AT&T Will No Longer Let You Pay A Fraction Of Your Phones Cost Upfront

First it was pay as you go, with people topping up an amount and fearing that text telling them that they would soon be unable to text. Then came the contracts, offering you the ability to pay a monthly fee in order to get a set amount of minutes and texts before being charged additional amounts. The third stage to this evolution was phone subsidies, similar to contracts but at a greater cost, these contracts came with a mobile phone offering you the chance to get the latest phone at a slightly higher cost but with monthly payments. An alternative to this third method was to pay a small fraction upfront for your device while you had a contract. Seems like AT&T is just one of many looking to stop this process.

By paying a fraction of the price upfront, you could walk away with a brand new model on a contract, however if you wished to leave the contract or upgrade to a new model and keep the original handset you were expected to pay for the remainder of the phone.

With companies like T-mobile and Verizon Wireless already stopping the up-front payment method AT&T customers will either have to bring their own phone, pay full price upfront or pay monthly for the device in a separate device payment plan.

Apple Sued For Data Consuming “Bug”

Apple is known for a lot of things but none more than their iPhones, for better or worse. In this case, it’s again for the worse. Apple has had some problems regarding their software and just like almost a year ago when it was revealed that Siri shared your conversations with other companies, they have been caught yet again relating to their data usage. Apple had the issue in October when they went to court that iOS’s 9 WiFi assist would use mobile internet alongside their WiFi, without alerting the user that they were now using their data roaming. Why not face another lawsuit for the same problem?

Hagens Berman Sobol Shaprio LLP have filed a class-action lawsuit relating to iPhone 5 and 5’cs using iOS 6 and 7. The issue relates specifically to these models because when users were streaming video for even a couple of minutes the phone would switch off its CPU allowing the phone to save power and battery life. The problem being is that doing this would also silently turn off the WiFi and start streaming the video data from a cellular signal.

The suit claims that they violated California consumer laws given that while Apple were aware of the defect they not only failed to fix or warn customers about the issue but that it was fixed for Verizon users back in September 2012 but wasn’t fixed for AT&T users until October 2014.

Streaming data is a costly activity and having your data drained without being warned, because of a known bug, has to annoy anyone. Have you ever gone over your data allowance or found you’ve used your phone data more than you expected?

AT&T Says NO to the FCC’s $100 Million Throttling Fine

If you read about it, AT&T just got fined last month for allegedly throttling customers with ‘unlimited’ data plan. To sum it up, the FCC saw that AT&T had been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed. So, they decided to fine them with a staggering $100 million.

If you think the FCC is asking for a lot of money, they apparently aren’t. According to them, they first decided to fine AT&T with up to $16,000 per violation for millions of violations, but the figures were so ridiculously high that they went with the latter sum instead. Even so, AT&T now thinks that they did nothing wrong.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T now states that the FCC is infringing their First Amendment right by demanding the company to tell customers of their FCC rule violation. But let’s face it, when you say ‘unlimited’, you don’t really mention about network slowdowns. Another interesting thing is that AT&T recently changed their policy for throttling LTE users after they pass 5GB of data. This means that unlimited data LTE users now get throttled during the time when the network is highly congested. Previously, unlimited data LTE customers used to get throttled for the rest of the month after passing 5GB of download. But despite AT&T’s attempts to convince the FCC it did nothing wrong, they are also facing a court order from the commission, which aims to bring millions of dollars of refunds to consumers.

In my opinion, throttling customer speeds, either on mobile data or the fiber optic speed you ‘get’ at home is not an option. I know a lot of internet providers face huge amounts of network congestion, but is that our or the network’s fault? I think mobile and ISP providers should focus on spending that money on upgrading their networks to handle more connections instead of keeping the speed throttling habit. What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Here’s How AT&T’s Phone Network Looked Like in 1891

American multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T is currently the second-largest provider of mobile telephone in the USA as well as the country’s largest fixed telephone provider. However, back in 1891, quite a few years after the telephone was invented, the company was at the beginning of its journey, and this map of its network from that year depicts exactly how humble things were. AT&T was actually created in 1890 by the American Bell Telephone Company, who needed a separate entity to handle long distance telephone calls.

