How jaded have we become when we automatically assume that an "unlimited" data plan isn't really unlimited at all, but capped at whatever amount the ISP deems is high enough that no one will notice? So imagine our surprise when we caught wind that AT&T's Mark Siegel told GearLog.com that "unlimited is unlimited" when asked about the iPad's 3G data plan.
That's great news for soon-to-be iPad owners holding out for the 3G version to ship. Watch Netflix videos around the clock if you want, and never worry about receiving a letter that you've exceeded your "unlimited" quota. It's hard to believe that we're actually excited about this, but blame it on the ISPs who up to this point had us questioning what the definition of "unlimited" is, never mind what the definition of "is" is.
Apple will begin shipping 3G-capable iPads later this month for $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB, and $829 (64GB). AT&T's 3G data plan for the iPad runs $30 per month.
All of Lenovo's ThnkPad laptops are 3G-enabled, and the OEM offers the largest selection of 4G-enabled laptops. Starting soon, Lenovo will add support for Sprint 3G and 4G as well, the company announced this week.
"Adding Sprint to our network of supported carriers gives customers even more 3G choice and expanded connectivity points with the fast speeds of Sprint 4G," said Dilip Bhatia, executive director, ThinkPad Product Marketing, Lenovo. "Demand for constant, fast wireless technology has become an expectation, and it's now mission critical for doing business today."
Lenovo says connecting to Sprint 3G or 4G will be a breeze, as the laptops will come with a SIM card already installed. All the user needs to do is fire up Lenovo's Access Connection tool, which Lenovo says is the "only tool available from a PC maker that can manage both 3G and 4G network connections."
With little fanfare, Google has announced a version of the Nexus One compatible with AT&T’s 3G bands. The only version available previously was only able to get speedy 3G on T-Mobile. Pricing remains the same as the T-Mobile version at $529 for the unlocked phone. However, there is no carrier tie in here as there was for T-Mobile. This means that you won’t be able to opt for a subsidy on the handset in exchange for signing a contract. Google claims to be working with AT&T on a possible subsidy deal.
The T-Mobile version apparently sold only 135,000 units since release. With the phone now fully compatible with one of the largest carriers in the US, those lackluster sales may pick up a bit. Versions of the Nexus One are also slated to be released for Vodafone in Europe and Verizon in the US.
If you are currently an AT&T customer, a quick SIM card swap should get you up and running. New Customers will have to buy a $25 SIM card. So, are you Android faithful tempted by this, or are you holding out for the Verizon compatible handset?
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said on Friday that he sees mobile internet devices making up the vast majority of the company’s profits, possibly as much as 70-80%, in as little as 5 years. Currently, most sales come from the Thinkpad and Ideapad line of notebooks. Lenovo plans to accomplish this changeover by expanding into emerging markets. Devices likely to make up these sales are tablets, smartphones, and smartbooks.
Lenovo is currently the world’s number four PC maker, having purchased IBM’s PC division in 2005. The China based company just released their first touchscreen smartphone, the Ophone O1, in China. Lenovo also plans to release another phone called the LePhone sometime in mid 2010. Most of Lenovo’s energies are being focused on the China market as part of their “protect and attack” strategy. After they feel more secure in China, Lenovo may more into underserved markets like Latin America and Eastern Europe.
It may be a while before the new cell standard known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) comes to your neck of the woods, but Verizon is already deep in testing of the new technology. They’ve been so good as to release some early speed estimates based on their tests in Boston and Seattle. The results are pretty good, but frankly not as good as we’d hoped.
According to Verizon’s PR statement, the LTE network is substantially faster than the current Ev-Do Rev. A network Big Red is running. This certainly doesn’t surprise anyone though. Verizon engineers were able to get an impressive 40-50Mbps down and 20-25Mbps up with ideal conditions. You know, the sort of ideal conditions you will basically never experience. Real world speeds should be around 5-12Mbps down and 2-5Mbps up.
This is nice (really, we’d love to get speeds like that on a cell network), but a little discouraging when you consider the theoretical max for this new LTE equipment is in the neighborhood of 100Mbps down. This is still preliminary, and the network could be stronger than expected when it rolls out to 25-30 markets later this year. With T-Mobile expected to bump up their data to HSPA+ 3G at 21Mbps maximum speed, the initial difference may not be as stark as we thought.
