Microsoft Working on Project Fi Competitor?

Companies like Google and Microsoft consider themselves “services” companies, even though they sell hardware like the Nexus and the Surface. Those brands exist to make sure that other hardware partners have the proper “incentive” to continue producing high quality devices to utilize the software that Microsoft and Google produce.

While it’s important that consumers have access to high quality gadgets to run these services, it’s equally important that consumers have access to affordable data networks to utilize services which are becoming increasingly data intensive.

We’re seeing progress in some areas, carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile embracing practices like rollover data, but we’re also backsliding in other areas with Comcast expanding the number of areas where they will be capping data for home broadband even though it won’t have any significant impact on bandwidth or service stability.

For Google and Microsoft, it’s becoming increasingly important to support initiatives which improve coverage, data speeds, and reduce prices for their customers. Where those initiatives don’t exist, it’s up to those two tech giants to create them.

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Lenovo Bets BIG on 6.8″ Smartphone – The Phab Plus

I’ll be honest. With the rise of phablets like the Note and Lumia 1520, I’ve almsot entirely stopped using mini-tablets like my Nexus 7. Lenovo is doubling down on big screen phones with the Phab Plus.

We can joke about what this might look like holding it up to your face, but the calls are no longer the primary use for our “phones”. We expect excellent data driven experiences. In a way, it is kind of silly that our LTE enabled tablets can’t make and receive calls…

PHAB Plus_Gold_Details_01The Phab Plus sports a 6.8″ 1080p screen paired with a Qualcomm Octa-core CPU and 2GB of RAM. 32GB of storage is built in, and you can add more via MicroSD. A 13MP rear camera and 5MP FFC should handle most photo and video tasks, and the larger body means there’s more room for a larger speaker and “sound chamber” Lenovo claims will offer a more immersive audio experience.

This LTE device will have a 3500mAh battery which Lenovo claims is good for “up to 2 days of battery”, but I would imagine this will likely be a “charge every night” kinda phone.

From a design standpoint, it follow in the footsteps of their Vibe series, rounded aluminum frame.

PHAB Plus_Gray_Hero_05-1This mini-tablet phone wont break the bank. $299 seems pretty reasonable for such an audacious experiment. We’re still waiting out shipping info, but expect the Phab Plus before the holidays.


Sprint Removes Video Streaming Limit on ALL IN Unlimited Plans

sprintlogo491_hero_lowThe times they are a changing.

We’ve gone years with “Unlimited” plans which have restrictions on data usage or speed throttling based. In light of recent concerns facing AT&T and T-Mobile unlimited plans, Sprint reacted quickly to customer complaints regarding their new All In plan, which offers unlimited talk, text, and web for $80 a month.

The issue? A video streaming throttle of 600Kbps. With more consumers streaming high quality video, watching Youtube and Netflix, or broadcasting with apps like Periscope, it makes sense why the nation’s fourth place carrier would want to put some limit on the bandwidth people might use. However, we’re all a bit more sensitive about what the word “unlimited” means. We’ll have to see how Sprint might manage potential network congestion issues moving forward…

You can read Sprint’s brief press release below.

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Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, 10.1 on AT&T – LTE on an Android Mid-Ranger

I’m really happy to see more tablets offering LTE connectivity at a wider range of prices. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 is targeting consumers shopping in the mid range, how does it stack up to the competition? Let’s take a look!

Shop the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 LTE on Amazon.

T-Mobile to Unleash Rollover Data in 2015 – Un-Carrier 8.0 Announcement

T-Mobile LogoI’ve been complaining about this for YEARS. Each month you buy a bucket of data. If you use more than that bucket you pay a penalty, but if you don’t use the whole bucket you don’t get a credit or a benefit. Instead the carrier takes your unused data and throws it away, and you pay full price for a new bucket next month.

Starting in January of 2015, T-Mobile will roll that data over into a special store they’re calling the Data Stash. It will come to all plans including data only Tablet plans. To sweeten the deal, customers will also start off with 10GB of data in their stash.

I’ve been hoping a company would do this since we moved over to data caps on cellphone contracts. I was so goofy happy, I jumped immediately into a Live Hangout and started throwing things.

The full T-Mobile press release is below, and they always put out funny releases.

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Straight Talk Starts BYOD Program for GSM Enabled Tablets

straight talk bring your own tablet byotLow cost carrier sweetheart Straight Talk is now starting up a Bring Your Own Device program for GSM enabled tablets.

Announced via their blog, users can BYOT and sign up for monthly data plans starting at $15 a month for 1GB of GSM data with support for LTE where available. Plans top out at $50 a month for 5GB of data. Not a bad way to keep your mobile data habit fed.

You can hit for more info or to sign up and grab a SIM card.


Verizon Wireless Backtracks on Throttling Plans for Unlimited Customers

Well done VZW.

Verizon-logoBig Red as decided to pull the plug on their “Network Optimization” plans which would have throttled the data connections on the top 5% of heavy users. Droid Life is reporting on a company spokesperson’s comment:

Verizon is committed to providing its customers with an unparalleled mobile network experience. At a time of ever-increasing mobile broadband data usage, we not only take pride in the way we manage our network resources, but also take seriously our responsibility to deliver exceptional mobile service to every customer. We’ve greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we’ve decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans. Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.

Even more incentive to hold onto those unlimited plans if you’re still rocking one!

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.



Check the full press release below!

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