Tag Archive | "at&t"

AT&T Promises All Android Phones Released in 2011 to get Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Atrix Update Available Starting Today

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android version chartGood news for all Android owners: AT&T says that all Android devices that they offer that were introduced in 2011 will be upgraded to Android 2.3 gingerbread, and those updates start today beginning with AT&T’s version of the Motorola Atrix which they call the Atrix 4G.

You may be saying “What the heck, Ben, I’m not even on AT&T, this has nothing to do with me you jerk! inch Ah… but you should take a moment to realize that this is good news for anyone who uses an Android device, and I’ll tell you why.

According to Google, 80.5% of Android device’s that accessed the Android market over a 14 day period (ending July 5th) were still running Android 2.2 or below. Now that AT&T is announcing these updates for their phones, the pressure is on for other carriers to follow in their footsteps.

What we can only hope will ensue is competition between carriers to show that they have the best update record, and with this announcement, AT&T is about to be the leader in that regard. I’m doing my part by putting this news in the headlines in the hopes that Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other carriers around the world will realize that keeping devices updated in a timely manner is really important to the people purchasing these devices (you can do your part by spreading those headlines).

Having the latest firmware on Android means access to the latest features, the latest apps, and usually the most secure version of the software.

Google announced integrated video calling in Google Talk back in May, but only approx.. 2.2% of Android users were running firmware that could even use the new feature.

So you see my point… even though this particular bit of news might not impact you directly (if you aren’t on AT&T), it is one small step on the way to ensuring all Android devices are receiving timely updates.

Currently, 18.6% of devices accessing the Android Marketplace are running Android 2.3+ (this isn’t including Honeycomb [3.0+] devices), that’s way up from the 2.2% we saw back in May. Once Android 2.3+ devices pass the 50% mark, developers are going to begin expecting the tools and features available to them with 2.3+ and hopefully we’ll quickly see new Android devices being released with 2.3+ pre-installed instead of them being released then (hopefully) updated.

Anyway… AT&T announced, in one of the one of the only press releases I’ve ever seen with a funny title (“AT&T Customers to Enjoy Gingerbread inch), that the following devices will be updates to Android 2.3:

  • HTC Inspire 4G
  • LG Phoenix
  • Motorola ATRIX 4G
  • Pantech Crossover
  • Samsung Captivate
  • Samsung Infuse 4G

It’s nice to see a company releasing a press release that involves them actually doing something for their customers rather then simply making claims that they are better than their competitors.

It isn’t clear whether or not this has anything to do with the update alliance that Google is supposedly working on; I still think Google and partners need to market their update promises intelligently to target the majority of customers who don’t read tech blogs and don’t know which companies tend to update their devices.

When Will Apple Jump on the 4G Bandwagon?

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4gWe’re not into Apple rumors here at Carrypad, but what we are into is informed speculation. Join us for some healthy analysis about when and how Apple will make the move to 4G.

Based on Apple’s Q3 sales figures that were just released today, it’s clear that Apple is doing extremely well, even without a single 4G product in its stables.

This is interesting because 4G is one of the only areas where the iPhone and iPad are behind, rather than being ahead of, or at least on-par with, the competition.

For all intents and purposes, let’s consider HSPA+, LTE, and WiMax all ‘4G’ networks, as they’re all capable of delivering speeds that are well beyond earlier 3G connections.

The Competition

Verizon has now launched three 4G (LTE) smartphones, and is poised to launch at least one more (the Droid Bionic) toward the end of this summer. They also have the 4G enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as the Motorola Xoom which is supposedly going to be the recipient of a 4G hardware upgrade at some point. Additionally, they’ve got a 4G MiFi wireless hotspot and 4G USB modem. [See this article for a roadmap of Verizon’s upcoming 4G smartphones and devices].

AT&T has three 4G (HSPA+) smartphones currently launched, along with a 4G USB modem.

Sprint has fourteen 4G (WiMax) devices available. They’ve got smartphones, tablets, laptops, mobile hotspots, and USB modems. Though WiMax technically has the capability to support 4G speeds, the research I’ve done has indicated that Sprint’s WiMax is sorely lacking in speed, but I’m still putting it on the list because the tech that supports high speeds is already in place in these devices.

