Tuesday, August 21, 2012
T-Mobile has received a go-ahead from US Communications Regulators to “test the impact of commercial wireless broadband” on a set of highly sought after group of airwaves in use by government agencies. Any testing by T-Mobile would allow for both the company and the government to decide potential opportunities and challenges posed to wireless carriers seeking to deploy next generation 4G services on the 1755-1850MHz bands while sharing the bands with existing government users.
“The testing we propose is part of an industry-wide effort to build critical understanding of operations in this band, and we will be working with other carriers and equipment manufacturers moving ahead,” said Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs.
It was back in March that the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration proposed partially splitting the bands between federal use and commercial use. Currently, more than 20 federal agencies hold more than 3,100 individual frequency licenses within the spectrum bands. ‘
“By granting the first authorization of testing in the 1755-1780 MHz band, the commission hopes to facilitate commercial mobile broadband services in that band, which would significantly benefit millions of U.S. wireless consumers and help drive the mobile innovation economy,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.
The Obama administration hopes to free up more airwaves to meet the rising demand for wireless space. Wireless carriers have been opposed to using any spectrum that is in joint operation with government operations, warning that the value of the spectrum is lowered.
We’ll be interested to see how T-Mobile’s testing of these airwaves plays out, as we’re all for the company gaining more spectrum to increase coverage.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Sprint subscribers can get their hands on a device that offers just that. After a few weeks of teasing, the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is slated to hit the Now Network on Sunday, August 19th, with a $200 price tag. Future Photon Q 4G LTE users can look forward to spec highlights that include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Ice Cream Sandwich and an eight megapixel rear-facing camera. So, if the long name doesn’t deter you from getting your hands on this QWERTY rockin’ smartphone, interested parties can pre-order the Photon Q today at the link below. Continue reading for the full press release.
Calling All QWERTY Fans! Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE from Sprint Available Aug. 19 for $199.99; Pre-Order Begins Today.
Offering a device packed with features to provide the ideal work-life balance, Sprint, the only national wireless carrier offering truly unlimited data for all phones while on the Sprint network1, today announced the Sunday, Aug. 19, availability of the first 4G LTE-enabled smartphone from Sprint with a full QWERTY keyboard and international roaming capabilities, Motorola PHOTON™ Q™ 4G LTE. Motorola PHOTON Q will cost $199.99 (excludes taxes) with a new line of service or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement.
Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE will be available for pre-order beginning today at www.sprint.com/photonq. Customers who pre-order Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE will begin receiving their smartphone as early as two days before the device goes on sale while supplies last.
“At Sprint, we recognize there is a large group of our customers that love the ease of a physical QWERTY keyboard,” said David Owens, vice president Product Development, Sprint. “By bringing a device like Motorola PHOTON Q into our portfolio, we are able to give these customers the option of a physical keyboard plus international roaming capabilities to stay connected while traveling abroad.”
Motorola PHOTON Q features a slide out PC-like QWERTY keyboard for double-thumb efficiency. Each laser-cut key is outlined in LED lights so users can see what they’re doing, even in the dark. It also has a dedicated number row for maximum typing efficiency and accuracy.
Combined with a large 4.3-inch ColorBoost™ display, Motorola PHOTON Q offers the largest screen currently available on a 4G LTE smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard. Its 8-megapiexal rear-facing camera with 1080p capture and playback along with an HD front-facing camera produce a high-quality multimedia experience that provides the perfect blend of business and pleasure with blazing speed on the Sprint 4G LTE network2.
Additional key features on Motorola PHOTON Q include:
- 1.5GHz dual-core processor
- Android™ 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich
- ULE Platinum Certification, the highest level of environmental performance recognized by sustainable requirements established by UL Environment and Sprint
- SMARTACTIONS™, the free Motorola app that helps extend battery life and intelligently automates routine, everyday tasks so that smartphones can do more for consumers
- Mirror mode when connected with HDMI cable (sold separately) to view images, files and movies on a larger screen, like your TV at home
- Sprint ID, offering an innovative way to personalize an Android-powered smartphone with apps, widgets, ringtones and more all, in a single download
- NFC support to share links, apps, YouTube™ clips and more with Android Beam™
- Sprint Professional Grade designation making it business ready with full corporate security, including remote wipe, pin lock and data encryption
Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE customers can enjoy an unlimited data experience with Sprint Everything Data plans. Sprint’s Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM includes unlimited web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint Network, starting at just $79.99 per month for smartphones a savings of $20 per month versus Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and 2GB web (excludes taxes and surcharges).
