AT&T’s new push-to-talk service will go live in November after the operator widened trials of the product earlier this year.
We’ve received yet another bit of evidence confirming the next iPhone’s September 21 launch. According to an AT&T sales rep, AT&T staff has been given a vacation blackout from September 21 to September 30, just like Verizon employees. Our source also mentioned that blue carrier employees are undergoing training for an “iconic release.”
Sounds like the next-gen iPhone to me.
BGR earlier reported that AT&T employees were given a vacation blackout in the third or fourth week of September through early October.
We then confirmed that Verizon’s vacation blackout begins September 21, firming up the notion that Apple would release the iPhone that Friday, a week and a half after the phone’s debut, expected September 12.
This information essentially seals the deal save for an official word from Apple. So along with International Peace Day, World Gratitude Day, and Mini Golf Day, mark down September 21 in your calendar. It’ll be a big day.
Calling all T-Mobile Windows Phone fans — you can finally put your aging HD7s out to pasture. T-Mobile has just announced that the Mango-powered HTC Radar will officially debut on November 2, and it’ll cost you just a hair under $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
The Radar is the first new Windows Phone to hit T-Mobile since the platform went live late last year, but it doesn’t look like much of an improvement on paper. It sports a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 512MB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera — nothing that will make your socks roll up and down, but it’s reportedly more than enough for Mango to strut its stuff.
People used to the HD7′s big display may feel a little constrained working with the Radar’s 3.8-inch WVGA SLCD display, but they may just have to get used to it. T-Mobile hasn’t hinted at any more Windows Phones coming down the pipeline anytime soon, so fans of devices like the HTC Titan may have to turn elsewhere for their big-screen fix.
T-Mobile is getting geared up for the holidays in a big way, and the Radar is only one part of the puzzle. If a leaked roadmap is to be believed, T-Mobile has 5 more phones waiting in the wings for a simultaneous launch on November 2nd, so new and current customers may soon find themselves awash in choices.
Today, three NFC (near field communication) specialists are announcing a global alliance to help promote the use of the technology as a viable mobile marketing tool. The firms involved in the NFC World Alliance each represent a different geographic region, and include Blue Bite (America’s region), Proxama (EMEA) and Tapit (Asia-Pacific).
All three already have experience in running successful NFC-based campaigns that have helped connect brands to their audiences on a large scale.
“We’re very excited about the potential of NFC,” says Blue Bite’s VP Business Development Dan Trigub, referring the to short-range, high frequency technology that, these days, is often more associated with mobile wallets and mobile payments systems than it is with advertising. In the future, NFC could provide comparable reach to traditional mobile media, Trigub explains.
“NFC is becoming a standard feature on mobile handsets,” adds Neil Garner, CEO of Proxama, “particularly for tag reading.” Tag reading enables a consumer to tap an NFC-enabled item, like a poster or sticker, to receive information or perform an action. Similar to the functions provided now by barcode scanners, with a tap, users of NFC phones could launch an app or visit a website, for example. But NFC can also enable other actions, too, such as “liking” a brand on Facebook, following a Twitter account, or even switching on Bluetooth to opt into direct-to-mobile offers from a retailer.
In addition to the combined interest in promoting NFC technology, the three companies involved in the alliance have access to the key media buyers in the region, which makes the newly formed group sort of a one-stop-shop for a brand looking to run or expand a global campaign into other regions. Alliance members will provide support, analytics and other tools to participating brands looking to experiment with the new medium, they say.
After a campaign completes, the firms will share the details of what they learned with each other in terms of what worked and what did not, so they can all improve their own system. At some later point, this information may also be released in the form of research reports or white papers.
And, says Tapit CEO Jamie Cunningham, when there is leftover ad inventory, members may also use that space – like the ad panels at a bus stop, for instance – in consumer education efforts about the benefits of NFC and how it works.
In short, the participating firms simply believe that when it comes to consumer adoption of NFC, it will be brands leading the way, not the OEMs, handset makers and mobile payments companies. Whether or not that’s accurate remains to be seen, of course. However, the alliance is yet another example of NFC’s upward momentum this year, which in and of itself speaks to the technology’s growing potential.
Evri, the realtime content discovery engine, acquired Radar Networks early last year, incorporating the startup’s semantic indexing technology into its products. The move laid the groundwork for Evri’s shift into the mobile space, as it has since used its realtime semantic matching algorithms to begin delivering news in targeted categories to user’s phones and mobile devices. Last year, the startup launched EvriThing Tech to allow readers to create and add their own channels on any tech topics, as well as those from predefined topics. (Similar to what FLUD, and others are doing in the mobile content space.)
Today, Evri is expanding its mobile functionality, launching a suite of sports applications for iOS and Android devices, called SportStream, that will be powered by its eponymous platform. With the NFL season looming, Evri is kicking off its suite of sports apps with SportStream Football, an app that looks to provide readers with realtime push notifications and in-game commentary through social channels — to make your Sunday viewing experience more interactive and a little more Web 2.0.
With SportStream Football, Evri is looking to provide an immersive experience for fans that allows them access to realtime news content from thousands of sources, integrating personalized and up-to-date information from fans’ social feeds, enabling readers to live tweet highlights from games as they happen. Viewers can see in-game score updates and play-by-play summaries, with personalization options for specific teams, like key injury and trade news, for example.
Just as Taptu has created a fantasy football stream for iPad users, Evri is looking to have its targeted and personalized content stream become a great resource not only for fans but for fantasy football players as well.
The objective here, says Evri CEO Will Hunsinger, is not to “out-ESPN ESPN”, but to take advantage of where ESPN’s realtime sports coverage lacks. Not only by scouring the web for information from bloggers and other sports content outside of ESPN’s realm, but by allowing fans of, say, Georgetown sports, to create targeted news feeds for their alma mater’s teams. While ESPN is obviously a robust content source (really, the death star of sports content), there’s plenty of room here for startups to improve on the sports content reading and viewing experience.
With Evri’s well-honed semantic indexing data, the SportStream apps are a great resource for personalized sports info. Evri is smart to go after these enthusiastic, underserved niches. Or, even if sports content isn’t exactly sparse, to give sports fans an easier and less “noisy” reading experience, with realtime functionality, adds weight to the startup’s value proposition. Yes, Pulse recently struck a deal with ESPN, and Taptu is offering a great tablet app, but there’s plenty of room in the market, and Evri’s approach to fan engagement via the social graph and realtime tweeting, is a good start.
We’ll be looking forward to the startup’s next moves.