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27Feb/120

Truck driver beats AT&T in court, gets $850 for throttled data pain

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It is not often that a good ol’ citizen beats a big company in court. But being an angry, unemployed truck driver may very well do the trick. Matt Spacarelli was given $850 because his data had been throttled by AT&T, despite the fact that his contract agreement stated he was allowed unlimited downloading.

Spacarelli was not aiming low, though. He was asking for $10,000. This was declined by the judge, who instead decided to give him $85 per month, out of 10. But things are not as simple, and Matt may not bee seeing his money anytime soon (if at all).

AT&T has already stated that it will appeal the ruling. This means that the customer can’t collect his cash until the appeal is finalized. A judge from the same court will be able to listen to each side’s version of the story, but this time with lawyers.

This is where Ma Bell is ahead of the curve. A company like AT&T has lawyers to throw away, and Spacarelli may be in a bit of a disadvantage. Regardless, this is a small claims court in Simi Valley, CA. And the hearing is based on the same simple procedures. So our friend Matt is likely to still win.

If this happens, AT&T could also take things to the next level and ask for a hearing at a higher-level court. Such would really seem a bit extreme for a company like AT&T, though. We are sure the expenses of continuing this ordeal are much higher than $850.

But don’t go calling your lawyer just yet. As it seems like not everyone will be able to go and sue AT&T for this. Apparently, small claim courts can only create a class action suit, in which every customer can sue at once. In which case, it is not possible. AT&T has prohibited such actions, as per their customer contract.

Well isn’t that tricky, AT&T? We suppose Matt is the only one cashing in on this one. How many of you, AT&T folks, are getting throttled?

[Source: Yahoo Via: Paid Content]


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27Feb/120

Android Overload: New devices, pre-orders, launches, FCC and more

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Hello, guys. I hope everyone is having a wonderful night, and the MWC madness doesn’t have you tired. Because guess what? There is much more of it to come! As you may realize, there are many Android news that don’t manage to make it to our front page. Not that they are not awesome, but others get priority, depending on relevance.

For today’s Android overload, we have a variety of news regarding device launches, releases, pre-orders and FCC stops, along with other things. There may be some news that you could take advantage of, so check out the following list to see what you could have missed.

  • AT&T HTC One XL (AT&T version of the HTC One X) available for pre-order at Best Buy. Reserve yours for only $50. [Android Community]
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 makes a second stop at the FCC. [Wireless Goodness]
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) stops by the FCC with AT&T 3G bands. [Wireless Goodness]
  • Sony SmartWatch hits the FCC, gets torn down and is available for pre-order. [Wireless Goodness]
  • Rumor: 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 launching on Verizon come March 1st. [Droid-Life]
  • Rumor: Google still planning the release of its very own 7-inch tablet. [CNET]
  • Canada’s Virgin and TELUS confirm HTC One S release via Twitter. [Virgin, TELUS]
  • HTC One V coming to Metro, Virgin and US Cellular. [Phone Scoop]
  • ZTE announces European 7″ and 10″ quad-core tablets. [The Verge]
  • Huawei announces MediaPad 10 FHD, with quad-core processor and Android 4.0. [Talk Android]
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2 hitting the streets with upcoming Spring-released devices. [Electronista]
  • Texas Instruments reveals more OMAP 5 details at MWC. [Engadget]


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27Feb/120

Worried about Motorola getting Android dibs? Andy Rubin is here to appease you

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Andy Rubin has taken the stage at MWC, and has spoken about Google’s acquisition of Motorola, and its plans. Google swears that its open nature will stay the same, and the Motorola acquisition is simply meant to expand its patent portfolio. Recent actions have raised concerns in the community, though. Mainly the fact that Google is putting Sanjay Jha aside and making Google’s very own Dennis Woodside CEO of Motorola Mobility.

According to Android’s Andy Rubin, Google’s open philosophy will stay un-touched. He goes on to mention that Google has “literally built a fire wall” between both companies, and Motorola operates as a separate entity.