The American Telephone and Telegraph Company started a rapid expansion and ended up having a presence in Chicago by 1892, which allowed it to purchase its parent company in 1899. It’s not often that we get a chance to see such a clear picture of a successful company’s origins, which is why this map is so noteworthy. In 2005, SBC bought AT&T for $16 billion and adopted its famous name, but the original company still offers long-distance phone services to this day.

AT&T is currently looking to expand in Latin America, which is why it purchased a Mexican wireless provider called Iusacell for $2.5 billion in January 2015.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

NETGEAR Partners With AT&T on Prepaid 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot

NETGEAR is mostly known for the local area network (LAN) devices, but they also got a range of mobile routers for people who also want great connection options on the go. They have now partnered with AT&T that will sell the NETGEAR AirCard 779S Mobile Hotspot under the AT&T Unite Express for GoPhone brand name.

The mobile hotspot will provide you with AT&T’s 4G LTE internet connection through prepaid data plans, allowing you to customize your costs to your needs. You can enjoy secure and affordable WiFi when you need it, on your terms, with three flexible rate plans and no annual contract or credit check.

The mobile hotspot is about as big as a deck of cards and easily slides into your pockets, purse, or backpack so you have it where ever you go. You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneous for up to 10 hours mobile internet. The hotspot also features Guest access for one-time users that you don’t want to share your normal password with.

“Our newest mobile hotspot is an easy-to-use device that our customers can simply turn on and connect, without adjusting settings,” said Judy Cavalieri, vice president, AT&T voice and prepaid products. “NETGEAR has designed our AT&T Unite Express with the intuitive setup and the outstanding experience that meets our high standards for quality. We’re also happy to offer our Spanish-speaking customers an optional Spanish language interface to make using the hotspot even easier.”

Key Features

  • 4G LTE / 3G support
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Color LCD screen to monitor battery life and network connections
  • Guest WiFi for one-time users
  • Securely connects up to 10 WiFi devices
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Optional Spanish language interface
  • NETGEAR AirCard App compatible

AT&T Patents Fast Lane for File-Sharing Traffic

Either AT&T knows something we don’t or they’ve been awarded one of the most pointless – yet useful – patents so far. The new patent granted to AT&T is for a ‘fast lane’ designed to speed up BitTorrent and P2P file transfers while decreasing the impact they have on the infrastructure.

Peer to peer traffic accounts for a lot of petabytes of data, so it seems a logical choice for an ISP to optimize it. However, with the net-neutrality debate which has been going on, it’s unlikely to ever be introduced. Neutrality goes both ways, no traffic is to be treated differently.

The new patent is titled System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment and involves both local caching by the ISP and interpretation of the data to server the packets as fast as possible without bottlenecking the own system.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

CNN Name T-Mobile Tech Company of the Year

News network CNN has declared T-Mobile as its Tech Company of the Year for 2014. Faced with stiff competition from Apple and Microsoft, CNN posits that “no other tech company shook up its entire industry the way that T-Mobile (TMUS) did this year.”

In 2013, mobile telecom provider T-Mobile shifted its business model, scrapping phone contracts, allowing customers to switch network easily, and introducing free international roaming. This year it went one better, offering to pay early termination fees for customers wanting to move to T-Mobile from another network, introducing free music streaming, independent of existing data plans, offering seven-day smartphone loans, free in-flight internet, and monthly rollover data allowances.

The move kicked off a major price war amongst its rivals, with Sprint offering half-price bills and Verizon and AT&T lowering rates while upping data allowances, with all three now offering free smartphones on contract. But still, T-Mobile has gained 3.5 million customers this year, more than any other mobile network, taking its market share from 11% at the start of the year to 18% now.

To CNN, this remarkable growth and brilliant business strategy has earned T-Mobile the title of Tech Company of the Year, and could point towards the company becoming a long-term success story.

Source: CNN

FCC Warn: ISPs Will Sue Over Net Neutrality, Regardless

America’s ISPs will behave litigiously no matter what net neutrality laws are introduced, warns FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Wheeler told reporters that lawsuits are unavoidable, explaining why the FCC have been so cautious in their net neutrality contemplations.

He explained, “Look, the big dogs are going to sue, regardless of what comes out. We need to make sure we have sustainable rules. That starts with making sure we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that come along and are likely to be raised.”

He added, “I want to move forward on open-internet rules with dispatch. I also want to have open internet rules that are sustained. And that’s the process we’re going through.”

