Архив метки: BGR

Nokia Lumia 900 Won’t Hit AT&T Shelves Until April 22

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We’d heard a while back that the long-awaited Windows Phone-powered Lumia 900 would show up on AT&T’s shelves on March 18.

However, around the time that this rumored launch date leaked, the Lumia 900 had yet to go through its testing in the technical acceptance process. Turns out, that may be the reason BGR is now reporting that the Lumia 900 launch has been delayed to April 22.

Luckily, the Lumia 900 will still go for an absolutely ridiculous price point. And when I say ridiculous, it’s a compliment. While Windows Phone devices haven’t had the most impressive specs to date, the platform itself and Nokia build quality are certainly worth more than $100.

But that seems to be the strategy with this partnership.

Nokia has seen a rough year, to say the least, and Windows Phone has never really been what Microsoft (or anyone else) would call a success. But all the pieces are falling into place, in terms of the products themselves. Now all Nokiasoft has to do is get people on board with the platform, and that means attractive pricing.


Nokia Lumia 900 Won’t Hit AT&T Shelves Until April 22

Look Out AT&T Customers, Your Upgrade Fee Doubles On Sunday

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If you’re an AT&T customer coming off of a contract and looking to snap up a new phone, you should probably get on that right now. According to an AT&T memo obtained by BGR, AT&T will be raising their device upgrade fee from $18 to $36 as of February 12, which means you’ve got until Sunday to swap phones before your first post-upgrade bill gets even bigger.

The memo states that the fee hike is needed because “the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased.”

In AT&T’s defense, it’s a fee that’s most people will only have to deal with once every two years or so, but the additional cost is unlikely to please customers. They’re also not the only big carrier that has had to hike up their fees — Sprint made the transition to a $36 upgrade fee this past September. But still, AT&T doubling their upgrade fee is a puzzling move when their biggest rival (Verizon) still doesn’t charge one at all.

Strangely, the part of the memo that BGR has released doesn’t mention anything about a cap like the one Sprint offers, so it’s possible that families and groups looking to upgrade en masse could really get stung here.

And here’s a question worth thinking about: what will the consumers have to say? Verizon Wireless got a very public earful when it was discovered that they planned to charge customers a $2 “convenience fee” whenever they used a credit card to make an online or over-the-phone bill payment. After one day, public pressure and scrutiny from the FCC forced Verizon to kill the plan in its tracks. Given enough exposure, AT&T customer may be inclined to lash out in a similar way.

Hopefully this move doesn’t inspire Verizon to try something similar. We’ve seen it happen before: Verizon killed their unlimited data plans one year after AT&T did, and AT&T began requiring data packages for messaging phones not long after Verizon implemented the idea.


Look Out AT&T Customers, Your Upgrade Fee Doubles On Sunday

RIM Roadmap Leaked, Points To BlackBerry 10 Launch In September

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It’s only been one full day since former COO Thorsten Heins has taken the top spot at RIM, and we may already be privy to the company’s game plan for the next 15 months. According to reports from BGR‘s always-willing sources, RIM is hard at work on a series of new product launches that will culminate with the launch of their first BlackBerry 10 device in the latter half of this year.

For a company that gets nearly consistent praise for their physical QWERTY keyboards, they’re taking a risk by making the all-touch BlackBerry London the first BlackBerry 10 device to be pushed out the door. The London is reportedly on track for a September launch despite the kerfuffle surrounding their 4G chipsets, but a release so late into 2012 will pit RIM against a crop of strong competitors.

The London’s September launch should be followed by a hybrid touch/keyboard device (along the lines of the Bold 9900) roughly a month later. There have also been internal rumblings about a BlackBerry 10-powered QWERTY slider handset (a new Torch?), which is rumored to be released in Q1 2013.

Of course, RIM plans to ship a few new BlackBerry 7 devices between now and when their platform makes its long-awaited debut. Enter the EDGE-only BlackBerry Curve 9230 and the HSPA-friendly Curve 9320, neither of which will likely turn many heads when they see the light of day.

Along with RIM’s spate of new smartphones, a revamped BlackBerry PlayBook is also said to be in the works. The jury is still out on design and dimensions, but the new PlayBook is expected to sport a 1.5GHz processor, an NFC chip, and support for 42Mbps HSPA+. This itself isn’t much of a surprise — former co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed the existence of a refreshed PlayBook to the Wall Street Journal yesterday — but it’ll be interesting to see if this one fares any better than the original.

Some of the info matches up to previous leaks, and so far the new RIM seems centered around two things it can’t afford to bungle: the revival of the PlayBook and (more importantly) the BlackBerry 10 launch. Let’s take the Blackberry 7-powered Curves out of the equation for right now, as no one expects those to turn things around for RIM.

