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
The T-Mobile G1 phone hit store shelves barely a week ago, and in the race to unlock it, the guys at Unlock-TMobileG1.com receive the first place trophy. Seriously, did you think they’d give it to you for free? If that was your plan, you’d better wait for a more charitable group to figure things out – or keep your T-Mobile account in good standing for 90-days, after which they’ll be happy to unlock it for you. If patience isn’t your virtue in this particular instance, fork over the $23 and enjoy your liberated G1 right now.
Check out the above video for a demonstration of the unlocking process.
While at the Connecting Your World event in Berlin Germany, HP we were able to get our hands on one of the new HP iPaq 914 Business Messenger Windows Mobile 6.1 QWERTY phones. We’ve already created a full iPaq 914 unboxing gallery for you to enjoy, but we also wanted to be sure to hit you with a full review of the phone. After a day or so of use, it’s easy to be impressed with this business-centric communications device.
As a phone with iPaq 914 performs admirably, offering great voice quality, and the well implemented Windows Mobile 6 dialer interface. Having quad-band GSM support means the iPaq 914 works virtually anywhere in the globe making it ideal for globe trotters and others needing to keep in touch while on the go.
Featuring HSDPA, EDGE, UMTS, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, the iPaq 914 is well equipped for all sorts of wireless communications. The HSDPA chipset is quick and responsive and loads data quickly.
Click through Gear Live’s full review of the HP iPaq 914.
The Inside Microsoft blog has scored an exclusive first look at Windows Mobile 7, and boy is it hot. Taking some user interface cues from the iPhone as well as throwing some truely unique and possibly revolutionary ideas the whole package looks slick, usable, and very much ‘the future’. The OS features a multi-touch interface similar to the Microsoft Surface table, and additionally features gesture based actions allowing a user to shake or rotate the phone to perform on-screen operations.
Windows Mobile 7 looks to be leaps and bounds ahead of the currently released Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 OS’s. This kind of software revolution may just be the edge Microsoft needs to keep their market share in the mobile space and help give them an edge in the upcoming generation of portable internet and media centric devices.
Read More | Inside Microsoft
If you’re no longer infatuated with your cell phone, here’s something to rekindle the love: MoPods! They’re small characters and animals that live in a dome…and alert you to incoming calls by spinning and flashing! The cool thing is that the MoPod doesn’t need to be attached to your phone to work. The charm can be worn on clothes, keychains, bags, or of course the phone. Perfect for when your phone must be in “silent” mode, or just to express your inner child. Choose from a devil, puppy, kitten, monster, monkey, and the cutest one….the penguin. Note that MoPods only work on the GSM network, not 3G, which means Verizon customers are out of luck. Available for $10 USD.
Read More | Firebox
In today’s world, land line phones are becoming ancient technology. More and more customers are leaving phone line systems for VoIP systems, while others, myself included, operate solely through their cellular service. It never ceases to amaze me, however, that the quality of cellular service at home leaves something to be desired. I have moved three times in the past two years, and haven’t been able to average more than a 2-bar signal in any of my homes. Excessive dropped calls, poor reception and sound quality, and the especially hated voice mail notice from calls that never rang. Sound familiar? Well it may be time to invest in an amplification system to boost cellular signal while around the house.
The setup is simple, intuitive, and available for purchase from several manufacturers. It consists of a pair of antennas, one high gain and one low gain, and an amplification system. The system works best if the large gain antenna is mounted outside of the house, but it is not necessary. The system improves your service by relaying the signals from the high gain antenna, through the amplifier, through a smaller antenna mounted somewhere inside the home and out to your cellphone . Transmitting works in the reverse fashion starting from the cell phone, to the small antenna, then through the amplifier and out the large antenna to the service tower. The benefits to be gained here are two fold. First, the antenna that communicates directly with the tower will have a much stronger response (higher gain) to the signals, both in and out, than the cell phone because of its sheer size. Secondly, the signal is being amplified again through an in-line amplifier. The result is a serious increase in local signal to your cell phone resulting in better battery life, fewer dropped and missed calls, and just plain better quality service. This type of setup is not limited to the home either. There are also systems available for installation in your vehicle which operate on the same principle.
Popular Science has a full length article describing these setups and even points out some manufacturers and models of devices available today.
Read More | Popular Science
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