Verizon now has 4G service, AT&T doesn’t #4Gwars

T-Mobile might have America’s Largest 4G Network, but Verizon now has The Fastest 4G Network in America, according to new signage showing up in Verizon retail stores.

We already know that Verizon 4G LTE is coming to 38 markets this year, but the nation’s largest carrier will only have USB modems for the holidays and we are not expecting LTE handsets till 2011.

Verizon’s LTE netwok should offer real world performance of download speeds at 5-12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps. I’ve seen quite a few T-Mobile 4G speed tests that show actual download speeds over 10 Mbps, but the upload speeds normally top off around 2 Mbps.

The funny thing in these #4Gwars remains the fact that ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector has already established that no current wireless technology which is being adopted by any carrier meets the actual 4G definition, but that hasn’t stopped the carriers from adopting the phrase.

Does anyone have a problem with the carriers continuing to use the marketing term “4G” or should they be allowed to do whatever they want. I think I smell some class action lawsuits coming up for false advertising.

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One third of Android users would much rather have an iPhone?

Do one third of Android users really want to switch to the iPhone? That’s a headline I saw this weekend and it’s being reported over and over that a good portion of Android users secretly lust for Apple’s iOS.

It turns out the source of the survey is a website called MyPhoneDeals and they only sampled 524 respondents, so I wouldn’t put too much weight in the results but it did get me thinking. How many Android users are unhappy with their phones?

The latest Android Platform Versions report shows only about 36% of users are on the latest Android 2.2 while about 23% of users run outdated Android 1.x versions. It certainly makes a lot of sense that there are customers out there who are stuck with an outdated version of Android, so they might be experiencing some buyers’ remorse right about now.

If you have a bunch of friends with Android phones, what do they think about Google’s mobile OS? Do you think they are generally satisfied with Android or do they long for an iPhone or Windows Phone 7 device? If you are one of those people unhappy with their Android phones, what is your major complaint?

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PowerAMP for Android Update Brings 4×4 Widget, Tweaks, Fixes

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PowerAMP

PowerAMP development is moving right along with today’s update to build 269 bringing a larger 4×4 widget for use on your home screen and lock screen, support for album art on large tablet devices, and your expected round of miscellaneous bug fixes and enhancements. Here’s the entire list of recent changes per the Android market listing:

- large 4×4+ widget for Home/Lock screen, matches PowerAMP theme

- swipes for Lock Screen

- optional ticker in status bar

- support for bigger album art on tablets

- win-874(Thai) and SJIS tag encodings

- equ thumbs more sensitive to dragging

- increased ogg/mp4/ape sound buffer for non-FPU phones

- bug and stability fixes

Go ahead and update it now if you haven’t already.

AT&T boast 80% of network upgraded to HSPA+, where are the “4G” handsets? #4Gwars

Ever since T-Mobile started referring to their new HSPA+ network as America’s largest 4G network we have been wondering if anyone was going to challenge them on that statement. At first AT&T said T-Mobile had their 4G numbers wrong. Then T-Mobile responded on Facebook and launched a new commercial which claims their network is faster than AT&T.

Now AT&T is back at it again claiming their HSPA+ network is just as fast as T-Mobile and it covers more people. Speaking at the Sencha Conference in San Francisco this week, AT&T CTO John Donovan said they have been adding more backhaul and 80% of their 3G network has been upgrade to HSPA+. By the end of the year, AT&T expects to cover 250 million POPs with HSPA+ – more than the 200 million T-Mobile is aiming for.

So while AT&T and T-Mobile both offer HSPA+ networks, only T-Mobile has handsets which can take advantage of the faster speeds. We have no indication AT&T will refer to their HSPA+ network as “4G” since they are rolling out LTE next year, but in theory the carrier could launch a HSPA+ handset this year and brand it 4G if they really wanted to.