Customers across the country are beginning to benefit from Network Vision an all-new network from Sprint, which offers enhanced 3G service with a stronger wireless signal, faster data speeds, expanded coverage and better in-building performance and 4G LTE, with faster data speeds for data applications.
Back in the days when Android was fresh off the streets, one of the big things that set it apart from iOS was its ability to run the mobile version of Adobe Flash in the browser. This was available for Android users once Froyo (Android 2.2) was launched. While watching YouTube videos in the browser was handy, at first the images were choppy and hard to view. As the hardware improved and Adobe continued to update the software, videos became smoother and easier to watch. Still, the does eat a ton of memory and last November Adobe decided to stop development of the application for mobile devices.
Over the last few months, Adobe has continued to send out updates even though the proverbial writing was on the wall. And with the Chrome for Android browser not providing support for Flash, Adobe has decided that it will pull the app from the Google Play Store on Wednesday. In other words, today is the very last day that you can install Adobe Flash on your Android model. Obviously HTML5 is the future and Adobe will be turning in that direction with its resources.
So is this a posthumous victory for Steve Jobs? The late co-founder of Apple hated Flash, calling it a "CPU hog" to the Wall Street Journal. On January 30 of 2010, during a famous verbal attack Jobs made on Google and Adobe, Jobs called Flash buggy and predicted that no one would be using it in the future, correctly predicting the ascent of HTML5.
Microsoft just recently gave it's web-based email offering a sweeping overhaul, and it's now also done the same for its cloud-based storage service. As detailed in a typically extensive blog post, the company has today launched an all new as SkyDrive.com (rolling out over the next 24 hours), one that now defaults to a tile-based layout and boasts new features like instant search and a contextual toolbar. As the company notes, it's also designed with tablets in mind, in addition to desktop web browser. What's more, Microsoft has also rolled out updated SkyDrive apps for Windows and OS X, which promise faster uploads and other performance improvements, and it says it'll finally have an Android app in "just a few weeks." Hit the source link below for a look at it and all the other changes.
Source: Inside Skydrive
T-Mobile USA is being targeted by former telecommunications executive Sol Trujillo, who is trying to generate enough interest among private equity firms to buy all or part of the carrier, according to a Bloomberg article. The report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that so far Trujillo's attempts to develop interest in such an acquisition have been unsuccessful.
Trujillo, who used to head U.S. West Communications, Orange and Telstra, has talked with the Blackstone Group and KKR about a bid, though the firms are skeptical of any deal. All of the parties declined to comment, Bloomberg said. AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile fell apart last year amid resistance from regulators.
Deutsche Telekom remains open to a whole or partial sale of the company, the report said, but noted that a sale to private equity firms has not been discussed by the German company's board.
In May Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann said it was unlikely DT would try to sell T-Mobile again following the collapse of the AT&T deal. "We continue to look for a long-term solution to improve earnings in our U.S. business," Obermann told shareholders at Deutsche Telekom's annual general meeting. "However, a complete sale like the one to AT&T is considered unlikely."
Interestingly, the DT chief also said at the time that the company was not excluding "any option for the T-Mobile unit in the U.S., also not a merger." Obermann said the company was exploring ways to increase its return on capital or reduce its capital investment in the market, and is looking at other partnerships and other unnamed "non-organic steps."
T-Mobile is embarking on a $4 billion network upgrade to launch LTE next year on its 1700 MHz AWS spectrum and refarm its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum for HSPA+ services. The company received AWS spectrum from AT&T as a result of the collapse of the deal, and is now trying to swap AWS spectrum with Verizon Wireless. Spectrum is seen as T-Mobile's most valuable asset. Meanwhile, the carrier is trying to sell off its 7,000 U.S. towers, most likely to a tower company, with Crown Castle reportedly the lead bidder.
Curiously, the Bloomberg report also said that Trujillo has also sought private equity firms to fund a buyout of Sprint Nextel. However, such a deal is considered highly unlikely; Sprint declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
"Financing is cheap right now. But even though it's possible, it doesn't mean that such a deal is going to happen," Tom Taulli, a consultant for mergers and acquisitions, told Bloomberg. "We've not seen many $10 billion-plus leveraged buyouts anywhere."
Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins said the company's BlackBerry 10 platform will soon be ready for licensing by other manufacturers, and he touted machine-to-machine applications as another avenue where the software could be used.
