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?
I've been thinking about writing this editorial for some time now. And today, with the announcement of Panasonic's upcoming Toughbook Android tablet, I finally decided to go for it. The point this article is trying to make may not be abundantly clear in the title, so let me see if I can get it across as a question: Is it just me, or are there a suspiciously large number of companies in or planning to enter the Android tablet market?
If you've been watching the blogosphere over the last few days, you might have seen an article or two about a "complaint" filed with the FCC over Verizon's block on tethering applications in the Android Market.
The complainant's argument goes something like this: Verizon purchased the 700MHz spectrum ("block C" of the spectrum) back in 2007, and that spectrum is now used by Verizon for its 4G LTE service. That purchase, ala Google and other net neutrality lobbyists, came with one seemingly large caveat: Verizon (or AT&T, or anyone who bought in that spectrum) could not "deny, limit, or restrict" the phones using that spectrum in particular ways: phones must be carrier unlocked, able to access all parts of the web, and run any software.
Update 3: ZodTTD, developer of several well-known emulators, recently met a similar fate as yongzh - both his Market account and his apps were removed. Today, he decided to clarify a few things in a blog post, noting that the removal of the apps was not due to an open source violation but rather came as a result of a trademark infringement letter from Sony to Google concerning PSX4Droid's icon.
You've all probably heard bits and pieces of news about a company called Lodsys in the last couple of weeks, (they've been "patent trolling" iOS app developers) even if you don't really keep up on all things fruit-related. If you're not familiar with the story, let me give you a quick rundown.
Lodsys is what we affectionately refer to as a "patent troll" - a company that buys up promising and often vague or [overly] broad patents in a hope of using them to threaten to sue the pants off people that they know might be infringing on them.
The PayPal and Google lawsuit is just another one of Google's seemingly endless big-name legal tangles over the last couple of years. Why is Google litigation such a frequent topic?
At least in part, it's because Google has one of the most aggressive stances towards litigation of any member of the tech industry. Google's reputation for taking its battles to court has become almost notorious (well, except for the "Buzz" incident) - regardless of cost or, sometimes, likelihood of victory.
Update 3: Swype has contacted us to clarify the following:
Swype does not, and will not ever make money off of the data it collects from you. They do not sell ads. They do not sell information. The comment made on the CM review forum was a generalization about the larger Android app developer community, and in no way was intended to imply that Swype uses your data for ad revenue.
Last month, Microsoft took bookseller Barnes & Noble, the company responsible for the Nook and Nook Color, to court over some patents infringed because B&N used the Android operating system in the Nook and Nook Color. This is definitely nothing new in the world of mobile devices. It happens all the time, especially with companies like Apple and Microsoft trying to take complete dominance of every arena they enter. That's not the big story here.