T-Mobile is discontinuing the FlexPay option for a more conventional deposit method. This move could be the result of the high numbers of customer turnover T-Mobile has suffered recently. The new Deposit Product method will go into effect on March 13th.
T-Mobile’s customer credit class will determine how much they will have to pay before activation. The range goes from $50 to $400 and the initial deposits will be returned to the customer after a year of good standing on the account. One major exception is those that are required to leave a deposit will not be able use the equipment installment plan if the option is available to them.
This change is company-wide as T-Mobile hopes to stop the loss of more customers. If a customer chooses not to have their credit checked or do not want to put down a deposit, they may purchase a prepaid plan from the carrier. The prepaid plans do include data plans.
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AT&T is preparing to step beyond typical carrier duties, by launching a new location-based text ad service. The carrier will be sending out text ads such as coupons and other special offers to subscribed customers based on their locations as detected by their phones. The program will start only in certain metropolitan areas including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The new program is called “ShopAlerts by AT&T” and large discount chain Kmart has already signed up. This means that subscribers that are nearby a Kmart could receive text message deals for Kmart. Other participating companies that have signed up early include HP, SC Johnson, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Nature’s Recipe, and the “Got Milk” campaign.
However, the new service is only able to detect locations within one mile from the subscriber, which means subscribers will not know if there is a coupon or deal until they get very close to their destination. Local weather and traffic information will also be included in the texts. To subscribe, you can visit AT&T’s ShopAlerts site.
[via USA Today]
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Samsung has sent out an invitation for an event at CTIA in Orlando on March 22nd. The company already has a 7-inch Galaxy tablet and just announced their 10.1-inch tablet recently at MWC, so the 78910 number displayed prominently could stand for an 8.9-inch tablet coming our way. This lines up with the recent rumors of an 8.9-inch tablet from Samsung.
The image also hints that the new tablet might be running Android Honeycomb by the honeycomb design pattern on the tablet pictured. Since the “special episode” is happening at CTIA and the Samsung Mobile badge is boldly displayed at the bottom right, you can most likely expect a 3G or 4G capable version of the tablet as well.
It seems like more and more tablets are popping up in the market everyday. Samsung will now have three tablets in its arsenal, but we’ll have to see if they’re strong enough to duke it out in the expanding tablet market. With Apple’s iPad 2 announcement coming in two days and the recent launch of the much anticipated Motorola Xoom, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
[via Fone Area]
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New week bringing a new month means plenty of new Android news. Today we learned both Samsung and Motorola plan to expand their tablet lineups, but that’s not the only thing going on this side of the mobile world. Check out everything fit for print below.
- The Huawei IDEOS X5 is now available in Australia.
- There’s a bounty for porting Honeycomb to the Notion Ink Adam. Some crafty hacking could net you $600.
- Samsung’s smallish Galaxy phones – the Ace and Mini – are headed for O2 UK. The Ace is also headed to SK Telecom in South Korea.
- The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has released an Android application called NetBank. [Market]
- DLNA is no longer coming to the Xperia range. Sony Ericsson has instead directed their users to the Android market for third-party options.
- As we wait for the WiFi-only model of the Motorola XOOM, KDDI in Japan is already offering.
- AT&T is launching a location-based ad service soon called ShopAlerts.
- Sony Ericsson has published a 16-page document for developers who want to take advantage of the Xperia Play’s touch pad.
- Koodo is releasing the LG Optimus One on March 2nd. [MobileSyrup]
- Training on the Motorola Atrix for Bell in Canada has begun.
- Staying in Canada, Bell is now offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab on a three-year contract for $349.95.
- Still up north, the Videotron Garmin A50 finally will be lifted from Android 1.6 to Android 2.1.
- Angry Birds and its Seasons edition will both receive some new levels in March. What a surprise.
- Vodafone has begun updating its Sony Ericsson Xperia 10 Mini and Mini Pro to Android 2.1.
Among the many other tidbits Sanjay Jha dropped during today’s talk with Stanley Morgan investors was the revelation that Motorola is already working on a 7-inch Android tablet for release by the end of the year. The company just released their first tablet, the Motorola XOOM, during the final week of February, but Jha sees exploring various size options as beneficial.
That seems to be thinking on most manufacturers’ minds, with the likes of Samsung, Acer, and Viewsonic all offering tablets ranging in size. In the end, it is merely a matter of inches. Something tells me the time spent developing a product with the only selling point being its size could be better used elsewhere.
If you want to find an easy point of detraction for Android, look no further than the Android Market. While recent enhancements such as an overhauled UI and a new web version for searching, finding, and installing apps have made the pain of locating new apps a bit more bearable, there is still much work to be done. Enter Chomp, yet another app crossing over from an iPhone counterpart.
The name wouldn’t tell you, but Chomp is an app discovery service that focuses on sorting apps by relevant keyword searches. If you want to see top restaurant guide apps simply search “restaurant guides.” If you want the best suggestions for music, type –you guessed it — “music.” Gone from the iOS version are app recommendations, as the makers of Chomp didn’t see the feature gaining much traction.
