So the 3G iPad is set to launch this Friday at 5:00 PM, and AT&T has finally got on the ball and given full details on how their 3G data plan for the iPad will work. First order of business, you get two data plans that work in the US - the charges are automatically billed on a monthly basis, but you can start and stop that at any time right from the iPad 3G, and both options are contract-free:
- $14.99 per month for 250 MB
- $29.99 per month for unlimited data
- Unlimited access – no added cost – to AT&T’s 20,000+ Wi-Fi Hot Spots
That third one is a nice bonus. Basically, if you have an active iPad 3G subscription, then you get access to any AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot at no additional cost. The plans renew every 30 days, which starts on the date and time of the purchase, and charges appear like normal on your credit card bill. You can make changes to your plan at any time, which starts a new 30 day window. To manage all this, you go to the Cellular Data area under Settings on the iPad.
For those of you thinking about starting out with that $14.99 250MB plan, the iPad will actually alert you when you’ve got 20 percent of your data left, then again at 10, and finally once more at zero. As each alert pops up, you have the option to add more data, if you so choose.
Read More | At&T
BlackBerry is finally looking to bring something even better to their consumer handset line than the BlackBerry Pearl (which has been around for over three years now,) and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G looks to be a worthy follow-up. This will be the first BlackBerry, Pearl or otherwise, to sport 802.11n Wi-Fi, and it will also boast a 3.2 megapixel camera, 256MB storage (with microSD expansion up to 32GB,) GPS, and a 360 x 400 display. Even more interesting is that, aside from the multiple colors you can choose from, you also get to choose between two difference keyboard layouts. You get the numberic 14-key or the SurePress 20-key. You’ll be able to get a BlackBerry Pearl 3G sometimes in May, likely from both AT&T and T-Mobile.
Read More | BlackBerry Pearl 3G
AT&T is finally ready to do something about the horrible reception that so many of us have been experiencing, as they are finally set to make the 3G Microcell available nationwide starting next month. The 3G Microcell is a femtocell unit that connects to your home broadband network. It acts pretty much like a mini cell phone tower, located in your home, and gives you five bars of coverage within 5,000 feet. Since it connects to your broadband network, it uses that to send and receive voice and data. It works with any AT&T 3G phone, and supports up to four voice or data users at one time. Only phones that you specifically allow to use your Microcell can benefit from it, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors stealing your 3G signal. You can grant access to the device to up to a total of 10 lines.
The 3G Microcell will cost $149.99, but there will be a $100 mail-in rebate. So that is a $50 one-time cost to get a perfect AT&T 3G signal in your home. Yeah, it’s AT&T’s job to make sure all that happens anyway, but realistically, they don’t. That said, we think this is a nice value. No monthly fees to use the device, unless you want to subscribe to an Unlimited Microcell Calling plan, which basically lets you use the Microcell as much as you’d like, without affecting your calling minutes.
Read More | At&T 3G Microcell
I’ve been playing with the Sprint Overdrive 4G mobile hotspot device that the company sent me a few weeks ago, and I’ve gotta say, this thing has come in handy way more often than I thought it would. So much so, in fact, that I find it to be an essential tool and I carry it around in my left jacket pocket everywhere I go at this point, and charge it over USB when I am in the car driving somewhere. I’ll be giving a few examples of how the 4G Overdrive device has come in handy over the next few days, but I wanted to start with this one because I know so many iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS owners out there that cry to the heavens to be saved from the vile clutches of AT&T and their constant network FAIL.
Looks like Google is finally ready to be serious with the Nexus One. As of today, the device is fully compatible with AT&T 3G, as well as Canada’s Rogers Wireless 3G bands. Previously, you could use the Nexus One with those carriers, but you wouldn’t be able to get 3G speeds, so you were relegated to the much slower EDGE network. You can purchase the new model, which is the same as the upcoming Verizon and currently available T-Mobile Nexus One units in every other way, as an unlocked device without a service plan, directly from Google for $529.
