Big cable-backed broadband bill soars through NC House, one step closer to stifling ISP competition

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 3/30/11

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Time Warner Cable is made up of some insanely shady folks. And frankly, it’s not just TWC to blame here — CenturyLink, Embarq and a smattering of other big telecom companies are banding together in order to push the ironically-named H129 “Level Playing Field” bill straight into law. Unfortunately, said bill sailed through the clearly oblivious (or “persuaded”) North Carolina House this week, with just 37 sane individuals voting against 81 delusional proponents. For those outside of the loop, the bill effectively suggests that commercial entities — municipal ISPs like Wilson’s own Greenlight that provide greater levels of service with lower costs — are unfairly competing against for-profit monoliths. In short, that’s an absolute joke. Rep. Bill Faison nailed it with this quote: 

“This bill will make it practically impossible for cities to provide a fundamental service. Where’s the bill to govern Time Warner? Let’s be clear about whose bill this is. This is Time Warner’s bill. You need to know who you’re doing this for.” 

Yours truly just so happens to reside in the wonderful state of North Carolina, and knows first-hand what it’s like to live in a major metropolitan area with a single high-speed broadband carrier. TWC has only recently announced impending DOCSIS 3.0 coverage, but early installations in the heart of Raleigh have been fraught with latency issues and router difficulties. Oh, and it’s charging $99 per month for a service with 5Mbps up; for comparison’s sake, Greenlight gives customers 10Mbps internet (in both directions), home phone and expanded basic cable for the exact same fare. So, NC lawmakers — how exactly do your constituents gain access to that “level playing field?” 

[Image courtesy of IndyWeek]

Motorola ATRIX 4G 4.1.57 update available, no AT&T HSUPA support yet

via BGR by Todd Haselton on 3/28/11

Software version 4.1.57 for the Motorola ATRIX 4G is now available. The 17MB file, issued by Motorola, adds a number of improvements but is not the expected AT&T update that includes HSUPA support. After downloading the update, Motorola says users should notice the following changes: 
  • Bluetooth: Improved multimedia experience with Bluetooth devices as well as the ability to use phone with additional headsets.
  • Fingerprint reader: Improved fingerprint reader performance.
  • Battery: Improved battery performance for longer battery life.
  • Screen: Display will turn off automatically now while charging directly on wall charger.
  • Phone stability: Improved stability resulting in fewer occurrences of touch unresponsiveness and/of programs quitting unexpectedly.
  • Car dock: Improved performance of car dock and 3.5mm jack.
It’s been reported that the update may cause some issues with those who have rooted their phones. ATT has said that the upcoming HSUPA software update, which should ratchet up upload speeds on the ATRIX 4G and Inspire 4G, will land in April. Hit the jump for instructions on installing software version 4.1.57 on your ATRIX 4G. 
[Via Engadget

AT&T: T-Mobile 3G phones will need to be replaced

via Neowin.net by Michael Collado on 3/21/11

After word that AT&T had entered into a definitive agreement to buy T-Mobile USA, the company stated today that all T-Mobile customers that are using 3G phones will need to replace their handsets if the deal ever comes to close. 

T-Mobile yesterday updated its website to communicate what the acquisition meant for its customers. They said that the two carriers would run as independent companies until the merger is completed and that all contracts entered into before it was would be honored, especially in terms of pricing. This was only a few short hours after AT&T announced that it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA, as reported by Neowin. 

In a statement, via the Associated Press, AT&T said that when the deal closes (expected in 12 months) they would rearrange how T-Mobile’s cell towers work to repurpose 3G airwaves for 4G. It would mean that current T-Mobile 3G phones, which aren’t compatible with AT&T’s 3G airwaves, would need to be replaced either with 4G phones or ones that can be used with AT&T’s 3G. 

Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s head of wireless and consumer service, said “there’s nothing for [consumers] to worry about” since the transition of T-Mobile’s cell towers would take several years. He said it will happen as part of the normal phone upgrade process.

5 reasons you should consider a 3G iPad 2

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5 reasons you should consider a 3G iPad 2

via Resources | ZDNet by Matthew Miller on 3/21/11

Back before the iPad 2 was released to consumers Robert Scoble recorded a CinchCast message that said no one should buy a 3G iPad because you can just use the WiFi hotspot capability on your smartphone. Brian Chen, from Wired, also recently posted an article on why you can skip 3G on the iPad 2. This idea sounds reasonable and I admit to being a part of that camp for a couple of years, but after using my Samsung Galaxy Tab with integrated 3G I realized that integrated 3G is actually the way to go for power users and I have five reasons you should consider a 3G iPad.

