Now here's a novel idea - a carrier actually helping you save money on your bill. That's exactly what US Cellular is providing with a new app that just landed in the Play Store.
Basically, the app sits idly in the background, watching for "partner" Wi-Fi hotspots. Once it locates one, it automatically connects, which ultimately saves you, the customer, money on your bill (or at least conserves some data). Pretty rad, no?
Republic Wireless, the wireless carrier that prefers WiFi for most of its connections, and utilizes Sprint 3G in the interim, has announced that it's ready to take on new customers. The company reported that "Wave A", which consists of an unspecified number of users, has been a resounding success and that they believe they've found a model on which a $19/month unlimited everything plan is sustainable.
Today marks an important milestone for republic wireless.
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
Today's Google Earth announcement brought a couple of nice new features to the Google Maps suite. In addition to moving offline maps out of Labs, the company also pre-empted rumors of Apple-branded 3D map software with a demo of some stellar 3D maps that Google has been creating with high-tech camera planes. Yes, Google now has camera planes.
The company is using some sophisticated mapping software and planes outfitted with a bevy of camera sensors to create photo-realistic 3D maps of the entire terrain of a metropolitan area.
Open Garden is hands down one of the most impressive apps I've seen this year. The app, first introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012 as the startup that would go on to win the conference title of Most Innovative Startup, allows users to create an "open garden" of internet connectivity for multiple devices to share. The startup's official website explains it this way:
The operators sell us fancy handsets, but behave as if broken networks are a fact of life.
A few days ago, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed that the cellular industry would be moving towards data-only plans in the next few years, rather than the separated voice, message, and data system that is used today. Under the new system, voice and messages would be billed as data.
We've reported on AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's ideas on "toll-free" data usage, but it looks like he's expecting another big shift in data plans - the availability of data-only cellphone plans.
Indicating that we could expect such plans to arrive within two years' time, Stephenson said that text messages and phone calls "would be considered just another form of data." So, instead of having limits on minutes, text messages, and data usage, all would be combined under a single counter.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference, teased a possible solution for customers who feel beleaguered by tiered data, and who have been avoiding data-heavy services due to plan limitations.
Stephenson suggested that, as part of new "toll free" data plans, certain data-hungry services' traffic would be excluded from users' monthly data allotment, meaning that services like, for example, Netflix, could be used without eating up your entire data plan.
The CEO of AT&T's mobile business, Ralph de la Vega, told CNET in an interview that the company is working on family data plans that would give consumers one big pot of data that all devices could share. While minute plans have worked this way for years, since tiered data came along, customers have been waiting on a way to pool their data.
No details are available on how the plans will work, or how it will affect subsidized devices.
Remember that problem Galaxy Nexus devices were having on Sprint where owners couldn't get any connection to any data network at all? Well, if you happened to be one of those owners, how could you forget? Worry not, though! Sprint just announced it will be rolling out a fix over "a 1-2 day period."
You'll need to be connected to a WiFi network to do anything (though this shouldn't be new to you if you're affected by this problem).