Архив метки: Big Red

After Years Of Holding Out, Verizon Wireless Will Start Charging $30 Upgrade Fee On April 22

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All good things, as they say, must come to an end. For years now, Verizon has been the only one of the Big Four wireless carriers not to charge their customers an upgrade fee when they re-signed a two year contract, but that’s all about to change. Starting on April 22, Verizon will start charging a $30 upgrade fee whenever an existing customer extends their contract in order to snag some new hardware.

According to a statement put out by Big Red, the new fee will help the company “continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect.” That apparently includes Verizon’s online support tools, their in-person Wireless Workshops, and “consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices.”

AT&T enacted a similar move earlier this year when they doubled their upgrade fee from $18 to $36, which put their fee right alongside Sprint’s in terms of cost. At the time, I half-jokingly wrote that I hoped Verizon wouldn’t take the hint considering the two carriers history of gleaning ideas from from each other — as it turns out, being right sucks. It’s worth noting that T-Mobile’s upgrade fee is still sitting pretty at $18, though I have to wonder if they too will jump on the bandwagon.

In fairness, it’s a fee that doesn’t come into play but once every two years or so (unless something tragic happens to your device before that), but it makes for an unsightly bill that can temper the joy of new phone ownership. Families in particular will have it rough — the bill for a bog-standard four-person family plan could easily double if everyone gets a new phone at the same time.

Verizon notes that budget-conscious consumers can trade in their old phones in an attempt to offset the fee, but your mileage will definitely vary on that one — if you’re rocking a beat-to-death handset, it may be worth keeping just for the sentimental value rather than fork it over for a pittance.

After Years Of Holding Out, Verizon Wireless Will Start Charging $30 Upgrade Fee On April 22

Rovio Goes Gravity-Free With Angry Birds Space (Video)

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Curious how Rovio planned on dealing with physics in the forthcoming Angry Birds Space? I have been, too. If we presume that Rovio is playing by the physical laws of space, a lack of gravity fundamentally changes the game. But apparently, that’s the point.

Rovio took us to the international space station, courtesy of the video below of course, to show us a little bit about how the new version of the game will work. An astronaut, Don Pettit, did a little demo flinging a plush red bird in a zero gravity environment. It should go without saying, but that little red bird flew straighter than an arrow through the space station.

“We’re seeing all of this in a weightless environment, which is what Angry Birds Space will look like, with gravitational fields from planetary bodies,” said Pettit.

But then we got to the really cool part: the first time any of us have seen Angry Birds Space in action. And boy, does it look awesome. Those planetary bodies he mentioned pull the bird in, and change the course of the trajectory. And if you’re paying close enough attention you’ll notice that some of our favorite birds, Big Red and Yellow, have changed outfits. Big Red is now Big Green, and Yellow is now swathed in a lovely shade of purple.

It’s worth considering the meaning behind Angry Birds switching things up so drastically. All three versions of the game — Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons — have gone on to be monstrously successful. But are people getting bored?

Angry Birds Space will be significantly more challenging than previous versions of the game, and after years of success not fixing what isn’t broken, I think we can all agree a refresh is in order.

Update: I reached out to the Mighty Eagle himself, Peter Vesterbacka, to see if Rovio chose space (and thus, a zero-gravity environment) to make the game more challenging? Here’s what he had to say:

@jordanrcrook there’s zero gravity in space, but planets and gravity wells make it more fun.

— Peter Vesterbacka (@pvesterbacka) March 8, 2012

Rovio Goes Gravity-Free With Angry Birds Space (Video)

Verizon Posts A Net Loss Of $2.02B In Q4 2011


Ever since the AT&T/T-Mobile saga came to a grinding halt, you’d think that Verizon would be enjoying its reign in peace. But it would seem that the company has posted a net loss of $2.02 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. At the same time a year earlier, Verizon was seeing a profit of $2.64 billion.

According to Bloomberg, the loss can be attributed to a pension charge and higher subsidy costs for rising iPhone sales. But there have been gains, as well. Verizon lured in 1.2 million new subscribers — probably thanks in large part to the iPhone — and hopes that the high subsidy costs will eventually be paid off by consumers as they spend on calling and data.

Bloomberg enlisted the help of James Ratcliffe, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York, who said that “the average smartphone customer will spend about $2,000 over the two-year contract. If the subsidy is $400, you’re still getting $1,600, and that’s very cash-flow positive.” It would appear that smartphones are, indeed, where it’s at for Verizon, as the company reported that 44 percent of its customer base is now using a smartphone.

The carrier announced a total revenue of $18.3 billion for the quarter, representing a 13 percent year-over-year increase. Not surprisingly, data played a major role in bringing in the big bucks for ol’ Big Red.

In fact, 42 percent of all revenue for the quarter was made up of the $6.3 billion in data revenue, up 19.2 percent from the same time last year.

Verizon Posts A Net Loss Of $2.02B In Q4 2011

Verizon’s Data Network Suffering (Another) Nationwide Outage


Just two weeks after Verizon’s 4G data network most recently went on the fritz, it looks like customers are once again being forced to live their lives without data. Scores of Verizon users across the country will be waking up without without so much as a 3G connection in sight until a fix is in place.

A quick look at Verizon’s support forums illustrates the extent of the data outage: the data outage has struck New York, California, Illinois, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio (among others).

Now the outage doesn’t seem to be affecting everyone (much like last time), and some users are reporting that their data service has been restored. I’d take those reports with a grain of salt for the time being: my Verizon Galaxy Nexus manages to pick up a 1X or 3G connection sporadically, but it never lasts for long. That said, anyone who has an LTE smartphone may want to switch into the CDMA-only mode, as that’s where I’ve had most of my (limited) success with data.

While I’m sure that it won’t be too long before Verizon sorts out this mess, it may not be the most comforting situation for customers looking to re-up their contracts with Big Red. They’ve had pretty consistent 4G service for the year that the network has been live, but now customers have had to deal with two major data snafus in one month. C’mon Verizon, I expect these sorts of data issues from RIM, not you.

Verizon has yet to acknowledge the issue via a release, although their @VZWSupport Twitter account has just started fielding customer complaints about the outage. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

Verizon’s Data Network Suffering (Another) Nationwide Outage

Samsung’s LTE-Friendly Galaxy Tab 7.7 To Find Home On Verizon


Verizon is awash in solid tablet options right now, but their current LTE-capable lineup may leave you wanting for something a little less unwieldy. If the thought of manhandling a 10-inch tablet is too much to bear, then take note: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be coming to Big Red in due course with support for the company’s 4G network in tow.

Droid-Life reports that entries for the 7.7-inch tablet have begun to trickle into Verizon’s employee-facing support systems. Despite being the runt of the Galaxy Tab litter, the pint-sized tab is no slouch: it features a 1.4 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 1280×800 Super AMOLED Plus display, and a 5100 mAh battery. Hopefully the battery will be able to provide enough juice to accomodate the Tab’s LTE radio, which could be a make-it-or-break-it factor when it comes to usability.

It’ll certainly be a great choice for people looking to lighten their load, but as of yet there’s no word on when Verizon will push it out the door. Pricing details are nonexistant too, but hopefully Verizon cuts us consumers a break: they recently launched the Motorola XYBOARDs with a pretty hefty contracted price, so maybe Verizon can afford to dial the price gouging down a bit.

Samsung’s LTE-Friendly Galaxy Tab 7.7 To Find Home On Verizon