There are 18 variations of the Apple iPad; black or white, 16GB/32GB/64GB, Verizon 3G, and AT&T 3G. Thus, it isn’t easy to make a choice, unless you end up like me and have no choices left. It has now been over a week and I love using my iPad 2 with integrated 3G service and am happy that is what I was led to purchase. I have been traveling a lot to Alaska for work and get 3G data even up in Ketchikan where I was able to watch March Madness live.

Here are five reasons why you should consider a 3G iPad:

Battery life: Using the mobile hotspot on your phone is convenient, but 3G and 4G kill the battery on phones faster than just about anything while the iPad models can go 10 hours. If you actually ever want to use your phone to make and receive calls or text messages, you won’t have much luck if you kill it through tethering. To support the devices you carry for WiFi hotspot functionality you will also have to carry a means to charge up your phone and maybe your iPad if you use them paired together extensively.

Integrated saves time: Today’s smartphone WiFi hotspot utilities are much better than the ones I started out using a couple years ago, but it still takes several steps to launch the hotspot and get connected with your iPad while integrated 3G is just always there and good to go. Also, it can cost you money or be a pain to find other WiFi hotspots at hotels, airports, and such while integrated 3G is always there with you and ready to go.

iPad has large antenna system: The iPad 2 has a larger antenna than your smartphone and it is possible that you may see a stronger signal to let you connect in more places. I have only seen 4 or 5 bars on my iPad 2 and the experience has been terrific.

iPad 3G has a GPS receiver: Unfortunately, Apple does not include a GPS receiver in the WiFi only models. GPS is slick with Google Maps, Navigon, and a number of other 3rd party clients that let you roll down the road with a large screen GPS navigation display.

Integrated 3G could be cheaper: WiFi hotspot services on your smartphone can range from $15 for 5GB (T-Mobile), $20 for 2GB (ATT and Verizon), up to $29.99 unlimited from Sprint. 2GB of data on AT&T is $25 for the iPad while Verizon has a 1GB option for $20, 3GB for $35, 5GB for $50 or 10GB for $80. The monthly data cost differences between the integrated or WiFi hotspot options are fairly close so monthly price should not be much of a factor in your decision.

I can understand if you have a group of people or a family with multiple iPads and you want to connect all of them at once with one smartphone then you can use that phone as a sacrificial phone and WiFi only iPads may be the way to go. However, after tasting integrated 3G on my Galaxy Tab and now on my iPad 2, I cannot go back to a two device tablet connectivity solution.

Can you think of any reasons to buy or not to buy a 3G iPad?

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AT&T’s first Android phone: A Dell?

via Betanews by Tim Conneally on 10/7/09

By Tim Conneally, Betanews

Dell has smartphones on the way, but it’s not talking about them yet.

In fact, the first Android-powered smartphone on AT&T’s network could be coming from Dell, according to reports this afternoon.

Citing unnamed “people briefed on the plans,” The Wall Street Journal today claimed that Dell will have a smartphone on AT&T as early as 2010.

In September, a 3.5″ touchscreen Dell smartphone known as the “Mini 3i” was shown running Open Mobile System (OMS), an Android-based operating system central to China Mobile’s “OPhone” platform. That platform thus far has been supported by Lenovo and HTC subsidiary Dopod, with many more to come.

The smartphone that Dell is saying is not really its Mini 3i, at least not yet.

The Texas PC company, however, has thus far been hesitant to discuss its movement in the Chinese mobile sector, even though China Mobile has highlighted Dell’s participation in the Android-based OPhone project several times.

Dell declined comment today to Betanews and others on its plans for smartphone distribution, domestically or otherwise.

It’s E71x time, kids!

via Boy Genius Report by Michael Bettiol on 5/4/09

Mmm mmm do we ever love it when carriers pick up awesome handsets at awesome prices. Today, after a mind boggling number of delays, AT&T begun selling the Nokia E71x on its website for the incredibly attractive price of $99 on a two-year contract. And while the notion of using a phone that was announced in the summer of 2008 might be unthinkable to some who are accustomed to the very latest in tech, we find it pretty hard to argue against a full-QWERTY S60 device with a 3.2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.0 and HSDPA connectivity, especially when the device in question is Kate Moss thin at 10mm.

Read

Nokia E71x Now Available on AT&T for $99

via Gizmodo by John Herrman on 5/5/09

How AT&T’s prospective carriage of the handsome-but-not-beautiful, capable-but-not-amazing Nokia E71x spawned so many rumors and leaks is beyond me, but it’s all over now. $99 AR on a two-year contract, available today.

[AT&T via Slashphone]