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The new ASUS PadFone X for AT&T unveiled

Since its launch in the year 2011, ASUS PadFone has gained a lot of appreciation and recognition. And now almost after three years, ASUS has come with newer version of the device, called as ASUS PadFone X, which will run by AT&T exclusively in the U.S.

This new device comes equipped with a number of advancements than its predecessor. ASUS PadFone X sports a 5-inch HD display. However, the tablet portion of the device now has a 9-inch HD screen display which was 10-inches earlier. The most amazing aspect about this PadFone is that it runs on the latest Android version, KitKat 4.4. As far as its casing is concerned, it is metallic and completely black brushed.

Jeff Bradley , Senior Vice President of Devices for AT&T, said “The PadFone X is first of its kind in the U.S. It combines leading technology, a beautiful design and a remarkably seamless application experience – all on the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network.”

ASUS PadFone X overall is a powerful device with modern specifications and is likely to give a tough competition to today’s upper-end smartphone.

In addition to this, ASUS also revealed a low-cost alternative for its PadFone X device, called as PadFone Mini. It features a 4-inch HD display screen with a 7-inch tablet display screen and includes a Cloverview Z2560 Atom processor. It currently offers 8GB of storage space with a micro SD card slot. The device sports an 8-megapixel rear camera, and 2 megapixel front camera. ASUS PadFone Mini comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, red, and yellow. It runs on Android 4.3 and supports HSPA+networks along with Bluetooth and WiFi.

The price of ASUS PadFone X and ASUS PadFone Mini has not been revealed yet.

Sony® Xperia ion

Sony Xperia ion, the first android-based 4G LTE smartphone from electronics giant Sony Corporation, has finally landed in the market. Ready to be retailed at $99.99 on a two-year agreement with AT&T, this novel edition by Sony lets you everything in HD.

Highlights of Sony Xperia ion

Primarily meant to offer pure entertainment, Sony Xperia ion boasts of 4.6-inch HD Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Its 12MP camera further allows you to capture every special moment of your life as it is. If you want to make any moment memorable by capturing it still or in action, all you have to do is just touch a button.

And, if you want to share your videos and photos on a large high-definition screen, the SmartDock for Xperia ion lets you do so. You can easily control the content of your phone simply with your television mode.

When it comes to the style and looks, the glossy black monolith shell makes the Sony Xperia ion a handsomely-styled smartphone.

Motorola® won’t update Charm or Flipout beyond Android™ 2.1

Motorola handsets are the ones that have gained prominence and importance over the past decade. Starting from the very basic models, the brand has introduced a variety of apps and services through its upgraded handsets and a variety of models. The latest news doing the rounds in the technology circles is about the decision of Motorola to pull back its plans to update the Charm (T-Mobile) and Flipout (AT&T) handsets with Android 2.2 Froyo. These smartphones were released with Android 2.1. This further adds them to the growing list of Motorola handsets being left behind on older versions of Android. Thus, there have been more devices in the list that would never see an upgrade. Most recently, the company decided that the Cliq XT would stay on Android 1.5 and it would not have features such as live wallpapers or Google Maps navigation.

After updating its Android software upgrade timeline, Motorola had said that the Flipout and Charm handsets would remain on 2.1 for as long as possible. We can only hope that the new handsets such as Droid X or Atrix 4G get more than one update. Probably the problems arise from having to work with a lot of hardware configurations and form factors. On the other hand, these issues can also stem from the Motoblur interface that overlay Android. It could be possible that Moto integrated the custom UI too heavily, which prevents it from acting quickly for rolling out updates. There could be another likely scenario wherein these phones are not being sold out as much as what was anticipated, and that it would be a loss of time and resources on working on updates for such a limited quantity of devices.

3G BlackBerry PlayBook™ Coming to AT&T®

Research In Motion’s Blackberry PlayBook tablet will be launched on the 3G network of AT&T. Also an LTE 4G PlayBook is in the pipeline for a later launch. However, Research In Motion (RIM) has refused to comment on this. The Blackberry PlayBook comes with the revolutionary BlackBerry Bridge technology that allows it to connect itself to a BlackBerry smartphone. It comes with a new operating system developed exclusively for it by QNX Software Systems.