Heins said the software is going through the final stages of testing and RIM is now thinking of which companies might license it. RIM plans to release its first BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the first quarter of next year. However, Heins has been more open recently about licensing the software as a way to lift RIM's prospects.
BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX architecture, which RIM bought in 2010 for $200 million. The QNX system, which also powers nuclear power plants and cars, also is the software behind RIM's PlayBook tablet.
"QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector--we could do that with BB10 if we chose to," Heins, who has begun to carry a BlackBerry 10 phone for his own use, said in an interview with Bloomberg. "The platform can be licensed."
Samsung Electronics has openly denied any interest in licensing the software, despite persistent rumors that it will do so. While Samsung, the world's largest handset vendor, has found plenty of favor in the market with its Google Android smartphones, it also uses Microsoft's Windows Phone and its own bada platform.
"Smartphones are a part of our business, but we're looking way beyond this," Heins said. In a separate interview with CNET, Heins said that companies in the healthcare and smart grid markets have already expressed interest in BlackBerry 10, though he did not name any specific firms.
The RIM chief also told CNET that one of the "strategic options" the company is considering is opening its proprietary BlackBerry network to other industries. Currently, the network is used to ferry BlackBerry data traffic and secure communications.
After a disastrous second quarter, Cricket provider Leap Wireless said it will not make its $75 million minimum wholesale purchase commitment of network access from Sprint Nextel. "Due to certain provisions in the wholesale agreement, we do not believe the company is obligated to meet this commitment in 2012, although we expect to satisfy a significant majority of it in any event," said Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson. "Sprint has not agreed to our decision and we are in discussions with them."
The announcement served to cap a number of serious issues that stung Leap during the company's second quarter. Leap reported a net loss of 289,000 customers and a net loss of $41.6 million that was more than analysts expected. The company also plans to narrow its national retain expansion to just 8,000 stores--fewer than its previous expectations.
"Our results for the second quarter are not acceptable," summed Leap CFO Jerry Elliott.
Leap signed its wholesale agreement with Sprint in 2010. The agreement allowed Leap--a regional wireless carrier headquartered in San Diego--to take its offerings nationwide, beyond the markets where it operated its own network. By reselling Sprint's services under Leap's Cricket brand, the move essentially turned Leap into a Sprint MVNO. Leap in the first quarter said that it did expect to meet its minimum $75 million purchase agreement with Sprint, but its calamitous showing in the second quarter appears to have tripped up the Cricket provider.
Leap's falling out with Sprint was one of a number of missteps that tugged at Leap during the quarter. Hutcheson said Leap didn't bring in as many customers as it had expected through its promotional efforts. He also said that "certain popular handsets" were not available during the quarter due to quality issues, though he didn't name the handset suppliers or provide details of the problems.
"We are discussions with these suppliers and expect steps to be taken on their part, or they may be, among other things, eliminated from our device portfolio," Hutcheson warned.
Leap began selling the Apple iPhone at the very end of the second quarter, but carrier executives did not provide any insight into sales of the device. "We will update [on the iPhone] in the coming quarters," Hutcheson said.
Hutcheson also said Leap plans to reduce spending on its 3G CDMA network by $80 million during 2012. Elliott explained that Leap's network will be able to handle the reduction in spending partially because of Leap's shrinking customer base and because of the company's intention to handle network spending with "rigor and discipline."
However, Leap executives said the cutback in Leap's CDMA network spending will not affect its LTE buildout plans; the carrier still expects to cover around two-thirds of its network footprint with LTE within the next two to three years. But that buildout will be tweaked slightly: Leap said it now expects to cover around 21 million POPs with LTE by the end of this year, down from a previous expectation of 24 million. Elliott explained that Leap now plans to turn on one LTE market in early 2013 instead of late 2012.
Interestingly, Leap said it plans to roll out LTE "by deploying facilities-based coverage and/or by entering into possible partnerships or joint ventures with others." Such language could indicate Leap plans to team up with another carrier to deploy LTE instead of handling the buildout by itself.
Indeed, the overall situation at Leap appears to be dire enough that the company is considering a range of corporate strategies. Hutcheson said: "We are also continuing to review alternatives to drive additional cash flow and value from our assets." Leap CFO Elliott said this "review" will put all options on the table, up to and including selling the company. "I wouldn't eliminate anything right now," he said.
Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin said Leap has four major options:
- 1. A sale of the company;
- 2. Sell its spectrum and become a full MVNO;
- 3. Ink a network-sharing agreement where it would keep its network and supplement that with the network of another carrier.
