Friday, July 29, 2011

Verizon Lands Super Fast 4G Galaxy Tab 10.1

Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1You have probably heard just about everything there is to hear about the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 by now. It seems that every time you turn around there is something new going on with it and today is no different. A new version of the tablet has just arrived, this time packing an LTE radio tuned to the 4G waves of Verizon.

Nothing has really changed with the Verizon version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 aside from a new brushed, gray plastic back and a rumored Micro SIM slot on the top. This latest version officially went on sale yesterday, so many people are wondering how the 4G LTE capabilities stack up.

While it has been noted that Verizon's LTE network is fast, things seem a little different with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Not only does this device run the table on most cable modems, it is also competitive with a FiOS connection. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 averages 28.25Mbps down and 7.93Mbps up on speed tests, which is definitively better than the Thunderbolt's 21.77Mbps. Some speed tests have even seen the Galaxy Tab 10.1 get as high as 44.44Mbps down and 9.39Mbps up. Ping times are also very low, averaging just shy of 67ms.

Reports are also coming in that the connection feels just as fast as the speeds suggest. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is capable of loading full desktop websites, even ones bogged down with Flash, in no time at all and movies from the Android market start playing almost instantly.

While all this is highly impressive, it is raising a few questions. Mainly, why is the Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 posting such dramatically faster speeds? It is a possibility that there is some beefed up hardware in the Galaxy Tab that isn't in the LTE smartphones currently available, I mean it is a bigger package. Whatever the reason, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Verizon is definitely an impressive piece of equipment.

Source: Engadget - Galaxy Tab 10.1 for Verizon, hands-on with the new 4G speed king

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

AT&T Offering iPhone 3GS for $9

If you are looking for an iPhone and don’t mind going for the 3GS instead of the iPhone 4, AT&T is the place for you. They are basically giving away refurbished iPhone 3GS’s.

Just earlier this year, AT&T dropped the price of its iPhone 3GS to $49.99, and we thought that was a great deal. Now customers will be able to purchase a refurbished device for a mere $9.

Right now AT&T lists a black 8GB iPhone 3GS on its website for $99 with a two year contract; however, if you go ahead and subtract $90 for a refurbishing discount, you’ve got yourself an iPhone for $9.

It was in January that AT&T dropped the price of the iPhone 3GS, right before they began to offer the iPhone 4. The newer version of the smartphone obviously has some extra features that you won’t find on the 3GS. It offers a front-facing camera, retina display and the FaceTime app, among other things, but when you consider the difference in pricing, who really cares about all of that stuff. If you’re someone that is desperate for those features, you’re going to be looking at spending anywhere between $200 and $300. To me, it just doesn’t seem like it could possibly be worth it.

So what does AT&T mean when they say a “refurbished phone?” It’s not some phone that was destroyed and then put back together, I can tell you that. It is simply a pre-owned phone that was returned during the 30-day trial period that AT&T offers its customers. All of the devices that are returned have then been reset to their original factory settings and have been put through extensive tests before AT&T resells them. They also come standard with a 90-day warranty and a 30-day trial period.

If you’re looking for a good deal on a smartphone and don’t mind dealing with AT&T’s service, this could be the deal for you!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AT&T Has More iPhone Activations Than Verizon

Last week, AT&T and Verizon both posted their quarterly results as well as the number of iPhones that they have activated on each of their networks. Surprisingly, the mobile phone carrier with the most iPhone activations is AT&T.

AT&T reported that it has activated 3.6 million iPhones on its network this quarter, while Verizon has only activated 2.3 million. All in all, that adds up to 5.9 million new iPhones, which constitutes about 30 percent of the 20.3 million iPhones that Apple reported that it has sold during this past quarter.

So, are you surprised that AT&T has activated more iPhones than Verizon? I definitely was! So, how have they done it? Well, the advantage that AT&T has over Verizon is that it offers its customers both the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4. Verizon is only offering its customers the iPhone 4. AT&T is also offering the iPhone 3GS at a discounted price. Customers can get a new iPhone 3GS for $49.99 or pick up a refurbished device for $9 with a two year contract. That is one heck of a deal! Unfortunately, AT&T did not break down its quarterly numbers to show how many of each version has been activated. They just lumped the numbers all together.