Earlier this month, President Obama implored the FCC to implement the “strongest possible rules” to protect a free and open internet, suggesting that broadband be reclassified as a utility. In the wake of that, AT&T made outright threats of legal action against such a move, saying the same day, “if the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”. The FCC’s response was bullish, reminding the President that they were an independent body that makes its own decisions.

Source: The Guardian

AT&T Halt Fibre Investment Until Net Neutrality is Resolved

First, President Obama voiced his support for net neutrality, asking the FCC to apply Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 to protect broadband as a utility. The ISPs responded by threatening to sue if the regulation was implemented. Then, the FCC puffed out its chest, asserting its autonomy as an independent body, one that makes its own decisions. Now, the latest move in the net neutrality row sees AT&T putting a hold on any further fibre network development until the issue of net neutrality is resolved.

AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, said at a conference today, “We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed.” He added, “We think it is prudent to just pause and make sure we have line of sight and understanding as to what those rules would look like.”

Source: Mashable

ISPs Threaten to Sue the FCC if they Enforce Net Neutrality

In response to US President Barack Obama’s statement supporting net neutrality, and asking the FCC to reclassify internet service as a utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, American ISPs have come out fighting, threatening to take legal action against the FCC if they agree to Obama’s plan.

Verizon, who has previously threatened litigation over net neutrality proposals, released a statement claiming the Title II proposal is “a mistake that will do tremendous harm to the Internet and to U.S. national interests.” AT&T also weighed in, calling net neutrality a “hypothetical problem posed by certain political groups whose objective all along has been to bring about government control of the Internet.,” followed by the threat, “if the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”

Though many ISPs remained silent, their representative trade group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, criticised the proposal, stating, “this tectonic shift in national policy, should it be adopted, would create devastating results.” The FCC’s official statement is so far non-committal, saying only, “we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record.”

Source: Consumerist

Free WiFi Is Best at Starbucks and McDonald’s According to Study

We’ve all been in that situation, stuck somewhere just out of reach of your 3G signal and you are so desperate to get on the internet whilst on the go, you have to connect to “Free WiFi”. The horror! Anyway, free WiFi usually sucks 9 times out of 10, mostly because there is about 30 people all using the same WiFi signal as you demanding bandwidth when there just isn’t enough for everyone. I live in the UK and this is the case for me 99.9999% of the time, the speed I get is around 0.3Mbps which is just awful, I might as well not bother. Although, according to a study by wireless specialist OpenSignal.

The test was performed in the USA where they have the luxury of Google Fiber, lucky sods, and found that the average speed in McDonalds is 4Mbps. Starbucks on the other hand have dropped AT&T and picked up a shiny new deal with Google and a a result of this the average speed in Starbucks was 9.01Mbps, that’s more than I’m getting right now in my own home! Just shows how poor the internet in the UK is, miles behind everyone else!

Free WiFi is always good for businesses, it attracts people in and gives them something to write on a website or put in a shop window but if the speed is awful then people will look somewhere else to leech internet from. I think Google is about to get a lot more popular with businesses everywhere.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Less Buffering on Netflix for Customers on AT&T

Do you use Netfilx? Are you with AT&T? If you said yes to both of them then your Netflix experience should get better. Netflix and AT&T have signed a peering deal designed to reduced video buffering on the media streaming service.

There is no news as of yet regarding the financial information in the deal but we do have this statement from AT&T.

We reached an interconnect agreement with Netflix in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,” an AT&T spokeswoman said in the statement.”We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.

The deal started yesterday (29/07/14 for people reading in the future) and, like the statement said, it should be “complete in the coming days”. Now i’m not sure how long that means but I can imagine it will be complete in about a week or so, maybe less, who knows. If you’re with AT&T and you do use Netflix and you notice a improvement in your streaming performance then you can probably say that you’ve been boosted thanks to this new deal.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of eTeknix.

 

Photo of Rumoured Amazon Smartphone Leaked

Is Amazon working on a smart phone? It’s been one of the most asked questions in the mobile industry this year and last. It seems pretty much inevitable given that the company has already got a range of tablets, eReaders and smartTV devices, it would be strange to not complete the set with a handset. However, this illusive handset has yet to be confirmed and all we have to go on are the steady leaks of information that make it into the wild.

