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.
HP announced HP webOS 2.0 today along with the first device that will run it: Palm Pre 2. The Pre 2 is essentially a highly refined Pre that updates the hardware to current times — 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, glass screen — without departing from the original design concept. The Palm Pre 2 will be available on SFR in France this Friday and will be coming to Verizon in the US and to Canada ‘in the coming months.’ HP also states that developers will be able to purchase an unlocked UMTS version of the Pre 2 ‘to use as a canvas to build the next generation of webOS applications and services.’
The real star of the show, of course, is webOS 2.0 — now rebranded and prefixed with HP’s name. Fans of the sleek multitasking mobile operating system will not be disappointed. The same ingenious card UI is still the centerpiece, now enhanced with Stacks — the ability to group related cards together.
Universal search has been renamed Just Type and now searches almost everything on the phone or on the Web simply by entering text. Just Type also houses a new killer feature called Quick Actions — essentially turning Just Type into a command line that can run virtually any action with user-defined shortcuts.
Exhibition will allow webOS 2.0 devices to run apps while on the Touchstone charging dock. ‘Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos.’
As far as social networking and contact services are concerned, webOS is still at the front of the pack. Synergy is still there ‘to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services’ and is now open ‘so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.’ The Messaging app has been updated to include Yahoo! IM and Facebook chat. Speaking of Facebook, version 2.0 of Palm’s Facebook client will be in the App Catalog soon and will support Stacks, Quick Actions, and Exhibition upon availability.
Other features of HP webOS 2.0 include a beta version of Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Bluetooth keyboard support, and a QuickOffice document viewer (replacing Documents To Go’s viewer) that integrates with your Google Docs and Dropbox accounts.
The official press release is available after the break.
It’s no longer a matter of if, but when we will see the Palm Pre 2 available for purchase. Earlier this week, French carrier SFR put up a web page (since removed, pictured after the break) touting the Palm Pre 2. Notable features include a 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, a flatter — presumably glass — screen, and the same pebble-inspired, vertical sliding form factor as the previous version. Oh yeah, and it will also be rocking webOS 2.0 on release. No word on whether the Pre 2 will up the screen resolution, but pictures of the tightly guarded Palm phone surfacing on MobiFrance (one above, the rest available in the MobiFrance link below) seem to suggest it will retain its 480 x 320 display.
Whether the Pre 2/webOS 2.0 duo will be enough to reignite interest in the flagging Palm brand — now owned by HP — remains to be seen. As a huge fan of webOS, I’m glad to see anything new from Palm, but I’m more interested in seeing what HP and the folks at Sunnyvale cook up in 2011.
That’s right. On October 28, you’ll be able to walk into a Verizon Wireless or AT&T store and walk out with an Apple iPad. Verizon will be selling the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi versions of Apple’s tablet bundled with a MiFi Mobile Hotspot for $629, $729, and $829 respectively. Data plans start at $20 for 1GB of data per month and are commitment-free.
AT&T will be matching Big Red’s prices on iPad hardware except that they are offering the 3G + WiFi models obviating the need for a separate device for mobile data. AT&T’s data plans are the same metered ones they introduced in June for smartphones: $15 for 250MB/mo or $25 for 2GB/mo. Note that AT&T’s data plans for iPad are also unfettered of the bonds of contractual obligation.
Officially unveiled at IFA at the beginning of the month, it was only a matter of time before Samsung gave us details on the US launch of its Android-based iPad competitor the Galaxy Tab. At a press conference in New York City on Thursday, Samsung revealed just how seriously it wants to be a player in the tablet market, announcing that it would release a version of the Galaxy Tab on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the coming months. It performed a similar feat with its Galaxy S line of Android smartphones, bringing slightly modified versions to each of America’s four largest mobile service providers within the course of a few months.
The Galaxy Tab is a 7″ 1024 x 600 TFT LCD capacitive display running Android 2.2 (Froyo) overlaid with a TouchWiz skin and has a 1GHz Hummingbird SoC under the hood. Each carrier will get the same hardware minus the cellular radio inside, although there will be several software tweaks to differentiate each version. The Galaxy Tab will support Adobe Flash Player 10.1 out of the box and includes Samsung’s Social Hub application designed to keep users connected. Launching alongside the device will be a new service dubbed Media Hub — Samsung’s attempt at an iTunes rival — that will serve as a competitively priced content portal for movies and TV shows. Media Hub will also allow up to five enabled devices to share purchased content.
