PC purists might contend that the joke's on all iPad owners who bought into iOS and the Apple ecosystem rather than invest in Android or hold out for any number of promising tablets on the horizon, like RIM's PlayBook and HP's TouchPad. But the real joke is on Verizon iPad 2 owners who report problems connecting to Verizon's 3G network, only it's no laughing matter to those affected. After blowing up Apple's support forum, the Cupertino outfit finally acknowledged the problem, but doesn't yet have a solution.
AT&T is letting slip more details of their post-acquisition plans for T-Mobile as time goes on. Up on offer this evening is the degree to which T-Mobile's spectrum will be used for AT&T's 4G LTE network. The long and short of it is, that T-Mobile customers with 3G phones will need to replace those handsets in order to continue receiving data after the deal is done.
Our condolences to anyone who purchased a first generation iPad shortly before Apple launched the iPad 2. Since the launch, Apple and its partners dropped the price of all iPad 1 models by $100, meaning you could purchase a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad for $399. That's a pretty good deal, but AT&T just took things to a whole new level by slashing the price of the flagship 3G 64GB iPad 1 by $300.
As a Web-only special, AT&T is selling the top-end device from last generation for $529, down from its original selling price of $829, and still $200 cheaper than what Apple is trying to unload first gen iPads for.
The one "gotcha" is that you're required to sign up for one of AT&T's DataConnect Personal Data plans, which are active for 30 days and then automatically renew every month unless you cancel service. That's the only obligation, however, as this isn't a subsidized price based on a 2-year service agreement.
AT&T lost its exclusivity grip on the on the iPhone 4 when Verizon started carrying the Apple device earlier this month, but if it comes as any consolation, the wireless carrier won Ookla's head-to-head broadband tests, Wired reports. You may recognize Ookla as the team behind Speedtest.net, an online broadband metric. Ookla recently turned its attention to the iPhone 4 by compiling data from iPhone users who downloaded and ran the mobile version of Speedtest. Full results after the jump.
After weeks of speculation and rumor, we finally have an official Motorola Xoom price. According to Reuters, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha has confirmed at Mobile World Congress that the Xoom would be priced at $799 for the 3G version on Verizon (no subsidy), and only $600 for the Wi-Fi only tablet. It's not a low as we might have hoped, but at least that $1200 Best Buy price turned out to be just a placeholder.
You may remember early last summer when the brand new iPad 3G ended up being a bit of an embarrassment for AT&T thanks to a security exploit. Some industrious hackers managed to use a brute force attack to extract user email addresses and names. Now, Reuters is reporting that Daniel Spitler and Andrew Auernheimer have been arrested and charged with perpetrating the attack. Auernheimer was previously arrested on an unrelated drug charge.
These shady folks created a hacking tool that masqueraded as 3G iPad, and queries AT&T's servers with random ICC numbers. When a number turned out to be valid, the AT&T servers would autofill the corresponding user's real email address and name. The security hole was blamed on a feature AT&T said was included to make log-ins more convenient for users. The hack exposed the information of high-profile politicians, business execs, and journalists. It's no surprise arrests have been the result.
Both defendants were charged with one count of fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. If convicted, each charge could net the accused five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Verizon is convinced it won't suffer the same network woes as AT&T once it launches the iPhone 4 on February 10. Not coincidentally, Verizon this week announced the activation of 16 new cell sites in the New York Metro region. For those familiar with the area, that includes five new cell sites in both Rockland and Suffolk Counties, three in Westchester County, and additional cell sites in Nassau, New York, and Putnam Counties.
"While establishing our recently-launched 4G LTE network is something we take very seriously, it is important for our customers to know that we are also committed to holding our position as the most reliable 3G network in the nation," said Pat Devlin, New York Metro region president for Verizon Wireless. "As it stands now, the 3G network is what most of our customers are using now. While many will eventually cross over to 4G for business applications and heavier data usage, a good percentage will find that our 3G network will continue to suit their needs very well for the foreseeable future."
In other words, these are all 3G towers, even though Verizon has gone to great lengths promoting its 4G/LTE expansion. And while Verizon isn't saying these new towers are the result of securing the iPhone 4, it's not hard to read between the lines.
A joint statement today from Nokia Siemens and T-Mobile USA offered up some details on the new Long Term HSPA Evolution cellular data standard. The technology should be ready for commercial deployment sometime in 2013. It should be pointed out that these are theoretical maximum speeds. By the time this technology is deployed, it will be competing with LTE 4G networks from AT&T and Verizon. The current generation of LTE has a maximum downlink speed of 400Mbps, so Long Term HSPA Evolution could have a chance.
T-Mobile certainly has a stake in this. The smallest US carrier has not yet announced its plans for a new network technology. Long Term HSPA Evolution is an enhanced 3G technology that is backwards compatible with the current HSPA networks. It's a perfect fit for T-Mobile, as they continue their rollout of 21Mbps HSPA+. If Long Term HSPA Evolution was used, it would take another generation of LTE for Verizon or AT&T to catch up in speed.
The real concern is that a technology needs to be widely adopted to encourage manufacturers to build phones around it. T-Mobile is already hurt by having an odd 1700MHz 3G frequency, using a completely different technology than other North American carriers won't do wonders either.
According to some leaked screens sent to BGR, the ZTE Peel will be available for a mere $79.99 on November 14, with a month-to-month $30 data plan. This isn't just another smartphone. No, the Peel is a device that will snap around the 2nd and 3rd generation iPod Touch providing it with a 3G internet connection on Sprint's network. That $30 monthly fee only gets you 1GB of bandwidth, though.
When you get down to it, this is basically a MiFi that you can connect to two devices, and the unit is attached to one of them. It won't magically grant the iPod the phone features of the iPhone, but with an external mic, you can use various VoIP solutions to fake it. Interestingly, the ZTE Peel does not support the new 4th generation iPod Touch. It was probably designed long before Apple unveiled the device, so it's not that surprising.
Any iPod Touch owners out there looking to pick one up? The lack of a contract makes this a more viable product in our book.
It's long been known that the Chinese authorities don't take kindly to people using sites like Twitter and Facebook in the country. The possibility that people might anonymously congregate on these popular sites frightens them to such a degree that they are blocked by the so-called "Great Firewall". While traditional internet devices and services in China cannot access these and other sites, it looks like the 3G Amazon Kindle is capable of bypassing the Great Firewall.
The 3G version of the Kindle connects to Amazon's Whispernet to access web services. There appears to something about the routing, even using Chinese 3G networks, that allows the device to reach forbidden websites. The result is a thriving grey-market for the e-reader in mainland China. Amazon is not able to sell the Kindle direct to consumers.
One individual that resells Kindles in China claims to be selling over 300 devices per month. Chinese auction sites too are havens for illicit Kindle sales. The only drawback to this method is that the Kindle's web browser is not very pleasing to use, being on a slow device with an eInk screen. We'll have to wait and see if Chinese authorities find a way to block this as well.