The most recent of these leaks is the image you see above, which tech site BGR claim to be the first image of the front and the back of Amazons new phone. It’s said this device would have a 4.7-inch touch screen display, 720p resolution , Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, 2GB memory and most interestingly “six camera modules” which could form part of the rumoured 3D display / interface.

It’s already believed that this is just one phone from a range of devices that Amazon is planning. AT&T are also rumoured to be working with Amazon on creating a data plan for the handsets called “Prime Data”, which makes sense given that Amazon like to bundle as much as they can within their Amazon Prime package.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to launch their new handsets in Q3 this year, but the only way we’ll find out is to play the waiting game. Are you eager to see what Amazon has to offer to the mobile market?

Thank you PCMag for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BGR.

13 Countries Added to AT&T’s International LTE Roaming Add-On List

American multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T is planning to expand its international LTE roaming services, having it being made available in Canada and the UK last year.

The corporation is planning to extend their services by adding 13 more nations to the feature list, including Spain, France, Russia and others. Taking into account how AT&T is dealing with EE in the UK and Rogers in Canada, the charging rates for the additional feature, named “Data Global”, will not change with the LTE service additions, but AT&T has not specified anything about it in their press release.

“Today, AT&T has expanded its international LTE footprint to now include Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong and Antigua & Barbuda. AT&T is committed to providing its customers a wider global footprint to enjoy LTE data speeds. In fact, AT&T currently has agreements to allow for LTE roaming in over 200 countries.”

However, due to different countries having different LTE bands, it would be a bit hard to get your phone to work with LTE while roaming, though if the smartphone used is fairly new, it would have more chances of connecting thanks to the newer LTE technology which adds support for more and more LTE bands into one single handset.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Trade In Your iPhone 4S for A Lumia 1020 or Lumia 1520 At AT&T… For Free!

Windows Phone is steadily gaining ground in the smartphone market, and while it is also subtly trolling its competitors when it has the chance, it does it yet again, but this time it’s not Samsung, but Apple.

AT&T have apparently made a deal with Nokia, and implicitly Microsoft, for curious users who have never tried Microsoft’s WP8 operating system before to try it for free. The catch is that you will have to bring your old iPhone 4S and exchange it for a Lumia 1020 or a Lumia 1520 with a two-year contract with AT&T.

When looking back and seeing that the Lumia 1020 for example was valued at a $300 price tag on-contract, Microsoft, as well as AT&T, is really hitting it big with this new deal. However, users should also take into account a major gap that Windows Phone currently has, and that is the applications inside the Store.

If you are not that interested in having loads and loads of applications on your smartphone and enjoy what Windows Phone 8 as well as the Windows Phone Store has to offer, then you are set! However, Microsoft is working on closing the application gap on the platform, but like all things, it takes time. In the end, who knows? Maybe WP8 Store will be packed with application next year. It all depends on Microsoft to make life easier for developers to build and publish their applications on the Windows Phone Store.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information

Android 4.4.2 Already Rolling Out For All Nexus Devices

The Android 4.4.1 update began just last week, but it looks like a new hotfix is already arriving as version 4.4.2. Users have reportedly started receiving an update for their Nexus devices in the last hour. It has been spotted so far on the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 in the near future, according to an article from Android Police.

It seems that updates are on a roll as of late. Given the recent releases have a lot of major bugs in them, for example the newly released Nokia Lumia 2520 and its Sleep Mode issue, it does not come as a surprise for developers to release updates in such a short time. The real question here is why do they release hardware or software that is not yet ready for the market? That’s a really good question indeed.

Nonetheless, the 4.4.2 comes as a surprise to most people, therefore details about it are scarce. Android Police came across a few vague insights of what the update might contain, which are listed below. For now, Nexus users should just wait and see for themselves what the new update brings to their devices.

Enhancements/Fixes

  • Fix for clearing the VM Indicator
  • Fix for delivery of the VM Indicator
  • Various additional software fixes
  • Security enhancements

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Android Police

Android 4.3 And Sense 5 Rolls Out For HTC Evo 4G LTE Next Year

Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC America, announced on Twitter that the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint will receive Android 4.3 and Sense 5 by the end of 2013. A few days ago, a known HTC insider claimed that the chances of a HTC EVO 4G LTE update in the future were diminishing thanks to a lack of movement behind the scenes.