The folks at Engadget noticed an interesting similarity in an FCC filing that Google made late last week. The filing included details for a new handset that supports 3G on WCDMA Bands I, II, and V, providing the capability to work on AT&T’s network.
The original Nexus One filing listed the FCC ID of the device as NM899100. The new filing had an ID of NM899110. The model ID on the device follows the same one-digit-off scheming. Since there is only a minor change in IDs, it is likely a variant device of the same model. All signs are pointing to a Nexus One that will work off of T-Mobile’s network and fully support 3G speeds.
Right now, you could chalk up $529 and get yourself a Nexus One that is unlocked, which will surely work on other networks. Downside is, that the 3G support within the handset only works with T-Mobile’s network so you're stuck in slow-mo.
The first part of a typical Apple product launch is out of the way now. During the second leg, skeptics will grudgingly make one final attempt at understanding the device just as fanboys get better at pretending that they know pretty much everything they need to know. Both sides can now also factor in the newfangled prospect of making VoIP calls over the iPad's 3G connection when making their case.
Apple today updated the iPhone developer SDK to accommodate VoIP apps. The move was accompanied by the launch of iCall, the first and only VoIP app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement leaves us with one question, though. Will the iPad support VoIP apps out of the box? There is little reason why it shouldn't.
Apple's ban on VoIP functionality riled many feathers while it lasted. The company's refusal to allow Google Voice to run natively on the iPhone wrecked its relationship with Google, which eventually launched a browser-based HTML 5 app to circumvent the ban. Ironically, VoIP functionality comes to the iPhone barely 24 hours after the launch of the web-based Google Voice app.
It is not clear how this fresh development impacts the hitherto unapproved Google Voice app, which Google claims is not a VoIP app. It uses the carrier's voice network to make phone calls and not the internet connection.
Regardless of how you feel about the newly announced iPad, it’s probably going to do a few things very well. But will it be the reading device we’ve all been waiting for? Steve Jobs pushed the iBook store in the keynote, and discussed how the Kindle pioneered ebooks. Jobs then said Apple would “stand on [Amazon’s] shoulders”. Can it work?
The obvious benefit of the iPad is that it has a color screen. There will be more options for text size, search, and even font choices. Magazines and newspapers will look nice, but reading an old fashioned book may not benefit much. The Kindle and other eReaders have a 16 level eInk display meant to be easy to read. The screen on the iPad, being a conventional LCD, may not be quite so easy on the eyes.
Content wise, the iPad may be in good shape. Out of the gate it will have content from Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Harper Collins and Hachette. It will also support the open ePub format, which is more than we can say for Amazon. This means the iPad will have access to Google Books. The Nook has ePub support also, so it’s not a total win for Apple.
Price is certainly of concern. The iPad is clocking in at $499 for the 16GB version sans 3G. That’s quite a bit more than the Kindle and Nook at $260. To get data on the go, you need to purchase an AT&T data plan for the (more expensive) iPad, whereas the Kindle and Nook come with free wireless. Granted, the iPad does much more than eBooks, but buying it primarily as a reading device may be a questionable move.
If you're a Nexus One owner struggling with 3G connectivity problems, hang tight, because a fix is on the way, Google said on Monday.
"Our engineers have uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users," a Google employee named Ivar said in a Google Nexus One support forum. "We are testing this fix now, initial results are positive, and if everything progresses as planned, we will provide an over-the-air software update to your phone in the next week or so."
Ivar was quick to caution, however, that the fix won't address all 3G problems users have reported having, especially those that are the result of "being on the edge or outside of 3G coverage, which a product fix cannot address."
A leak of new training materials today have indicated that Verizon Wireless will be making some changes to its plans starting January 18th. First off, Verizon is getting rid of the all-inclusive Premium Plan. Big Red is also dropping the prices of their unlimited plans by 30%. This actually places the cost for unlimited minutes below that of AT&T.
Verizon is making some changes to their data plans as well. The carrier is going to offer a new 25MB data package for $9.99 per month, but the full $29.99 data plan is still required for smartphones. The new cheaper data plan is geared toward so-called “Multimedia Phones”, which will now require customers to purchase this plan. This seems to be a category Verizon has just made up, and includes handsets like the Chocolate Touch, the enV3, Moto Entice, and Nokia Twist among others.
While we’re happy to see the big price drop in unlimited plans, the new required data plans for some feature phones is disappointing. Do you think it’s reasonable?