“I don’t even know anything about their products, I haven’t seen anything. They’re going to continue building Motorola branded devices and it’s going to be the same team doing it.” -Andy Rubin

Aside from favoritism, Rubin was also asked if Motorola would continue to make its own UI overlay. Andy Rubin said that that was also not his business, and that was solely up to the Motorola team (sadly).

“Even if I was completely insane, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to think that we could get Motorola to be 90 plus percent marketshare and compete with the huge field of Android vendors. It just isn’t gonna happen.” -Andy Rubin

With that said, we can rest assured that Android will continue being as awesome as it has been. At least for now. And an even brighter future awaits our favorite little green robot.

[Via: The Verge]


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27Feb/120

Interesting concept: AT&T planning to allow developers to pay for your data

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Tiered data plans and throttles has everyone careful about their data usage. After being used to unlimited data, customers are starting to feel the drawbacks of being limited. Streaming and other data-hungry tasks are starting to become less popular (at least when out of WiFi range), but AT&T is looking to relieve its customers by charging app developers for those GB’s.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ma Bell is planning a new tactic, in which developers cover the costs of data while using their app. The claim is that this would help developers get much more downloads and usage, as users are starting to avoid such data-hungry apps. Users would be able to use said apps without the data going against their monthly limit.

If a developer offered to take the punch for your data, more users would be willing to download and use their applications. AT&T executive John Donovan compares such service to toll-free 1-800 numbers, in which the company covers the costs of phone conversations.

Of course, those are the positive sides of the story. There is the other side of the spectrum, in which it is believed that developers would be substantially hurt by such practices. Sure, users might be most likely to use their services, but the costs for the developer might become too overbearing; hence, hurting the Android ecosystem. Users who once feared that $10 per GB overage fee would now blow their GB’s away streaming music, videos, etc. Not to mention that the prices for those services would probably rise.

We will have to wait and see how AT&T plays its cards. We would hope that no developer is forced to be part of this, and stays optional. But let us know what you think. Would this be a convenient method? Will it harm developers and consumers, in the long run?

[Source: The Wall Street Journal Via: GigaOM]


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27Feb/120

ASUS PadFone new “Expand Your World” ad shows us a day filled with the tri-force

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The not-so-new ASUS PadFone has just been announced at MWC, and we know some of you may be dying to get your hands all over it. So are we. But ASUS has given us a bit of a tease while we wait, with a new commercial called “Expand Your World.”

The video displays 2:38 minutes of full PadFone glory, and we have to say it is not such a bad commercial. It revolves around the functionality that such device(s) can bring to your daily life. A couple has it, as well as a bunch of their friends. And it shows all the cool features that this new smartphone/tablet/netbook has to offer.

It gets a bit emotional, so get ready for that single tear to drop. But regardless of your occupation, the PadFone will make your day a bit funner and more productive. Take a look at the video below, and let us know what you think. Anyone planning to sign up for this bad boy?


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27Feb/120

Google and Apple fighting on the same side, sued over Street View maps

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Google and Apple have a love-hate relationship. They are fighting each other, patent over patent, in an epic battle of technology giants. But then they work together when doing business with each other. Regardless, they don’t have the best of friendships, but it seems they will have to work together to fight off a patent lawsuit aimed at both companies.

The common enemy is PanoMap, and it is suing both companies for using Street View in Apple products (Google provides mapping services to Apple). The Company complained to a Florida court about the fact that both companies are infringing on patent No. 6,563,529, described as an "Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images."

According to PanoMap, both companies were aware of its ownership over this patent, and should pay triple damage for ignoring the fact. Such claim is based on Google’s recent patent application, which cites said patent, as well as the fact that Apple visited a website that displays such patent, a few years ago.

Patent No. 6,563,529

A method and system for indicating the camera position, direction, and field of view in a map or panoramic image comprises a map image window which displays a map or panoramic image of the site to be studied (house, apartment, city, etc.). A detailed view window displays a portion of the map image, taken from a point in the site. A highlighted sector in the map image represents the viewing position, direction, and field of view that the detailed view window displays. When the user changes the field of view in the detailed view window, the highlighted sector in the map image changes in synchronism. The resulting interactive windows allow a person to easily and quickly view and understand the field of view, position, and direction of the image being displayed in the detail view window.

