network. More →
After teasing a new tablet under the parody brand “TabCo” for the past several months, Fusion Garage took the wraps off of the Grid 10 tablet and a new Grid 4 smartphone on Monday. The Grid 10 offers a custom “GridOS” operating system, is equipped with a 10.1-inch 1366 x 768-pixel display and is powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset presumably clocked at 1GHz. The GridOS supports Android applications as well, and users can purchase and download new apps from the “Grid Shop” or from Amazon’s App Store. In addition, GridOS has a unique home screen that allows users to create “clusters” of applications that span over an infinite amount of space. Fusion Garage also announced a GridOS-powered smartphone — the $399 Grid 4, which will ship in the fourth quarter — that will be powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The Grid 10 Wi-Fi tablet will launch on September 15th for $499, and a 3G-capable version will follow for $599. Amazon will carry the tablet and pre-orders are open now. Also of note, all existing JooJoo owners will receive a free Grid 10 in the coming months.
OfficeMax announced on Thursday that it will stock Amazon’s popular Kindle eReader in its nationwide stores beginning on August 7th. The company mentions 3G in its press release so we assume it will only carry the 3G/Wi-Fi version of the eReader and not the ad-supported “Kindle with Special Offers” model. The Kindle provides access to more than 950,000 books and offers a 6-inch E Ink display. OfficeMax did not specify the device’s price, but Amazon currently sells its 3G/Wi-Fi model for $189. Read on for the full press release. More →
Motorola has pushed out Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) to the Motorola ATRIX 4G. The update adds a number of new enhancements unrelated to Gingerbread, including support for 1080p HD video playback, a re-designed home screen with white backgrounds for easier reading of text, an enhanced photo gallery, the ability to dismiss notifications one at a time, a faster Webtop browsing experience, enhancements to the dock icons and more. To update, make sure your ATRIX 4G is connected to a Wi-Fi network and then go to Settings > About Phone > System updates > Download. Read on for a link to Motorola’s website, which includes the full release notes on software v4.5.91. More →
Lenovo announced three new tablets with 10.1-inch displays on Wednesday morning, including the IdeaPad Tablet K1, the ThinkPad Tablet, and the IdeaPad Tablet P1. The Android3.1 (Honeycomb) powered IdeaPad Tablet K1 will be targeted at the everyday consumer and is equipped with a 1280 x 800 resolution screen, HDMI-out, a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s also the first Netflix certified Honeycomb tablet. The 32GB IdeaPad Tablet P1 will be available on July 20th for $499.99, and the company confirmed that a 3G model will also launch in the U.S. at a later date. Lenovo will market its ThinkPad Tablet to business users. It’s equipped with a Gorilla Glass display, features a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, runs Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), has a full-size SD card slot and a USB port, and can be bought with an optional digitizer pen. The 16GB and 32GB ThinkPad Tablets will be available on August 2nd for $479 and $589, respectively. Finally, the IdeaPad Tablet P1 runs Windows 7 and is powered by a 1.5GHz Intel processor. It will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Read on for the full press release. More →
AT&T on Tuesday revealed the first two 4G LTE devices that will launch on its forthcoming LTE network later this summer. The AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will christen the new cellular broadband network, which is set to launch in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio this summer before extending to at least 15 markets later this year. AT&T says 70 million Americans will be covered by its 4G LTE network before the end of 2011. Both the Momentum 4G USB modem and the Elevate 4G mobile hotspot will feature compatibility with AT&T’s HSPA+ 4G network as well, ensuring both coverage and confusion for customers across the country. “AT&T recognizes that customers want a consistent, responsive network performance from major cities to their neighborhood. Our deployment of 4G LTE technology backed by our nationwide HSPA+ network allows us to give customers a superior mobile broadband experience today and for years to come,” said AT&T Mobility SVP, Devices Jeff Bradley in a statement. “As we begin to roll out our 4G LTE network this year, AT&T customers will be able to choose from several new LTE devices, starting with the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G.” The Momentum 4G will cost $49.99 and the Elevate 4G will cost $69.99, each with a 2-year data contract. AT&T’s full press release follows below. More →
Sprint announced on Tuesday that it will offer the Wi-Fi version of Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet for $499 beginning June 24th. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and sports a 10.1-inch display, a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 3-megapixel camera, and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats. We recently reviewed the Galaxy Tab 10.1 developer edition, loaded with Android 3.0, and while it had some faults we still noted that it’s the “thinnest, sexiest Android tablet available today.” Read on for the full press release. More →
We’re big fans of Verizon Wireless’ Novatel Mi-Fi 4510L 4G LTE hotspot, and now you can pick one up for just $49.99 with a new two-year contract — a $50 savings over the original launch price. If a hotspot isn’t quite your style, Verizon is also offering Novatel’s USB551L 4G LTE USB modem for just $19.99 with a new two-year contract. We’ve been blown away by Verizon’s 4G speeds, and we’re told the sale will only last until July 18th, so be sure to check these out if you’re in the market for a new mobile broadband product. More →
Samsung on Thursday announced the nationwide availability of its latest Android tablet starting Friday, June 17th. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 features the latest version of Google’s tablet OS — Android 3.1 Honeycomb — as well as a 10.1-inch WXGA display, Samsung’s TouchWiz UX and a 7,000 mAh battery for up to 9 hours of continuous usage per charge. We reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 last month and found the hardware to be outstanding. Google’s Honeycomb OS left much to be desired, but the Android 3.1 update has been added since our review and several key issues have been addressed. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is priced at $499 for the 16GB model and $599 for the 32GB model, perfectly in line with Apple’s iPad 2. Samsung’s full press release can be found below. More →
Motorola Mobility announced the Televation on Monday, a new device that plugs into a Wi-Fi router and uses your home network to stream live television to connected IP devices. Once it’s plugged into a router, it will automatically translate programming from MPEG-2 to MPEG 4 and match a device’s resolution to display content properly. Motorola is also providing Android and iOS SDKs so that its customers will be able to develop custom applications for finding shows and other content offered by cable providers. “Consumers love entertainment, and want easy access to TV no matter where they are in the home,” said John Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Converged Experiences, Motorola Mobility. “Coupled with the explosive popularity of tablet devices, this represents a terrific opportunity for MSOs [multiple system operators, or cable companies] to increase customer satisfaction while generating new revenue.” Unfortunately, it sounds like Televation will not be a direct-to-consumer product, and will instead be offered to Motorola’s cable partners, so pricing has not yet been announced. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday that the city will soon offer free Wi-Fi in 20 of its parks. AT&T will power the service, which will be available in popular spots such as Prospect Park, Battery Park, and Central Park, later this summer, but New Yorkers can already surf for free in Battery Bosque Park, the Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx, and Thomas Jefferson Park, among others. The public will have ad-free access to the free networks for at least the next five years. No word on whether you’ll actually be able to use an AT&T phone for voice calling in the parks, however.