Fortunately, in this case, it appears that his fears were unnecessary because HTC itself has gone on the record to confirm an update for the HTC EVO 4G LTE later on this year and it’s not the update that many have been hoping for. Some good news for Evo 4G users since the main focus lately was only on HTC One and Droid DNA.

It is good to see that HTC is heading into a good direction here. The struggling Taiwanese manufacturer is not only being more open and transparent about its future update plans, but it’s also actually updating devices that are more than a year old. Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G LTE, which arrived shortly after the HTC One X on AT&T, is currently running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, an update that it received last December.

Thank you Android Central and GottaBeMobile for providing us with this information.

AT&T To Bring 300Mbps Fiber To Austin

Austin, Texas seems to be the new place to be if you are interested in a blazing fast Internet connection as AT&T has announced plans to deploy fiber in the city that will ultimately provide speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

Known as GigaPower, the service will be an extension of AT&T’s existing U-verse program. At launch, it will be limited to 300 Mbps on the upstream and downstream which is said to be the fastest available to consumers from any Austin broadband provider.

GigaPower will initially reach tens of thousands of customers throughout Austin and the surrounding areas later this year. Those that sign up for the 300 Mbps service will be upgraded to speeds up to 1 gigabit per second at no extra cost when it becomes available in mid-2014.

Dave Nichols, President of AT&T Texas, said Austin embodies innovation and social consciousness and is the heart of a vibrant, ever-evolving tech culture and entrepreneurial spirit. With their all-fiber U-verse services, they are building the foundation for a new wave of innovation for Austin’s consumers, businesses and civic and educational institutions, he said.

Google Fiber is already available in Kansas City, and Google is now running ads for the service in Provo, Utah, where it will launch in mid-October. The service has generated a lot of buzz, and AT&T is hoping that it can overcome some of this in Austin by coming out first.

The fee for Google Fiber is $70 per month for Internet service and $120 per month with a TV bundle. For comparison, Verizon’s 500 megabit-per-second service is only available for homes in a phone and TV package for $309.99 per month.

Google may have an advantage with Fiber by starting from scratch and installing a brand new fiber optic network. This allows all Fiber customers to experience the same speeds. AT&T will instead by tapping into an existing network of fiber optics and copper lines, meaning that not everyone will get the same speed.

AT&T said this is just the start of its super high-speed services, but did not state where it plans to go next.

Thank you TechSpot and IBTimes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of IBTimes.

BlackBerry To Sell Unlocked Version Of The Z10 & Q10 Handsets

The Canadian company has begun selling their high-end Z10 and Q10 smartphones unlocked directly on their website. This is due to its poor quarterly earnings, however BlackBerry does not seem to drop prices and is keeping them staggeringly high. To be note is that BlackBerry is selling the unlocked Z10 and Q10 only in the US, so the rest of the world would still have to find their own way to unlock BlackBerry handsets.

The BlackBerry Z10 features a 4.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, 1800 mAh battery, 8-megapixel rear-camera, 2-megapixel front-camera, NFC, and LTE. The BlackBerry Q10 has another approach and aims at users who are keen to have a physical keyboard. It featuring a 3.1-inch Super AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, LTE connectivity, NFC, a microSD slot and a 2100 mAh battery.

The new BlackBerry Z10 is set at $449 (£278) while the Q10 costs surprisingly more and is set at $549 (£340). While both handsets are still compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks, the deal is not likely to attract non-BlackBerry users but will help out some folks trying to find an unlocked BlackBerry handset.

Both of the handsets come in two colour variants, white and black, and those interested in acquiring one of these handsets can have a look at the BlackBerry official website here for full specs and prices.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Nokia Tablet “RX-114” Approved by the FCC and Heading for AT&T and Verizon

Until now there were rumors circulating about a new Nokia tablet said to be running Windows 8.1 RT in the works. This rumor became official when the device was approved by the FCC and will become available, according to Nokia’s tweets, on the 22nd of October. The Nokia team did a good job at covering it up with a 167 page document full of measurements and technical graphs. Below are some leaked diagrams of the device along with specific references to its slate-like state.

Nokia RX-114 packs support for LTE bands 2,4,5,13 and 17 in addition to full 2G and 3G connectivity, which means both variants of the tablet will support 4G LTE.

At Nokia World, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd, gets closer and while four of the six devices that were to be announced on that day day have already been revealed, details about the two other “mystery” devices are still unknown.

