AT&T has been tapped the fastest mobile network in the nation by PC Magazine. The publication took a snapshot of six mobile network providers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Cricket, and Sprint 4G) in eighteen cities. Voice quality, dropped calls and coverage areas did not enter into the equation.
The testing conducted focused on mobile internet performance. Approximately 1,000 rounds of testing was conducted in the test cities totaling more than 10,000 individual tests. The results were totaled to reflect the national leader as well as regional leaders in network speeds.
AT&T led the way nationally as well as in the Southeastern, Central and Western regions. T-Mobile was tops in the Northeast. To see how your carrier ranked in this study, you can find the full report here.
The LG Fathom has surfaced from the depths at at time when some believe the Windows Mobile Windows Phones (we really have to work on these names) have all but dried up. The Fathom offers a Snapdragon processor along with Windows Mobile 6.5.3. It's being offered through Verizon Wireless for $379 without a contract or as low as $149 with a two year commitment.
The first impression from the Fathom is positive. The build quality feels solid and the phone rests comfortably in the hand. Beyond that, the Fathom is a little bit of a mixed bag lacking flavor in many areas.
For more on the LG Fathom, you know the drill, just ease on past the break.
Until then, a hybrid-approach can be used. Such method is used by companies like iSkoot where instead of using the data connection to make the free call, it re-routes the call to a local call center which then makes the call for you over the internet. It's like Opera Mini vs Opera Mobile--in the former, the "hard work" is done off the phone remotely. However, iSkoot hasn't updated their Windows Mobile software in sometime and they haven't said anything about support for Windows Phone 7.
Step in Voxofon who operates in a similar manner. They seem to be supporting all the new OSs in town, including pushing big into Windows Phone 7. So kudos to them for taking that market seriously. Now unlike Skype-to-Skype calls over true VOIP, you are charged for making calls on Voxofon. This is done like Skype where you can buy credits and they are linked to your account. Luckily, rates are very cheap making it an affordable option for making inter-continental calls: (1.3 cents per minute).
The software looks quite nice--it's a separate dialer app that log ins to your account, displays your balance and tells you the rate per minute before you call. It's no true Skype solution, but at this point we'll take what we can get.
Oh China, you crack us with your flaunting of copyright law, IP and even just flat out copying hardware.
We're not really sure why you want WM6.5 in a cloned (i.e. fake) Motorola Droid and that's not a knock on WM6.5--have you tried a Droid? They keyboard is awful what's with that d-pad throwing of the centering? Blech.
But say you really wanted this, you should be able to get one out of China for about $220. It features:
One thing we know as of right now with Windows Phone 7 is that customization will be drastically limited. At least until the folks at XDA figure out to root and mess with the OS.
An example of what customizations you can do will be the use of "themes" which is a generous description for changing some font colors and accents. Yeah, basically it's not much. One example is in "Pivot" (below) the other "Panorama" (above) which are two of the formating options for programs by developers.
Still, it's better you know now what you can and can't out of the gate then later. So commence logging your complaints in comments...now.
One area we have not heard much about in regards to Windows Phone 7 is sound. And why would we? It's a handheld device, usually a single speaker and basically all we care about is how the speakerphone sounds. Everything so far has been about the visual but not the audio.
...which could simulate sound coming from behind you, on the side of you, as Windows Phone 7 devices have a concept of audio emitters and audio listeners, and based on where you position those you get different sound.
Randolph said that "you can use that to create different effects" in only "a dozen lines of code, part of the XNA framework and usable by Silverlight."
It's too early to know just how good it will sound in real life, but we're pretty stoked that hardware manufacturers and software developers can at least attempt to exploit this under-appreciated yet essential output for our increasingly busy "phones". Perhaps we'll even seen hardware manufacturers use high-end speakers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Bose-mobile, anyone?
Check out the rest of the interview for more developer feedback (page 2 and 3) at iTWire.
The other side of the coin. While it's not a huge surprise that software development for Windows Mobile has dwindled, especially with the clean break of Windows Phone 7 around the corner, it is a bit shocking at how fast it fell. (See the other study today about number of apps users have by mobile OS).
According to iGR, last year Windows Mobile was "by far the most popular" in terms of number of developers writing apps for it. Flash forward one year later and it's now dead last.
The iPhone of course is number one with 53% of developers writing programs for it. Perhaps more telling is that more than half of those who currently aren't making iPhone apps, plan to do so within in the next year. Yowza.
Blackberry was number two, ahead of Android which was sort of interesting, though we imagine those two will swap positions very soon as Android has received lots of momentum in the last 4 months. No word about Windows Phone 7 and developer plans, though judging by the attendance at the Microsoft ReMix events, it's looking very good.
Unfortunately, we don't have access to the raw numbers which would tell us more.
For those who are looking for some "mobile security" or at least the illusion, F-Secure just went ahead and made their Anti-theft for Mobile free for Symbian, Android and even us Windows Mobile users.
The software is a little of 2MBs in size to download and you need .NET CF 2.0, which should be in ROM already. The install was pretty basic and overall, very easy to setup and configure.
