Archive for the ‘Technology News’ Category

Verizon Announces 49 New LTE Markets For 1H 2011

There’s nothing like hearing of some new LTE love coming to town compliments of Verizon. Today, the CDMA-turning-GSM carrier announced 49 new markets that will receive LTE by the end of 1H 2011. Even better news is that an additional ~50 markets will go live in 2H of 2011 per Verizon’s goal of 140 markets by the time 2012 rolls in. While Verizon is arguably just as stingy with anti-consumer policies as AT&T, you have to admit that they deliver when and where they say they are going to, and in a timely fashion. List of new markets after the jump…
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Steve Jobs Takes Another Leave Of Absence


Is Steve Jobs having recurring health problems? If a claimed internal email is to be believed, then yes. News of Steve’s medical leave is spreading like wildfire this morning, with even larger publications picking it up leading to the claim’s authenticity. In the email, Steve once again singles out COO Tim Cook as the new man in charge for day-to-day operations. Steve, however, will remain in the loop for “major strategic decisions”. Whether this new medical leave is a result of recurring illness from his last medical leave or new altogether, we wish him the best. Email below.

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

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Sony vs. Geohot Judge: Why Is This In California?

A couple of weeks ago, former iOS jailbreaker and current PS3 hacker, George Hotz aka “Geohot”, released (in coordination with the fail0ver team) code to crack the PS3′s hardware and software encryption thus allowing home brew software to be installed and run. Sony naturally wasn’t all to happy, and just recently responded with a lawsuit asking for unspecified monetary damages as well as the complete removal of any and all traces of Geohot’s crack from the internet (good luck with that Sony).

With that said, today began the first in a series of court appearances for Geohot and Sony in a California court, with the focus of this morning’s early meeting being to determine whether or not Geohot had to surrender all of his electronic gear as the case moves forward. Thankfully, common sense did play a small role in the court room today, with the presiding Judge Susan Illston questioning Sony’s argument that the case should be tried in California because Geohot (from New Jersey) received funds from PayPal (located in California) and posted the hack and code on Twitter and YouTube (also from California). Illston said that if Sony’s argument were taken seriously, the entire world’s problems and legal battles would be under her jurisdiction. As such, she put off any pending decision on Geohot’s electronic devices and further trials in California on hold until a later, unconfirmed date.

Score 1 for common sense. 0 for Sony.

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Lawsuit Filed Over Samsung/T-Mobile Delayed Vibrant Updates.

Over the last few months, Samsung has been in hot water within various user forums for their slow to non-existant updates for their in-house Android devices. The Samsung Behold II/Android 1.6 fiasco was a large blemish in Sammie’s past. And the latest device, the Samsung Vibrant, appears to be another developing one with an XDA forum member by the name of MicBeast launching a class action lawsuit against not only Samsung, but T-Mobile as well.

The case: Samsung and T-Mobile are deliberately delaying Android updates to push people towards upgrading hardware sooner (at higher costs).

It will be interesting to see how far the case actually gets. Expect Android fragmentation, custom skins, and other update-related topics to move to the forefront of Android forums and the tech world as a whole if the case moves forward. We’ll be following this closely and report to you as it unfolds.

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T-Mobile UK Changes Course. 500MB Limit Only Affects New and Upgrading Users.

Two days ago, we highlighted T-Mobile UK’s asinine attempt to redefine what “web browsing” is while simultaneously punishing their users for arguably normal data usage by cutting their 3 GB data plans to a paltry 500 MB. Apparently enough people have voiced disapproval because T-Mobile has stepped back, but only slightly. Instead of a blanket data slashing across the board, current users can continue on with their 3 GB of happiness. New and upgrading users, however, will be subject to the new ridiculous limits.

In the grander scheme of things, T-Mobile’s concession is anything but a delaying of the inevitable. And that is sad. Once your current 3 GB plan runs out, you have no choice but to accept a new plan with the drastically reduced data allotment. If you love smartphones and actually using them for what they’re designed to do, now is the time to start searching for another carrier. Because as we’ve seen over the last couple of days, T-Mobile UK doesn’t want you to.

