If you're planning to get a new smartphone on Sprint, you should probably do so in the next couple of weeks. After Jan. 30, data plans for smartphones activated on the carrier will go up in price by $10 a month, the company announced today.
Called "Premium Data," the mandatory charge is added to the Sprint's existing unlimited $70 Everything Data plan, pumping it up to $80 a month. Sprint says the increase is to address its users' "growing appetite for a richer mobile experience." The charge affects only smartphones activated Jan. 30 or later—existing customers will not experience the increase until they upgrade.
2010 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but Microsoft gets the top two spots with our Xbox 360 dashboard tour, and the an unboxing of the new Xbox 360 slim. Also getting an honorable mention is the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Popcorn Hour Popbox, among others.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2010, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live in 2010, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Fring App Brings Skype Video Calling to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi and 3G:
Sure, Skype just formally announced video calling in the Skype 3.0 iOS app, but Fring brought us Skype video calls months ago! The thing is, Skype pulled that feature from Fring with the quickness, but that didn't stop this from being the most read story we published in 2010!
Droid Life on Tuesday posted photos of the HTC Thunderbolt, which it says will be Verizon's first 4G LTE device. The site didn't have any details on specs except to note that it looks a lot like the Desire HD. The device features a kickstand and Google branding.
Verizon said it has no comment.
In the past couple of years, as 3G has become pervasive, cellphone providers haven't been able to rely on the term anymore in marketing ads. So it's no surprise that as soon as newer technologies get introduced, they start touting that they are now offering the next step above that, 4G. The problem is that whether it's Sprint offering WiMax, or Verizon offering LTE, these new technologies simply aren't 4G. The actual definition of 4G is something that none of the wireless companies can define, as that job belongs to the International Communications Union (ITU)--and according to them, none of the carriers met the requirements to really be called 4G. In fact, the ITU hadn't even provided a clear, final decision as to what could and could not be called 4G. This left customers confused as to who had the actual faster networks.
Now, it seems that the ITU has decided to back down, and cave to the various network providers. Over the weekend, the organization released a statement saying "As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as '4G,' although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed." Once again, it seems they do their best to remain unclear and confusing, but what did change is that now when a Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon ad claims their 4G speed, they will actually be accurate. So a few days ago, no one had 4G in North America--now almost everyone does.
Read More | ITU
The Samsung Epic 4G is the second phone from Sprint to take advantage of their speedier 4G service, the original being the EVO 4G. The Epic 4G is part of Samsung’s Galaxy S line of Android smartphones, although visually it’s a departure from others like the Samsung Captivate, Fascinate, and Vibrant from other carriers. You do still get the TouchWiz 3.0 interface, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and the 4-inch Super AMOLED display. So what’s different, aside from the phone being able to access Sprint’s 4G network? Well, it’s a Galaxy S phone with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. So, is it worth your time—and more importantly—your money? We’ve got our full review for you, so click on through.
Today, Sprint launched the Samsung Epic 4G smartphone, their second Android phone that can tap into their 4G network. We have our hands on the device, and we’ve taken a bunch of shots to show off Samsung’s only QWERTY keyboard-sporting Galaxy S device. We know you want to get to our Epic 4G review ASAP, but do take a moment and check out the Epic 4G unboxing gallery we’ve put together to really get an idea of the look of the thing, won’t you?
Gallery: Samsung Epic 4G unboxing gallery
Blurry photos of Samsung’s R900 Craft surfaced about a week ago within HowardForums. While the R900 is not running those new fangled operating systems that all the kids are raving for these days, the pics reveal that the phone will run on the MetroPCS’s LTE network making it the first LTE capable phone stateside, so it does breed a bit of excitement. Currently MetroPCS has only confirmed LTE networks to cover metropolitan areas in Las Vegas and Dallas Fort Wort, but states that they will cover several more metropolitan markets as well. Check out more photos of the MetroPCS Samsung R900 after the jump.
Read More | Howard Forums
Okay, so we know that T-Mobile launched their super-fast HSPA+ network recently, and up to this point, only data-specific devices are able to take advantage of those increased speeds. However, that’s about to change with the impending launch of the T-Mobile G2. Yup, the G1, the first Android phone to hit the market a couple of years ago, is finally getting its successor in the G2, and it’ll be the first phone to support HSPA+ speeds. It will be available next month, and it’ll be built by HTC (which means it should be awesome.) Here’s a statement from T-Mobile on the news:
“T-Mobile is proud to have launched the world’s first Android-powered phone, the T-Mobile G1, which captured the imagination of developers and consumers alike nearly two years ago. Now, we are readying its successor - the T-Mobile G2 with Google. Delivering tight integration with Google services, the G2 will break new ground as the first smartphone specifically designed for our advanced HSPA+ network, which delivers today’s available 4G speeds. In the coming weeks we’ll share more details about the G2, including information on how current T-Mobile customers can get exclusive first access. Visit http://g2.t-mobile.com to register for updates.”
Read More | T-Mobile G2
If you’ve pre-ordered a white HTC EVO 4G, don’t be surprised if you get a call from Best Buy today letting you know that your smartphone is ready for pick up. Apparently, despite having an availability date of July 11th, the white HTC EVO 4G made it to stores early, and Best Buy is cool with selling them as they come in. If you need some of that white smartphone goodness, you may wanna give your local store a call. In the meantime, where the heck is that white iPhone 4?
© Gear Live Inc. – User-posted content, unless source is quoted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. Gear Live graphics, logos, designs, page headers, button icons, videos, articles, blogs, forums, scripts and other service names are the trademarks of Gear Live Inc.