But despite all the hype it looks like this company might be a “non-practicing entity,” or Patent Troll, which is what we commonly call them. PanoMap lawyers declined to answer when asked whether the company actually makes mapping technology, or they are just a cover company supported by patent lawsuit funders.

But things get more confusing. It seems like a company named CSA owns the PanoMap trademark, and claims to not be suing Google and Apple. This raises suspicion of the possibility that a shall company is using another company’s name to sue Google/Apple.

What a mess…

[Source: Paid Content Via: Electronista]


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27Feb/120

NVIDIA debuts 4 Tegra 3 games at MWC, sure to keep you occupied

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We have already seen a great game being announced this Mobile World Congress, coming from NVIDIA. If you have seen our hands-on of Sonic 4 Episode 2, you will know that it looks like a great addition to the Tegra game collection. The Hedgehog is not coming alone, though, as there are 4 other games NVIDIA has coming for us.

The new game titles include Golden Arrow THD, Dark Kingdom THD, Eden to GREEEEN THD and Hamilton’s Great Adventure THD. So if you have been waiting to flex your Tegra 3 muscles some more, this flurry of games should keep you busy for quite some time.

Let’s wait to see when these awesome games hit the Tegra Zone market. But for now, you can take a peek at the images and videos below.

Golden Arrow THD

This game is enriched by the power of Tegra 3, with high-resolution effects, great dynamics in lighting and shadows, as well as immersive visuals. Users can beat each other up with a variety of weapons, as it features muti-player gaming, as well as solo mode.

Dark Kingdom THD

If you are a fan of RPG games (like me) you will probably enjoy Dark Kingdom. In this game, users will roam the lands in search of your lost father. Gaining experience and becoming stronger is part of the deal, all with the help of some great graphics and “rag-doll” physics.

Eden to GREEEEN

This one happens to be a free game, so you might want to save this one for the end of the month. The game is also featuring great graphics and effects, though.

The story revolves around alien robots that have come to take Eden’s resources. Much like Plants vs. Zombies, you have to fight back with the aid of some furious plants.

Hamilton’s Great Adventure

This PC game has been modified to work with Tegra 3′s 4 cores. You go through puzzle maps aided by a flying sidekick – Sasha the bird. Check out the video below to see more details.

[Source: NVIDIA Via: Android Central]


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27Feb/120

Motorola puts Google’s Voice Actions against Apple’s Siri in a fierce death-match

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The ongoing battle of what Android and iOS can or can’t do (or which does it better) continues. We have heard all the arguments, but all of that bickering will continue as long as we are fans of opposing products. Right now, one of Apple fans’ biggest prides is Siri, Apple’s ultimate voice command service. But is this better than Android Voice Actions?

Voice Actions is available for all Android 2.1+ devices. It is a great service, but it is not one most of us use frequently. Plus, Siri has a very natural and intuitive feeling, while Android’s Voice Actions is a bit hidden and forgotten.

Motorola is trying to remind us that this feature is still there, and it is arguably better than Siri. We have seen such matches before, but a good reminder is never bad.

With that said, let’s grab the popcorn, sit back and see these videos of the Motorola Photon and Atrix 2 going against the iPhone. And just out of curiosity, how many of you actually use Voice Actions?

[Source: Engadget Via: Android and Me]


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27Feb/120

Firms focus on smartphone-naive at Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress – like many trade shows – is usually punctuated by high-end devices competing for deep Western pockets, but it’s devices and services for developing markets that have distinguished the big announcements in 2012. We’ve seen our fair share of uberphones, certainly. HTC had a trio of relatively high-end handsets, topping out with the quadcore HTC One X, and Panasonic’s ELUGA range is definitely targeting more affluent, style-influenced consumers. Yet for every one HTC One Series device sold, several more handsets phones to perhaps first-time smartphone buyers are likely to pass through the cash register, and it’s this market that manufacturers have targeted at MWC 2012.

Nokia had announced its unforeseen struggles with developing markets back in January, admitting that Symbian shrinkage was taking place at a faster than predicted rate. New smartphone buyers, it seemed, preferred budget Android phones than the menu of S40 and Nokia Belle handsets the Finns had to offer, and Nokia warned that the Symbian long-tail could be significantly curtailed.

