AT&T announced last week that they will be discontinuing their $30 unlimited data plans for users of netbooks and smartphones. While current subscribers will not be affected, future interested users will have the option to purchase either a 200MB data plan for $15/month plan or 2GB data plan for $25/month. Since the only users who really require more than 2GB of data are iPhone users, netbook users need not be concerned and might actually save $5/month or more.
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AT&T has announced that it is raising its early termination fee (ETF) for smartphones from $175 to $325 starting June 1. Customers who were considering breaking their contracts with AT&T have just one week to decide before leaving AT&T early gets way more expensive.
The hike in this fee has fueled rumors concerning the iPhone’s AT&T exclusivity. Though AT&T insists that the price increase is unrelated, one cannot help but wonder: is Verizon perhaps going to be carrying the iPhone in the near future?
Those who choose to leave AT&T now face an uncertain future because there really is no guarantee that Apple and AT&T are going to let other carriers, such as Verizon, provide service for the iPhone. Even if Verizon does begin to offer iPhone service, it will not be until late June or early July, which means customers hoping to switch would have to go about a month without a phone, which is almost unthinkable in our society. If Verizon does not end up carrying the iPhone, customers will be forced to choose other Verizon phones—luckily, the company does have some great choices out there (my personal favorite right now is the HTC Incredible).
Via PC World, image via PC World.
Apple’s latest device, the iPad, will be carried by AT&T when it is released. However, AT&T’s network is not the most reliable out there, as evidenced by the problems it has had since the iPhone’s release.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is concerned about the effect the iPad will have on the AT&T network. Last week, it posted the following on its blog:
With the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband on the horizon, we must ensure that network congestion doesn’t choke off a service that consumers clearly find so appealing, or frustrate mobile broadband’s ability to keep us competitive in the global broadband economy.
Of course, it does not specifically mention AT&T by name, but there really is no doubt to whom the entry refers. AT&T’s network needs an upgrade that will probably cost around $18 billion. Apple apparently has faith in AT&T, at least judging by Apple COO Tim Cook’s comments.
The FCC blog entry also raises the question: will the FCC approve the iPad?
Via CoolTechZone, image via AT&T.
The iPhone is a great device. Most people who own it seem to love it. Still, it does have its problems, most of which involve AT&T’s cell phone service. Stories of dropped calls and poor reception are common.
That is why Apple’s chief operating officer’s statements about AT&T are frustrating to iPhone users. After Apple announced its earnings on Monday, a Wall Street analyst asked about Apple’s deal with AT&T. (There have been rumors that Apple will be dropping AT&T as the exclusive carrier of the iPhone.) Apple’s COO Tim Cook gave a rather disappointing response, saying that most iPhone customers are “having a great experience” with AT&T’s network. He also said that AT&T has promised to improve the 3G network.
Cook seems a bit out of touch with reality if he actually believes this. Innumerable iPhone users have complained about reception in major cities. AT&T’s network has had trouble handling the influx of data generated by iPhone use and AT&T does not seem to be making any moves to fix this. If Apple does not do something, it could lose customers to companies with more reliable networks, like Verizon.
Via PC World, image via AT&T.
AT&T has lowered the price of its unlimited voice and data plan for the iPhone. The plan used to cost $130 a month ($100 for unlimited voice and $30 for unlimited data) but now costs $100 for both. Family Talk now costs $180 for unlimited voice and data for two iPhones. Texting prices are still the same ($20 for unlimited and $30 for Family Talk).
The changes only affect unlimited voice and data plans, which now means that Nation 1350 with Rollover Minutes will be $10 more than unlimited voice and data for iPhone users will be paying.
AT&T lowered their prices in response to Verizon, who lowered the price of their unlimited talk and text plan this past Friday. Perhaps now since the plan costs less, even more people will buy iPhones, something that will benefit both AT&T and Apple.
Via Computerworld, image via AT&T.
Though Apple tends to keepquiet about its upcoming products, that doesn’t stop people from speculating about future developments from Apple. And thanks to some news from Toshiba, who makes the memory chips for Apple’s handheld devices, the iPhone rumors are abounding.
Today Toshiba announced that it will be offering a new 64 GB memory chip. This means that the next iPhone could have up to 64 GB of storage, and the next iPod Touch up to 128 GB of storage.
Another iPhone rumor concerns its mobile broadband situation. Verizon Wireless could start being an iPhone carrier next year, ending AT&T’s current monopoly. Personally, I think that would be a good thing, since it could force currently high AT&T fees to drop.
Another rumor (that I really hope is not true) says that the new iPhone will have a 2.8-inch display. The current and previous iPhones have all had 3.5-inch screens (which I personally find to be a most perfect size).
Image via Apple.
Outsiders might imagine that we iPhone users would have nothing to complain about. After all, we are the proud owners of perhaps the best cell phone available, made by a company that produces excellent, high-quality products. But people always find something to complain about, and for us, it’s cell phone service.
iPhone users often complain about the 3G network not being fast. My personal issue with the iPhone (and I’m still on the Edge network because my initial contract hasn’t expired) is having service drop out at random times–usually when I want to call or text someone.