Although Verizon does not have the most iPhone activations, the company did add more subscribers than its rival, AT&T. According to the company, they added more than 2.2 million people to their carrier, clearly beating AT&T who only added 1.1 million new users. Verizon now can boast 106.3 million subscribers, while AT&T sits behind them with 98.6 million users.

Breaking down the numbers even further, only 36 percent of Verizon’s subscriber base is made up of smartphone users. Although this is up from 32 percent last quarter, AT&T is way ahead. Almost 50 percent of the AT&T client base is made up of smartphone subscribers. So why does all of this matter? Well, smartphone subscribers tend to lead to more revenue for the company, due to data plans that users must take out when they choose a smartphone. So, although Verizon had more customers than AT&T, AT&T made $31.5 billion in total revenues, while Verizon came in at $27.5 billion.

Reports have said that when the next generation iPhone is made available, it will be offered by both mobile carriers. They have also reported that it will be a world phone, complete with the capability to run on GSM or CDMA networks. So, once the “iPhone 5” is released, the iPhone 4 will most likely be offered by both carriers at a discounted price. This could help to even the activation numbers, but who knows? Apple could decide to switch things up and offer the newest version of the iPhone through another phone carrier such as Sprint. That could really skew the numbers for both AT&T and Verizon. For now, we will just have to sit back and wait for Apple to release the new and improved iPhone. Hopefully, the wait will not be much longer.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sprint CEO Nervous About the Wireless Industry's Future

It seems as though the CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse, is worried about the future of the mobile phone industry. At a reporter’s roundtable discussion at the Sprint headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, Hesse revealed his worries and concerns about many things surrounding the U.S. wireless industry. He also expressed his extreme opposition to the proposal of merging AT&T and T-Mobile.

Hesse and Farid Adib, the product development chief at Sprint, claim that Sprint has been the carrier to drive innovation among the mobile phone companies. Hesse went on to say that if Sprint had not introduced 4G WiMAX back in 2008, Verizon would have not been as quick to turn on LTE and AT&T would "just have called its 3G network 4G."

Hesse and Adib went on to discuss possible phones for the future and service plans. A reporter questioned the two about why Sprint is not carrying the Palm Pre 3, and Adib responded, "HP ... has been a lifelong partner of Sprint" and that "we still have open dialogues, and work together ... a lot of our OEMS have had ups and downs, but we never count any of them out."

Hesse added that Sprint's strength as the "only unlimited carrier" is not necessarily going to continue or be dismissed by the company. It all depends on "how much capacity do we have," Hesse said. "Every few months we take a look, we take a look at tonnage, and we take a look at all the things we're doing to offload tonnage ... we'll just continue to monitor it. Nothing is forever ... [but] we think it's a terrific opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the market."

Hesse continued discussing concerns about all the patent lawsuits that have been going on between Microsoft, Apple and various different Android phone manufacturers. He said that all of these issues could result in more expensive phones. The rise in costs would then be borne by carriers and customers. "I wouldn't say don't worry about it," Hesse said. "We collectively, the industry, are the customers and potential victims in this. There's no upside to us and I hope it gets sorted out."

Hesse said that by far his biggest fear is the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. He claims that it could be "the end of the U.S. wireless industry." He believes that although Sprint has been the company to push the industry forward in the past, he feels that innovation would be dramatically slowed with AT&T and Verizon dominating the market. Hesse explains that Sprint has a contingency if it looks like the merger is going to happen. "I don't spend any time on it," Hesse said, instead spending "all my time on making sure the decision is the right one."

"If this thing goes through, I hope you like 4G, because it's going to be the last generation America ever gets," Hesse said.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

News of the World Drama Continues

Problems continue to surface from the phone hackings that were conducted by News of the World. Just this past weekend, London police chief Sir Paul Stephenson resigned and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was arrested.

Brooks was arrested a mere two days after she resigned as the chief executive of News International. The company had published News of the World until it had been forced to fold due to the hacking scandal. According to ABC News, Brooks was arrested in London on suspicion of both corruption and conspiring to hack the cell phones of crime victims and celebrities. From 2000 to 2003, Brooks was an editor at News of the World. She then moved up to being an editor for The Sun, and there she remained until she was promoted to her position with News International in 2009.

