Apple Could Be Fined Millions for Strict iPhone Marketing Contract

Did you ever look at a phone provider catalogue and think, where have I seen that advert before? If the phone in question is an iPhone then you may have noticed its prominent placement in the catalogue along with the near identical adverts in every single catalogue. There is a reason for this other than just marketing, and could get Apple fined up to €48.5 million for their strict iPhone marketing terms.

France’s country competition regulators have launched a complaint regarding Apple’s agreements, stating that they are actually illegal. Part of the terms and conditions is that carriers have to order a minimum number of iPhones, cover the cost of repairs for some of the phones and even pay for the ad’s used (including those used for in-store displays).

If this wasn’t enough Apple gains several legal benefits, such as being able to access and use some of the carriers patents and even use their branding as they see fit. The contract also allows Apple to void the contract without any prior notice, something that would scare anyone selling thousands of euros worth of equipment.

With Apple looking at renewable energy for their facilities, they may want to rethink their strategy when it comes to selling their devices as even if this court case is just in France, other countries may follow suit and start looking at stocking alternative products because of the contract they are being forced to sign.

Apple Will Start Phasing Out Plastic Bags This Month

Buying an Apple product is almost as symbolic as the illuminated apple located on the back of your device, with the whole experience of walking out the store reminding you of that new gadget feel before you’ve even opened the box. Part of this experience is the bag you get the new product in, a plastic bag emblazoned with the Apple logo. This part of your experience may be changing with Apple looking to phase out plastic bags later this month.

Revealed by 9to5Mac, a note sent to employees reveals plans for the bags to be replaced by paper bags. The new paper bags will be made with 80 percent recycled materials, a move intended to further Apple’s goal of leaving the world “better than we found it”.

The change will start on the 15th April, with stores looking to use up their plastic bags as soon as they can. Much like when you go shopping customers are now also going to be asked if they want a bag and being given the choice between medium and large sizes, both of these actions look to help reduce the number of bags used and the amount of material given away in the form of bags.

If this wasn’t enough, people who are looking to recycle their iOS devices will get a new “Apple Renew” card, a gift card made out of recycled paper.

With Apple already running their facilities on renewable energy and now using recyclable materials for their stores, leaving the world better than we found it is a step closer to being a reality.

Netflix Admits It’s Been Throttling Video for Mobile Streamers for Years

People have always been wary of companies when it comes to mobile data, with rumours T-Mobile was throttling connections for videos that weren’t signed up for their binge service. This seems to be common practise though with Netflix coming out and admitting that it’s been throttling connections for years.

Mobile data is a big topic these days, with more and more people using their phones to connect and browse the web while on the go. These matters only get bigger when people begin watching movies or streaming shows on the morning commute to work.

With companies like Netflix accounting for 35% of internet traffic, you can’t help but feel like they have a responsibility to help people out avoid the large charges that companies place on data use. Netflix admits that it has been throttling streams at 600 Kbps for mobile services, that is unless you are with Sprint and T-Mobile who Netflix state “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies”.

AT&T weren’t overly happy, releasing the following statement:

“We’re outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs.”

To be fair to the company, Netflix is looking at becoming more data efficient, including the re-encoding of re-encoding of its entire media library entire media library in order to help shave off those extra Kbps that will cost you. If you think this is something new, the company stated that it has been doing this for more than 5 years in order to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps”.

No matter what you think of the company, no one seems to have noticed it before (can’t have been that big a deal could it?) and they were doing it for the right reasons so I don’t see how Netflix has done anything wrong other than not inform people before regarding the process.

Tesla Model X Price Revealed

Tesla have become a well known, if not a household name, when it comes to their vehicles. Named after Nikola Tesla, Tesla are known for the creation of top line electric cars, and some weird gadgets to go with them, such as the robotic snake charger. The latest release in their extensive line is the Tesla Model X, an SUV vehicle that has some unique features that fans of Back to the future might recognise.