It still remains unclear exactly how fast AT&T’s HSPA+ network really is. Early reports indicated that AT&T was going with HSPA+ 14.4 Mbps, but their network hardware is supposed to be capable of 21 Mbps (just like T-Mobile). Our sources tell us that AT&T has not actually made the switch to 21 Mbps yet, but it might not really matter right now since the current HSPA+ handsets are limited to 14.4 Mbps anyways.

AT&T is trying hard to pass up Verizon as the top carrier in the U.S. and the addition of a “4G” phone this Christmas would definitely help their efforts.

What do you think AT&T should do? If T-Mobile gets to call their HSPA+ network “4G” then should AT&T do the same?

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Honeycomb to be out in February by way of Next-Gen Tablets?

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Even with Google wanting to slow down the upgrade cycle, we may have just gotten confirmation that Honeycomb will arrive as early as February of 2011. The report came from DigiTimes who state both Motorola and LG will have Tegra 2-equipped Honeycomb tablets out in February and March, respectively. It’s not the first time we’ve heard about their tablet plans, but when we did first hear about them, Gingerbread was to be the heir apparent for this new onslaught of tablets.

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Quickly, we learned Gingerbread would be more of an incremental upgrade to lay down the framework for everything that the tablet specific version of Android – now affectionately known as Honeycomb – would be. It made a lot of sense, then, that Gingerbread was slated for an early 2011 launch before, but now we’re potentially faced with yet another upgrade to Android within just a few months (we’ll say three, to be safe. We wholly expect Gingerbread to be out of the oven before Christmas.)

We’ll know more once CES gets underway in January 2011 where we expect a lot of smash mouth announcements to be made from a variety of manufacturers and carriers.

Honeycomb tablets with Tegra 2 could arrive as early as February

This week we learned that Android 2.3 should be available in the next few weeks and now it looks like Honeycomb (Android 3.0) could be ready to go as early as February. In a report from Digitimes, sources from the PC industry have indicated that NVIDIA has received many orders for their dual-core Tegra 2 processor from companies like Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Motorola, LG, and HTC and that Honeycomb tablets should arrive by February-March.

As we reported yesterday, it appears that NVIDIA has scored a deal with Google to make Tegra 2 the lead platform for tablets running Android 3.0. We were already expecting to see some of these tablets in early January at CES, but this is the first time that a real launch date has been floated around.

If you are wondering how Google could release Honeycomb so quickly after Gingerbread, that is because their Android engineers have been split into two different teams – one to work on Gingerbread for existing platforms and one to work on Honeycomb for tablets.

In addition to the companies listed above, we have also heard rumors that Dell, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson are also working on Tegra 2 tablets.

We don’t have the exact statistics, but I think Tegra processors are only found in less than 1% of Android devices so this would be a huge win for NVIDIA if all these rumored tablets actually happen. If NVIDIA becomes a major player in tablets, it should help their smartphone efforts as well.

What do you think about the timing of Honeycomb? Are you getting excited about Android tablets yet or do you need to see the goods first?

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Android Market will finally allow promotional videos for apps

We already know an update for the Android Market could be coming this week, but we now know some of the new features being added thanks to some changes in the Developer Console. Starting today when a developer logs in and goes to their app details page, several new options are listed including a high resolution app icon (512 x512), a feature graphic (1024 x 500), and the ability to add a YouTube link for a promotional video.

Video previews are something we have been wanting for a long time and some app showcases like Open Feint have already implemented them, so we are glad Google finally added this simple option.

As for the high-resolution app icons and and feature graphic, we believe these will be used in the browser-based version of the Android Market that was first shown off this summer at Google I/O.

It’s possible we might not see these new features till Google rolls out Android 2.3 in a few weeks, but they do have the ability to update the Market client separate from the OS so maybe some of these options like video previews will go live this week.

What do you think Google will use the promotional graphics for?

Android Market features

New Android Market features coming soon.

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T-Mobile’s Even More Plus plans have not been cancelled… yet

Earlier this week we noticed that T-Mobile had removed their no-contract, Even More Plus plans from their website and it was unclear why. After several days of waiting, T-mobile has finally issued a statement to inform customers that the Even More Plus plans are not going away, but they will not be offering them on their website.

