Verizon thought they were so clever. Big Red’s recent “There’s a map for that” adverts seem to have ruffled some feathers over at AT&T. Now AT&T has filed a federal lawsuit against Verizon for false advertising. The issue comes down to the maps shown in the commercial.
The ad compares 3G coverage areas for the two wireless providers side by side. The red Verizon map, of course, looks much more filled in. AT&T’s map looks sparse by comparison. What many less savvy consumers might not follow is that this is only showing AT&T’s 3G, not EDGE. While Verizon’s entire network is 3G, AT&T still has significant areas covered only by slower EDGE service. AT&T claims that the ad leads people to believe that AT&T does not have coverage at all in the un-highlighted areas.
Indeed, the original version of the ad said that AT&T users outside the highlighted area were “out of touch”. Verizon removed that line and noted that non-3G voice and data were available, but AT&T still wasn’t happy. It’s not really an enviable position for AT&T to be in. They have to argue that Verizon should be making it clear that the AT&T network is available in more places – it’s just very, very slow. Everyone settle in, this might be entertaining.
HTC’s strengths are innovation and diversity. HTC was first on the scene with an Android phone, and is produces Windows Mobile powered devices. HTC has struck deals with nearly every major cell phone provider. All that’s missing is visibility, Chou hopes this will be corrected with an up-coming global ad campaign: “You.” HTC wants to move itself into the first tier of cell phone makers: Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and Apple. It has the products, Chou believes, it lacks the name recognition.
Chou’s outlook on the market is interesting for a CEO. Competition doesn’t frighten him. Instead he views it as a positive: “You cannot expect you are the only player in town…You need other players to come and make the ecosystem stronger.” And Chou is still bullish on Windows Mobile, even though the brand has taken a bit of a dive because “innovation has been a little slow.” (A polite way to say Microsoft messed up on development.)
Chou, however, is careful not to spread HTC too thin. With all the portable electronic opportunities available: netbooks, eReaders, tablet computers, HTC plans to stick with what it knows best. “There is a lot of pressure to do these things, but we are a relatively small company and need to be very picky,” Chou said.
There’s a lot of wisdom in 60s rock ballads. Take The Lovin’ Spoonful, for example: “Did you ever have to make up your mind? Pick up on one and leave the other behind?” So it goes with cell phone contracts. It’s not just the agony of being locked into a one- or two-year deal, it’s also having giving up on what might have been. T-Mobile hopes to lessen the pain a bit with a contract-free unlimited plan.
In most cases if you are uncommitted cell phone providers won’t do you any favors. Its either pay-as-you-go, or a restricted prepaid monthly allotment of minutes with big penalties for going over. T-Mobile, however, will give you unlimited voice, text messaging, and web surfing for $79.99 a month. This is a 20 percent discount over the standard unlimited monthly fee. But, and there’s always a catch, you have to bring your own phone to the party. T-Mobile will also offer a $50 per month unlimited option for those who only want voice.
Reuters reports that neither Verizon or Vodafone weren’t impressed by T-Mobile’s move, and have no plans to follow suit.
In the next few weeks both Verizon and Sprint are launching multiple Android-powered smart phones. In fact, Sprint just announced another Android device, the Samsung Moment, today. This will leave AT&T as the odd man out with no Android phones. However, if some new rumors are to be believed, Dell may be partnering with AT&T to change that as early as 2010.
The Dell Mini 3i was originally created for the Chinese market. It lacks both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The version of Android it runs is also more heavily modified than would be acceptable for the US market. The camera on the Chinese version is also fairly lackluster.
This is an exciting time for Google’s Android OS. A recent report indicates that this open-source OS will command more of the market than the iPhone, Blackberry, or WinMo by 2012. AT&T can’t afford to hedge its bets on the iPhone.
There are still unanswered questions as to the features Dell might bring to the Mini 3i in the US. In the end, AT&T might only need a mid-range feature set. If they can maintain their iPhone exclusivity, they might not care if they have a high-end Android handset. Still, if the projections are accurate, AT&T will want experience with Android, no matter the handset quality.
It’s not all good news, though. AT&T is asking $299 after a $100 mail in rebate, and 2 year service agreement. Optional Nüvifone Premium service will show the user traffic updates, white pages, weather, movies, local events, and fuel prices. However, it will run you an extra $5.99 per month after an initial 30 day trial.
The G60 is basically a high end Garmin GPS, with phone functionality thrown in. It is said to have a full HTML browser with data access through both HSDPA and WiFi. A 3.5 inch touchscreen and 3 megapixel autofocus camera round out the specs. Just for fun, all pics taken with the camera will automatically be geotagged. Given the price, are you considering dropping some cash on one?
