Posted: 30 Jan 2012 06:52 PM PST
It’s great to know your roots and as a wise man once said, if you don’t know where you came from, how will you know where you’re going? And if you thought guys like Andy Rubin or Steve Jobs were pioneers of their time — check out these guys from AT&T’s early days who had no idea what they were onto. But who could blame ‘em. There’s no way they could have predicted that cellphones would soon shape an entire generation thanks to SMS, picture messaging, applications – heck, even the internet — and that all of that would be so easily accessible (and mandatory) from these tiny little computers that fit inside our skinny jeans.
In the video from 1979, you’ll see what was essentially closed beta Bell was using to test their new cellular network where hundreds of their customers could use a carphone at the same time. And this was a huge deal given in New York, only 12 people could be making a call. Just about every 70′s fashion cliche makes the cut — everything from ginormous eye wear, to sleazy mustaches and cheesy open collard suits. I can only wonder what our kids will say about us. You know, while riding their touchscreen hoverboards to school…
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 06:11 PM PST
When it comes to carriers, wireless data has been turning into quite the commodity over the past few months. This is made no better evident than the amount of ways carriers are amending their policies, tightening up data use wherever they can.
T-Mobile — who pretty much introduced US consumers to “throttled unlimited data” — is once again restricting their customer’s data use, this time with new limits to roaming data usage. Come April 5th, customers will be allotted a smaller amount of data use while roaming that’s directly proportioned to their current plan. You can see via the leaked picture above, it ranges from 10 MB of on their lower 200MB plan, all the way up to 200MB of roaming data on a plan with 10GB or more.
The bright side? You wont be charged any overages, T-Mobile will simply cut off your roaming data once you hit your limit. By contrast, Sprint offers 300MB of roaming data with their truly unlimited plan before a customer rep will come to your door and give you the boot. While this news probably wont make the majority of consumers gasp, “How could they!?” I’m sure it will affect some of your decisions when shopping around for a carrier. No?
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 04:55 PM PST
Looks like the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will be joining the elite club of Android devices set to receive their Ice Cream Sandwich updates this year. More specifically, Lenovo mentioned today that Android 4.0 will arrive for the tablet Q2 of this year. The tablet is currently running on Android 3.1 which isn’t so bad seeing how I’ve always felt 4.0 is only a slightly better version of Honeycomb. Anyone with a ThinkPad out there happy about this news?
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 04:24 PM PST
The Motorola Defy Mini has just made its way through the FCC earlier today. The waterproof/dustproof device has been approved for GSM bands 850 and 1900, and WCDMA bands II and V. The little feller will also run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and feature a 3.2-inch screen, 600MHz processor, 512MB of RAM for multitasking, 3MP rear/.3MP front facing cameras as well as the now standard Bluetooth and WiFi. Kinda cute, isn’t it?
While the Defy Mini is already scheduled to launch in the UK (March 25th for $225), the bands also make it the perfect fit for AT&T here in the states. It’s still a toss up seeing how Motorola recently mentioned they would be focusing on the high-end market here in the US but maybe they’ll let this one slip by.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 03:36 PM PST
We’ve seen Windows 95 running the on the Motorola Droid, but how about putting the golden child of 90s computing onto something a bit more powerful? Something like the HTC EVO 3D. Thanks to an APK made available by mnomaanw of XDA Forums, we now can. But it doesn’t stop there. Also bootable with minimal hassle are Windows 98 and XP as well as Linux. The specific method does require a bit of technical know-how, but full instructions are available on at the originating thread. You can get all the files you need there, as well. Booting into an alternative operating system will lose you a bit of phone functionality (and makes less sense in an age where smartphones can accomplish most of the same tasks). So which classic OS is it for you?
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 02:43 PM PST
A new entry-level handset from LG appears to have slipped under the radar and right onto a Swedish retailer’s site. CDON.COM has the LG Optimus L3 (E400) listed, detailing it’s 3.2-inch display at 320×240, 3MP camera, and Android 2.3 operating system. The pint-sized device combines both size and cost efficiency. It is listed for the equivalent of about $190. This is the first we have seen of the device, but if it is anything like LG’s other entry-level models we can expect to see it make a global rollout over the coming months.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 02:40 PM PST
Do privacy issues regarding mobile apps concern you? Or are you one of the “if you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have anything to worry about” types? Either way, the Carrier-IQ scandal caused a stir when the app was discovered pre-installed on mobile handsets, collecting data including geographic locations and times, without prior consent of the user. Congress is trying to prevent similar suspicious activity with the introduction of the Mobile Device Privacy Act.
