Verizon just announced it will be offering Samsung’s new tablet at a lofty $600 price tag. I’ll bet that Big V will also offer it at a more attractive price, with a long contract.
Verizon Wireless and Samsung announced today that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab
will be available starting Nov. 11. Verizon will be offering the tablet
computer for $599.99 with a $20 monthly plan that includes 1GB data
with no contact commitment. The Tab will come with both Wi-Fi and 3G
capabilities. Verizon has not yet mentioned if additional data plans
will be offered, as are now planned for the iPad. (Digital Trends)
The big carriers have already successfully locked down the best smart phones with semi exclusive contracts that have kept them off the more competitive prepaid carriers’ shelves. They’ve also kept the prices on these handsets high, and they’ve made it nearly impossible to use the same handset on a competing carriers network. Worst of all the Wireless Cartel has crippled smart phone features, making them less useful as productivity devices. Now, it’s beginning to look like we’ll have no competitive market for 3G / 4G tablets, we’ll also be stuck with the original carrier’s network.
The last FCC chair, for all of his faults, was pretty clear in his intentions to get the carriers off the locked hardware / exclusive contact scam. After all it does have the elements of anti trust, price fixing and forming a cartel. The current chair seems to be more interested in expanding the FCC’s power rather than using it to protect the consumer. This could mean if you want a reasonably priced tablet with the freedom to move from one wireless provider to the next, you’d better learn to love public Wifi as your provider of choice.
Its a competition unlike any other. A competition offered by the Army to use applications developed for cell phones in the combat theatre. Its different another way too — its not limited to the usual bezy of DoD contractors. Anybody can play. –
Cellphone technology is gearing up to go to war. From defense giants like Lockheed Martin, which rolled out a new militarized mobile network this morning, to the start-up tech firm Berico Tailored Systems and even individuals, a diverse range of players is pursuing an equally wide range of approaches.
The most basic approach is that of “Apps for Army” (A4A), a contest held by the Army to develop new military-specific applications for the personal cellphones that many soldiers already have.
But civilian phones rarely work in a war zone: If you think your reception is bad, try getting a signal in rural Afghanistan. Forward bases in devastated countries don’t have access to the billions of dollars in very static infrastructure that civilian mobile devices require, and the Taliban routinely shuts down cell towers with threats and sabotage. Current military network devices require so much power and weight that they are only practical at fixed command posts or on vehicles; soldiers on foot scream into staticky handheld radios the old-fashioned way. So the critical problem in bringing handheld devices to troops in the field is how to get them on the network.
Dare not call is open source, surely the govt would close source any winner for security reasons once selected. So maybe it should be called Open Sourcing? Anyway it is very novel and far from the usual way of gaining DoD business.
While the tech media lemmings continue to push a plethora of praise the the decidedly totalitarian Fruit Phone, consumers are voting with their dollars elsewhere. Open source makes for tremendous efficiency in the implementation an build process enabling a variety of choices versus a monoculture. This has created so much momentum behind Andriod, that it’s mobile OS dominance has become something akin to Microsoft’s practical monopoly on the desktop.
Google’s Android platform has gone from activating 100,000 units a day in May, to 200,000 daily units as of today, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Schmidt was speaking to journalists (pictured above) at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA, and the technology blog TechCrunch managed to get some video of the chat (see below).
The activation growth shows impressive progress for Google’s mobile OS in the span of just a few months. Schmidt pointed to recent quarterly shipment numbers that showed Android phones outselling the iPhone in the last quarter as proof and said that he confirmed the number with Google’s own internal figures. (Mobile Beat)
While Android is open source, there are some big caveats that come with its dominance. It will be the top target for exploits. We still haven’t developed an effective way of policing them on the desktop, and many mobile users tend to be even less tech savvy than desktop users. Then there’s the fact that while the platform is open, implementation is crippled by carriers.That limits users choices on how they use their handsets and allows carriers to continue to nickel and dime them for simple services that could be replaced by simple apps. Lastly, the Andriod project, while open is overseen by Google. Many of us will argue that this “do no evil” company is anything but. Searchzilla continues to unapologetically cook its search results to favor a political agenda along with pay for placement. Worse yet, Google’s CEO has repeatedly stated that we have no right to privacy online. It’s virtually certain that some of this attitude will be baked into Andriod if it’s not already present.
There is a silver lining. Open source projects tend to spawn forks and branches when the overseers overstep. Andriod and its inevitable variants are likely to dominate mobile for some time to come. This will put Apple back in the boutique business for mobile. In other words, if smart phones were shirts, we won’t all be forced to wear turtlenecks. It will also most likely make Google’s Chrome OS irrelevant.
Conclusion: look for the cloud in your pocket, soon,and cheap. It also means you’ll have many more choices than you have now.
In a world loaded with technology we act like campers swatting flies with 19th century band allocations. –
The problem is that we’re all locked into the spectrum offered by a single cell phone carrier, and our phones can’t even access most of the wifi hotspots that are in range, much less use them to make calls.
