4G is here - and it seems like all four of America's biggest carriers are more than happy to advertise the fact that they've got it. Sprint was first on the scene - offering their WiMax 4G, and T-Mobile shortly thereafter began its upgrade to HSPA+ technology. Verizon was next, providing mobile broadband LTE via USB dongle for laptops, though its much-awaited debut 4G handset, the Thunderbolt, has yet to hit shelves after numerous delays.
While we at Android Police don't exactly wait with bated breath to hear what Steve Jobs has to say at Apple announcements like the one for the iPad 2 today, we would be fooling ourselves to pretend that Apple products don't directly affect the market for Android devices. While an Android fan's first reaction to the latest iAnnouncement is often to (understandably) bash the smooth-talking fruit company from Cupertino, I believe that today's events could shake up the tablet market for the better.
If you began drooling from the very first murmurs of a "Pure Google" tablet running Android 3.0 'Honeycomb', to the buzz at CES, through the anticipation building up to launch: your day has arrived and you likely now have a Motorola XOOM in your hands. Congratulations. Of course that would be the $800 Verizon Motorola XOOM that's in your hands. But what about that $600 Wi-Fi-only XOOM? Not only is it not in anyone's hands, but there has yet to be a confirmed release date either.
Yesterday, CNN Money posted a rather interesting piece that posed the question: could Google become "your new phone carrier?" If you're anything like me (and I hope for your sake that you're not), your first response was "Google? A carrier? #$%^ Yeah!" But as awesome as I'm sure that would be, the more I think about it, the less likely it seems.
I'm not saying it won't happen. Hell, even the author of the article (David Goldman) doesn't seem sure of the idea.
That's right, carrier billing is now available for some Android users on the least Android-friendly wireless carrier in the US. Huzzah. I guess I shouldn't be so cynical - I am an AT&T customer, after all. Unfortunately, I also run CyanogenMod 6 on my AT&T Nexus One, and have not yet received any Market update to allow me to use carrier billing, and doubt I will until an official Gingerbread build coaxes me off my custom ROM goodness.
Allen Kiehl over at AndroidSpin has recently posted a pretty unbelievable tale about his experience with network issues on his G2 and what T-Mobile recommends he do about them. The story starts out pretty commonplace: he was experience network issues such as dropped calls, not receiving calls or text messages at all, and a finicky data connection. All of these are symptoms of a bad device, right? Wrong.
What happened next blew both Allen and myself away.
Lest you were under the impression that the only way to get your hands on one of Samsung's hot new 7-inch Android tablets would involve letting around $1,025 trickle out of your wallet, Telenor Sweden has just unveiled its pre-order page for the Galaxy Tab, which prices the device at the magical price of FREE!
Of course, there are some complications, such as the fact that this deal requires you to sign up for a new two-year contract and that you'll be coughing up 369 SEK (about $55) every month thanks to Telenor's Surfa Bas plan.
Well, Verizon is up to their old tricks again. Last time they did something worthy of a head-scratch was just a short time ago, when they forced Bing onto the Fascinate and abandoned the built-in Google bits and pieces for search.
Now they've decided that, in addition to Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Voice Search not being necessary, the Android MARKET is insufficient. Introducing the Vcast App Store!
In a short post on the Android developers blog, Googler Tim Bray let word out that the Android Market’s Developer Distribution Agreement had been updated in a significant way:
As a developer myself, one issue with the Android market has always been the payment methods…or rather, the lack thereof. Aside from Google Checkout and carrier billing for some companies within the US, there really aren’t a whole lot of options to consider, especially when dealing with the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement.
Well, as with all things in the world of technology, a company seems to have found a bit of a loophole in regards to carrier billing for developers, or more specifically, integrating it into their applications and games.