Apparently, The New York Times is trying to pin all problems with iPhone’s poor service on Apple itself–and that’s just wrong. The problem here is not Apple; it’s AT&T.
The New York Times bases their assertion on the fact that AT&T allegedly has the best network around, with fast download speeds and good signal strength, according to reports. They also say that the iPhone’s cell radio hardware has many shortcomings. But neither of these assertions match consumers’ opinions.
Furthermore, there simply is no evidence that the iPhone’s hardware is at fault. After all, iPhone users in other countries do not complain about the problems we US users experience. Cell phone service in this country is very poor compared to other countries’ service. It’s time to place the blame for iPhone problems on AT&T, where it belongs.
Via Ars Technica.
LG introduced the X120 netbook earlier this year. It’ll finally soon be available in the States, and more specifically at RadioShack retailers. This 10.1″ netbook will have a screen resolution of 1024×576, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, Windows XP, Wi-Fi, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam.
Users will be able to quickly access applications through LG’s Linux-based SmartOn interface without waiting for the system to boot. The LG X120 netbook will also be equipped with a built-in 3G modem and service will be provided by AT&T.
LG‘s netbook will come in white with blue trim and feature a 6-cell battery that is rumored to last for roughly seven hours. The price tag on the netbook will be $180 when purchased with a two-year AT&T data plan contract valued at $35 (or more) per month.
The netbook plans cost $35 monthly with a paltry 200 megabyte monthly limit or $60 for a slightly more reasonable 5 GB limit.
Samsung has recently announced that it will be teaming up with AT&T to offer its Go netbook. This netbook has pretty typical tech specs, including an Intel Atom processor, a built-in HSPA modem, and Wi-Fi. The Samsung Go netbook also features a comfortable yet stylish pebble-style keyboard and Windows 7 Starter Edition. If you’re interested in learning more about the netbook, check out one of our previous articles.
Pricing for the Samsung Go netbook is not yet available, but it will probably be around $200 with a two year AT&T data plan contract. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.
AT&T today announced the availability of 3G mobile broadband in Alexandria and Pineville, cities in central Louisiana. The move is part of a program to get AT&T’s 3G to more places, and is clear evidence that AT&T is starting to get ticked off about these ads:
Untouched by the cattiness of mobile broadband competition, Louisiana senator Joe McPherson was pleased by AT&T’s venture into his stomping grounds:
“Having access to the latest technology is important in today’s economy and I’m thrilled to see AT&T is bringing its 3G network to Alexandria and Pineville. I applaud their commitment to consumers in our area and their continued investment in Louisiana.”
AT&T Louisiana president William A. Oliver further explained what this will mean for AT&T customers.
“Demand for wireless bandwidth is growing, whether it’s for sharing video and photos with friends, watching a movie, checking the latest scores, or listening to music on a phone, netbook or other mobile devices on the go. With this expansion, our customers can continue to ride the leading edge of mobile broadband with emerging devices and thousands of mobile applications.”
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The new smartbook will be more functional than a smartphone, but less functional than a netbook. The display will be similar in size to that on a netbook, but like a smartphone, the new smartbook won’t have to be turned off. No more details are currently available for the product, but it is rumored to be officially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV in January 2010.
Image via XannyTech.
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JMI Mechanical Services is a commercial heating, ventilation, and AC company located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it has recently implemented AT&T’s two-year netbook contract to keep employees connected when on the job.
AT&T is providing JMI technicians with Acer netbooks with 3G access as well as “a third-party application that pushes important data and company news to technicians, whether at home, on the road or in the field.” JMI President Rick Johnson commented on the effect this netbook plan is having on the company’s productivity:
“A mobilized, expert service force gives us greater business velocity in today’s marketplace, and we started to see the benefits of our netbooks from AT&T within the first week of deployment… Thanks to AT&T, our technicians are connected wherever they are to the information and resources they need to provide the service our customers have come to expect over the past 28 years.”
The 3G netbook service will also be used to coordinate technician placement and help JMI attend to customers’ needs.
Nokia and Best Buy have recently announced that they will be teaming up to exclusively sell the Nokia 3G Booklet netbook. The price for netbook will be $299 per unit with a two-year contract at $60 per month for a 5 GB data plan. (If you’re not interested in getting a data plan, just the netbook, you can still buy this netbook, but you’ll need to shell out $599.)
This is a significant move for Nokia, as it’s their first actual entry into the PC market. It’s also a significant move for the industry, as launching a Windows 7 netbook is a first attempt at launching a device geared towards both mobility as well as top design. For Best Buy, this is a also a significant move, as it marks the longest exclusivity period that a retailer has obtained from AT&T for a wireless device.
Click here to read more about the specs of the Nokia 3G Booklet. The Booklet will be available for presale in store and online starting October 22. Demo units will be available in the 1,050 big-box outlets and 50+ stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores by October 25. The actual product will be available in Best Buy stores staritng November 15.
The Nokia Booklet 3G netbook has gotten a lot of flak for its ungodly price tag – $599 off the shelves or $299 with a $60/month 3G bill. For all that cash, it does manage to deliver in most categories, packing features like 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, and a headphone/microphone jack.