The tablet features technology enabling it to display web pages utilizing Adobes Flash software, something which Apple iPad does not offer. It is also compatible with the servers enabled by corporations and governments to monitor devices for safety and security purposes. It features multiple connectivity options including connection to the Internet through Bluetooth tethering and Wi-Fi. It is powered by a dual core 1 GHz processor with 1 GB RAM. It has a 7-inch LCD display with enough power to run 1080p videos while multitasking with other apps. It is incredibly light, weighing only 400 grams and a thickness of just 0.4 inches. It maintains its light feel with a sturdy design. It has enhances its minimalistic design by removing even the front buttons. It goes one up against the iPad with its 3 megapixel front facing camera and a 5 megapixel back facing camera which has the ability to shoot 1080p HD video. The tablet also has a micro HDMI port with the video out option. BlackBerry PlayBook offers full support for HTML5 and also Adobe Flash 10.1, thus providing you with unlimited web viewing options.

Thus, BlackBerry PlayBook can be regarded as an excellent tablet with an incredible form factor, lightweight yet sturdy design, an OS resembling the WebOS, high definition graphics and the 3G tethering option.

Half of Verizon Wireless® smartphone users may switch to iPhone®

According to a research report regarding Verizon Wireless and AT&T customers, fifty four percent of the present BlackBerry and Android users on the network of Verizon Wireless are most probably to switch over to the Verizon compatible iPhone 4. The same research report also reveals that twenty six percent of present users of AT&T iPhone will switch over to Verizon. The news became available as Verizon declared sales for first-day handset exceeding over earlier records within a day of the availability of pre order. Data was obtained from the highly profiled panel of more than seven hundred smart phone users presently on Verizon or AT&T conducted between January 28 and January 31 prior to present customers of Verizon were permitted to pre order iPhone. Amongst the Verizon users having BlackBerry and Android device, twenty five percent are likely to switch over to iPhone 4, when another twenty nine percent falls in the group of “somewhat likely”. Particularly, seventy five percent of BlackBerry customers are somewhat likely or very likely to switch over as per the research report projects.

The report also disclosed that eight percent of present AT&T users of iPhone may switch over to Verizon while another eighteen percent were found to be switching over in somewhat likely manner. Main reasons for switching over being coverage area and dropped calls, while those kept their affiliation with AT&T because of the reasons such as other costs for conversion and ETFs, possible dilapidation of network for Verizon and network speed.

These numbers  seemed excessively optimistic, but as per Verizon, the iPhone 4 has exceeded expectations for sales already. The iPhone 4 Verizon-compatible became available for online pre order in respect of Verizon’s current customers.

Neither Verizon nor Apple responded to the queries regarding the number of pre orders they took, although the rumour spread that it might be twenty five million iPhones. However, a spokesperson of Apple, Natalie Harrison, informed that Apple is really thrilled for the response received so far, and is expecting to deliver the iPhone 4 to more customers.

Nokia® Said to Cancel Smartphone Launch With AT&T®

X7, Nokia’s new smartphone that it had planned to enter the market with partner AT&T, has been cancelled. Nokia had planned to make a comeback into the US market with this phone in partnership with the wireless carrier AT&T. AT&T is at the second position in US in terms of market presence just behind Verizon Wireless.

This is another aborted attempt by the Finnish mobile giant to seek a foothold in the US. Nokia at one time had a large presence in US and it is the largest phone maker in the world. It was rumored to be launched in partnership with AT&T. Wall Street Journal cites the reason for the cancellation as AT&T’s refusal to commit funds for marketing or subsidy.

Nokia, however, refused to comment on this issue and said that it is a well publicized fact that they are working hard to regain leadership in the US market and that they are in active discussions with their operator partners on this strategy. They further stated their commitment with their US carrier partners to bring meaningful smartphone solutions to the market that are compelling consumer experiences, have strong operator support and a thriving ecosystem. As in any business, plans can change and deliberate decisions must be made to enable clear focus on bringing the right products to market at the right time.