Customers who wish to purchase Even More Plus plans can still do so through T-Mobile retail stores and over the phone at 1-800-T-Mobile, but since the company is starting to downplay them we are not sure how much longer they will be around.

T-Mobile recently rolled out several new prepaid plans, so this might be where they push new customers who don’t want a contract.

So if you are on an Even More Plus plan like me, there is nothing to worry about in the immediate future and your bill should remain the same. No other major U.S. carrier will let you get a new line of service without a contract and then offer you cheaper plans with it, so hopefully T-Mobile keeps it around so we can keep enjoying it.

Here is a portion of the official statement that was provided to TmoNews:

Q: What postpaid plans does T-Mobile offer for customers?

T-Mobile provides a variety of options for customers from which they can select the plans and value that best suit their needs. T-Mobile’s Even More plans offer talk, text and Web connectivity with a two-year agreement and great discounts through subsidized pricing on phones. With Even More Plus, T-Mobile provides flexibility through a no annual contract plan, offering the best monthly rate plans for talk, text and Web paired with the ability to purchase the coolest new phones at full price or bring compatible phones to our network.

Q: Where can customers purchase Even More and Even More Plus plans?

Customers may purchase Even More plans through T-Mobile retail stores, telesales at 1-800-T-Mobile, online at
www.T-Moble.com, through national retail partners and at select dealers.

Customers may purchase Even More Plus plans through T-Mobile retail stores, telesales at 1-800-T-Mobile, and at select national retail partners and select dealers.

Q: Has T-Mobile discontinued selling Even More Plus?

No, T-Mobile continues to sell both Even More and Even More Plus plans, although we are no longer selling Even More Plus through our online store.

As we strive to simplify and streamline our customers’ online purchase experience, we are focusing on Even More plans with two-year agreements on http://www.t-mobile.com. Customers shopping online will be directed to a T-Mobile retail store if they wish to purchase an Even More Plus plan where they will be assisted by a T-Mobile representative.

Whether through our Even More or Even More Plus plans, we will continue to bring value to our customers through the best customer service, our robust selection of products and affordable service plans.

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Verizon’s Global Phones Being Blocked from Accessing AT&T’s Network?

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Ruh-roh! If you bought a Droid 2 Global or a Motorola Droid Pro expecting to use it on AT&T’s network, then you might want to go and get your money back as it sounds like Verizon is blocking access to the 850 and 1900 bands that AT&T uses. It’s said that the block is specific to AT&T here in the states, though, and that networks in other countries using these bands would be able to communicate with Verizon’s global phones just fine. The strangest thing is that we haven’t heard such a report for those trying to use the devices on T-Mobile yet.

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Verizon blocking one and not the other wouldn’t make sense, but eh. Any number of variables can factor in to what’s going on here. Thankfully, it appears XDA is already moving toward a fix so be sure to follow developments there if you’d rather keep your new Droid and hope to use it on AT&T’s network some day. [via Droid-Life]

[Update]: As one commenter pointed out, AT&T could be the ones doing the blocking here. I never considered that possibility, and it would make a lot more sense than Verizon not granting access. (Their little advertising war not too long ago probably didn’t do much to help whatever friendship they may have had, and it would be easier for AT&T to block specific phones than Verizon to single out AT&T-controlled bands.)

Samsung Continuum Video Unboxing

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IMG_1201The Samsung Continuum is out and we’ve got one to put through its paces, but before I take the thing through a few days of ticker-filled madness, I thought I’d share with you guys a quick and dirty unboxing of the device. The Samsung Continuum has a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED display, accompanied by a 1.8-inch “ticker” display at the bottom to feed your social networking updates, weather, RSS feeds, and more all without having to actually turn the phone on. It also happens to be a Galaxy S phone, too, and comes preinstalled with an 8GB microSD card, has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and HD video recording capabilities, a Samsung Hummingbird processor clocked at 1GHz, and more. PS: I did end up figuring out that “SNS” stood for “social networking services.” So without further ado, the video!