With a gorgeous interface, Chomp does make the task of finding new apps easier to navigate. From our time testing the app, it didn’t do much in the way of returning anything we wouldn’t have already seen recommended somewhere else. Music results such as Pandora and Shazam hardly unearth any hidden gems of the Android Market.
Of course, Chomp works great and looks great doing it, and at no charge for download there is no reason not to give it a spin. It just may replace the Android Market as the starting point for app searches for some of you users out there. Find it now in the Android Market.
There are rumors that Microsoft could have its first offering of Windows 8 operating system by the end of June, which is Microsoft’s fiscal year end. The design is specifically for tablets and the new interface is rumored to take hints from Apple and parts of the Metro interface found in Windows Phone 7.
Many believe that Microsoft Windows 8 will have its first beta by September, but the company usually has at least one or more extra beta releases followed with at least one more candidate release. Microsoft is known for a three-year release schedule it adheres to for new OS and could have Windows 8 on tablets by the end of 2012, which would put it three years after Windows 7 shipped.
Microsoft has had a hard time cracking the tablet market with Windows and is far behind the leaders iOS and Android. The HP Slate was supposed to help Windows break into the market with a splash but its delay ultimately lead it to more niche sales. We will see if Windows 8 will help Microsoft gain ground in the booming tablet market.
[via Business Insider]
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I worked in the North Orange, New Jersey school district for one day. It was a training day. I had accepted a job as a teacher in a fine High School (read: rich) teaching Journalism and Theater Arts. As a challenge, this was a step down from the English teaching I had been doing at inner city High Schools for the past five years, but it would have been a very cushy teaching job. I had been offered a salary of $75,000, which is more than I thought a teacher could make. On my first day of training, a couple weeks before the school year started, I got a call from a Web site to which I had also applied for a job. They wanted me to work for them as a product reviewer and news writer.
[Image credit: Redfire Motion Group]
The Web site was offering less than half of what I would have made as a teacher. I tried to negotiate, but things fell apart quickly. Instead of increasing their offer, they decided not to hire anyone for the position and just stick with the people they had. I got a message on my voicemail that pretty much said “thanks, but no thanks.” I called back immediately and asked if they would let me work for the initial salary offer. Of course, they accepted. As a negotiator, I really suck.
I recently left tech journalism to work with a major phone manufacturer. When I told people I was leaving, I heard two questions repeating themselves over and over. First, would I continue writing these columns for SlashGear. Second, could they have my job. I don’t understand the first question. I didn’t suspect people enjoyed reading reviews of bad movies and sentimental stories about Facebook quite as much as they did. I’m flattered, and I hope that I’ll be back on SlashGear to stay a while longer.
The second question I completely understood. I’ll tell you when I realized I was working a dream job. I started at the Web site on the Tuesday after labor day. That Friday, I did not realize it was the end of the week until around 4:30, when it was time to start winding down. When I realized I had two days off from work, I was sad to be leaving. I wanted a longer work week. That’s my definition of a great job: when you hate Fridays more than you hate Mondays. For the past 4+ years, I’ve never looked forward to a Friday.
So, here’s how to get my job. Let’s start with qualifications. I have an English degree and a Master’s degree, but I wouldn’t say those are necessary. Definitely not the Master’s. But you need to be a very good writer if you want to do well. You need to be completely comfortable expressing yourself in print in a way that people can understand, and in a way that will express subtext and a deeper meaning to your readers. And you need to be able to do it quickly. I wrote 200 word news stories in 5 minutes. I wrote 4,000 word reviews in a day.
However, it wasn’t the writing or the degree that landed me the job. It also wasn’t my prior experience. I’d been teaching High School for five years, but before that I worked at a few top notch Web sites riding the crest of the tech bubble in New York City. I’d written some reviews, done plenty of editing and learned just enough HTML code that I can ask where the bathroom is using only anchor tags.
What landed me that job, and my previous tech jobs, was a connection I made with my interviewer using gadgets. I talked about my first cell phone. My parents bought me a so-called Motorola bag phone in 1991, the year I started driving. I talked about that, and how I had been landline-free since 1997, the year I got my first portable cell phone (an early Sprint TouchPoint phone). My future editor was hooked. He asked all the silly interview questions, but it was talking about my early experiences, and showing wonder for the world that opened up when I started carrying a phone everywhere, that convinced him I would be a good fit. I don’t think I even submitted a writing sample.
In my time at my first site, I worked my way up to a management position and was responsible for hiring new writers. If you want to do this for a living, here’s what I would suggest. Don’t send your resume. Don’t wait for a job opening to be posted. Jump on any opening that comes up, but don’t wait for an opportunity to come knocking. I’m not going to offer general job seeking advice, but here are some tips for breaking into the technology journalism field.