Nokia has encountered problems with negotiating with the carriers who subsidize handsets for customers in return for two year contracts. Nokia on the other hand prefers selling the smartphones launched in US directly to the consumer at its own set price.

Nokia is still dependent on its Symbian OS with MeeGo still under development. Stephen Elop, the new president of Nokia, is now busy working out a strategy to sell better products at more competitive pricing to regain control in the US market and to make a move against his main competitors in the market, namely Apple’s iOS powered iPhone and Google’s Android platform.

AT&T® ShopAlerts texts location-based promos

AT&T has launched a new marketing service Placecast to deliver its ShopAlerts text messages. These messages will be received by shoppers nearby the market place where they are visiting. This is the first of its type of services and AT&T is the pioneer in it. Subscribers signing up for these alerts are from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago who can get alerts based on the location.

At&T is expecting to create a virtual service around the shopping area that the subscriber visits for their shopping. The messages will also include weather forecasts, details on local shopping areas location wise and traffic alerts. This is to enable the shopper to ensure good weather and low traffic snarls to visit the area which they want for shopping also getting first-hand knowledge on the deals available in these shopping areas.

Here AT&T is working with its large subscriber base creating a relationship with the advertisers, while Placecast is kicking in with geo-location services. Placecast is very excited to work hand-in-hand with AT&T on the geo location opted services which help and direct the customers to go to shopping arcades where they stand to gain a lead on fair prices shopping with alerts which help the subscriber to make it for good shopping deals.

Placement CEO said that subscribers and retailers alike benefit from these alert subscriptions with advantages of tailored offers based nearby and on AT&T. The services being a geographical based service will provide alerts based on the vicinity where the subscriber chooses to shop. Therefore AT&T has tied up well with Placecast to provide these subscriber services so that people visiting the shopping areas can avail of discounts and special prices to be able to buy at an advantage.

AT&T’s services are welcomed by the people subscribing for these services as these make the subscriber alert to the deals available at the shopping location that they visit. A timely intervention of the deals available in the particular location is a useful tool in the hands of the subscribers. They make it to those selective stores to shop at bargains and take advantage of price discounts and other such deals.

Shops at these locations will also benefit since they will get directed customers and the retailers can make their bargain deals with shoppers. This is a beneficial bargain for both retailers and the subscribers each benefiting in their spheres of existence in the market as the sources of demand and supply. AT&T is helping both ends, by creating a demand and a supply chain so that the alerts subscribers can avail good bargains by first getting to know about the bargains and the retailers by making such bargains to the subscribers who get piqued with interests in their offers. This is obviously affecting the market forces and AT&T will make a difference.

Apple® iPad® 2

After the huge success of iPad, a gadget that was a turning point in the field of technology, Apple recently made its second generation iPad official. In a recent poll conducted by a website on the future of iPad 2, about 46% of the correspondents felt that Apple would continue to dominate the market with this instalment, while about 33% felt that it would increase competition. Around 9% felt that it changed nothing, while about 8% said that a better and cheaper tablet could win it all at a later stage.

Featuring a 1GHz dual-core A5 chip and cameras on both sides of the device, iPad 2 also has a CPU twice as fast as the original. Its graphics performance is said to be nine times quicker, whereas power needs have been kept the same as the iPad. Battery life, along with the pricing, has been unchanged. The price starts from $499 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 and goes up to $829 for a Wi-Fi version with 3G SKU and 64 GB of storage. The new tablet would come with HDMI output that would set you back $39 for the necessary dongle, which is recognized as an Apple Digital AV adapter. As expected, what you would get is an enlarged speaker grille on its back, and the same 1024 x 768 resolution and IPS LCD screen technology like in the original iPad.

720p video recording at 30fps would be on tap from the rear facing camera, which could too present a 5x digital zoom, whereas the front-facing imager would record at a VGA resolution, at 30fps. Compared to its predecessor, at 8.8 mm, the device is almost 33 per cent thinner, and also lighter at around 600 grams. It would be available on both Verizon and AT&T, and you would get the option of choosing between white and black.