The app itself does the following:
SIM control (if SIM swapped, device locks, sends you their #)
Sure, some of this you can do already with Microsoft's MyPhone, but this ain't a half bad solution either. We've been running it on our trusty Treo Pro (yeah, it even does that resolution, go .NET) and it seems to handle like a champ. Maybe we'll even try it sometime to see if it, you know, works.
Broken down by OS, we see Windows Mobile near dead last, just edging out BlackBerry but far behind the iPhone and Android. Not too shocking but it does exemplify the dire straights Microsoft is in when it comes to the mobile world--we just edge out feature phones!
Average number of apps: Smartphone: 22, Feature phone: 10
One thing about sales predictions, especially in this volatile market with heavy competition, is that they can come back to haunt you.
So in 19 months, as we near the end of 2011, Microsoft have better have sold something upwards of 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices. Otherwise, we'll never hear the end of it, especially from a certain Cupertino place. That 30 million number comes from the ReMix event in France during a presentation by IDC, a large technology forecasting company. (These are the same ReMix events going on around the world and where all this WP7 info is coming from as of late).
To put this into perspective, the iPhone has only sold 51+ million devices total in 3 years.
Now in fairness, currently about 14% of all cell users are smartphone owners and we keep expecting that number to explode in the next few years. Because smartphone owners are such a tiny minority today, we always laugh off these ideas that "the mobile OS war" is already over.
Ninja please, this is still just the beginning and it's anyone's game, even if the competition has a huge leg up. If we recall, Palm too once dominated this industry. Microsoft will also have the advantage of launching on all four US carriers at once, multiple device OEMs and of course launch world-wide. Assuming WP7 is a "hit", they could hit that number.
Still, we would have rather this "30 million" thing stay behind doors as this sort of thing pushes more interesting news out of the way, in place of juvenile OS fanboyism. And we're sure everyone will forget it was IDC and not Microsoft who made this claim.
This week has been a somewhat exciting one if you've been following the annual Computex show in Taipei.
For one, Asus demonstrated their Eee pad, which sadly won't be out till first quarter 2011. The 12-inch EP121 features Intel's Core 2 Duo CULV processors, Windows Embedded Compact 7 for the UI (and Windows 7 too?), and a supposed 10-hour battery life. The battery here is the killer part if true as that's where the competition, along with 'instant on', is really gaining momentum. The device is also powered by Nvidia's Tegra video processor, which leads us to...
So everyone is doing a mobile OS for tablets except Microsoft. This should end well.
Finally, Paul Thurrott recently explained why he thinks the iPad is a consumption-but-not-contribution device, something we've been saying for awhile on our podcasts. This reason is similar to what Microsoft told Engadget on why they want to use a full-fledged OS instead of a mobile one for tablets. While that argument holds true for installing desktop software, it doesn't seem really address how consumers are actually using these devices these days.
We say let the market decide. Microsoft, put out different tablets, one featuring Windows 7 and another featuring Windows Phone 7. No one will confuse them. Seriously, we think you're betting on the wrong horse here and Android, iPad, Chrome and even HP/Palms's WebOS are going to put the hurt on you're tablets by Spring 2011.
AT&T has modified their data plans to offer more affordable alternatives to those who might not need an unlimited plan.
President and CEO Ralph de la Vega stated in the press release, "To give more people the opportunity to experience these benefits, we’re breaking free from the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ pricing model and making the mobile Internet more affordable to a greater number of people."
Beginning June 7, 2010 AT&T will begin to offer the following plans.
Dataplus Plan: 200mb data for $15 per month. Customers exceeding 200mb of use will receive and additional 200mb for $15 to use during the billing cycle.
DataPro Plan: 2gb of data for $25 per month. Customers exceeding 2gb of data will receive an additional 1gb for $10 to use during the billing cycle.
Tethering Plan: For $20 per month, customers can add tethering to their data plan.
Additionally, AT&T will provide services to help customers monitor their data usage. When customers begin to approach their monthly usage limit, AT&T will send out three text notifications; when customers reach 65%, 90%, and 100% of their plan. Customers can also dial *DATA# to receive a usage summary and there will be an iPhone app to check data usage.
The good news, for now, is that current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. You can check out the full press release at AT&T's website.
Jabra has a long history in the hands free market. In the last few years, they have faced increasing competition from companies that are making a push to break into the top echelon of this electronics niche. Blueant, Jawbone and others are making headsets that are comfortable and stylish while offering a complete feature set. Jabra’s products such as the Stone headset and Halo headphones are a big part of Jabra’s effort to compete against the best that these companies have to offer.
The Jabra Extreme Bluetooth headset is part of Jabra’s “Smart Series” of Bluetooth headsets, which is aimed squarely at business users looking for a hands free device that fits all of their needs in a professional design. Hit the jump for the full review.
The Microsoft KIN has invaded Best Buy. If you are considering the KIN for yourself or your teenager but the cost isn't that appealing, you may want to check out what Best Buy is offering.
The KIN Two is running $49.99 with a Verizon Wireless two-year contract and the KIN One is free with the two-year commitment. Both will require Verizon's data package which will run you about $30 a month. While it would be nice for a lower priced data package to surface for the KIN, it looks like the KIN's pricing is slowly coming down to reasonable levels.