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BBC Closing Down WAP Site.

As of Monday, January 10th, frequent visitors to BBC’s mobile WAP website no doubt noticed a big change — the WAP site is now closed. A message on the page reads: “We’ve now closed the WML version of BBC Online. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes you. However, if your phone supports XHTML, then you can still access BBC Mobile. Please update your bookmarks”.

What once commanded a nearly 20% share of mobile traffic back in the WAP’s hayday doesn’t even total a single percentage point in 2011. Naturally, paying to sustain the WAP portal doesn’t make sense. From here on out, mobile users can either use one of the various mobile apps spanning several different platforms or use a phone that supports XHTML. Anyone want to admit they still use WAP-anything?
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[Update] PS3 Hacker GeoHot Sued By Sony.

Infamous PS3 hacker and former iOS jailbreaker, Geohot, has found himself in the wrong end of the law, with Sony shaking the big stick. As of roughly 7 o’clock tonight, Geohot has officially been served, according to his website. And no surprise here — the lawsuit names Geohot’s posting of private PS3 encryption keys in coordination with the fail0ver team (among other things) as the reason(s) for this legal endeavor.

Hopefully the courts have more common sense than Sony and see it’s not the tool (or creation of the tool) that is illegal. It’s how it is used.

Update

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As Jordan has highlighted below, it’s not a full on legal bloodbath quite yet — instead it’s a restraining order asking for all traces of the hack/crack/keys to be expunged from the web. (That will never happen.)

How Will Verizon Price iPhone Hotspot Feature?

Today, we saw the opening of the gates to fairness and consumer choice — the Verizon iPhone is upon us. Several years in the making, come February 10th, the mobile landscape will be considerably different. But it won’t be differently solely because there will be two iPhone carriers. Instead, it will be because of new features that will keep incumbent carriers (looking at you AT&T) on their feet constantly striving to please their customers.

The biggest thing announced in conjunction with the Verizon iPhone was the new hotspot feature showed running on the device’s 4.2.5 firmware. This feature, like countless other smartphones, will allow up to 5 people wireless tether to their iPhone over WiFi. AT&T doesn’t offer this feature, and never has made any hint of even considering it. And looking back at their track record in regards to network performance, we can understand why.

With all that said, how will Verizon price their hotspot feature? (Cont’d inside…)
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Verizon iPhone Now Official! Mobile Hotspot Support For 5 Devices!

The Verizon press conference just wrapped up. Like we expected, the iPhone is coming to Verizon “early next month”, ending three and a half painful years of AT&T exclusivity. All of the same hardware is here — same A4 processor, HD video recording, 5-megapixel camera, and retinal display. Verizon stressed at their press conference that they’ve scaled everything from their shipping to inventory systems in order to keep up with demand. And of course, Verizon’s Dan Dee talked up multiple times in many different forms that Verizon’s network will not buckle like AT&T’s did (and still does).

Besides the numerous references to AT&T’s poor iPhone performance thus far, Verizon upped the ante and announced mobile hotspot functionality for up to 5 devices — *possibly* included in your standard data plan (“additional charges may apply” verbiage mentioned)! Verizon clearly matched and surpassed AT&T in the data plan aspect. The iPhone 4 on Verizon will cost $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model — same as current AT&T pricing. Pre-orders start February 3rd, with sales going live February 10th.

Yeah — there are some tradeoffs to a CDMA-based iPhone vs. GSM/HSPA+ variants. But the added cellular quality and reliability and included hotspot functionality are rather important trade-offs wouldn’t you say? As for the lack of LTE — we knew it wouldn’t be coming. Time, money, and manufacturing issues still need to be tackled. The most important thing was to get the iPhone into Verizon customers’ hands. With that said, look for LTE-compatible iPhones perhaps as early as the iPhone 5, which if Apple keeps their current schedule, will be announced this summer.