A potential solution to rising smartphone theft is still a year away
It's easy to take for granted how much your smartphone is worth. You may have picked one up for free or not much more than that by agreeing to lock yourself into a two-year service agreement with a wireless carrier, but despite the subsidized price you paid, smartphones are worth several hundred dollars. It's no wonder that thieves stole around 3.1 million smartphones in U.S. last year.
After ranking last in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by Consumer Reports last year, AT&T had two options. The wireless carrier could lick its wounds and take steps to improve its image, whether real or perceived, or it could bury its head in the sand, because after all, who cares what thousands of people think? AT&T apparently chose the latter, and its reward is another last place finish.
Apple's iPhone 4 has had a bear of a time trying to impress the folks over at Consumer Reports. After a round of testing, Consumer Reports said it was able to confirm a design defect relating to the antenna placement and how it could potentially lead to dropped calls, and that was the reason it could not recommend the device. And when Apple rolled out a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 for Verizon customers, Consumer Reports called it a "middle-aged device" and said customers should wait for a newer model. So how does the iPhone 4S rank?
A new report reveals some startling statistics about the world's most popular online playground known as Facebook. The social networking service with over 500 million members is being overrun by kids under 13 years old, and even under 10 years old, many of which were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on the site in the past year.
There are plenty of people excited about Verizon and Apple teaming up to offer the iPhone 4, including a good number of AT&T subscribers eager to join the "Can You Hear Me Now?" network. But should they be?
Consumer Reports doesn't think so. The outfit called Verizon's CDMA iPhone 4 a "middle-aged device" and said buyers would be wise to wait for a newer model.
"The Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 has plenty in its favor, especially compared with its AT&T sibling," Consumer Reports explains in a blog post. "But it may be quickly replaced by a newer, cooler version more quickly than is customary even for the die-young life expectancy of most smartphones."
The question is how long Verizon customers will want to wait. According to Consumer Reports, Apple is likely to ship a new iPhone model in June or July, as has previously been the case, so this "middle-aged" device boils down to "a transitional phone to tide Verizon through until the Summer."
Read all of what Consumer Reports had to say right here.
Apple couldn't have picked a worse wireless carrier to enter into an exclusivity agreement to carry the iPhone, and we mean that literally, at least according to a new survey by Consumer Reports.
The consumer advocate group pinged more than 58,000 ConsumerReports.org subscribers about their cell phone carriers, and it was AT&T that scored the worst for overall satisfaction, dropping "significantly" from one year ago. And get this -- more than half of the AT&T customers surveyed were iPhone owners. In fact, Consumer Reports points out that "iPhone owners were much less satisfied with their carrier and rated data service (Web and email) lower than owners of smartphones on other carriers that, like the iPhone, have a host of apps to encourage heavy data use."
Where there's smoke there's usually fire, and there has been a ton of smoke signals saying the iPhone is headed to Verizon. If AT&T wasn't worried before, it should be now. Verizon ranked second among all mobile phone service providers, trailing U.S. Cellular for the top spot.
"Our survey suggests that an iPhone from Verizon Wireless, which is rumored, could indeed be good news for iPhone fans," said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor for Consumer Reports.
The survey also touched on the topic of bill shock with one in five respondents saying they've received an unexpectedly high cell phone bill in the previous year, usually for exceeding their plan's voice, text, or data limits.
With all the ballyhooing over 3D, Consumer Reports set out to find which displays do the technology justice. What they found in their sampling of 14 3D TVs is that plasma does a better job at beaming 3D images than LCD sets, mostly because the plasma sets exhibited far less ghosting.
"It remains to be seen whether 3D TV is just a novelty or a new product category in the consumer electronics space," said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor fo Consumer Reports. "But, our tests show that there are some fine 3D TV sets out there for those consumers eager for a new experience."
To conduct its tests, Consumer Reports used both exclusive 3D test patterns developed in-house and a collection of 3D blu-ray movies and recorded 3D sports broadcasts.
The Panasonic-brand plasma sets showed the least amount of ghosting, which "plays a big part in 3D quality."
Consumer Reports may have jumped the gun just a tiny bit when they talked up the iPhone 4 in their initial rundown. Now after finishing their usual round of testing, Consumer Reports has decided to officially not recommend the iPhone 4. The reason? That magical external antenna hates being touched.
Consumer Reports used a radio frequency isolation chamber to test the new iPhone, like they do all phones. They can accurately measure the real signal impact when the gap between the two antennas it touched. They report that the iPhone 4 is dropping in excess of 20 dBm, which they say is enough to drop a call.
Indeed, many consumers could have told you that after they purchased one, but now we're hearing it from the holiest of holy in consumer product testing. Consumer reports also notes that covering the antenna with non-conductive material (like tape or a case) will alleviate the signal loss issues. We're going to go out on a limb here, and just start referring to this whole fiasco as antennagate. Anyone have an iPhone? What are your experiences with the antenna?
The annual Consumer Reports survey of wireless customer satisfaction has just come out, and it isn’t looking too good for AT&T. More than 50,000 customers of the big four carriers in 26 cities submitted their ratings to Consumer Reports. AT&T came in last in the overall ratings. In the city by city data AT&T was rated lowest in 19 areas including, unsurprisingly, New York and San Francisco. The same survey placed Verizon at the top of the scale.
AT&T was given low marks for service availability, circuit capacity, voice service, and dropped-call frequency in 73% of markets. Many have posited in the past that it was merely tech savvy consumers in a few markets that had a problem with AT&T’s service. This survey seems to imply that there are many more dissatisfied customers spread over a larger swath of the nation.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of data here is that of the iPhone users surveyed, 98% said they were satisfied enough that they’d buy the phone again. Only 79% of people with other AT&T phones said the same. Apparently, a good phone can help smooth over a lot of rough spots in a carrier’s network.