Verizon Wireless® to improve voice quality with 4G

So long as the phone is utilized for the purpose of talking over it, the major requirement of the handset becomes a quality voice service. According to a renowned news channel, Verizon Wireless is about to launch 4G voice services and will offer high definition audio fidelity over the latest 4G LTE network. The company has already launched its network of 4G LTE and will make smartphones available in the market that will be designed to use the LTE network so that quality of voice services improve over other voice service providers to a great extent.

According to one of the spokesperson of the company, Verizon Wireless will be launching the smartphone shortly. The initial phones that will be made available in the market will be using its earlier CDMA network for the purpose of voice calls, but will have the new 4G LTE network for providing fast data services. However, it also needs mention that the 4G LTE network will be available for voice services as well within a very short time. According to the report of the news channel, the voice quality of phone calls are going to improve greatly once the smartphones become available with new 4G LTE network for voice calls. In the initial versions the data services will be really fast and thus the customers will be highly benefited in this front as well.

Among other features of the new smartphones that will be launched by  Verizon Wireless with the 4G LTE network, the most striking part is that the voice services as well as data services will both be available at the same time. This simultaneous availability of the LTE network in voice services as well data services was not present in the earlier CDMA sets of Verizon Wireless. In the recent past, the launch of the new network by the company has given it an edge over most of its rivals as no other service providers have been able to provide both data and voice services of very high quality at the same time through a single network. What follows is that the new smartphones are bound to capture a major part of the market. The 3G services provided by AT&T had so far been the most popular service provider and they even point out in their advertisements that the their service is better than that of Verizon Wireless in the sense that the CDMA network did not have the facility to offer both services at the same time.

Another very significant feature of the smartphones that will use the 4G LTE network and which will be launched shortly is the facility of video chatting. Although the option of video chatting is available on other networks as well, yet the new 4G LTE network’s video chat is bound to be better than the others.

2GB of free data transfer for AT&T® customers

Before Verizon Wireless started accepting the preorders for iPhone 4, AT&T declared an openhanded change to its data plans for tethering smartphone customers. AT&T added an extra memory space of 2 GB for its smartphone users on February 13. These users are already giving $20 per month as the tethering fee. Therefore if you are using any AT&T smartphone and paying $25 for a minimum Data Pro plus plan for 2GB and $20 for tethering subscription, this way effectively you will receive 4 GB of data by paying just $45 monthly.

After announcing about its new plans in which it is adding extra 25GB data to their tethering plan, now AT&T has removed data plans and created 2 additional data plans. These are 200 MB for 15 dollars and 2GB for 25 dollars. So now AT&T has added 2 GB extra for the tethering plans that give total 4 GB in use.

AT&T is also going to stop its unlimited data plan for $30 a month for the iPad. This plan is replaced with the 2 GB Data Pro plan for $25. The existing customers of iPad who are having unlimited plans for $29.99 may keep this plan or they may switch to the new 2 GB data plan where they will have to pay 25 dollars per month.

The promotion also coincides with the launch of the first smartphone of AT&T with an in-built mobile hotspot, HTC Inspire 4G. This Inspire mobile hotspot can connect numerous devices from its smartphone using Wi-Fi. The hotspotting will cost 45 dollars per month for 4 GB. In a statement, chief marketing officer of AT&T Mobility and consumer markets, David Christopher said that customers want to connect maximum possible devices with the company’s broadband network. With 4G, this network is getting faster.

He added that they are trying to extend the benefits of the additional 2 GB to the smartphone customers on their tethering plan. Today this plan delivers more value for price what they are paying already and this is what their customers want.

According to the report of 9to5 Mac, AT&T will be granting the extra data of 2 GB every month to those users who have this tethering option added to the plan they have. This way they will have now 4 GB of total use every month and could have the ability for tethering all for the same $20 monthly plan.

AT&T said that 98% of the customers of its smartphones use less than 2 GB a month. The caps may improve the speed and accessibility for the network of AT&T for most of the users.

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