The latest Tesla vehicle will feature falcon doors for the rear passengers, with a total of 7 passenger seats, the environmentally friendly SUV will offer a new way to show off as you try to open the door in a packed parking lot. The Model X however does not come without a price tag to match the stylish design, with a reservation price of £4000 and a sale price of $132,000 (roughly £86,521.07) for the basic model with added features raising the price to a whopping $143,750 (approximately £94,222.75).

The added features include a Tow Package, Sub-zero weather package and the well-known Ludicrous Speed Upgrade with a 0-60mph of around 3.2 seconds. With a quick youtube search showing a variety of videos with people getting shocked at Tesla’s quick acceleration boost.

Now all we need is a flux capacitor and an 88mph stretch of road and we can set off on an adventure.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information and the image.

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

US Navy Testing Electromagnetic Catapults to Help Launch Aircraft from Carriers

Aircraft carriers have been equipped with steam-powered catapults from the very start in order to help launch fighters and bombers and get them airborne quick. However, this old-fashioned technology seems to be a bit too old for the Navy to use it on newer multi-million aircraft.

As an alternative, the US Navy is now looking to replace its technology with an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). The technology is currently being tested aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford and uses bursts of electromagnetic energy to launch planes much more smoothly and efficiently compared to the steam catapults.

While aircraft carriers are one of the biggest ships found on the sea, they are still not big enough for aircraft to generate enough lift before they reach the end of the ship. This is why they required some auxiliary help, such as the steam catapults, to generate that extra lift force to get them into the air.

However, steam catapults come with some drawbacks. The old technology is said to take up a lot of space and weigh in at 1,300 lbs. The systems are said to take a long time to recharge and after each launch, the launch itself is said to be abrupt. This means that there is no smooth acceleration for a steam piston, putting a lot of wear on the aircraft each time it launches.

Steam catapults are also said to use more power than the EMALS system, which is rather surprising. The switch to EMALS is said to bring smoother acceleration, improved reliability and a more efficient design.

Thank you Geek for providing us with this information

Voice-over-LTE Set to Launch in the UK on Three This Summer

The UK is laying the ground for an intense competition between carriers this summer. Three, the 4th largest mobile carrier in the country, has just announced that it will be launching its VoLTE feature in Q3 this year.

This means that Three will be competing with carriers such as Vodafone, who has already announced that it will be launching VoLTE, and EE, the UK’s largest carrier, who has similar plans in enabling the feature on its networks this year as well.

VoLTE is similar to VoIP, but operates over the 4G/LTE networks as data, compared to the previous “closed-circuit” calls on 2G and 3G. The result is said to bring faster call setup and crystal clear audio, while in turn making better use of the available spectrum.

This sounds pretty amazing, but there have also been a lot of battery performance issues with 4G smartphones in the past using this type of feature. However, new chipsets are said to be rolling out more optimized than their predecessors. But questions regarding what handsets will be compatible with the VoLTE networks still remain.

Three has not stated which devices will be compatible with its future VoLTE network, however handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 onwards should have no problem in connecting to it once it is launched.

EU Committee Delays Roaming Fees Removal

There have been a lot of talks these past two years regarding the abolishment of roaming fees in the European Union’s member states. Last year, we heard that the EU Commission was voting to scrap the fees altogether and have them removed by 2016.

However, this might not be the case. The European Parliament does have its mind set on removing the roaming fees, but it seems that it also backs carriers who claim that they need to charge customers due to the space taken up on foreign carrier networks. To be noted is that carriers such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica, and Telenor already have networks in almost every EU country, but there are still some carriers who cannot cope with a big changes just yet.

While there has been a steady drop in roaming prices in the past two years, along with a variety of tariffs added to reduce prices even further, we won’t be seeing a total removal of roaming fees next year. A more realistic target now points to 2018, making some room for everyone to cope with a big change on a large scale.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Unlocked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Goes on Sale in US

Although the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been on sale since September, the new phones have always been connected to a carrier somehwhow in the US. Well not anymore, you can now buy the two phones unlocked in the US for the first time.