Thank you NextPowerUp and Engadget for providing us with this information. 

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.

American Network Carrier AT&T Considering European Expansion

The Wall Street Journal reports that the American network carrier AT&T is seeking to expand into Europe in the near future. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said his company will consider making an acquisition of a European network carrier in the future stating that their are a lot more opportunities for expansion in Europe than in the USA. AT&T’s CEO said that Verizon’s deal to purchase Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless opened his eyes to a European expansion. It is also believed that AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile 2 years ago, which was halted by the U.S government based on competition concerns, is part of the reason AT&T are looking to expand into new markets. Currently the USA has four major network carriers – AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile – so the U.S government is unlikely to let that slide to three any time soon.

“We have pretty much written off that any kind of large-scale deal in our sector is going to get done … going from four players to three is kind of a threshold issue.”

AT&T’s plans to expand and invest into the European market certainly will not be plain sailing. Issues of differences in public policy (such as concerns over data protection) as well as the way spectrum licenses are handled could both pose obstacles to AT&T’s expansion.

Image courtesy of AT&T

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Up For AT&T Pre-Order – $299

If you’re in the USA and the thought of getting Samsung’s latest smartwatch interests you then you’ll be pleased to know that AT&T are now accepting pre-orders on the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. AT&T made the official announcement on Twitter:

“Receive texts on your wrist? Yes, please. @SamsungMobileUS #GalaxyGear pre-orders start tomorrow. att.com/galaxygear

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is certainly an interesting piece – designed to be a mini Android smartphone companion for your wrist that can answer calls, receive texts and much more. Samsung have designed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch to pair up with the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4 and other high-end smartphones.

The AT&T price for such a gadget isn’t that cheap though – $299 is the price to pay to get your hands on the Galaxy Gear. Check out all the details here on the AT&T website.

Image courtesy of Samsung/TechSpot

Second Generation Nexus 7 Shows Multiple LTE Band Support

Google’s Nexus 7 was an incredibly popular tablet but if anyone had complaints it was that the device lacked LTE and network support, being a WiFi only device – although it was possible to get mobile WiFi for it. According to fresh reports from Droid-Life the second generation Google Nexus 7 will pack LTE support.

The new Nexus 7 was spotted recently as the ASUS K009 undergoing FCC certification and it has also made an appearance in Bluetooth SIG certifications too.  Now with LTE band support it should be able to host Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile LTE connectivity. The second gen ASUS Google tablet will have LTE bands 2,4,5,13 and 17 support. Furthermore it will also support GSM bands 850 and 1900MHz making it compatible with AT&T GSM bands and potentially T-Mobile HSPA+ bands when/if they make a full transition to 1900MHz bands.

I think this is pretty big and exciting news because the Google ASUS Nexus 7 will be a much more versatile device after getting native mobile network support.

What are your thoughts on the next generation Nexus 7 getting LTE support?

Image courtesy of Droid-Life

Apple Patent Wars Continue Preventing Sales In United States

The United States International Trade Commission, “…which serves the public by implementing U.S. law and contributing to the development and sound and informed U.S. trade policy.” as stated in their mission statement.

In upholding their policies the U.S. ITC has issued a limited exclusion order, cease & desist order for Apple iPhone 4 and 3GS, iPad 3G , and iPad 2 3G all of which are AT&T models. Apple violated a Samsung patent covering technology used in sending information over wireless networks. though President Barack Obama can veto this decision, or it can be blocked by an appeals court, if the ruling stands it will restrict the importation of the listed iPhones and iPads designed to work on the AT&T network.

The patent will not affect the newer Apple products including the iPhone 5 and the 4th Gen iPad.

Apple and Samsung seem to have been duking it out for quite some time now, it seems that every couple of weeks there is a new story about Samsung and Apple fighting about something. Patents are important for companies, at the same time, there are a lot of patents that have gone unused, that could be very useful to some people. Patents protect companies who spend thousands, hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in developing a technology, a patent protects a company who invents in the technology to produce a product without interference from other companies that might have stolen the tech.

There is quite a bit of information on this patent and the issues brought forth above, if you’re interested in doing more research on this topic here are a few useful links.

Google has a copy of the patent available on their system, HERE. Which explains it as “Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system”

U.S. ITC has published their investigative history HERE. And their ruling can be found HERE.