- 4. Maintain its 3G CDMA network and share or wholesale its LTE network.
Chaplin indicated a network-sharing arraignment encompassing Leap's CDMA and LTE networks might be the most likely outcome.
Here is a breakdown of Leap's key metrics for the second quarter:
Subscribers: The company reported a net loss of approximately 289,000 customers for the second quarter of 2012, compared to a net loss of approximately 103,000 customers for the second quarter of 2011. Leap's net customer losses in the second quarter of this year included 205,000 voice customers and 84,000 broadband customers. Leap ended the second quarter with 5.9 million customers, up 2.7 percent from the year-ago quarter.
ARPU: Leap's ARPU for the second quarter of 2012 was $41.64, an increase of $1.49 over the comparable period of the prior year.
Churn: The carrier's customer churn for the second quarter of 2012 was 4.4 percent, up from the 4.2 percent it reported in the second quarter of 2011.
Handsets: Leap said 57 percent of the company's new handset sales in the second quarter of 2012 were for smartphones and Muve Music-enabled devices, and approximately 9 percent of the company's voice customer base upgraded their handsets during the quarter.
Financials: Leap's service revenues for the second quarter of 2012 increased 6.7 percent over the prior year quarter to $751.3 million. The company's second quarter operating income was $31.6 million, up from the $12.3 million it reported in the second quarter of 2011.
Research In Motion has pushed out a new beta for BlackBerry PlayBook developers. PlayBook OS 188.8.131.520 is . To install the 184.108.40.2060 Beta on your BlackBerry PlayBook, you must register your PIN and install the update within 24 hours. This version of software contains support for developers to test their applications against the following runtimes:
- Runtime for apps
- Adobe AIR 2.x
- Native API 2.x
If you haven’t registered your PlayBook, you can register your PIN here.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
The folks at WhitePages have released their new app for Android. They’re calling it Current Caller ID and it aims to bring everything you’d want in a caller ID service as well as everything you didn’t think you’d want.
WhitePages pulls information from its database of 300 million phone numbers to give you information on who’s calling you as the phone rings. For the occasional instance where it doesn’t have any information it’ll at least offer up the area the number originates from.
The app also gives you interesting information such as how many times you’ve called or accepted calls from a particular number. That’s the standard stuff what about that extra stuff?
It’ll show recent status updates from whoever’s calling from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and it will also show the same info as you’re calling them.
Other information can be fed to you like the weather and news in the caller’s area in case you want to get that “how’s the weather” small talk out of the way, and more.
The best part is that all of this even the caller ID stuff is free. You might as well give it a try and see if you like it in the Google Play Store. Read on for full press details.
The era of caller ID simply being a name and number has officially ended with today’s introduction of Current Caller ID by WhitePages (www.whitepages.com). Available in the Android App Store, Current Caller ID not only displays recent status updates by friends and social contacts from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but it also identifies nearly any incoming or outgoing call or text instantly for free. Taking innovation even further, Current Caller ID includes live local info from the caller or texter’s location, such as weather and news, as well as fun infographics that provide instant insight into the communication relationship between users and the people they contact the most.
"Between Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, consumers are overwhelmed with too many connections and status updates, said Lori Roth, director of mobile products at WhitePages. "By marrying call and text ID with social status, we created a single useful service that makes it easy for people to stay up-to-date with the people they communicate with the most.”
According to an online Harris Interactive Study commissioned by WhitePages in May 2012, 88 percent of smartphone owners use an app like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to stay in touch on their smartphone with their contacts. About 76 percent of the smartphone owners who were surveyed claimed to use two or more mobile applications. In fact, of those smartphone owners who use mobile apps/functions to stay in touch with contacts on a mobile phone, nearly 60 percent use these apps at least five times a day, which suggests that an increasing number of smartphone owners are trying to avoid a communications breakdown of missing important updates from real friends in an era where online friends outnumber real friends 7 to 1.
Current Caller ID: Staying in the Know with People You Call and Text the Most (Real Friends) In one easy-to-use app, Current Caller ID effortlessly streams social status updates just as people are about to communicate. Users can then ignite highly engaging phone and text conversations about relevant topics such as social events, travel, accomplishments like promotions and graduations, or a recent concert attended. The app seamlessly integrates Android’s call log and text history with the user’s social graph to provide timely, relevant statuses for most callers and texters - all without having to lift a finger. Through a clean interface, the app provides users with a detailed snapshot of callers and texters connected to their social networks, including recent status posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as profile photos, job description, workplace, weather and news. For example, on an inbound call, Current Caller ID users could see a recent Facebook post about a friend discovering a baby boy is on the way, falling for a new love, or notice that a friend is attending a party, and decide to answer the call immediately.