While getting them unlocked was the only way to get the phones from the Apple Online Store in many other countries like the UK for example, Americans have always had to purchase them connected to a carrier in some way. Practically every network offered the phones with a plan, and you could only visit T-Mobile to actually purchase the handset without a contract, but now they can be bought free of those pesky mobile network ties.

The 6 starts at $649 and the 6 Plus at $749 and can be purchased in-store or online at store.apple.com.

Source: The Verge

 

AT&T to Release Sonim XP6, Rugged Anti-Smartphone

American mobile operator AT&T has just announced a new product under the ‘anti-smartphone’ category – the Sonim XP6. Said to be extremely rugged in design, this new smartphone incorporates a physical keyboard and button support into its architecture. This announced device has been marketed as a phone that can support most common features as seen in regular smartphones, but provides the user with a rugged alternative useable in all scenarios and situations.

The Sonim XP6 can be used with AT&T’s EPTT press-to-talk service, giving consumers another way to manage their clients, management and staff easier whilst on the work site. They’ve also been given IP68 and  IP69 certifications, meaning it is resistant against splashes of water, mud or any other liquid you may come into contact with while on the grind.

Marketed as drop-resistant, said to be able to be comfortably dropped onto a concrete floor, the Sonim XP6’s screen can also be seen in direct sunlight. AT&T have further included an extremely loud 103 db phone ringer capability, said to help identify when calls are coming over the sound of heavy machinery.

There hasn’t been an announced release date or price for this phone yet, but given it’s ‘industrial’ nature – you can exepct it to be quite pricey. This is a common trend amongst companies who cater products towards a commercial audience, why should they lower the price when it’s a company paying for the goods?

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Microsoft’s Lumia 830 Offered by AT&T

With Apple and Android news barraging the internet currently, maybe you’re looking for something a little different? Windows OS phone; the Microsoft Lumia 830, is coming to AT&T as announced recently.

Sometime later this year, you’ll be able to get your hands on this piece of kit through the phone company, which it is said to have brought in due to public outcry on their lack of options currently available. What does the Lumia offer? We’re glad you asked. Alongside a 10 megapixel rear facing camera, you’ll get a 5-inch screen running at 720×1280 resolution, a total thickness of 8.5mm, 1GB of RAM and a 14.8 hour 3G talk time in battery life – compared to 14 hours offered by the iPhone 6.

Unfortunately, we don’t have an exact date or time for you yet, but we’ll make an article about it when we do.

Are you a Windows phone user? What made you go this route rather than popular Android or Apple run devices?

Image courtesy of ThePocketTech and PhoneDesigner

Motorola Rumored to be Making Google’s Next-Gen Nexus Smartphone

There have been a lot of rumors going around in regards to the upcoming Nexus device. Google has apparently been keeping the information sealed, having previous rumors point to LG being the manufacturer for the next Nexus handset. The latter information proved to be incoherent, drawing attention to the Android Silver program and the possibility of the upcoming Nexus handset being part of the program.

The latest rumor however beats them all. Google’s former smartphone manufacturer, Motorola, which the search giant sold to Lenovo, is apparently in charge of manufacturing the handset. Compared to the previous rumors, this one is said to come straight from Android Police, backing the information to a certain extent. However, given the wide range of information and lack of something concrete, even Android Police could be shooting off in the wrong direction with the Motorola rumor.

All in all, Motorola is said to be working on a new smartphone in collaboration with Google. The project’s codename is said to be Shamu, which has been reported to be primarily aimed at US carriers and other big-named carriers around the world. This information is apparently the link between the new handset and the two parties working on it, since the carriers are said to most likely handle the Nexus 5.

The Shamu handset is said to feature a 5.9-inch screen and a fingerprint sensor, having the latter as another clue which points to the upcoming Nexus handset and the technology it features. The Nexus handset is said to have been given a launch date for November. More information is bound to come as the launch date draws near.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Huawei Reported To Be Selling High-End Smartphones Via Messaging App

The increased competition of smartphone manufacturers in China has apparently resulted in companies approaching unique marketing techniques. For example, Xiaomi is said to have success with its ‘Hunger Marketing’ technique, having customers pre-register their interest in a handset in order to grab the e-mail addresses of potential buyers. As soon as the particular handset hits the spotlight, a limited number is manufactured and sold. This is how the company recently sold an estimated 10,000 Xiaomi Redmi Note phablets in less than a second.