Read More | Nexus One product page
Just a quick update as it pertains to downloading iTunes and App Store content on your iPhone. If you are connected via cell connection (meaning, you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi,) you can now download content that’s up to 20MB in size over the air. Previously, the downloads were capped to apps that were 10MB or less, and iTunes content 12MB or less. With the iPad looming on the horizon, it looks like Apple is pre-emptively preparing for apps that are larger in file size that users would want to download to their tablets while connected to 3G. The changes have taken effect so far in in the US, Germany, and Canada.
Read More | 9to5 Mac
Over the weekend, SlingPlayer Mobile 1.2 was released for the iPhone, and it marks a big step for both the application, as well at AT&T and data streaming. If you are unfamiliar, SlingPlayer Mobile allows you to connect to a Slingbox, which in turn lets you watch live and recorded television right on your device. The problem in the past was that AT&T wouldn’t allow all that data on their network, so you’d have to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to use it. Well now, with AT&T supposedly working to optimize and improve their network, they have now allowed SlingPlayer Mobile to work using their 3G connection, giving users a real way to watch TV and control their DVRs remotely, wherever they have cell or Wi-Fi connectivity. We’ve tried it out, and it’s great. We definitely recommend giving SlingPlayer Mobile a try.
Read More | SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone
If you’re considering picking up an Apple iPad when they launch a couple of months from now and you plan on taking it on the go, you’ll want to know about the extra fees you’ll incur if you choose to go the with AT&T-provided 3G access plans. First, though, your 3G iPad will cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi-only version. Once you get it, you’ve got two options with AT&T:
- $29.99 per month unlimited data plan
- $14.99 per month for 250MB of monthly data
It’s a good deal for monthly 3G access, especially when you consider the fact that both plans are pre-paid month-to-month plans that don’t require any sort of contract. The other benefit that you get from picking up a 3G iPad model is assisted GPS, which the Wi-Fi-only iPad lacks.
Gotta love those analysts, as they’re always good for stirring the rumor mill - this time it’s BusinessWeek reporting claims that Apple will likely be ending it’s exclusive relationship with AT&T in order to bring the iPhone to all major US carriers. According to Tim Horan, telecommunications analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., T-Mobile USA should have the iPhone available this summer (whatever the follow-up to the iPhone 3GS turns out to be,) with Verizon and Sprint getting the goods this fall. Even Clearwire will be able to get in on the action, as they are expected to get the iPhone sometime in 2011. Of course, AT&T has been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone since it launched in June 2007.
Of course, Apple has the perfect opportunity to announce changes like this if they’d like, as they’ve got what many are predicting to be a colossal Apple event on January 27th, just two days from now. We’ll keep you posted.
Read More | BusinessWeek
My pal Matt Hickey from over at Crave has seemingly connected a few dots as it pertains to the battle between AT&T and Verizon, and this whole Fake Steve Jobs “Operation Chokehold” stunt aimed at taking down the AT&T Wireless data network this Friday afternoon. In case you are unfamiliar, Fake Steve proposed that AT&T customers load up bandwidth-intensive apps on Friday at noon, all at the same time, to saturate the AT&T network to a point of failure as a way of expressing they they are fed up with the horrible performance of the network. Thing is, one of my other pals, John Czwartacki, who just happens to be a contributor to the Verizon Policy Blog and a prolific Verizon personality on Twitter, linked to the movement via a tweet. Some are seeing this as a Verizon official condoning, or possibly even encouraging, the whole “Operation Chokehold” act.
Personally? We think that this is more of a finger pointing statement. It’s John saying “Haha - look at AT&T - their users are so fed up that they want to crush the service that they pay for! Tee hee! Verizon customers wouldn’t do that to us!” What do you think? Was John, and thusly Verizon, out of line here? Either way, we can stomach the rivalry that is happening in the television commercials…but let’s keep the battle outside of our Twitter streams, okay guys?
Edit: John Czwartacki just hit me with an email, pointing out that he certainly doesn’t condone this behavior at all, and even said as much in a few tweets that followed. He was simply linking to industry news, as he normally does. He thinks that if customers are fed up with AT&T, they should vote with their wallets. We agree.
Read More | Crave
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