If you’re the paranoid type, these new charts from The Environmental Working Group may be just what you’ve been looking for. They rate cell phones based on how much radiation they put out when placed to the ear. Cell phones emit radio-frequency radiation whenever you are using voice or data. This radiation is non-ionizing, but some groups claim there is a connection between cell phone use and cancer.
Among all phones the Samsumg Impression from AT&T had the lowest radiation output. It was closely followed by the Moto RAZR V8 for CellularOne. The Motorola MOTO VU204 and T-Mobile myTouch 3G both had the highest radiation levels. In the smartphone field, the Nokia 9300i had the lowest levels, and the Kyocera Jax S1300 was tied with the myTouch 3G for the highest.
If you don’t go in for the cell phone/cancer theory, the list may still be of some use. Just switch the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ labels, and consider the charts a measure of relative signal strength. Even if you are somehow giving yourself cancer, you’ll have really great signal while doing it. So,does cell phone radiation concern you?
Intel showed off a new version of Moblin today for use in Atom-based mobile phones. Moblin is Intel’s compact Linux distro for netbooks. This tweaked version of the OS, Moblin 2.1, is said to have heavy social networking integration (and what doesn’t these days?), widgets, and a panel based interface. Intel claims to have heavily modified the user interface specifically for mobile phones.
The demo today was done on a MID and an Acer netbook. Those in attendance were not allowed to actually try the OS, but visual impressions were good. There are currently no Atom based phones available, and no specific devices were discussed.
A smartphone powered by an Atom chip would likely be considerably faster than today’s handsets. There is no information on when one of these phones might actually ship. So you’ll have to wait with bated breath.
The two largest wireless providers in the US, Verizon and AT&T, are not cool with the FCC’s new push for Network Neutrality. On Monday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech outlining plans to create a set of binding Net Neutrality rules that would extend to the wireless industry. AT&T claimed regulation was not needed saying, "AT&T has long supported the principle of an open Internet and has conducted its business accordingly."
The companies also argue that wireless service is a different animal, and Net Neutrality practices may not be feasible. "On a wireline broadband network, you know where your customer is," said Verizon VP of Regulatory Affairs. "So you can build capacity to handle the peak demands. But on a wireless network, you have a crowd converge on a site that suddenly has 10 times or 100 times the users competing for the same resources."
AT&T and Verizon both pointed out that they were behind the FCC initiative for wired broadband, just not for their wireless networks. Verizon also called attention to their policy to allow any compatible, certified device to use its 3G network. Consumer advocates say that there are multiple non-neutral practices taking place on wireless broadband networks to be dealt with. VoIP applications, like Skype, often find themselves barred from operating on cellular 3G networks. With the FCC already investigating competition in the wireless industry, this may lead to still more hearings. Should Net Neutrality extend to cellular data networks? Let us know in the comments.
Times are tough all around, and one way to cut costs is to dump your landline and use your swank smartphone exclusively, if you haven't already. For some, however, this isn't an option because of dead zones scattered throughout the home. For $20 per month, AT&T says not to worry.
The telco has started offering the 3G MicroCell, a wireless network extender the company claims acts like a mini cellular tower in your home. With it, users can expect enhanced coverage for both voice and data for up to 5,000 square feet, with support for up to four users at any given time. And should you leave your home while still on the phone, AT&T promises seamless call hand-over as you move out of the 3G MicroCell network.
Sounds groovy, but is $20/month for unlimited use asking too much? Engadget seems to think so, who points out that both Sprint and T-Mobile offer similar options for half as much, while Verizon doesn't charge a dime once you pony up for its $250 network extender.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think of AT&T's MicroCell pricing.
More details of Apple’s rejection of Google Voice for the iPhone have come to light. When Google, Apple, and AT&T submitted their letters to the FCC back in August, a large portion of Google’s was redacted. Speculation was that the section (which dealt with what Apple actually told Google) contained descriptions of sensitive correspondence between the two companies.
Today Google allowed the FCC to post the full text. Sure enough, the previously redacted section detailed the contact Apple had with Google. This culminated with none other than Apple Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, calling Google on July 7 to say the Google Voice app was rejected. This seems to directly contradict Apple’s assertion to the FCC that they hadn’t rejected Google Voice, but were still studying it.
Now the plot thickens even more, as Apple put out a statement saying, "We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter. Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google." Rejected or not, it still means iPhone users don’t have a Google Voice app. Is Apple arguing semantics here, or just straight-up lying?