Networking and telecom manufacturer Huawei apparently has its own tactics. Sources indicate that the company is apparently using popular messaging application WeChat as a channel to sell its Huawei Honor 6 handset. The device is said to boast an Octa-Core processor, a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920, as well as a 13 MP back camera and 5MP front camera.

The company previously used only local carriers to sell its handsets, but due to the increased competition, it is hoping to widen the distribution of its products using the WeChat app. The application, which is said to be in partnership with Chinese e-commerce company JD, has apparently hosted a competition in which the lucky winner was awarded with a Huawei Honor 6. The rules appeared to have been simple as well, having competitors guess the price of the handset in question. The winner would have had to answer ¥1999 / $322, the actual price of the Huawei Honor 6 handset.

Huawei is said to have 8% of the Chinese market, placing it on the 6th position in the country. This is due to change in the future, providing that the partnership between the company and WeChat app is successful. WeChat is said to have over 400 million users, having it be used as a text and voice messaging app, a gaming app and even a cab hailing app. Reports show that an update last year has even added a payment system, something which Huawei is attempting to exploit. Also, Huawei might have been the first to use this type of marketing camping, but it most certainly will not be the last.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

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

Wi-Fi Calling Software Makes Its Way Into Two Sprint Handsets, More To Come

When smartphones and Wi-Fi found themselves packed in the same handset, Wi-Fi calling has been the most impressive thing which made T-Mobile stand out of the crowd in the US. That was back in 2007, however it looks like Sprint has its eyes on the same thing and started offering convenient perks to subscribers around the US.

Wi-Fi calling and text messaging is completely free of charge and can be used on any Wi-Fi network the handset connects to. This could be very useful when you are indoors, where your phone’s reception is not adequate for making any calls. However, the downside is the range of devices, having only two options at the moment.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Mega are said to be the first two handsets to support the feature at first, followed by other handsets in the future. It’s not that great compared to T-Mobile which has a wide array of handsets, however T-Mobile also has 7 years of experience in this domain. It is interesting to see the outcome in the future though.

For owners of the latter Sprint handsets, a software update needs to be downloaded before using the Wi-Fi service. Once downloaded, owners need to go to the handset’s Apps folder and select ‘Wi-Fi Calling’ to switch to the service from cellular network. Sprint has also mentioned to look forward to new handsets being added to the list by the end of this year.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

Tizen Delayed Again, Carrier Support Found To Be Scarce For Its Handset

Word about the Tizen operating system and supporting handsets have been moving back and forth since last year, being delayed more than once. It was said that the operating system along with the first ever device of its king would release back in 2013. Well, that did not happen, of course. Other news pointed to a release after the WMC happening later this month. THen, recent rumors circulating have pointed to a release date somewhere in or after the second half of this year.

While Samsung is still struggling to bring a prototype to the WMC, which is less likely to happen now, other news reveal the actual problem behind Tizen. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the company has been delaying Tizen due to a ‘carrier’ problem. It is said that most of the mobile carriers that previously joined the Tizen project, have slowly departed and left Tizen ‘out in the cold’.

Orange carrier from France was one of the companies expected to launch the Tizen-powered smartphone, along with Japan’s NNT DoCoMo, one of Tizen’s biggest carrier partners. Both carriers have dropped support, stating that the platform is not “mature” enough and are more likely to focus on more immediate products, the ones that sell faster that is. This is quite understandable, since nobody knows exactly what will in fact happen with Tizen once it hits the market.