"I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis," Brooks said in a Friday statement. "However, my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate."

So far, News Corp. has not released a statement concerning Brooks’ arrest; however, they have named her successor, the CEO of Sky Italia, Tom Mockridge.

It was earlier this month that News of the World was accused of hacking into the cell phone of a murder victim while her disappearance was still being investigated. Allegedly, whoever hacked into the young woman’s phone deleted voicemail messages. This gave her parents a false hope that she was accessing her phone and therefore was still alive.

There were also reports that the company had hacked into the phones of individuals who were affected by the July 2005 London terrorist bombings, as well as the phones of celebrities.

This was not the first time that News of the World was caught hacking into individuals' cell phones. Several years ago, the newspaper was punished for phone hacking. The incident even led to a debate in the House of Commons, allegations surrounding bribery of the police and talk of shutting down the newspaper entirely.

All of the media attention that has surrounded the recent events is what Metropolitan police chief Stephenson claims prompted his resignation.

"Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact. I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity," he said in a Sunday statement. "Nevertheless, I must accept that the intense media coverage, questions, commentary and indeed allegations, as demonstrated by this weekend's attempt to misrepresent my arrangements for my recovery from illness, not only provide excessive distraction both for myself and colleagues but are likely to continue for some time."

"This is not a 12 months that can afford any doubts about the Commissioner of the Met," he concluded.

Recently, Stephenson has been scrutinized for his hiring of former News of the World executive Neil Wallis as a consultant. Stephenson claims that he did not have any idea that Wallis had anything to do with the phone hacking scandal.

"I have heard suggestions that we must have suspected the alleged involvement of Mr. Wallis in phone hacking. Let me say unequivocally that I did not and had no reason to have done so," Stephenson said. "I do not occupy a position in the world of journalism; I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging; nor of its apparent reach into senior levels. I saw senior figures from News International providing evidence that the misbehavior was confined to a rogue few and not known about at the top."

Stephenson and Brooks are not the only people who have been affected by the scandal and have been forced to resign from their positions. Just last week, Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton also resigned. "That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp. and apologize to those hurt by the actions of News of the World," Hinton said in a statement. is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Droid 3 Now Available

Droid 3Droid users, rejoice! The Motorola Droid 3 is now officially up for sale and available for an in-store pickup. Lots of people have been waiting for the powerful dual-core smartphone for a while now and the sleek keyboard is perfect for people who prefer a more physical text solution.

The Droid 3 features the new OMAP 4 dual-core chip as opposed to the popular Qualcomm found in devices like the myTouch 4G slide. In addition to that, the Droid 3 is not a Tegra 2 device so it will be exciting to use the complete and full power this phone has to offer.

The Droid 3 comes with a 1GHz OMAP 4 4430 processor, which some people are saying is a bit of an upgrade over the suspected NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor that was rumored to be included here. The user interface is also different. Motoblur is no longer your UI; instead you get a cross-breed that brings in new icons, new animations between Windows and Gingerbread.

The app screen gives you three full pages of 20 apps each, which includes your regular array of Google apps with some other interesting oddities. An app version of GoToMeeting, which allows you to chat in multiple different ways, is also included as well as MOTOPRINT, NOVA, Social Location, Skype and all the V-Cast apps you expect on a Verizon device.

Physically the device is heavier than most smartphones and comes with a seemingly hardcore chassis and a solid sliding keyboard. By the looks of it, this is one phone you will be wanting to take care of. The internal speakers are loud and the chassis seems to be tightly fitted together making the Droid 3 everything a Droid lover could ask for.

If you are a devout Droid fan or somebody who is looking for a solid smartphone on a solid network, then Motorola's Droid 3 from Verizon is exactly what you are looking for. You can buy the Droid 3 now anywhere phones are sold.

Source: Android Community - Motorola Droid 3 in Verizon Stores Today

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The "Facebook Phone" is Hitting Stores Soon

Are you one of those people that are simply addicted to Facebook? If you are, soon you will be able to satisfy your addiction with a phone that won’t drain your pockets. The HTC Status, also known as the Facebook phone, will be available at Best Buy stores and online starting July 17 for $49.99 with a two year contract.

Pre-orders for the HTC Status are already being accepted.