T-Mobile has claims to have twelve 4G (HSPA+) devices. They have 7 smartphones, 2 tablets, 2 USB modems, and a mobile hotspot.

What Form Will Apple 4G Come In?

Because Apple currently makes iPhone 4 and iPad 2 models for both AT&T Verizon, it holds that we’ll continue to see those two carriers supported for upcoming tablets and smartphones from Apple.

For the short term, AT&T is relying on HSPA+ to provide 4G speeds to its line of HSPA+ equipped phones; the company often sticks ‘4G’ to the end of the phone’s name to indicate the additional speed (even if some don’t consider HSPA+ to be ‘4G’ from a technical standpoint). In the long term, AT&T is planning on moving in the LTE direction starting this year.

Verizon jumped directly to 4G in the form of LTE, and they seem to have the best 4G speeds so far.

With the two currently supported carriers either already using LTE or eventually moving to LTE, my best guess is that Apple’s first 4G devices will be LTE compatible rather than WiMax or HSPA+, though as you’ll see below, we might end up with a combination of these.

Why Doesn’t Apple Already Have 4G When Others Do?

The technology for Apple to launch their devices with 4G exists, but I believe two factors have held Apple back so far.

Coverage
It doesn’t make sense for Apple to fork over additional money for 4G chipsets if the coverage isn’t already there. If Apple launched a 4G (LTE) iPhone 4 when it announced the Verizon iPhone back in January, it wouldn’t have had a big demographic to sell to because a relatively small number of areas where covered at the time. Passing on the price of 4G hardware to all customers, when only a small portion are actually in 4G covered areas, wouldn’t be good for Apple’s bottom line. It made more sense for them to keep the price attractive until 4G LTE sees widespread coverage.

Battery Life
Battery life on existing 4G LTE devices is still much shorter than 3G devices. I’ve been using the HTC Thunderbolt and LG Revolution and both 4G equipped devices from Verizon have had a hard time providing me with usable all day battery life. Battery life is a major concern for Apple, and I know that they aren’t willing to release a device without all day battery life under typical use.

With every release of the iPhone, Apple has increased performance and battery life. Releasing a 4G iPhone before the technology can come down to a reasonable power consumption level wouldn’t be acceptable for Apple.

When Will it Happen?

The real question is not if, but when. Apple has been wildly successful with the iPhone and iPad, even though the market is already brimming with 4G devices, but that won’t last forever.

Ideally, Apple would launch a 4G iPhone and 4G iPad when the two above factors, coverage and battery life, align. Unfortunately, Apple is now being pressured by all of the other 4G devices on the market.

Verizon’s 4G LTE forecast indicates that they hope to have their entire 3G network area covered with 4G LTE coverage by 2013.

AT&T is launching its first 4G LTE coverage areas this year, but the rollout is going to take time, and they’ll most likely be lagging behind Verizon in 4G LTE coverage in 2013.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be released in 2011, and the iPad 3 likely won’t come until 2012. In terms of coverage, the time is not ideal for Apple to launch a 4G iPhone 5 or 4G iPad 3.

I think that Apple would rather wait for two more product generations before releasing 4G devices (so that power consumption can come down and coverage can increase), which would mean 4G LTE compatibility with the iPhone 6 and iPad 4, but I doubt that they can wait that long.

An interim HSPA+ iPhone 5 might be more practical for Apple, but it would leave Verizon users in the rain as Verizon has no HSPA+ infrastructure.

A compromise could be for Apple to release a 4G (LTE) iPhone 5 on Verizon and a 4G (HSPA+) iPhone 5 on AT&T. I would expect that release in 2011, but the iPad 3 will likely not be released until 2012. At that time, LTE network coverage should be more favorable for AT&T, and Apple may launch a 4G (LTE) iPad 3 for both networks, then eventually bring LTE to their AT&T iPhone offering with the release of the iPhone 6 in 2012. This is a bit confusing in text, so I’ve put together a timeline (apologies if the large timeline runs off the screen on mobile browsers!):

apple 4g timeline

Some might see the release of a separate HSPA+ and LTE iPhone 5 and iPad 3 as unlikely, but it should be considered as Apple currently has two separate versions of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2, one for AT&T’s HSPA 3G network, and one for Verizon’s EVDO 3G network.

