Speaking of something to not get excited about though, check out Samsung’s update process. We haven’t seen this many steps for updating a device’s software since… well, probably ever. The update process requires a functioning ActiveSync connection to work, and we haven’t even tried this through alternative syncing systems like Missing Sync for the Mac yet, but venturous updaters be warned: this update completely erases your BlackJack, resetting it to a factory default software state.
That said, go forth and update ye old BlackJacks, especially if roaming has given you more than one headache since the phone debuted last November.
AT&T, which took full control of No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier Cingular with its $86 billion purchase of BellSouth last month, will launch on Monday a campaign to mark the change.
“We did not enter that decision lightly,” Wendy Clark, vice president of advertising at AT&T, said in an interview. “We came to understand that consumer customers and business customers alike are looking for a single provider. We heard it so consistently across the marketplace.”
In its first stage, Cingular will share its orange logo of a bouncing jack with the AT&T globe logo on everything from television ads to sales uniforms and monthly bills.
AT&T ‘s name and logo will eventually replace Cingular in a process expected to take several months, with the exact timing determined as more customer feedback comes in, Clark said.
But with its long and complicated history, AT&T may face customer confusion over its name, marketing experts said. Also, Cingular built up a reputation among younger customers who may not easily associate with the AT&T brand.
At stake are AT&T ‘s efforts to promote its bundle of phone, Internet and video services against a growing number of rivals, including cable operators and Web providers.
One new ad will portray a familiar Cingular image–grain harvesters mowing a field to represent “bars” showing maximum cell phone reception. But in a new take, the harversters will change direction and mow the AT&T globe out of the stalks.
“It’s a tough proposition,” said Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at brand agency Landor Associates. “Multiple brands within any company is expensive. Arguably they don’t have much choice, they’ve made a stand now that they’ve invested back in the core brand.”
Cingular spent nearly $1 billion on media advertising in the first nine months of 2006, up from about $920 million in the same period during 2005, according to the latest data from tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence.
For the remainder of their businesses, AT&T spent nearly $600 million on media ads in the nine-month period, while BellSouth spent just over $100 million, TNS said.
AT&T has said about 20 percent of operating cost savings in the BellSouth merger will come from lower advertising costs.
The new AT&T was formed in the merger of SBC Communications and AT&T in late 2005. Adding to the mix, in late 2004 Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, eradicating that brand for its poor reputation among customers.
“The good news is there is a difference between AT&T and AT&T Wireless,” Clark said. “We have benefited significantly…by having 12 months under our belt as the new AT&T.”
Capping literally years of speculation on perhaps the most intensely followed unconfirmed product in Apple’s history — and that’s saying a lot — the iPhone has been announced today. Yeah, we said it: “iPhone,” the name the entire free world had all but unanimously christened it from the time it’d been nothing more than a twinkle in Stevie J’s eye (comments, Cisco?). Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode — no word on standby time yet. In a twisted way, this is one rumor mill we’re almost sad to see grind to a halt; after all, when is the next time we’re going to have an opportunity to run this picture? The 4GB iPhone will go out the door in the US as a Cingular exclusive for $499 on a two-year contract, 8GB for $599. Ships Stateside in June, Europe in fourth quarter, Asia in 2008.
- Single front button.
- 3.5 inch widescreen display featuring the highest pixel density ever shipped in a portable device.
- 2 megapixel camera.
- iPod dock.
- Proximity sensor which switches between modes and screen orientation based on how a user holds it.
- 11.6 mm thick.
- Syncs with iTunes
- Cinglar only.
- Visual voicemail – shows a list of your voicemails like you see a list of emails.
- Error correcting on-screen keyboard.
- Gestural interface
- Google Maps.
- Switches seamlessly between EDGE and WiFi.
- Free Yahoo! IMAP email to all iPhone customs.
- 5 hour video battery life.
- 16 hour audio battery life.
The 4GB costs $499 and the 8GB $599 (includes a 2 year contract). It is shipping in June.
So earlier we reported that you could get out of your Cingular contract due to the hike in texting fees. Well apparently if you go and call up Cingular and use this tactic they’re going to throw the following back in your face:
Q. Since Cingular is raising its rates, are customers entitled to cancel service without paying an early termination fee?
A. No, that doesn’t apply here. This is simply a pricing change for pay-per-use text and instant messaging, which is an optional service. It’s similar to buying a ringtone – that’s optional as well. It’s not part of your monthly rate plan.
Customers who pay for text and instant messages on a per-use basis are generally those who use text messaging occasionally. Frequent users generally purchase packages or bundles, so they can send and receive messages for as little as a penny each.”
So in a nutshell, Cingular is trying to pull a big ol’ load of bullshit on you by claiming text messaging is an optional service that isn’t part of your monthly plan. I’m outraged that Cingular is pulling some AOL-esque manipulation here. Have any of you tried to cancel your Cingular account without termination fees and have been shot down? Let us know in the comments.
What Cingular Tells Customers Canceling Over Text Message Rates [The Consumerist]
The long-in-the-tooth (but still our personal favorite) Treo 650 is now listed as “no longer available” on Palm’s website. If you try to select it, you’re prompted to have a look at Palm’s other smartphones, thank you very much.
Cingular, however, still lists the Treo 650 as being available, though still more expensive after rebates than its younger, stronger brother, the 680. So if you’ve been putting off that purchase, this is probably you’re last chance.
Or you could take your chances with a $50 Palm Trio 650, though the quality is questionable.
Palm Treo 650 Smartphone [(Former) Product Page]
Hey you — yeah, you. Cingular 8525, you know the one, right? Ok, and the BlackJack? The i607? Right, those two hype HSDPA WinMo handsets are now officially for sale, $400 and $200, respectively, after two year contract (with unlimited data) and rebates. Just save some for the kids, ok? They’re tired of getting coal in their stockings because of your sick device addiction.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Video: Samsung’s new 3G smart phone
CNET Senior Associate Editor Bonnie Cha takes a first look at Samsung’s BlackJack.
The phone is aimed at attracting both business and consumer customers.
The BlackJack, the latest device with both entertainment and business features such as e-mail, follows the footsteps of the “Q” phone from Motorola and the BlackBerry Pearl from Research In Motion, which both launched earlier this year.
Cingular, a venture of AT&T and BellSouth, said the phone, which runs software from Microsoft, would sell for $199 to customers who sign up for a two-year service plan.
The No. 2 U.S. mobile service, Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, now sells the “Q” for $99 after a rebate.