The sexiest part of this netbook, however, has got to be the 12-hour battery life.
In its attempt to go high-end in a market created for budget buyers, Nokia has been feeling the burn from competitors with netbooks in the $250-$500 range. Some machines are even cheaper if you go abroad or get a 3G contract.
However, some netbooks are sorely lacking in the battery department. The Acer Aspire One, for example, generally gets around 3 hours of juice.
Nokia‘s solution to the battery problem was to use a slower Intel Atom CPU. Despite the risk that this might slow it down, the netbook has been described as “fast enough” for web pages and YouTube.
In order to make the machine more accessible, AT&T president Glenn Lurie said to expect prepaid and pay-as-you-go plans for 3G with Nokia’s new netbook.
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So with all this (successful) competition between existing telecom companies (especially AT&T and Verizon) in selling subsidized netbooks with monthly data plans, Qwest Communications thought it would jump in and grab a piece of the action.
This high-speed Internet company will offer the 10″ Dell Inspiron Mini netbook at the subsidized price of $199. Customers will be able to choose between 3 different data plans: 7 Mpbs, 12 Mpbs, and 20 Mpbs. This offer was launched on August 1st and is planned on continuing through September 30th.
As a side note, AT&T’s subsidized netbook and data plan packages were so successful that the company is rumored to soon be extending the program to the rest of the United States.
Image via LaptopReviewsUK.
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In light of increasing competition in the mobile broadband space, AT&T has increased the number of netbooks it offers consumers.
However, a new rumor beyond what we reported yesterday has surfaced. AT&T may also include the Dell Mini 9, Dell Mini 12, and LG Xenia in its lineup. All three were tested by AT&T in locations around Atlanta, so it’s entirely possible that the netbooks could see wide release as well.
Taking advantage of the popularity of netbooks, AT&T is expanding their selection of 3G netbooks that are available to consumers. Beginning shortly, AT&T will be selling the following netbooks for $199.99 each (with a two-year data plan and after a mail-in rebate): the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 10, and Lenovo S10.
Each of these netbooks will weigh less than 2.9 pounds, have 1 GB of RAM and 160 GB hard drives, be equipped with the Microsoft Windows XP Home OS, and have built-in webcams.
These new AT&T netbooks will be offered nationwide both through retail and online channels.
As for data plans, AT&T’s service will cost $40 per month for a 200MB plan and $60 per month for a 5 GB plan. If you think shelling out $60 is too much, you can also consider going with a cheaper plan and making more use of Wi-Fi Internet spots, such as Starbucks coffee shops.
Disclaimer: For AT&T customers that cancel their two-year contracts after enrolling in the service for at least 30 days, there will be an early termination fee of up to $175.
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The broadband module comes from Ericsson and is called the Ericsson F3307. It’s specifically designed for netbooks and is certified with cellular networks in 75 countries.
It uses the HSPA standard, which is similar to the one used by AT&T’s 3G network. HSPA is popular worldwide, boosting the accessability of the Ericsson module.
As it is netbook-oriented, the Ericsson F3307 is designed for low power consumption. Offering download speeds up to 2 MB/s, the module is about the same size as a Wi-Fi module usef in laptops. Ericsson is working with Intel to get the F3307 validated with the Pine Trail-M netbook platform planned for the post-Atom netbook world.
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The first netbooks in 2007 were small, light, and cheap. As consumers’ tastes changed over the past couple of years, the average netbook size and price has increased slightly and netbooks have been equipped with faster processors.
Future netbooks are rumored to combine the best features of current netbooks and smartphones and will have new processors and operating systems as well. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Netbook processors: Netbook processors will be more powerful and have greater capabilities. Newer processors will use less power and thus allow netbooks to operate for longer periods of time. Some potential manufacturers for these newer processors include: Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Qualcomm. The Snapdragon processor by Qualcomm that only uses 500 milliwatts of power has acquired a good amount of attention and is something to watch out for in the future.
2. Netbook operating systems: Netbooks originally started out with Linux, but when Windows was available to be pre-installed, many more purchases of netbooks with the Windows operating software pre-installed were purchased. In the future, more netbooks will run on new(er) operating systems, such as Google’s Android.
3. Apple: There are still many rumors about if Apple plans on breaking into the netbook market. And then if it does, will it issue a netbook or some other related device? There’s always the chance that Apple could even come up with something to revolutionize the netbook market altogether. The company’s currently keeping mum about this, but we’ll keep you posted.
4. Other Developments: Netbooks will continue to evolve, and in general, will be cheaper and better performing in the future. Some things to look out for are the new Windows 7 operating system for netbooks and the development of Snapdragon-based netbooks.
5. Price: Pricing for netbooks is expected to drop in the future. There will also be more discount packages for these mobile devices. For example, in the future, ARM-based netbooks are predicted to be sold for roughly $200 and currently, cell phone companies such as AT&T sell subsidized netbooks for $50, with a two year monthly-data plan contract. (For now though, the latter is only in Philadelphia and Atlanta).
Despite all the signs of netbook evolution, some people are still skeptical about the future of these mobile computing devices. Any opinions?