Though the LTE coverage is not quite optimal for the upcoming iPhone 5, Apple can’t ignore 4G as it’s starting to be expected from the latest phones (and every major US carrier is pushing the buzz word like their life depends on it). I can’t see Apple releasing the iPhone 5 without 4G, whether that be HSPA+ or LTE.

I would certainly reconsider purchasing the next iPhone if they release it without some form of 4G. How about our readers – does 4G availability influence your smartphone purchasing decisions?

Droid X vs. iPhone 4 – Speed Test

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Sunspider Javascript Benchmark

I ran the Sunspider javascript benchmark on both devices. While the benchmark is quite dependent on browser performance, it is also an indicator of CPU ability, as well as a cross-platform benchmark, allowing us to compare both the iPhone 4 and Droid X from a more objective perspective. I used the default browser on each phone for the test.

On average, the iPhone 4 was 1.3x as fast the Droid X (click to view detailed test results):

(smaller ms is better)
Droid X – Total: 13,511.2 ms +/- 1.2%
iPhone 4 – Total: 10,401.4 ms +/- 1%

I also gave the Sunspider benchmark a try using a different browser than Android’s default. I used Dolphin Browser HD to run the test and actually resulted in a slower score (around 16,000 ms).

Samsung Galaxy S Series and Captivate Unboxing

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galaxy s Samsung has four new Android phones that they are preparing to release for the four major US carriers. The list is as follows:

  • Captivate – AT&T (launches 7/18)
  • Vibrant – T-Mobile (launches 7/15)
  • Epic 4G – Sprint
  • Fascinate – Verizon

Each phone has it’s own styling but the Epic 4G stands out the most as it is the only one featuring a sliding QWERTY keyboard and 4G connectivity. The Captivate and Vibrant have HSDPA (7.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76 Mbps), and the Fascinate will likely have EVDO Rev. A, and all three lack a hardware keyboard:

epic 4g captivate vibrantfascinate

All four of these devices have a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8/16GB of internal storage, and a microSD slot for expansion of up to an additional 32GB. All four also run Android 2.1 with Samsung’s custom TouchWiz UI, and are capable of 720p HD recording with their 5MP autofocus cameras. Included in the UI is a Swype keyboard, which our very own Guy demoed for you earlier this week.

super amoled Samsung is really pushing the displays on these phones which are 4 inch @ 800×480 and using Samsung’s own Super AMOLED displays which they claim to have better and brighter colors than any other phone on the market, as well as a full 180 degree viewing angle – something that we’ve seen with the iPhone 4’s IPS display.

Tnkgrl has an fresh unboxing of the Samsung Captivate, shown below. Also be sure to head to her site for the Captivate’s first power on video.

Mobinnova Beam Tegra 2 smartbook coming to AT&T

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I had a demo of the Mobinnova Beam at CES last week and I have to say, it was one of the coolest UI demos I saw all week. Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform will do a good job of enabling a dynamic UI but the question always remains; when you’ve finished messing around with the 3D UI, what then? Customers have no idea what an ARM-based netbook can do and much like it is in the smartphone world will be forced to rely on advertising, branding, word of mouth and online reviews which is probably why the Beam will switch to Android when it comes to AT&T as a product. Without that comfort-blanket, the Beam would be an unknown quantity.

Netbooknews.de is relaying the CES announcement from Mobinnova which gives some more details about the Mobinnova Beam and confirmation that the Beam is coming to AT&T

4268973737_51c68f1b08
Mobinnova Beam product page

Specifications:

  • Screen: 8.9 inch 1024×600 Non-touch
  • RAM: 512M
  • Storage: 8-64GB
  • Comms: Wifi b/g, BT2.1, HSDPA
  • USB 2.0 x 2
  • Mic In, Line out
  • Expansion port  for VGA and ethernet adaptor
  • SDHC card slot
  • HDMI out
  • SIM card slot
  • OS: Android

But will this be the Android you have come to love? will it be Google Android with marketplace, contacts syncing and all the rest of the Google goodness or will it be a vanilla Android build without a marketplace? If it’s a true Google Android, it means that Google are now approving non-voice devices, a great step forward for the ARM-based tablet and smartbook market.

Next question: Price?

Mobinnova Beam press release.(PDF)

‘Smartbook’ in Germany is property of Smartbook A.G. They sell netbooks.

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