If it passes, the bill could also have an impact on organizations such as CarrierCoverage.com — scheduled to officially launch in one week — which hope to crowd-source mobile performance metrics while being transparent, open, and honest about their methods and practices:
Whereas Carrier-IQ was built for private use by manufacturers/carriers, Carrier Coverage is built for consumers with the hope of offering accurate and unbiased reports on those very manufacturers/carriers. The Mobile Device Privacy Act will affect all of these groups.
The bill would enforce several requirements for companies doing any type of mobile tracking, most obviously that carriers, manufacturers, and app/game developers must disclose any tracking software installed on the device at point of purchase and/or make disclosure if installed afterwards. The user would have to provide consent and the company would have to make visible attempts to protect the data.
All of this sounds extremely fair, but it’s also concerning to consider the potential pitfalls of putting protection into text. As we all know, Congress doesn’t always get it right, and specific wording within the bill could make or break lawsuits and cases based on the act. Most obviously, note how the bill begins:
To require disclosures to consumers regarding the capability of software to monitor mobile telephone usage, to require the express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring, and for other purposes.Great- so that means that software to monitor Android Tablets and iPads are protected? Call me crazy, but minute details and loopholes like these are unfortunately a big part of our legal system. And it goes both ways: just as there are loopholes for companies wanting to collect data there are likely sticking points where companies with good intentions could fall subject to fines and penalizations although acting in good faith.
We’re still quite a distance before any legislation becomes law, but given quotes like those from Al Franken-
“the default for collecting any kind of personal data should be opt-in consent,”-I think the motives are spot on. Let’s just hope they integrate them in such a way that services like Carrier Coverage aren’t faced with unsurmountable challenges while dealing consumers a fair hand.
What are your thoughts? Do you see a difference between Carrier-IQ and Carrier Coverage? Let us know how you think this legislation should move forward – if at all – in the comments below.
[CarrierCoverage.com, TheVerge, VentureBeat]
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 02:13 PM PST
Nothing like a little controversy to add a dash of excitement to another Monday, right? With an official Steam app promised for months but few signs that a release would happen in a timely manner, several developers took up the online gaming service’s freely available API and crafted it into a number of not-so-bad mobile clients. Everything was all hunky-dory until Valve finally launched the official version last week. Now third-party alternatives are dropping from the Android Market faster than terrorist baddies in Counter-Strike.
There is no proof that the two events are linked, but this seems a bit more than coincidental and has us scratching our head. If you have been using a Steam client on Android that you prefer over the official version, cherish it, back it up, and avoid uninstalling it. While some of these apps may find their way to other marketplaces, there is no guarantee.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 01:33 PM PST
If you are the type that likes to go around believing just about everything on the internet, then Samsung has a new Galaxy Nexus on the way with an updated CPU. According to a NenaMark benchmark report, a recently tested GNex was logged with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU, a component not matching the SGX 540 GPU of the TI OMAP4460 chip found in the current generation of Nexus handsets. The SGX 544 does, however, accompany the OMAP4470, an upcoming chip from Texas Instruments that is feature-packed. Clock-able up to 1.8GHz, the dual-core system-on-a-chip promises some significant speed improvements over what is currently available from TI.