No price has been announced for any US version of the Galaxy Tab. Unlocked versions around the world seem to be selling for around $1000, though carrier subsidies should take a hefty chunk off that price tag here in the States. Even still, it would require an additional contract and monthly fee to own a Galaxy Tab unless carriers announce some sort of phone/tablet package deal. You can also forget about using the Galaxy Tab as a phone since all US versions will have their cellular voice capabilities blocked. And for those on Sprint, there’s no WiMAX radio in yours and Qik will only run over WiFi.
It should be noted that a WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab is also planned to launch stateside for those averse to signing another contract. However, it remains to be seen whether Samsung can price it competitively enough to stave off would-be iPad owners this holiday season.
Samsung’s official press release is available after the break.
I’m surprised that it has taken this long for a US carrier to do this — and shocked that it was Big Red who took the lead — but with the recent success of prepaid cellular services here in the States, it was inevitable. Starting on September 28, Verizon Wireless prepay customers can sign up for an unlimited prepaid 3G data package for $30 per month. What makes this truly remarkable, though, is that you are not limited to the usual paltry selection of lackluster phones. All of Verizon’s Android phones, Palm’s Pre and Pixi Plus, and select BlackBerry models are available with the new plan. Sure, you still have to pay full retail price for the phone and add in minutes and text messages as needed, but that isn’t different from any other prepaid service. That you are getting a top-notch smartphone with prepaid service and no contract on the nation’s most reliable network is the game-changer here. Regardless of how you feel about Verizon, there is no question that this move fills a niche that can only net Big Red more green. Now, if only there were a prepaid data-only plan. Can you hear me now, Verizon?
With tablets becoming a hot item again with the introduction of Apple’s iPad earlier this year, it is no wonder that Verizon would like to cash in on one of its own during this holiday season. Boy Genius Report has found evidence by way of a screenshot of Verizon’s internal systems that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab — the big brother to the Galaxy S series of smartphones — is indeed coming to Big Red.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has made several teasing appearances online, will have a 7″ screen that runs Android 2.2 on a processor that is reportedly clocked at 1.3 GHz. There has been no definitive information on the resolution of the Galaxy Tab’s screen or whether it will feature Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology. Also no word on whether this is a Verizon exclusive.
The Galaxy Tab will most likely be Verizon’s inaugural tablet offering followed closely by a 10″ Motorola tablet running Android 3.0, aka Gingerbread, and perhaps an HTC tablet running Google’s Chrome OS. Both are rumored to have dual-core Snapdragon processors that will most likely be clocked around 1.5 – 2.0 GHz.
I think I speak for all webOS users when I say that we have been anxiously awaiting some killer hardware to replace the (gracefully) aging Pre and Pixi lines. There have been many rumors floating around for months, most notably on PreCentral, that a new webOS phone is in the pipeline, and even a quote back in April from Jon Rubinstein himself that Palm was ‘working fast and furious on new handsets’. Add Palm’s recent acquisition by HP — the largest technology company in the world — to the mix, and we have a recipe for rampant unsubstantiated claims.
What we know for sure is that new hardware is coming from Palm and so too is webOS 2.0. What we don’t know is when it will come, what carrier(s) will get it, and what specifications the device(s) will have. Two recent developments, however, seem to shed some more light on these questions.
The first development comes from Phone Arena which seems to have obtained a tentative lineup of Verizon’s handsets for the remainder of 2010. Slated for a mid to late October release — alongside the Samsung Fascinate, Blackberry’s Storm 3, and the Motorola Droid Pro — is none other than the Palm Pre 2. Unfortunately, no specifications are listed for said device.
The second development comes from Killin’ It Apps — a webOS developer — who tweeted a rather startling find from the developer logs of its popular game Cloud Hopper:
The resolution? 640 x 960. The device? Roadrunner HD. The webOS version? 2.0.
Although it is certainly possible that this is an elaborate hoax, it definitely seems like the Roadrunner HD — which may or may not sport a ‘retina display’ depending on screen size — is a reality. Whether it is the same phone as Verizon’s Palm Pre 2 — or perhaps a Sprint variant — remains to be seen. In any case, Palm fans have two more reasons to believe the next webOS phone is incoming before 2010 is out.