The new Asha series may not set North American or European tongues wagging, but they’re still vital to Nokia’s line-up in financial terms. The company is targeting “the next billion” after all, and a billion sub-€100 Asha handsets still adds up.

That’s not to say Western carriers aren’t keen to get their hands on them. UK operators still have a soft spot for Nokia’s entry-level featurephones and dumbphones; one exec speaking to SlashGear recently pointed to the perennial success of affordable prepaid handsets like the Nokia C3, popular both among those looking for a straightforward talk-and-text device, and because of the relatively broad range of color options it’s available with.

Lowering the entry-point of existing smartphone platforms has also been a trend, with ZTE and Huawei delivering low-cost Android and Windows Phone devices. Both companies have ambitious plans for scale in 2012 and beyond, and while they’re not adverse to headline grabbing devices, it’s economy of scale that they’re relying on to earn them a place in the top five manufacturers rankings. Nokia too had a sub-€200 Windows Phone in the shape of the Lumia 610, notable for being the first fruits of Microsoft’s loosened grip on minimum specifications for its OS. Our hands-on play with the 610 also demonstrated that it’s equally noticeable for the quality of its user-experience, even with those truncated specs.

"The prevalence of persistent data makes cloud services more feasible, reducing local hardware demands"

What’s distinctive across all the manufacturers is the advances in so-called smartphone technology, into devices more typically expected to be featurephones or less. The increasing prevalence of persistent data connections makes cloud services like the Nokia Life suite of social networking apps and tools for S30 and S40 devices more feasible, reducing the dependence on potent local hardware by offsetting the effort to remote servers. Meanwhile, we’re seeing advanced features such as enterprise-level messaging trickle down to what previously might have solely been simple call and SMS platforms.

There’s arguable a place for such devices on Western store shelves just as much as in developing markets. Operators are hunting for ways to increase average revenue per user, and driving up data revenues is one such way of doing it. Smart-device users are known for consuming more data, if only for uploading images to social networks like Facebook, and if semi-simplistic (and affordable) handsets encourage those wary of actual smartphones to do just that, it’s a winning situation for carriers.

The mobile news industry moves at breakneck pace: every day a new product – or the rumor of one – to push the boundaries in technology and capabilities. In contrast, the phone retail market moves at a glacial pace, contract users locked, for the most part, into 24-month agreements. With that in mind, it’s perhaps little surprise that Nokia, ZTE, Huawei and others have looked to translating their experience of smart-device development to markets a few steps more naive than the US and Europe. Mobile World Congress had its share of superphones, but it’s the affordable and the boundary-pushing that are big news in 2012.

For all the news from Mobile World Congress 2012, check out our full show hub.

Firms focus on smartphone-naive at Mobile World Congress is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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27Feb/120

Sony to bring original content to Playstation Suite, not just ports

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If there is something Sony is strong at, it is their gaming platforms. This is something that didn’t take off immediately on the Android platform, after the release PlayStation Suite. The selection of games is limited, and they are all Playstation 1 ports. But according to Sony Mobile’s chief marketing officer Steve Walker, this is all about to change.

Sony is making some huge changes as we speak, now that it is in full charge of its mobile division. Great devices like the Sony Xperia U and Sony Xperia P have been announced at MWC. But we know Sony is not stopping there, and one of the things they will improve is the selection of games within the Playstation Suite platform.

Walker mentions that “Sony Computer Entertainment has a vision for PlayStation Suite and they will be leveraging their powerful developer relationships to bring original content through the PlayStation Suite initiative.” Said games will include “content which has been newly created for the PlayStation Suite and PlayStation Store.”

We have been dreaming of devices with powerful gaming experience. Smartphones like the Xperia Play are great gaming devices, but they are not specialized for such use. It is basically an improved Android gaming experience, as opposed to being a gaming platform, like the PSP or PS Vita.

This is a great step towards creating a much more immersive gaming experience. And it is sure to lure the hard core gamer within us. As for me, I am still dreaming of an Xperia device with PS Vita games and performance. Maybe that day is not very far off.

[Via: Pocket Gamer]


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