This is the first we have heard of a potential hardware upgrade to the Galaxy Nexus, so we will take the listing with a grain of salt (there are definitely ways to fudge with the results of these benchmark tests). For now we can only speculate on the potential of an even more powerful handset than the one that is already available. Then we can proceed kick ourselves for being early adopters with the first release.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 12:58 PM PST
Verizon has hinted at shared data for their family plans sometime in 2012, and a newly leaked look at Verizon internal training software seems to suggest we could be seeing such plans sooner rather than later. The new training materials includes an overview of “account level data plans” that consist of a single monthly charge for data bandwidth along with a $9.99 charge for each line using the data, though it may be too soon to read into the exact pricing. But there you have it, shared data coming to a Verizon family plan near you.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 12:20 PM PST
Some Samsung-owning Norwegians are about to be very happy. A post today on Samsung Norway’s Facebook page revealed that the update to Android 4.0 should be hitting the Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Galaxy note by the end of the first quarter of 2012. Before we get too excited, Samsung still has plenty of time before they hit that deadline. We are just entering February, after all. While there may still be a few months of waiting, Norwegians should be among the first to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich. With any luck it won’t be long after that the rest of the world gets a taste.
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 11:55 AM PST
While Samsung’s latest marketing campaign seems focused on mocking the culture of obsession surrounding Apple’s iPhone, the goal of the ads is less about tearing down the competition and more about creating a similar bond between consumers and the Galaxy line of Android smartphones, according to marketing head Younghee Lee. “People are obsessed with Apple,” said Lee in a conversation with AllThingsD, “it’s time to change people’s attention.” The way to do this, Lee feels, is by engaging with customers “from the bottom of their heart.”
Samsung wants to move away from consumer perceptions of the company as a big, foreign tech conglomerate and create a connection with users that is meaningful and lasting. The irony here is that they are attempting to do so while continually tearing down the cult of Mac, poking fun at those who would wait in a line for “the next big thing” while Samsung’s own desire is to see the same lines forming for the launch of their next Galaxy handset. The ads do a great job of illustrating their point, but not everyone is buying it. “Samsung’d” was welcome by some but meme-worthy to others. The same goes for “Dude, you’re a barista.” Whether or not the TV spots are a hit or a miss, here is some free advice for Sammy: keep making great phones and people will continue to eat them up.
[AllThingsD via BGR]
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 11:04 AM PST
For those looking to get social about development, the Android dev team has just launched their official Google+ page. The new resource is meant as hub for developers to meet and chat with members of the Android team, discuss aspects of coding for Android with other members of the community, and otherwise expand their knowledge of working with Google’s mobile platform. There will even be opportunities to join a Hangout with the various people working behind the scenes. As of now, there isn’t much to be found on the page, but its future sounds bright (especially if the community gets involved). It sounds like we could see some pretty cool collaborations develop through the open dialog of a Google+ page. If you’re on G+ and at all interested in Android development this is one page you will want to add to your circles right away. You won’t be alone. In the first hour since its launch, over 3,000 users already added the page to their circles.
[Google+ via Twitter]
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 10:39 AM PST
In a move directly opposite of the current trend in mobile service plans, T-Mobile UK is introducing The Fully Monty. Yes, that’s really the name for a plan that affords subscribers unlimited calling, texting, and data. Divided into four price brackets, The Full Monty comes at four different price brackets ranging from £36 to £61 per month. The biggest differentiating factor between the tiers is the up-front cost of the device purchased alongside the new contract, though the lowest pricing option only includes unlimited calling within the T-Mobile UK network.
It’s refreshing to see a carrier introducing new unlimited plans rather than taking them away in an era where data usage has exploded and become a highly profitable venture. While the average user is probably just fine without unlimited data, a plan that doesn’t come with the threat of overage charges is music to the customer’s ears.
[via T-Mobile UK]
Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:40 AM PST
MoDaCo’s esteemed founder Paul O’Brien has apparently heard it from ASUS that they will be showing off the Padfone at Mobile World Congress. To be exact, February 27th is the date we should be circling.
The Padfone, as you might have guessed, is a combination of a smartphone and a tablet dock. The dock would just house things such as speakers, the display, an extra battery and your standard set of buttons, but the power comes from the phone.
The phone is said to be running Android 4.0 for both the phone and tablet side of things and will have a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Another great feature is its ability to use the original Transformer’s keyboard dock. You pretty much have yourself a smartphone, a tablet and a netbook, all in one – is there some sort of award for ASUS having the first three-way hybrid?
We know we’re excited to see what the final results will be so circle back to Phandroid throughout Mobile World Congress as we’ll be covering it all live. [via Android and Me]