It seems the explosive growth of smartphone use has had some unintended consequences: U.S. carriers are moving towards tiered data. While some carriers have had "soft" caps for years, we've recently seen a move towards hard caps. "Tiered" plans have long been standard in other parts of the world, but the simple difference is that US carriers charge significantly more across the board - be it basic plans (just minutes), add-on's (such as texting), or data (whether used on a plan or as-you-go).
Update: According to two separate Verizon memos intercepted by Droid-life, existing Verizon customers can keep their existing data plan pricing when renewing or upgrading. Unfortunately, as with all offers of this type, just how long it will last remains to be seen. But, given that the BIONIC is coming some time soon-ish, it seems very likely that existing Verizon customers will be able to get the device without being forced into tiered data.
Nielsenwire released new smartphone figures this morning, with a focus on data consumption. Topping the list of the data consumers amongst the smartphone OS's was, of course, Android.
The average Android user utilizes 582MB (or roughly .6GB) of data per month - far less than what is allocated by any of the major carrier's plans. We often hear about consumers becoming feisty over data plan tier-ification or throttling, but how many people do these caps and throttles actually affect?
Nielson's latest statistics show little change over last month's, with Android, iOS, and BlackBerry holding first, second, and third place, respectively. Admittedly, the numbers for Android and iOS dropped a percent each to 36% and 26% while BlackBerry moved up a percent to 23%, but still - relatively unchanged.
However, this month's report included an interesting look at data usage. Perhaps due to the much larger community of power users, Android owners suck down 582 MB of data per month, 90 MB (18%) more than iOS (492 MB).
Earlier this month we told you that T-Mobile was working to revamp a couple of its pre-paid plans to include unlimited data, and that is finally official as of today.
(Note from David: Except, that data isn't really, truly unlimited. I mean, if you count 2G EDGE [which is what you get when you exceed your cap] as "data," then yes - you can have all the EDGE you can eat.
We knew it was coming. We've known for a while, in fact. But as summer draws near, reality is starting to set in: unlimited data is coming to an end on Verizon. For real. Here's what you need to know (based on what we know): Verizon's CFO told Reuters at a tech conference that tiered data will be implemented this summer, and that all unlimited data options will be eliminated.
On May 22, T-Mobile will be lifting the figurative data gate on its web70 and web50 plans, offering users unlimited data to go along with the unlimited talk and text that is already a part of the deal. As it stands right now, the web70 plan has a 2GB data cap, while the web50 plan only allows for a measly 100MB of data usage. While the latter will get the benefit of unlimited data, there will still be one restriction: the speed will be throttled after 100MB.
When I think of Sprint, the first thought that comes to mind is CEO Dan Hesse standing on a pier talking about being truly unlimited. I'm sure that he really does like the idea of being truly unlimited... but only when phones are concerned. You see, Sprint is reportedly going to take a different stance when it comes to data connection cards and embedded devices, such as tablets and netbooks.
NielsenWire has released yet another one of their bar and pie chart-filled smartphone surveys for the US this morning, and it's just more good news for Android. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the key stats Nielsen compiled:
Update #1: Skype is investigating the issue, we've been told.
Update #2: Skype's official first response can be found here.
The safety of our personal information is often a concern of mine - who has my email address, my phone number, my date of birth? How can I keep my private information safe while still enjoying the internet? These concerns have prompted me to take a deeper look at Android apps more than once, and often this can yield some frightening information.