Even US-based Sprint renounced the Tizen smarthpone, having claimed the same reasons and fears as the previously mentioned carriers, leaving Samsung’s Tizen with scarce support for its smartphone. Becuase in the end, a smartphone is not a ”smartphone’ without carrier signal and/or a sim (why not call it a ‘smartpad’ and launch it like that? never mind…). When and if the Tizen smartphone will launch this year, it is hard to say. Maybe Samsung will pull an ace out of its sleeve and make a big impression at WMC with it, that is bound to attract carriers again. That is, if it shows up with its Tizen smartphone.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Chrome Update To Reduce Data Consumption Up To 50% for iOS and Android Users

Google announced an upcoming update to Chrome for iOS and Chrome for Android will feature a way for you to save on your data usage by as much as 50%. According to a survey from Pew, 20% of U.S. adults do the majority of their surfing on a mobile browser. The only problem with depending on your mobile browser is the consumption of data when you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network. If you’re depending on a 3G/4G connection to your mobile operator to hook up to the internet, you could find your monthly data allowance spent before you know it.

However, Google has reportedly found a way to deliver data more efficiently. Once you receive the update, you can use Chrome’s data compression and bandwidth management on your iOS or Android device, and cut your data usage in half. At the same time that you’re saving precious data, you are also protecting yourself against malicious websites by using Chrome’s Safe Browsing.

After the update, users can go to the Bandwidth Management section inside the application’s Settings, and then use the Reduce Data Usage feature. Turn the toggle switch to on and your browser will start saving data. And this menu will also show you how much bandwidth you are saving each month by using Chrome.

Google has also announced that it will be adding Google Translate to Google Chrome for iOS in the next few days. That will make translating foreign websites on your Apple iPhone and Apple iPad a snap. And finally, the upcoming update for the Android version of Chrome will allow you to create shortcuts to your favorite websites right from your homescreen.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Two Variants Available For The Nexus 5, The D820 And D821

As it comes in most cases, the Nexus 5 is not just one handset and model. It comes in two different variants, the D820 and D821 as they are called. The D820 is manufactured for the North America region and the D821 is distributed in the Rest of The World. Of course, externally both models are the exact same, from the case, buttons, camera and design are indistinguishable. You have the same options of storage and colors as well, which is great.

On the inside there are a couple of minor differences. First of all, you will find the same spec sheet for the screen, processor, RAM, sensors, Wi-Fi and everything else. All of this points out that both the D820 and D821 run the exact same software build as well, which means that Google have pushed and worked hard trying to bring a “one phone” to the entire world. The only tangible difference between the two models is the mobile network bands. It is to be expected as it’s basically impossible to fit every necessary radio into just a single model.

North America (D820) model:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
  • LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Rest of World (D821) model:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

Out of the box, the D820 model will work just fine for 2G, 3G and LTE data on T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. Any MVNO that operates on the T-Mobile or AT&T network will be good to go as well, but things turn into a bit of a grey area once you go beyond there.

Outside of North America, the Rest of World D821 model should have no issues connecting to 2G, 3G and LTE throughout Europe and beyond. Things again get into a grey area when you head over to Asia where different and unique networks are run. It is advisable to double, triple and quadruple check the bands your carrier of choice runs on before you make a purchase.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

T-Mobile HTC One Receiving Android 4.3, UK Users To Wait Until Next Month

As promised by HTC America’s President, the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for the T-Mobile variant of HTC’s flagship Smartphone for the year 2013, has begun rolling out. The Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update brings a ton of new features across the board, but not for the US. Sadly, this region’s update is limited to a new OS, some minor bug fixes and the usual Android 4.3 godies. Meanwhile, folks from across the globe get to enjoy an improved camera experience and HTC Sense 5.5, which also allows you to switch BlinkFeed off.

Meanwhile, the same update for the UK region is scheduled for next month. The reason for this delay is undoubtedly all of the internal testing being carried out by UK carriers, which frankly should be hurried up. Sad, considering international users have been toying with the new OS for weeks now.

Here is the official tweet regarding the UK update release: “@JasonMacHTC @IvanSolyara @HTC_UK Hi Ivan, we are expecting to release 4.3 update in the UK in 3–5 weeks. Thanks for your tweet!”

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.