AT&T Doubles the Data on Mobile Share Plans, But You Have to Act Soon!

ATT logoThe carriers are waging price wars, and AT&T took another blow at family data sharing by introducing new share plans and rates.

Starting today, AT&T’s new plans double the data shared for the same price, which means the smallest plan starts at $130 for 30GB of data, scaling up to 100GB a month plan for $375. All plans support up to ten lines, unlimited talk & text, and unlimited messaging.

This is a promotional rate however, and the sign up period runs through October 31st. If you don’t activate one of these new plans by Halloween, then data rates revert back to their old caps. Once you sign up for the plan though, you will receive that data cap for the life of your account with AT&T.

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Check the full press release below!

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Will Nokia End HERE Maps Support for Windows Phone?

wp_ss_20140925_0001When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s hardware division, they did not get all of Nokia’s assets. One team to remain under the Nokia badge was the HERE mapping division, and it’s quickly become a favorite of Windows Phone users, bringing terrific turn-by-turn directions and downloadable maps to Microsoft’s ecosystem.

Reported today by The Next Web, a Nokia Executive Sean Fernback was quoted in regards to future HERE development:

“today we still maintain the [HERE] Windows Phone apps, it has our brand on it so we need to look after it, although we’re not particularly investing in them at the moment, that could still change. With the Nokia X program, we were authorized to continue to work on it until about now really, but that work is about to cease. I think there have been a number of different programmes that have continued through the year onto different platforms, but now it’s just going to focus on the two – Android and iOS.”

We’ve known that HERE Maps would be making a transition to Android, specifically on Samsung devices, and it would make sense that the team would be turning more resources to the newer (and larger) platforms. HERE Maps is not leaving Windows Phone, but for fans of Microsoft’s OS (and ostensibly Nokia’s hardware) a reduction in support could be a worrying proposition. There are already precious few outlets developing for the WP platform.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Exclusively Available at AT&T Sept. 26

samsung galaxy alpha att exclusiveThe Galaxy Alpha is an interesting statement of a phone from Samsung. The Alpha steps away from Sammy’s usual “throw in everything and the kitchen sink” manufacturing approach, and working on crafting a more refined experience. It seems tailor-made to combat the newly released iPhone 6.

Instead of continuing a specs war, the Alpha takes solid performing hardware and pairs it with the metal build quality we’ll soon see on the Galaxy Note 4.

AT&T has announced today they will be the exclusive carrier of the Alpha in the USA, and the phone will be available to buy starting September 26 for $200 on a two year contract. If you’ve been considering an Alpha, drop us a comment, and you can read AT&T’s full PR (with a video teaser) below.

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Apple Confirms NFC Locked Down in iPhone 6

Tim CookIt was one of the big questions left unanswered by Apple’s keynote. Introducing an NFC payments option is fantastic, but will that NFC radio be available for other uses, like “tap & share” or “tap & pair”?

The answer it would seem is “no”, at least for now. Following launch, the NFC radio in the iPhone 6 will only be made available to Apple Pay. This also means that competing services like Google Wallet will likely be blocked, but it’s still unclear if recently re-branded Softcard (former ISIS Wallet) will be allowed on the iPhone. Softcard was introduced by the carriers, and there’s no doubt they’re looking to leverage their own payment system on what’s sure to be one of the most popular phones of the year.

NFC is a fantastically versatile little radio capable of a variety of functions. On Windows Phone and Android it can be used to initiate file sharing between devices, control settings on the phone (I use stickers to toggle things like WiFi and Drive Modes), and it can take the place of RFID enabled cards in some cities which use the technology for public transit.

As Apple is just entering the mobile payment market, it’s no surprise they’d want to restrict access to the radio used. Security will be key in encouraging customers to use and trust this new service. Still, hopefully we see a little more flexibility out of Apple’s conservative hardware policies, giving iPhone owners more access to all of the fantastic accessories and services which already utilize this hardware.

(Via Cult of Mac)

Local Motors Strati is the World’s First 3D Printed Car

local motors Strati 3d printed electric car frontYou wouldn’t download a car would you?

Well if you have an industrial grade 3D printer you might be able to someday download the chassis. Based out of Arizona, Local Motors is introducing the world to Strati, a car built out of a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Strati is a two seater electric coupe with a top speed of 40 mph and a range of around 120 miles.

local motors Strati 3d printed electric car rear

While the motor, wiring, and windscreens are all made using conventional means, the car is built out of a ridiculously small number of individual parts thanks to the printing process. Local Motors expects to sell Strati for $18,000 to $30,000 depending on additional features and accessories.

This could represent a manufacturing breakthrough. If Strati finds any small amount of success, 3D printing could drastically lower the bar for other manufacturers looking to produce commuter vehicles. You can find more info on Local Motors site, and you can see their Strati time-lapse teaser video below.

Tesla Wins in Massachusetts Supreme Court Direct Sales Lawsuit

model-s-blue-front2_960x640It’s been a long fight for Tesla in MA, but yesterday the state’s highest court thew out the lawsuit which would have blocked Tesla from selling electric vehicles directly to consumers.

The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association sued Tesla citing the state’s franchise law, but the court ruled that Tesla was not violating the spirit of that law. The franchise law was written to protect franchise owners from direct and unfair competition against a parent company, a relationship which does not exist for Tesla. Justice Margot Botsford wrote:

The law “was intended and understood only to prohibit manufacturer-owned dealerships when, unlike Tesla, the manufacturer already had an affiliated dealer or dealers in Massachusetts”.

“Contrary to the plaintiffs’ assertion,” she added, “the type of competitive injury they describe between unaffiliated entities is not within the statute’s area of concern.”

Tesla is current fighting similar statutes in several other states including Texas, Arizona, Maryland, and recently an ugly public fight in New Jersey. If the state laws there are similar to MA’s, then this case might set the stage for Tesla’s future legal strategy.

 

LTE Enabled NVIDIA Shield Tablet Available for Pre-Order at $399

NVIDIA SHIELD_Tablet_Cover_Front_Wide_Angle_LeftNVIDIA’s Shield is a handy little Nexus 7 competitor with solid gaming capabilities, and they’re now offering a 32GB version with LTE. Starting today, you can pre-order the Shield on AT&T for $399, and if you’re signing up a new two-year agreement, you will also receive a $100 credit towards the purchase.

It’s not a bad upgrade from the WiFi-only Shield as it doubles the on board storage and adds that LTE radio for only $100 more. For more info on Shield, or to commit your cash to receiving one when they ship, head on over to NVIDIA’s site. Pre-orders are expected to ship by the end of the month, and you can find more info on AT&T’s promotion from their press release.

3GMATE ctia 2014 international portable wifi hotspot somegadgetguy

My Fave Find from CTIA! The Skyroam 3GMate International Hotspot with Virtual Sim

At every show I try to find something cool. Something I wasn’t expecting. Something that nails a niche.

This year Skyroam totally nailed it, and for you folks who travel a lot (and internationally) definitely be on the lookout for this portable WiFi hotspot. The 3GMate uses a virtual sim to enable 3G data in 45 countries, and it’ll only cost you $10 a day!

Shop the 3GMate on Amazon.
More info on Skyroam and the 3GMate.

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