Original image courtesy of Apple.com

Microsoft Drops Two Places To Seventh In “Most Valuable Global Brand” Rankings

It has been a tough year for Microsoft who have been bashed over the apparent “failures” of Windows 8 and Surface tablets. Yet you would of thought all these things have added up to disaster for Microsoft? Yet the latest global brand rankings show they have had only a small effect.

Microsoft is now the seventh most valuable global brand, with a value reduction on its brand of 9% compared to 2012 where it was the fifth most valuable global brand. It has been overtaken by AT&T and Coca-Cola. It is unsurprising that the top 10 most valuable global brands are dominated by technology with Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft all having a top ten spot. AT&T and China Mobile are arguably also “technology” or at least service the growing technology market.

Interestingly enough Apple sits on top miles ahead of everyone else and that looks set to stay that way for the forseeable future. Samsung made an impressive leap from 55th to 30th place with a 51% rise over 2012’s figures, but they are still some way off the big hitters.

The CEO of the company that conducted this research said that

“This year’s ranking highlights the return on investment that brands give businesses. It shows that strong brands bring market share growth, increased profits from being able to command a price premium and greater shareholder returns,”

What are your thoughts on the global brand rankings for 2013? Why do you think Microsoft has fallen?

Source, Via

FCC To Give Small Carriers A Chance

The Anti-trust division justice Departments tells FCC that that they need to make sure that smaller wireless carrier companies, Sprint and T- Mobile, need to get access to low-frequency spectrum during the auction to ensure that the competition is maintained.

Currently, FCC is drafting the rules for spectrum auctions of the spectrum that TV broadcasters are giving up, making way for wireless broadband companies to take it instead. This is particular for spectrum below 1 GHz. usually at 600 MHz. This has a higher value as it the wireless carrier can travel long distances and even penetrate through buildings. Justice Department however requests that FCC should include a rule to address this issue by providing a cap. Large wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon already have a substantial amount of 700MHz frequency spectrum which allowed them to build their 4G LTE networks.

The Department said in a filling to the FCC,”The Department concludes that rules that ensure the smaller nationwide networks, which currently lack substantial low-frequency spectrum, have an opportunity to acquire such spectrum could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers. The more concentrated a wireless market is, the more likely a carrier will find it profitable to acquire spectrum with the aim of raising competitors’ costs. This could take the shape, for example, of pursuing spectrum in order to prevent its use by a competitor, independent of how efficiently the carrier uses the spectrum.”

Larry Krevor, Vice President for Government Affairs, Spring said,”The Justice Department is absolutely right. Ensuring that all carriers, large and small, have access to the low-band spectrum would improve competition and benefit consumers. We are hopeful that the FCC will adopt policies which recognize the importance of low-band spectrum to wireless competition and the American economy as a whole.”
AT&T and Verizon on the other hand argued that any limitation during the auction will limit their participation.

Source: CNET

AT&T ‘Promises’ To Bring 1 Gbps To Austin after Google’s Official Announcement


Google Fiber’s implementation in Austin was recently announced, but AT&T has decided to follow Google with the 1 Gbps connection PR bandwagon. AT&T has put up their press release where they say that they are prepared to offer advanced fiber optic which can provide 1 Gbps.

AT&T further added the following statement “Today, AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. AT&T’s expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives.”

One will be skeptical, but one would expect at the very least that AT&T may offer few FTTH (Fiber to the home) to a selected number of users- or maybe do offer actual fiber to many of its home users, but it won’t be surprising if the network provider decides to cap these lines as AT&T is well-known to do for a very long time. There’s a questionable remark by the company on the press release where it said that upgrades are “not expected to materially alter AT&T’s anticipated 2013 capital expenditures.” Its not possible to have a network infrastructure with a fiber unless one spends money, therefore this should be some form of expenditure.

However AT&T so far has plans which has problems to keep up with cable, let alone fiber. Its been found that AT&T is barely able to provide 5 Mbps connection to many of their customers. To add further, AT&T is mostly concentrating on wireless internet access and large investor returns. So many would see this attempt by AT&T and their promise to provide 1 Gbps fiber connection at the time when Google is offering the same nothing more than hitch-hiking Google’s thunder and PR impact, which could affect AT&T’s DSL customers .

Source: DSL Reports