Verizon Wireless adopts harsher early termination fees, draws criticism

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 11:07
Category: News, wireless

verizonlogo

Well, this should give you another reason to dislike Verizon.

Per Macworld and Droid Life, wireless carrier Verizon recently changed the terms of its customer agreement to state that the carrier will not discount its early termination fee (ETF) until the eighth month of service.

In other words, if you signed up for a new iPhone with Verizon in December, you wouldn’t see a reduction in your ETF until at least July. Verizon previously discounted its ETF by $10 every month beginning with the first month of service.

The new terms only apply to new customers that sign up for service on or after Friday, November 14th. Under the new terms, your ETF would reduce by “US$10 per month in months 8–18, US$20 per month in months 19–23, and US$60 in the final month of your contract term.”

(more…)

AT&T ceases “permacookie” tracking program for the time being, Verizon still enacting its own version

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 04:45
Category: iPhone, News, privacy, wireless

attlogosmall

There are consequences for when a wireless carrier installs something that apparently tracks its user base a little too closely with no convenient means of removal.

Per Macworld and ProPublica, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have been caught up in a privacy firestorm over their use of so-called “permacookies,” a method of tracking what their users do while browsing the Web with the intent of sharing that data with advertisers. Verizon’s permacookie program lives on, but AT&T has ceased the practice.

(more…)

AT&T admits to testing “unique tracker” on smartphones, offers opt-out option

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:55
Category: iPhone, News, security, wireless

attlogosmall

This isn’t the best news.

According to Forbes, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have ceded that they’re tagging their customers with unique codes that are visible to third parties, making smartphone users far easier to track on the Web than they’ve ever been before, targeted advertising being that much easier to create as a result of this. After the findings by researchers, AT&T admitted it’s “testing” a new way of tracking its customers for ad display purposes.

“There’s nothing ready to announce,” said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel. “We’re still testing.”

But that means, yes, AT&T customers are being tagged by AT&T in a way that’s visible to the websites they visit, but AT&T says it’s building in what it considers to be a privacy-protective measure: the unique code for each user will change every 24 hours. Siegel says this is happening now, but Kenneth White, one of the researchers who discovered the tracking, says that is “categorically untrue,” saying he found three identifying codes being sent by AT&T that were persistent.

“AT&T does not currently have a mobile Relevant Advertising program. We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” read a statement from AT&T. “For instance, we are testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices to use in programs where we serve ads to the mobile device. This daily rotation on the numeric code would help protect the privacy of our customers. Customers also could opt out of any future AT&T program that might use this numeric code.”

(more…)

AT&T confirms Apple SIM card lock, says customers will need to buy new SIM card to change carriers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:11
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, wireless

attlogo

There may be increased competition and good deals to be had in the wireless markets, but the major carriers will still try to lock you in…

Per Re/code, wireless carrier AT&T has apparently taken advantage in the change to the SIM card found in the new iPad, which apparently allows customers to designate which wireless carrier they’d like to use it with, by essentially locking its customers in to the service, requiring the customer to purchase an entirely new SIM card to change their provider.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed to Re/code that customers who use the Apple SIM on AT&T will need another SIM card to switch carriers, but stressed that the device itself remains unlocked.

“With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want,” he said. “It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”

(more…)

Verizon backs off on controversial data throttling plan set to begin in October

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:27
Category: News, wireless

verizonlogo

A little competition’s a good thing.

According to The Verge, a statement from wireless carrier Verizon stated that the company will not be throttling 4G LTE data speeds for users grandfathered in to unlimited data plans, while at the same time announcing a buffed data plan promotion.

In July, Verizon announced plans to expand its “network optimization” initiative, which amounts to throttling data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the telco’s 4G LTE network is congested. The enhanced policy was set to go live in October.

Verizon Wireless won’t be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest U.S. carrier has just announced that it’s “decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.”

