Posts tagged AT&T
Probably one of the chief reasons that the major mobile carriers in the United States have been mum about the Samsung Galaxy S II’s arrival on American shores is that the blockbuster Samsung smartphone is not arriving at all as the black slab of beauty and power that the rest of the world has come to know and love. Instead, a Samsung Galaxy S II variant bearing a slide-out horizontal QWERTY keyboard is heading to U.S. mobile carriers–the one that’s heading to AT&T anyway.
The latest word says Verizon will be the first to get its hands on the Samsung Galaxy S II, to be called the Samsung Function, with handsets appearing in Verizon stores as early as August 12. Daryl Deino of Examiner.com quoted Paul Mueller, an industry analyst based in Los Angeles, who tweeted that the Samsung Function “will arrive first on Verizon and then the rest of the carriers within a month. Samsung will market this directly against the iPhone 5.” We have yet to verify whether the Verizon version will be the same variant as AT&T is getting or the same plain candybar as the rest of the world saw.
Meanwhile, photos of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S II slider QWERTY variant expected to reach AT&T next month have cropped up. Tech blog Boy Genius Report has gathered exclusive live images of the handset and its keyboard. The device will take on the name Samsung Attain on AT&T, according to earlier reports, although that currently stays within the realm of rumor and speculation.
The leaked photos show the device’s model number as SGH-I927, with Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread onboard. The keys on the 4-row QWERTY keyboard are floating, completely separate from one another, flat rather than domed, and generously spaced apart. QWERTY lovers will probably love the spacing between keys, as that would mean avoiding accidental hitting of two keys at a time.
The back cover has a rubber-like stud-textured finish–not quite like the one on the original Samsung Galaxy S II, whose back cover we find to be more elegant-looking. The camera array is wider than in the original S II and also houses what seems to be the phone’s speakers.
The AT&T variant of the Samsung Galaxy S II will expectedly be thicker than the original Galaxy S II because of the slider keyboard, although Boy Genius Report finds the phone’s depth to be still relatively thinner than other slide-out QWERTY smartphones.
All the other delicious hardware specs in the original Samsung Galaxy S II seems to be intact in the AT&T variant–that is, the dual-core 1.2-GHz processor (some rumors say the clock speed will be raised to 1.4 GHz, allegedly to take the iPhone 5 head-on), 1 GB of RAM, 8-megapixel primary camera, 2-megapixel secondary camera, and 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen.
Reactions about the presence of a QWERTY keyboard on the U.S. variant of the Samsung Galaxy S II have been mixed. Some love it, other’s don’t. What about you? Do you want your Samsung Galaxy S II with or without a sliding QWERTY?
BGR has exclusively learned that AT&T has begun communicating launch plans internally for Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5 handset. We have been told that AT&T has begun informing employees across the company, and those who work in retail locations, to finish any sort of employee training as soon as possible. AT&T is asking managers to finish training in order to have employees available for the influx of foot traffic expected in September, a proven source has shared with us. Other reports indicate that Apple is looking to hire additional Apple Store staff to be on hand for “new product launches” during the same period of time, further supporting our information. Apple is expected to announce the company’s next-generation iPhone at the end of August, with a launch to follow in the first half of September.
The decision was widely expected as antitrust enforcers typically give close scrutiny to big deals that involve large market shares.
Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona declined to confirm that the antitrust division had deepened its probe. "Our investigation is ongoing," she added.
AT&T’s $39 billion bid to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA would concentrate 80 percent of U.S. wireless contract customers in just two companies: AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.
AT&T is currently the No. 2 U.S. mobile carrier behind Verizon.
In assessing whether mergers are legal, the U.S. Justice Department can take a quick look at a deal and approve it within 30 days, a process called an early termination. Or it can issue a so-called second request, indicating that the antitrust investigation is likely to be prolonged.
Because of the size of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, and because the companies are major players, it was always expected that the Justice Department would take months before signing off on the deal or deciding to challenge it.
The Federal Communications Commission must also approve the deal before it can go forward.
AT&T Inc rivals like Sprint Nextel Corp — in hopes of derailing the purchase — have asked U.S. regulators to combine a review of AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA with their examination of its plan to buy wireless airwaves from Qualcomm Inc.
AT&T agreed in December to pay Qualcomm $1.93 billion for airwaves.