The HTC Status, which is also known as the ChaCha overseas, is a small Android-based smartphone. It features a dedicated Facebook logo button at the very bottom of the keypad that allows users to instantly update their Facebook wall with status, photos and URLs.

The phone also has a 5-megapixel front-facing and rear-facing camera. This can be utilized by users for Facebook’s new Skype-enabled video chatting. You will need a Wi-Fi connection to use the video chatting, but I wouldn’t think that this should be too much of an issue for most people.

The integration of aspects of Facebook can be found throughout the entirety of the phone. When a friend calls you, you will automatically see their most recent status update, all Facebook chat and e-mail messages will be pushed together with your regular text messages and emails, and the interface itself features a Facebook chat widget that allows users to see who is online at the time.

AT&T claims that the HTC Status is the first of the HTC devices carried in the U.S. to come standard with an enhanced version of HTC Sense UI. Sasha Segan, a mobile analyst at PCMag, says the enhanced version is among one of the more “thoughtful of the manufacturer Android software extensions.”

The Status will come in four different colors: black, silver, pink and blue. Best Buy will also be offering an exclusive mauve version of the device.

Although this is the first Facebook phone to be released in the U.S., there have been plenty of such phones offered overseas. Why is this, you might ask? I honestly do not know. I do know however that this phone is sure to be a success. A very inexpensive smartphone entirely focused around Facebook…how could that not be a hit with teens and young adults? I’m sure that HTC has got a winner here!

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

News of the World Accused of Phone Hacking

An incident surrounding a phone hack involving the News of the World absolutely exploded Wednesday, June 6. The allegations against the company included accusations that the newspaper’s hacking activities were much more widespread than was first believed and that the newspaper had paid police officers for some of the information that they used.

All of this recent news prompted a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday morning. While in session, the members called for an in-depth investigation of the matter. All of this began just earlier this week when the News of the World was accused of hacking the voicemail of a young woman who was murdered. They had hacked the woman’s voicemail while the investigation of her disappearance was being conducted. Allegedly the newspaper deleted voicemail messages when they hacked into the murder victim’s phone. This gave her grieving parents a false hope that she was alive and accessing her phone when this was far from the case.

According to the Daily Telegraph, there are now reports that the newspaper also violated the privacy of the family members of individuals that were either killed or injured in the London bombings that occurred on July 7, 2005 by hacking their phones as well.

"It is thought that journalists were seeking to access voice messages left on family members' phones as they desperately waited for information about their loved ones in the aftermath of the bombings in 2005," according to the Telegraph. "It is unclear if they were aware at that stage that their relatives had died in the bombings."

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the News of the World has been accused of violating the privacy of individuals by hacking their phones. Just this April, the newspaper published an official apology for the voicemail hacks that had occurred between 2004 and 2006.

The other issue involved with this case involves the payment of Metropolitan Police for information.

On Wednesday the Metropolitan Police confirmed that there have been emails handed over by News International on June 20 that "include information relating to alleged inappropriate payments to a small number of MPS officers."

"At this time we have not seen any evidence requiring a referral to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in respect of any senior officer," Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said in a statement. "Operation Elveden will be equally thorough and robust. Anyone identified of wrongdoing can expect the full weight of disciplinary measures and appropriate action through the criminal courts."

Since January 26, 2011, the MPS has been investigating the phone hacking that has been taking place.

A spokesman from News International confirmed that they did hand over the emails to the police. "The emails in question were passed over to police some time ago," the spokesman said. "This story came about as a result of an article that was being proposed to be written in which it was going to be said that we had these emails and we had not handed them to the police."

Members of Parliament are expecting a full investigation of all of the allegations that have been brought forward. They also decided that News Corps.’s currently pending takeover of BSkyB should be put on hold until everything has been settled one way or another.

"We have let one man have far too great a sway over our national life," said MP Chris Bryant, referring to News. Corp chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch. The BSkyB deal should be "put on ice," he said.

"The very idea of targeting families in their darkest hour is shameful, sickening, and cruel," said Rt Hon Yvette Cooper.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve commented during the debate that the phone hackings that have occurred "must fill any right-thinking person with revulsion."

Grieve went on to say that Prime Minister David Cameron has committed to a "fully independent public inquiry into those matters," but warned that the "burning desire for people to see finality ... may take some time."

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