It would appear that another world’s first in electronics has been made as AT&T is launching the TerreStar Genus, a smartphone that combines both standard cellular phone connectivity alongside satellite connectivity. This phone is aimed at subscribers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, specifically for government, energy, utility, and transportation officials.
The Terrestar Genus uses Windows Mobile, and has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 2.6 inch touchscreen. As for radios, it packs in GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, and HSDPA, along with that whole satellite thing. It will be available early 2010, but no price has been announced.
Read More | AT&T
Hey, don’t look now, but all of you who didn’t opt to enable iPhone MMS yourselves, the time has come for you to let iTunes do it for you. A carrier update file is now available that, once installed, will enable MMS officially for AT&T iPhone users throughout the US. All you need to do is connect your iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS to your computer, and tell iTunes to check for an update. Install the file, and let the pictures of kittens start flying.
Oh, and yes, if you are an iPhone OG owner, you are left out in the cold on this one.
Just a quick note to those of you who haven’t already enabled MMS on your iPhone yourself already, the official rollout happens this Friday afternoon, according to AT&T’s Facebook page:
MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25. Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.
So there you have it - we fully expect that Friday to be full of cute kitten pictures, and video files of people mooning their iPhone cameras. Good times.
There’s been a lot of hype and discussion surrounding the AT&T 3G MicroCell, and now we’ve got a review from someone who actually purchased one. As a refresher, this device is designed to significantly boost both the voice and data signal in your home by using your own home broadband network. In other words, if the AT&T network sucks enough in your area that you can barely get through a call to Domino’s without it dropping, you can now pay AT&T even more money to get the reception that you should already be getting as part of your monthly payment plan. Oh, and the AT&T 3G Microcell also boasts additional feature options, like unlimited talk time, for additional cost.
So far, only the community of Charlotte, NC actually has them for purchase , and the device sells for $150. Ouch. One buyer reports that the device works as planned, and that before the purchase, they had one bar of EDGE coverage in their home, and now reports five bars connected to 3G.
Read More | Jason Nash
Okay, we were all disappointed by AT&T’s decision to delay iPhone MMS to early fall, but that doesn’t stop ambitious folks such as ourselves from finding a way around it. And we have. I can confirm that I was able to get MMS working on my iPhone 3GS with about 3 minutes worth of effort. You wanna do it to? Read on for complete instructions for enabling MMS on iPhone 3.1.
It’s official, MMS is coming to the iPhone 3G and 3GS on September 25th, according to AT&T. For those keeping track, that pushes the promise of “late summer” back to “early fall” since technically, summer ends on September 22nd. On the surface, it seems like not such a big deal, but it is just another straw that is being added to the camel’s back as it pertains to AT&T. Many suspected that MMS would go live on September 9th, alongside the Apple iPod event scheduled for that day. Hey, better late than never, right?
Read More | AT&T
Some of you probably still have remote controls that still require you to point at the television, DVD player, DVR, or whatever else you have on your home entertainment center. If you happen to be an AT&T U-Verse customer, you can upgrade and use a remote that doesn’t require any pointing. The AT&T U-verse TV Point Anywhere RF remote that is right up your alley, as it sends remote commands over radio RF signal to the receiver.
All you need to do is insert the USB dongle, and you are free to do a little surfing from anywhere in the room without worrying about the orientation of your remote control. The AT&T U-Verse TV Point Anywhere will costs about $50.
Read More | AT&T U-Verse RF Remote
Verizon Wireless announced this morning that their President and CEO, Lowell McAdam, has sent a letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill announcing that “Effective immediately for small wireless carriers…any new exclusivity arrangement we enter with handset makers will last no longer than six months - for all manufacturers and all devices.” At first glance, that’s kind of a big deal. After all, handset exclusivity is something that can be very financially beneficial to a carrier (see AT&T and iPhone as one such example.) So here’s the thing, when you re-read that statement, you discover that this exclusivity thing will still be in effect as it pertains to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. It’s only the small wireless carriers, those with 500,000 customers or less, that will be able to pick up handsets that are exclusive to Verizon Wireless after a six-month period. Still, it’s better than nothing, but the cast majority of non-Verizon Wireless mobile customers won’t benefit from this news.
In other words, this is a blatant attempt by Verizon Wireless to look like the nice guy while the FCC and congressional inquiries into exclusive handset deals proceed. This isn’t much progress at all. It’s just a political play that we can guarantee wouldn’t have happened if lawmakers weren’t taking a peek behind the curtain. What’s more, Verizon is hoping that other carriers will follow their lead with this move, specifically AT&T with the iPhone.
You can see the entire letter after the break.
Read More | Verizon Policy Blog
No shocker here. Wired.com did their own independent tests to determine the fastest and slowest average 3G network speeds in the US, and Verizon came out on top. The survey included 15,000 participants, with 12,000 of them reporting back with data that was valid and usable for the tests. Verizon clocked in with an average download speed of 1,940 kbps, T-Mobile dropped in at second at 1,793 kbps, Sprint took third at 1,598 kbps, and AT&T was way behind at just 901 kbps. That’s just sad, and very telling when you consider the complaints from many an iPhone user as it pertains to 3G speeds.
Granted, this wasn’t the most scientific of studies, as the test included 8153 AT&T users, compared to just 856 from Verizon, but hey, the info is still useful, right?
Read More | Wired
Amazon has launched Amazon Wireless beta, an online storefront where you can purchase voice and data plans from AT&T and Verizon, with T-Mobile and Sprint also coming soon. Normally, we wouldn’t give something like this a second look, but it’s Amazon, and they will be pointing consumers to this wireless portal from within the main Amazon site. The nice thing about Amazon Wireless is that you can compare offerings from the carriers in one easy-to-use spot, rather than visiting 2-4 different sites. Even better, all that mail-in rebate stuff goes out the window if you end up buying your mobile phone and plan on Amazon Wireless - all discounts are instant. Amazon Wireless beta is open now, and currently has over 130 phones up for sale.
Read More | Amazon Wireless