This certainly isn’t the kind of publicity the fourth place cell carrier in the US wants. As of now, the entire nationwide T-Mobile network is down. Complaints began flooding twitter and forums this afternoon from all over the country. Users are reporting that their phones show the expected signal, but no calls or data are available. Curiously, calls routed through Google Voice are working as expected.
When the complaints reached a fever pitch shortly ago, T-Mobile released a statement. “T-Mobile customers may be experiencing service disruptions impacting voice and data. Our rapid response teams have been mobilized to restore service as quickly as possible. We will provide updates as more information is available,” said a T-Mobile representative.
We at MaximumPC have confirmed for ourselves by ringing a few associates on T-Mobile. Sure enough, the angelic voices of our friends and neighbors were replaced by a busy signal every time. This matches reports from elsewhere. Hopefully details will emerge later on the exact cause. If you’re a T-Mobile user, can you confirm you have no service?
We all rubbed our eyes in disbelief when Verizon announced they would be releasing a fully open handset, the Motorola Droid. Not only did it have WiFi, it had free GPS! This was not the Verizon we all knew. Some of the more pessimistic among us were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and now it has. A Verizon rep has confirmed that using the integrated Microsoft Exchange support in the Droid will mean an extra $15 fee each month.
This boosts the monthly cost of data to $45 instead of the standard $30. Verizon also plans to offer a $50 per month data-only plan for the Droid. Verizon indicated this fee just brings the cost in line with smartphone plans for corporate email seen on Blackberrys. "The Droid is primarily a consumer phone," said Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney.
All things considered, it may be a fairly minor point. Nevertheless, it seems like a very Verizon thing to do. If you were planning on getting the Droid, does this give you second thoughts? How many of you use Exchange accounts daily?
The upcoming xpPhone from ITG is, as the name suggests, running the Windows XP operating system. You may be thinking, “Why would anyone want a phone based on Windows XP?” Well, it’s probably going to be fast thanks to some sort of “AMD Super Mobile CPU”, and it has a massive 4.8-inch touchscreen. Most people probably don’t want to carry a phone that weighs almost a pound no matter how fast it is, but some will.
The xpPhone promises netbook-like specs including the aforementioned AMD CPU, 512 MB RAM, a USB port, full QWERTY keyboard, and up to 120 GB of hard drive storage. The phone will be available with GSM frequencies for three carriers: AT&T, Vodaphone, and Orange. A custom unified phone interface will be built into the device that allows the user to make calls and access applications.
No one has actually used the unit, so it is possible that the phone isn’t all that fast by computer standards. Would anything that makes a computer easy to use even transfer to this form factor? MIDs worked out so well, right? We’ll have to wait and see. No pricing or availability has been announced..
You may not have to suffer through proprietary charging connectors on cell phones much longer. We’ve been hearing rumblings for a few months now that the industry may settle on the humble micro-USB as a standard for charging. A UN body, The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has now approved the proposal.
One of the main reasons for making this move is the fact that 51,000 tons of unnecessary chargers are produced each year. If there was a single standard, consumers could take a charger with them from phone to phone. No word yet on how Apple would deal with this. Their proprietary dock connector has a rich ecosystem of accessories that would be hard to leave behind. Bundling an adapter maybe?
Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU Standards Bureau, said in a statement, “This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging.” It will not be required for phone makers to adopt the new standard, but some have already signed on.
Acer has already been working with Far EasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan. Agreements have also been reached with Bouygues of France, Wind of Italy, and CSL of Hong Kong. Acer expects to begin working with North American telecoms in 2010. Could this mean that the Acer A1, with its Snapdragon CPU, will grace American shores in 2010? By then, it might be just another Android phone.
A newly announced partnership between ARM and GlobalFoundries could mean the next generation of mobile devices will be faster than anyone expected. The project will focus on the ARM Cortex-A9 chip. The current Cortex-A8 powers the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre. The new chip will be based on a 28nm process.
According to GlobalFoundries, the 28nm parts will take advantage of the manufacturer’s High-K Metal Gate semiconductor. The HKMG technology is known as “Gate First”, meaning that it should allow high performance with minimal leakage.
ARM CEO, Warren East, said of the collaboration, “This announcement reflects our business value and strategy of providing best in class processor implementation by marrying our own processor and physical IP with world class manufacturing semiconductor technology.” So get ready, the next round of ARM chips could blow your socks off.
It was no surprise today when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech on Network Neutrality. In the speech, at the Brookings Institute, Genachowski suggested formalizing the FCC’s “principals” of neutral networks, making them official policy. The FCC Chair proposed two specific rules. The first would prevent ISPs from slowing any specific type of Internet traffic. This would, however, still allow for reasonable network management practices. The second rule would require ISPs to be completely transparent about what sort of network management practices they were using.
Network Neutrality has been of more mainstream interest since congressional hearings on the subject began a few years ago. Amidst all the talk of “a series of tubes’, very little got done. Now Genachowski is making his case in no uncertain terms. “I am convinced that there are few goals more essential in the communications landscape than preserving and maintaining an open and robust Internet,” said the FCC Chair. He went on to clarify that the proposed changes would also apply to wireless providers.
For their part, ISPs are almost universally against the changes. They claim that Net Neutrality requirements would prevent them from managing their networks. Genachowski attempted to assuage their fears, explaining that violations of the proposed rules would be handled individually. The FCC will begin seeking public input and feedback at its meeting in October. So, do you feel we need regulation to ensure a neutral Internet?
With the recent hullaballoo over the dangers of talking on the the phone while driving, we couldn't help but be reminded of a real-world experiment our sister publication Mobile ran way back in February 2005 about the very same issue. Using noted drinker Roger Hibbert as a guinea pig, they headed for the hallowed grounds of our local Malibu Grand Prix, carrying a phone, a stopwatch, a Breathalyzer, and bottle of 100-proof Absolut. Our goal: To find out if our subject could stay on the road while besotted or blathering. Our results will shock you to your very soul. Naturally, the tests are completely un-scientific, but it's a funny read, and the results are sobering (a-ha!) so we thought we'd repost it here for your consideration. Enjoy!
Asus and HP are both avowedly toying with the idea of Android-based netbooks. Both of them have, in fact, assigned engineers to the task of porting Android to netbooks. But Android won’t remain confined to just cell phones and netbooks by the looks of things.
The way things are shaping up, you might as well take your cell phone and toss it in a river. That is, if you put much stock into the most recent studies. Yesterday we learned that the quality of our little olympic swimmers (yes, even Maximum PC's sperm is hardcore) might turn out to be duds if forced to sit in close proximity to our cell phones while in talk mode, and in another blow to procreation, another study has emerged suggesting that mobile phone users under 20 years of age may be more susceptible to cancer.
Professor Lennart Hardell from the University Hospital in Orebo Sweden conducted the study and found a five-fold increase in particular types of cancer, including brain cancer (glioma) and cancer of the auditory nerve, among sub-20 year olds who use mobile phones. And when it comes to young children, he warns that the thinner and still developing skulls makes kids more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation.
This isn't the first time the safety of cell phone use has come into question, and likely won't be the last given the conflicting results. Last year a study in Denmark failed to show any connection between mobile phone use and the onset of cancer among the 420,000 participants involved.
Are cell phones safe? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.