Credit where credit is due, taking a more restrained approach to product launches strikes me a smarter move than what they’ve done in the past. RIM’s devices releases have are often lumped together — consider this triple whammy of AT&T BlackBerrys from August, and this pair of new handsets from November. Staggering these new releases gives these devices room to breathe and hopefully hit their stride before being joined by other models.

Still, a thoughtful release timeline won’t mean anything if the products themselves aren’t up to snuff. One real fear I have is that BlackBerry 10 won’t be enough of a step forward, even after they’ve spent all this time on it. The new CEO doesn’t do much to assuage my concerns — Heins noted yesterday that he didn’t see much need for a “drastic change” for the company, though others may see it differently (quick aside: RIM’s stock has dipped yet again).


RIM Roadmap Leaked, Points To BlackBerry 10 Launch In September

AT&T’s Pantech Element LTE Tablet Leaked, Arriving January 8

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AT&T is slowly and steadily building up their portfolio of LTE-capable devices, and it looks like yet another has just broken cover. Due to be officially unveiled on January 8, the Pantech Element is AT&T’s newest LTE tablet, and is the first in AT&T’s lineup not to cost an absurd amount of money with a contract.

According to BGR, Pantech’s Honeycomb-powered tablet features an 8-inch display, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor of unknown origin, and 16GB of internal storage. The Element also sports two cameras — a rear-facing 5-megapixel shooter with 1080p video capture, and a smaller 2-megapixel frontfacer for video calling and goofy self-portraits.

The Element is also meant to be one of AT&T’s more rugged offerings, touted as being “waterproof for real life.” You shouldn’t take that as carte blanche to take it for a swim though, as BGR reports that the Element can’t actually survive more than a splash on the face.

Strangely, also they mention that the Element has an IP57 waterproof rating, which actually means that the device would be capable of surviving submersion in up to 1m of water. I’m chalking that up to some crossed wires though, as AT&T is reportedly telling reps that it isn’t in fact a waterproof tablet.

At $299, the Element is an easier pill to swallow than either of AT&T’s previous LTE-friendly tablets. While the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the HTC Jetstream both come from bigger companies, they cost $479 and $599 respectively — more than a little ridiculous considering you’re signing a two-year contract on top of it.


AT&T’s Pantech Element LTE Tablet Leaked, Arriving January 8

RIM Denies BlackBerry 10 Delay Allegations: Claims Are “Uninformed”

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I’ll admit to lobbing a few mortars at RIM (alright, maybe more than a few), but it looks like things may be even worse than expected. BGR reported earlier today that RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis lied about the the reason their first BlackBerry 10 devices would be delayed even later into 2012.

Lazaridis said during RIM’s recent earnings call that they were waiting for a specific dual-core LTE chipset to be available before their new BlackBerrys would see the light of day in late 2012. It was a strange announcement, considering that RIM has never really fared well in the specs arms race, although they I don’t blame them for trying. What I do blame them for is dragging their feet when it comes to innovation, but that’s a story for another time.

The chipset situation may have been a ruse, if BGR’s high-level source is to be believed. According to him, the real situation behind the delay is even more dire — the devices in question may not even exist yet.

”RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason,” the source said. “They don’t have a working product yet.”

It’s a serious accusation to level at RIM, and if it’s true, then they may have already sealed their own fate.

Or did they? RIM has just now weighed in on these claims, and their response is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. When it comes to the notion that the company’s first new BlackBerrys are essentially vaporware, RIM flatly denied the rumor:

“As explained on our earnings call, the broad engineering impact of this [chipset] decision and certain other factors significantly influenced the anticipated timing for the BlackBerry 10 devices. The anonymous claim suggesting otherwise is inaccurate and uninformed.”

There we have it, straight from the horse’s mouth: it’s a parts problem. The release goes to say that the chipset in question is “required to deliver a world class user experience” and that “any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”

Of course, even if the claims were true, RIM wouldn’t broadcast the news of their failure to every media outlet with a pulse. They’d do — well, they’d do exactly what they’re doing now. They would deny everything, and (hopefully) get in gear behind closed doors to make sure none of this gloom-and-doom forecasting ends up being right.

Ultimately, I doubt that either side is offering the entire truth. Information Week points out that the leak could be the work of a disgruntled RIM employee, and RIM’s PR team would do their best to manage a situation like this before it led to another crisis for an already-beleaguered company. Things inside RIM may be even worse than we know, but if they can succeed in delivering a user experience that’s worth waiting for, all of this he-said-they-said business will have been for nothing.

Let’s just hope the longer wait pays off.


RIM Denies BlackBerry 10 Delay Allegations: Claims Are “Uninformed”