Early February was not good for Samsung's mobile operating system Tizen, namely Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo has dropped out of the upcoming supply of smart phones powered by this OS. This seemed like the beginning of a bad trend.
If you have been waiting for the Samsung Note 2, wait no more! Sprint and T-Mobile are now both offering the 16GB version of the Titanium Gray or White Note 2. Both of these providers technically have unlimited data, and they are both the only way to get the Note 2 at this time.
Sprint has been purchased by the Japanese firm Softbank, as announced in a joint press meeting with the CEOs of both companies. Softbank will be purchasing 70% of the shares of Sprint for the staggering sum of $20.1 Billion dollars. This large chunk of change will directly revitalize Sprint, the underdog, when compared to Verizon or AT&T. Softbank, one of the larger mobile communication firms in Japan will gain access to the American market, which is less mature than the Japanese mobile market.
Sprint is staying competitive by debuting a brand new service ahead of Verizon, AT&T or T Mobile. This new service, known as “StarStar Me”, allows users to essentially do away with conventional phone numbers. In addition to letting users replace their number with a handle, it allows for easy auto-reply text messages. Through the Apple/Android app that can be downloaded, users can also screen or block incoming calls, or edit the auto-reply text messages. The only downside? This feature only works from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile phones.
So if you are still nervous about the new iPhone, and want to buy it ASAP here are the official prices of unlocked models. 16GB version will go for $649, 32GB one for $749 and last one 64GB for $849. All of the devices are unlocked so you won’t have to sign a 1 or 2 year contract with any carriers. This is desirable if you want to swap to another network in case they just popped up a new super attractive offering. Also this means that you will be able to use iPhone on the T-mobile network who is working on deploying the 1900 MHz spectrum which should help iPhone achieve some of the fastest mobile broadband speeds.
We have heard through numerous sources that the when the Samsung S III Galaxy hits the US it will be hobbled. This move by Samsung to offer a smart phone to the US with a reduced set of specification is something that will hurt them in the long run. Although many claim that there is no need for a quad core SoC inside the product and that it can get along perfectly well with the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon that will eventually reside in the US based version of the phone it will set a tone with consumers.
So Asus has released the specifications of their next generation Transformers and as we told you they are not getting rid of the Tegra 3 for their HD version of the popular tablet. The original rumor was that Asus was replacing the Tegra 3 for a Qualcomm SoC. In truth we find that Asus is entering the realm of cellular tablets.
With everything going on in the world and the noise about SOPA the last thing we need is another scandal. Unfortunately that is exactly what we have with CarrierIQ, a tracking and metrics software that is reported installed on a majority of smartphones in the US. The news came to light after a software researcher named Trevor Eckhart stumbled across this on his HTC phone. Eckhart has even gone so far as to show that this software is capable of capturing key strokes (stored as key press events many with unique Key IDs), location data, and a great deal of other information from you as you use your phone.
In the weeks since the iPhone 4S announcement and then launch we have read all kinds of articles and heard all kinds of stories. It has been somewhat difficult to sort through much of what is out there and come to a conclusion general or not. The iPhone 4S launched to a less than underwhelmed crowd. Normally the press gets all lathered up when a new Apple product launches, but this time things were not the same. Even with this lukewarm reception the consumers line up to buy them. The after seeing the reception from the consumers the press worked overtime to make up for its stance on the iPhone 4S. They came out with articles about Siri, The new UI, the Speed of the new Dual Core A5 and more. Still there are issues with the iPhone and due to the much wider audience and customer base they are coming out faster than ever.
This is what we know so far. On launch day the iPhone 4S hit the market and within days the troubles began…
The first up is poor 3G speeds when on the Sprint network. Both Apple and Sprint have acknowledged the issue with Sprint being the first one to come out about the issue a promise a fix. We are fairly certain that Apple was not pleased with this, but are also just as sure that Sprint did not want to lose any new customers to that 30 money back policy they have. So the issue was out on the table and now a solution needs to be found. Comparing even an older Android Phone to an iPhone on the Sprint 3G network shows a remarkable difference. Apple wants to say it is iOS5, but the issue is not present in every phone so this one may actually be related to a bad lot of 3G radios. I guess we will find out once Sprint and Apple release their findings.
On top of (and possibly related to) the 3G speed issue are the reports of exceptionally poor battery life. These reports are possibly exaggerated, but some are claiming as few as 4 hours of life. One thing that we have found in common with all of the reports of poor battery life are reports of overheating, signal scanning (when the device continues to try and find a signal even if it has one) and, as listed above, poor 3G and WiFi speeds.
Now, at this point it is important to note that Apple has made some small overtures to the effect that this is an issue with iOS5 and have released iOS 5.0.1 to developers for testing. Here is my problem with this, the symptoms of this all point to a problem with the Radio on the phone. It is either defective and cannot complete the connection to the cellular or WiFi networks it is trying to talk to, or there is a MAJOR flaw in the baseband coding in iOS5 that is causing the system to continually drop the connection instead of keeping it alive.
Personally our feeling is that this is a bad lot of 3G/WiFi radios that managed to get through Q/C (quality control). It might be possible to “fix” this with software, but in the end the device will still have the flaw and its lifespan will probably be shorter than it should be. We are waiting to see if the new iOS update will do anything for this issue and will let you know what we find.
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So Sprint got the iPhone 4S, and they are selling them like crazy… There is just one tiny little problem. No one seems to have trained their support staff on how to deal with them. Let me tell you about the 3.5 hour ordeal that we personally went through and after talking with more than a few other excited iPhone 4S owners ours was not a one off event.
The call started around 12PM Eastern Time as the phone had just arrived and we were excited to get things going. Previous to our return to Sprint we were with AT&T through the introduction of the iPhone 4. Unfortunately with the iPhone 4 we had issues, from a four hour battery to the grip of death. It was not a fun time and prompted us to move to Sprint. However, we knew that there are always activation issues when a new phone comes out. What we did not expect was to have activations issues with the personnel instead of the activation or iTunes servers.
After about a 30 minute wait (which we thought was quite short considering the circumstance) an activation rep picked up the line. Our first indication that all was not as it should be was when the rep told us to remove the back of the iPhone and take out the battery. We explained that this was impossible on the iPhone and that the IMEI and Serial numbers on the box as well. The rep then told us that without the numbers from under the battery she could not activate the phone for us. As you can imagine we were more than a tad annoyed by this point, but we pressed on. After some time we were able to convince the tech that we could not remove the battery and that the serial on the box was indeed valid. Just as we saw light at the end of the tunnel… we were disconnected at just about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
We called again and at 1 hour and 45 minutes into our ordeal we were back on the phone; again we had to explain that the serial was on the box, but at least this rep did not ask us to remove the battery. The next hurdle was running the activation wizard on the phone. This completed successfully but did not apply the phone number to the phone. The rep then tried to manually program the phone but the iPhone would not recognize any of the programing codes that he tried. We were advised to wipe the phone completely and start over. At 2 hours and 30 minutes we still had not been able to activate the phone and were grasping at straws, doing everything from activating over WiFi, iTunes and more than one wipe of the phone. Finally one of the wipes must have done something (or the system caught up) as we saw the new number displayed on the phone. Our attempt at running the iPhone 4S on Sprint’s network was finally running and it only took 3.5 hours out of our Friday afternoon.
We would suggest to Sprint that they update their activation steps or give better training as they are only going to get more iPhone customers in the coming months. If everyone has to go through 3 hours to get activated they might have more than a few that will turn to other companies that do understand the iPhone instead of waiting for Sprint to catch up.
Let us know your iPhone 4S activation stories either on Facebook or on our Forum