Sprint, Cincinnati Bell Inc, MetroPCS Communications Inc and Ntelos Holdings Corp say the FCC should look at the cumulative impact of both deals to U.S. mobile competition, rather than running separate reviews.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that its first major Windows Phone update — dubbed NoDo — is being pushed to users’ handsets. Sixteen Windows Phone devices from over a dozen countries have, or will have, the update — which finally brings copy & paste functionality — in the coming days. Users in the United States, however, still have a bit of waiting to do. According to a new status page setup by the company, T-Mobile’s pair of Windows Phones — the Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7 — are currently in the “scheduling” phase. This procedure typically takes “10 days or less,” according to Microsoft, at which point the update will begin rolling out to handsets. AT&T’s trio of Windows Phones — the Samsung Focus, the LG Quantum, and HTC Surround — are currently in the “testing” stage. Microsoft explains that phones with this distinction are “undergoing mobile operator network and quality tests,” but does not provide an estimated time of completion for this step. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, at one point championed the fact that updates to the Windows Phone operating system would be delivered by his company, not wireless carriers. While Microsoft may be the one delivering the bits, it looks like U.S. mobile operators are still finding ways to slow things down.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, an anonymous Federal Communications Commission official said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of Deutsche Telecom-owned T-Mobile USA, and that the approval process will be “a steep climb at least.” The FCC official went on to say that the FCC has not even started to evaluate the deal and that it will be scrutinized and denied or accepted based on whether or not it will be in the best interest of consumers. Similar deals have been doubted before, though, and the WSJ points to the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite radio, which FCC chairman Kevin Martin said would be a high hurdle to approve back in 2007. Current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Tuesday during his speech at the CTIA Wireless 2011 trade show, which we live blogged, that “healthy competition produces greater innovation and investment, lower prices, and better service.” AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile is seen as likely decreasing the amount of competition in the U.S. wireless market, with just three major carriers competing for customers. But Genachowski has yet to comment on the acquisition proposal. As we said in an earlier editorial, T-Mobile customers could come out on top with this deal — if it ends up being approved.
AT&T recently began the big push to start promoting their 4G network and phones. Their company website boasts, “With 4G from AT&T, you can do more, see more, and enjoy more on what is already the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network.”
It sounds wonderful, but make sure you read the fine print.
Buried at the bottom of their site it reads, “4G speeds require a 4G device and are delivered when HSPA+ technology is combined with enhanced backhaul. 4G speeds available in limited areas with availability increasing with ongoing backhaul deployment.”
Earlier this year AT&T announced they had deployed HSPA+ to virtually 100% of their mobile broadband network, but only a handful of cities have the advanced backhaul to deliver 4G speeds. It appears that around a dozen markets have 4G speeds according to AT&T’s network map.
Current areas with 4G coverage include:
- Northern California
- Bay Area, CA
- Greater Los Angeles, CA
- Greater Dallas, TX
- Houston, TX
- Chicago, IL
- Charolette, NC
- Baltimore, MD
- Buffalo, NY
- Boston, MA
- Providence, RI
- Puerto Rico
We don’t know when 4G speeds will be coming to other markets, but AT&T says they hope to have 2/3 of their mobile traffic be delivered over their enhanced backhaul by the end of 2011.
Another disappointing fact about AT&T’s 4G network is that their only two 4G handsets, the Atrix 4G and Inspire 4G, both have High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) disabled at this time. That means the upload speeds on AT&T’s 4G phones are limited to a rather slow 300 kbps, while older 3G phones like the iPhone 4 can deliver upload speeds in excess of 1.5 Mbps (5x faster).
Users who have hacked the Inspire 4G and loaded custom ROMs were able to enable HSUPA and “unlock” the device’s true 4G speeds, so we know the hardware is capable delivering what was promised.
Thankfully AT&T can turn on the “4G speeds” of their 4G devices with a simple firmware upgrade, but users will still have to be in one of the limited markets with enhanced backhaul to experience the faster performance.
For now, AT&T 4G is major disappointment.
Via Facebook, AT&T has made its second major Android operating system update announcement in as many days. The subject of today’s post: the HTC Aria. AT&T has informed its friends that an Android 2.2 (Froyo) update for HTC’s mid-level Aria handset will be ready for public consumption beginning tomorrow. Ma’ Bell is asking eager Aria owners to hit up the company’s Facebook page tomorrow for download instructions.