(more…)

Customers complain of difficulties pre-ordering iPhone 6, 6 Plus handsets

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014, 15:37
Category: iPhone, News, retail

iphone6shot

The pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are coming in.

And they’re overwhelming Apple.

Per AppleInsider, Friday’s kickoff for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus preorders was marred by a series of glitches, issues and errors that left a number of customers frustrated with Apple and its carrier partners’ inability to keep up with overwhelming demand.

Readers reported that they’d experienced a number of problems attempting to place their order for Apple’s next-generation handsets on Friday. Things kicked off just after midnight Pacific, 3 a.m. Eastern, but initial customers were only able to access preorders via the iOS Apple Store app, and not through Apple’s website on a traditional browser.

And while U.S. carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint were accepting preorders, customers could not buy a handset for T-Mobile, directly from the carrier or through Apple’s website, for hours Friday morning. That also affected AT&T customers looking to buy a no-contract, no-subsidy unlocked handset compatible with AT&T’s network.

(more…)

Amazon announces its Fire Phone with launch on July 25th

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 19th, 2014, 08:17
Category: Amazon, Android, Announcement, Features, Mobile Phone

Amazon_FirePhoneOn Wednesday, Amazon introduced the latest iPhone competitor, the Fire Phone which boasts a number of unique features. First up is the Dynamic Perspective feature which gives users a 3D perspective view of items on a map or within a game. The same technology allows you to tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. These functions are controlled by its four forward facing cameras located in the four corners of the handset. This allows two cameras to track the user’s head regardless of the position in which the phone is held. Imbedded infrared sensors allow the feature to be used in complete darkness.

Next up is Firefly, Amazon’s equivalent to Shazam for everything you can buy as well as other information. Point the Fire Phone’s 13 MP rear-facing camera at a book or an item in a magazine, and Firefly will return results about the item that may be important such as where to buy it, or bring up a celebrity’s IMDB entry. Firefly can also read telephone numbers and give you the option of calling or saving the information. It’s a little like what Google Googles was supposed to be, but mainly for media and text.

(more…)

A good view of the Amazon smartphone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 2nd, 2014, 08:13
Category: Amazon, Features, Hardware, Mobile, News, photos

amazon-logo-150x60What’s the one thing missing from today’s tech lifestyle? That’s right, another smartphone! At least that is what Amazon is betting on when it launches its own phone later this year. There have been a few photos of phone’s hardware in the last month, but it appeared that there was some type of case obscuring details of the device’s appearance. The folks over at BGR have managed to snag a nice, clear image of Amazon’s yet unnamed smartphone.

 

(more…)

Death knell is coming for Google Voice

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014, 08:42
Category: Android, Apps, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Services, Software, Telephony

GoogleHangVoiceAfter five years, it looks like Google Voice is going away…at least as an independent service and app. In 2007 Google acquired GrandCentral (started in 2005) and eventually rebranded it and launched it as Google Voice in 2009. Very little was done for the switchover, from a user standpoint, other than to incorporate the service into Google’s infrastructure. I had a GrandCentral account and it was nearly identical to how Google Voice works and looks today. According to 9to5Google, sometime in the coming months, Google plans to depreciate and eventually phase out the service with its features to be rolled into the Google Hangouts app.

(more…)

iPhone users exhale, MyGlass for iOS back in the AppStore

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 20th, 2013, 09:49
Category: Android, Apps, Developer, Gadget, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

MyGlass_for_iosYou might have caught some stories about the long awaited MyGlass app appearing on the AppStore, and then quickly disappearing leaving iPhone users crying, “nooooooooooooo!”. Well, they can relax, Google re-released the app and it’s available for download. About a week ago, I had the opportunity to play with a Google Glass without having to shell out $1500. As it happens, someone I knew had one and was willing to ship it out to me to play with (that “someone” being Jason O’Grady from The Apple Core). My full review will be available soon, so I’ll skip over a lot of Glass details to focus on the app and what it adds to the Glass-iOS experience.

 

(more…)