For business contacts, a user might discover a former colleague is attending the same conference, recently changed jobs, or will be in the area via a LinkedIn status, and build a stronger relationship by knowing this information before returning a call or text.
Current Caller ID also features game-like infographics in real-time that displays communication patterns between users and their contacts, including how often and when they most frequently engage with their contacts, and number of calls and texts accepted, missed and made. For example, users can easily see a fun consolidated view of call and text interactions with their contacts to learn the best time of day to call or text them to get a response.
WhitePages’ new social caller ID capabilities build on the company’s long-standing leadership in helping mobile users identify nearly any unknown call or text, including hard-to-find mobile and some VoIP numbers. WhitePages was the first to bring caller ID to mobile in 2008 for Android phones and has been the market leader in caller ID ever since, having identified over 700 million calls to date. With the survey results showing that more than 70 percent of those who screen their calls on their mobile phone don’t answer the phone because they don’t recognize a number, Current Caller ID helps users overcome the unknown and decide on the spot whether or not to answer a call or text. In addition, Current Caller ID makes it easy to update missing contact information using the WhitePages contact database of over 200 million U.S. adults.
Customers of existing WhitePages Caller ID apps can easily upgrade to the new Current Caller ID app for free. To learn more, watch the video or follow the new app on Twitter @currentID. For more information about all WhitePages mobile products visit: http://www.whitepages.com/mobile.
Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of WhitePages from May 22-May 24, 2012 among 2,208 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables please contact Liz Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WhitePages WhitePages is the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S. With over 40 million unique monthly users and powering over 2 billion searches per year on over 1,500 sites including MSN and the United States Postal Service, only WhitePages offers consumers one-click access to more than 200 million adults, also providing them with the ability to edit and control their own listings. The company’s suite of mobile products includes a top-50 mobile website and popular Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, webOS and Windows 7 applications with over 7 million active monthly users. For more information, please visit www.whitepages.com or check out the WhitePages blog at blog.whitepages.com.
Google Play Current Caller ID by WhitePages download link
WhitePages and their respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of White Pages. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.
Ok, we want to see just how dedicated BlackBerry fans out there are, we are looking to get 250 BBM adds through out the month of August (contest ends September 31st 2012 11:59:59).
Remember the rules are you have to add "The Phone Ninja" to BBM via the our pin or by scanning our bar-code below. We have to get at the least 250 BBM adds, you must reside in the US, After being accepted and verified throught BBM you are automatically registered to win.
Check out the official BlackBerry BBM website for more information on BlackBerry BBM
BBM pin: 3329D606
Nikon is reportedly preparing to announce its first Android powered compact camera, reportedly called the Coolpix S800 or S800c. According to Nikon Rumors, the camera will be equipped with a 3.5-inch OLED display and will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The device will also supposedly feature a 25-250mm zoom lens, built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, and it will have access to the Google Play store. This isn’t the first Android-based camera we have seen Polaroid showed off the SC1630 Smart Camera at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January, but the device has yet to make its way onto the market. Nikon is rumored to announce the Coolpix S800 on August 22nd.
Google's latest candy-coated OS update on the very first Android phone? We've got a guy for that. Jcarrz1, the same wizard from XDA-Developers who ported Ice Cream Sandwich to the HTC G1, has managed to port a buggy build of CyanogenMod 10 to the handset which puts Jelly Bean on the oldest hardware possible. Sadly, the old handset isn't up to Project Butter's 60FPS interface, but brave tweakers can still use the device's touchscreen for apps, CM10 features and a partially functional Google Now. WiFi is also up and running, but cellular data is MIA. Check out the video above to see the pre-alpha build in action, or try it out for yourself at the source link below.
Nokia's Qt project could be reinvigorated now that it's been bought out in its entirety by Finnish firm Digia, following a partial acquisition last year. Digia is eyeing porting the development platform, used to code applications for Symbian and Meego, to Windows 8 (the PR doesn't mention Windows Phone 8), Android and iOS in the near future. While a fee hasn't been mentioned, it's reportedly a "fraction" of the $150 million that Nokia originally paid when purchasing Trolltech in 2008 which probably won't improve matters on the handset maker's balance sheet.