As Yap et al. outline in a provocative new paper entitled Delivering Capacity for the Mobile Internet by Stitching Together Networks, this leads to all sorts of inefficiencies that could be solved by a network ruled by standards that allowed devices to be agnostic about which portion of the wireless spectrum they are currently using:
– Increased capacity through more efficient statistical sharing. Cellular network operators tend to heavily over-provision their network in order to handle times of peak load and congestion. Most of the time, the net- work is lightly loaded. If instead they were able to hand off traffic to each other, or from cellular to WiFi networks, then their traffic load would be smoother, and their network more efficient. For example, what if AT&T could re-route traffic from their iPhone users to T-Mobile during an overload? Or T-Mobile could re- route their customers’ flows to a nearby WiFi hotspot?
– Exploit differences in technologies and frequency bands. Mobile technologies such as EVDO and HSPA provide wide area coverage with consistent bandwidth guaran- tees; while technologies like WiFi provide high band- width and low latency. Lower frequencies provides better coverage and penetration; while higher frequen- cies provides better spatial reuse. Being able to use the most appropriate technology for the application at hand would make best use of capacity available.
– Open up new sources of capacity. The ability to move between networks also open up new sources of capacity. For example, one can now use a network such as that of fon.com to supplement their main network, without having to deploy an extensive WiFi network. Such crowd-sourcing can be a powerful tool to cover dead spots and relieve congestion.
ThirdPipe has observed this since it started posting. We have advocated a technical solution set that included opening up the bands, requiring intelligent spread spectrum devices. We could open up that other 95% of the bandwidth not currently being utilized. Prices would drop, additional services can be had and disasters like the AT&T 4G debacle in places like New York City.
For those of the geeky variety, and not so, starting today McDonalds open up its WiFi to all comers. Free. With some catches.
Access is free. So general surfing will be available. According to McD’s web page (here) certain services and particular access needs may still require paying for the privilege. But I am fine with that. It is a step in the right direction.
McD’s being altruistic? Not totally. Their heart is in the right place, but their core reason is profit of course. You see McD’s has been in a battle Royale with StarBucks in the morning fast food segment going on 5 years now. Both players have toyed with the idea of going free on WiFi. Fact in some segments I believe StarBucks has already done so. Why do it? Draw customers in. Once they have you inside you might just buy a cup of coffee at a minimum or pop for a whole meal in the best of cases. Least thats the thinking.
This won’t go unnoticed of course. Figure StarBucks to counter across the board very quickly.
The real question becomes does WiFi stay viable for very long? In a strong parallel, WiFi hotspots are the 21st Century equivalent of the pay phone. Useful sure. But you are ‘parked’ till you finish your communications. Yet the growth of smartphones are anathema to that model as the CPE are tied to metrowide cellular/3g/4g services unrelated to specific locale. So WiFi services that McD’s is providing will fade just like the wall payphone at the local tavern did.
That is pulling the plug on POTS. You know that little jingly thing your mother and grandmother still use at lifeline rates? Yes its still out there but dwindling by the day. So what happens? –
In response to a Notice of Inquiry released by the FCC to explore how to transition to a purely IP-based communications network, AT&T has declared that it’s time to cut the cord. AT&T told the FCC that the death of landlines is a matter of when , not if, and asked that a firm deadline be set for pulling the plug.
AT&T tells the FCC that supporting traditional POTS landlines is impeding investment in broadband, VoIP, and wireless services.AT&T said in its response to the FCC that “with each passing day, more and more communications services migrate to broadband and IP-based services, leaving the public switched telephone network (“PSTN”) and plain-old telephone service (“POTS”) as relics of a by-gone era.”
It also stated “It makes no sense to require service providers to operate and maintain two distinct networks when technology and consumer preferences have made one of them increasingly obsolete.”
Is AT&T right? Yes. The fact is Central Office based systems have long lead times and nearly as long tax treatment. Most of the majors were using 19/20yr MACRS or ACRS depreciation on the capital investment as that was agreed to by both the industry and the IRS as appropriate, circa 1950′s. Little has changed on that front ever since. But that poses a problem for say Version who just put a new CO remote in 5 years ago. (Rare as that is.) So how would that install be treated? Under the current rules an accelerated recapture would take place for junking the equipment. That’s a major hit when you consider that even today CO investments are in the billions. So the Telcos would push for tax relief if devaluation ever happened.
My gut says not so fast. Even though what AT&T says is true I have the tingly feeling in the back of my head that it won’t work out that way. AT&T would take the revised recapture relief to the bank, not do any more R&D/advanced services/VOIP/network upgrades, then cry poor mouth all the way into the CEO’s pocket. I am not against AT&T, its just how these guys have operated for years. I have been in the belly of this beast to know better.
There of course is another fly in the ointment to a devaluation of CO networks. I call it the other 1200. That is approximately how many phone companies there are in this country. Most are small operators, functioning as COOPs in rural territory that none of the majors even want to touch. At a minimum there would have to be some sort of relief offered to these companies. At a minimum most would require a DSLAM to get their customers on to VOIP. Most likely SBA enhanced funding would have to be offered at 0% interest to these companies. To date I have not heard of any plans to do so.
Devaluing the POTS network has to happen. We need to realize that as soon as possible. We also need to make sure that in the switch serious profit taking does not occur. Compensation where needed, support where required, but in the end it should be a net-net wash.