January 2011
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Month January 2011

AT&T edges past Verizon to become largest US carrier as Big Red’s iPhone launch looms

One thing that was overlooked — and perhaps strategically underplayed — during its fourth quarter earnings call is that AT&T is now the nation’s largest mobile carrier boasting 95.5 million subscribers to Verizon’s 94.1 million.

AT&T’s climb to reclaim the top spot from rival Verizon after Big Red’s acquisition of Alltel Wireless 2 years ago has been an arduous one fueled in large part by Ma Bell’s lock on Apple’s iPhone. However, that 1.4 million subscriber lead may be short-lived with iPhone exclusivity set to end within a fortnight as Verizon prepares to offer its customers a CDMA variant of the iPhone 4 beginning February 10.

Regardless of the outcome, AT&T’s fourth quarter earnings are impressive with a record 2.8 million new adds reflecting ‘rapid adoption of smartphones’, 4.1 million iPhone activations and 442,000 tablet subscribers, all contributing to $31.4 billion in total revenue (up 2.1%) and $1.1 billion in net income (down 60%).

Although growth is likely to stall this coming quarter with Apple’s darling headed to Big Red, it remains to be seen exactly how much the loss of iPhone exclusivity affects AT&T in the long run. AT&T has repeatedly emphasized it is more than just a one-trick pony touting a diverse portfolio of integrated devices and hyping its accelerated deployment of ‘4G’ mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA+ and LTE. In any case, increased efforts to upgrade and improve the existing network to be on par with its device offerings would go a long way to silence critics and keep the momentum in AT&T’s favor.

via intomobile

Sony unveils PSP2: PS3 power in a portable package

Sony unveiled its successor to the PSP codenamed ‘Next Generation Portable’ at an event today in Tokyo. The PSP2 — which has yet to be officially named — is touted to be as powerful as Sony’s PlayStation 3 console and, judging by the spec sheet, the hype isn’t hard to believe.

The PSP2 will feature a 5″ OLED capacitive touchscreen with qHD resolution (960 x 544) and be powered by an unspecified quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore coupled with a quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU. Yes, you read that right — the PSP2 has a CPU and GPU with four cores each. This is unparalleled power in a handheld device.

The PSP2 has done away with the proprietary UMD optical drive, which caught on about as well as Betamax, opting for a ‘new’ — hopefully not proprietary — type of flash mini card. All the original controls are there including a touch-sensitive rear to add a new dimension in control, and yes, Sony has blessed the PSP2 with the dual analog sticks gamers have been begging for ever since the original PlayStation Portable was released. SIXAXIS tilt control is also included.

Other features of the PSP2 include a front and rear camera, stereo speakers, and a microphone. As for connectivity, the PSP2 is blazing the trail by being the first dedicated portable game system to support 3G while including the usual WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS in the mix. The dimensions of the PSP2 are 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm shaped in a new ‘super oval’ form factor.

Sony’s next generation portable is expected for release by the end of the year, most likely just in time for the 2011 holiday season. No word on price, but given the specifications above, don’t be surprised if the PSP2 retails for $300 or above. For hardcore gamers on the go, though, Sony has really upped the ante and buying in may prove irresistible.

via CrunchGear [pics via AV Watch]

‘Two is better than one’

via dalemcbroom on YouTube

Hold the phone! Number porting option live for select Google Voice users

Interested in freeing your phone number from your carrier’s clutches for good? Well, for some Google Voice users that dream is now reality.

Google is currently testing the feature on select users with the intent to roll it out to everyone ‘in the near future’. To see if the feature is available to you, sign into your Google Voice account and click on Voice Settings under the Settings tab located in the upper right. If your lucky, a Change/Port option will reside beside your current Google Voice number.

The process of porting a number to Google Voice is simple, but not without drawbacks. First of all, you are charged a $20 transaction fee via Google Checkout for the privilege. The porting process would also immediately cancel your current contract with your wireless carrier resulting in a potentially hefty early termination fee. Furthermore, your current Google Voice number is forfeited, although you will still have access to it for 90 days to inform everyone of the change. Finally, you still need to find another carrier for those newly emancipated digits — Google isn’t a mobile service provider yet. It’s also worth noting that not all numbers are currently eligible for the porting process, e.g. those of landlines and mobile businesses aren’t currently supported.

Having said that, can you really put a price on freedom? With your primary phone number tied to your Google Voice account, you can now manage calls and messages across multiple lines more naturally. Bar the obsolescence of the phone number itself, it’s the way mobile should be. So go ahead and make your phone number yours.

Source: Google Voice via Engadget

‘It Begins’

As much as I disdain Verizon Wireless, I have to admit I’ve always enjoyed their commercials. I hope they sell millions.

Source: YouTube via Engadget

Hacker George ‘Geohot’ Hotz offered free Windows Phone 7 device by Microsoft

It seems that these days, a mobile platform is only as successful as the apps that define it, and we all know you can’t have killer apps without the talented developers who design them. Among the most passionate and proficient programmers of any platform are the homebrew community that rallies around it. Whether we’re talking the Dev Team, xda-developers, or WebOS Internals, there is no denying the serious potential on tap in the hacker scene. Apparently someone ‘on loan to Microsoft focused on getting our developer mojo back’ gets this.

In a tweet directed at infamous hacker George Hotz aka Geohot, entrepreneur Brandon Watson offered the talented 21-year-old a free WP7 device to ‘let dev creativity flourish’. No word on whether Geohot has taken up on Watson’s offer, but a recent post mentioned he was ‘going out to buy a Windows 7 phone’ and is interested in jailbreaking Microsoft’s brand new mobile operating system.

Geohot has quite the résumé. He was one of the first individuals instrumental in jailbreaking and unlocking Apple’s iPhone and has recently been sued by Sony for publicly releasing jailbreak code for the PlayStation 3 console.

If you ask me, Geohot is the sort of guy you want pushing the limits of your platform. Kudos to Watson, Microsoft, and the Windows Phone team for reaching out to a prominent member of a largely unsung and untapped developer community. I look forward to seeing what Geohot can accomplish with WP7.

Source: @BrandonWatson via SlashGear