Start following some of the smaller Web sites that cover products and topics that interest you. Don’t aim large at first. Sure, sites like SlashGear, or Engadget, or TechCrunch may hire someone with little experience, but it’s not likely. Instead, aim for a smaller, up-and-coming site and plan on working hard until you’ve made a name for yourself.
Web sites usually follow a specific tone. SlashGear is intelligent, slightly longer-form, and family friendly. This site is interested more in discussion than simply blip-by-blip press release repetition. Some sites are more irreverent, with reviews of toys and even paraphernalia of all sorts. Some sites are more strictly news-based. Be flexible in your hunt, and try to write a few samples in the site’s style and tone. Most sites will ask for 2-3 samples anyway, so it’s better to have this ready up front.
Most important, make sure you target your application to the site in which you’re interested. If I could tell from an email that the applicant was sending me the same form letter he or she sent to every other site, I lost interest very quickly. You will have much more success taking the time and tailoring your attack to sites individually. Sure, you won’t be able to hit 20 sites at one time, but would you rather spend 4 months sending 20 emails a day, or 1 month sending one thoughtful, sculpted email at a time.
Now that I’m looking from the corporate side, I realize just how difficult the journalism job can be. There are a lot of fun aspects of the job. In my first week of working for a gadget blog, I went to a fancy dinner with RIM, got a free BlackBerry Pearl (which we then donated to a charity called Phones4Life), reviewed some of the coolest smartphones available at the time and saw my name in lights, err, pixels at least.
I also worked 12 hours a day (though usually not in a row), plus a few hours on weekends. I grew despondent as some of my best reviews flopped with little interest in the product or my analysis. I was rejected by PR flacks and left out of the loop. At those amazing trade shows, I skipped the free booze and greasy fried food and worked until 3AM, only to get up at 7AM for breakfast meetings.
I made far less money than my wife, who has an MBA, and worked more hours. But every hour of work felt like play time. I felt like I was getting paid for a wonderful hobby, and not like I was toiling away at a thankless career. It’s certainly not for everyone, and it isn’t an easy job to find, but for the right person, it’s a job that will have you looking forward to every Monday morning.
We reported before that LG filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to ban Sony’s PlayStation 3 game consoles from entering the U.S. due to alleged patent infringements. At the time we thought actual bans would be unlikely, but it looks like LG has won a preliminary injunction against Sony not in the U.S., but in Europe. LG alleges that Sony has infringed on a number of their Blu-ray technology patents. The ruling made by the civil court of justice in Hague means that all new PS3s must be confiscated when they are imported into the UK and the rest of Europe for a minimum of 10 days. Tens of thousands of PS3s have already been seized in by customs officers.
Sony can appeal to have the ban lifted, but LG can also apply to have the 10-day import ban extended. If the injunction is extended, it could mean that Sony’s PS3 games and consoles could start disappearing from retail shelves across Europe. And if Sony is found guilty for infringing on LG’s patents, they could be forced to compensate LG for each PS3 sold around the world.
The battle is fierce between the two Asian electronics giants involving seven different patent disputes, with Sony trying to block shipments of LG smartphones from entering the US. Neither company has made any official announcements or comments regarding the situation. If the ban is not lifted, Sony’s stockpiles in the UK and around Europe could run out within two to three weeks.
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Tony Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research met with the top execs at Apple last week. He relased a note on Monday explaining what he learned during his meeting with COO Tim Cook, CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and VP of Internet Services Eddy Cue. Notably, Tim Cook mentioned that Apple is looking to expand their market share. Apple does not want it’s products to be “just for the rich.” Toni wrote that Tim “appeared to reaffirm the notion that Apple is likely to develop lower priced offerings.” These seem to be targeted more to emerging markets in China and South East Asia than here in the West.
Mr. Cook never confirmed that Apple had specific plans to release a cheaper iPhone, but he did say that the company has “clever things” planned to expand into prepaid markets. “Cook said he felt that iPhone was just below food and water on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” Apple is focused on expanding into the Chinese market, which is traditionally centered on prepaid plans. “Huge energy” from Apple has been focused on the Chinese market. While these clever things are going to be key to expanding Apple’s sales into China, they should bleed over into the US and European markets as well. Expect to see increased iPhone sales worldwide.
Tim mentioned that sales of the iPhone increases Apple’s sales of other products, especially in newly opened markets. This is a big deal, because the tablet market is about to kick into full gear through the rest of this year. There looks to be intense competition between manufacturers. Tablets bridge the technological gap between computers and smartphones. We’re seeing offerings from both mobile companies like Motorola to more traditional computer companies like Asus and Apple. Cook seems to imply that Apple is plannning on expanding into emerging markets by offering cheaper prices on the iconic iPhone. These will help them drive up sales for their tablet products as well. In dollars and cents, the tablet market means $60 to $100 billion in business, just for Apple.
This news comes right before Apple’s probable release of the next generation iPad Wednesday morning.
In related news, Hong Kong’s First Apple Store To Open This Year.
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