Tag Archives | T-Mobile

T-Mobile to Sell Networked Picture Frames

T-Mobile CameoJackie Emigh over at BetaNews has the details on a very interesting proposition: a digital picture frame with it’s own phone number. T-Mobile has teamed up with Parrot to offer the Cameo, which would allow users to simply message the device with pictures, which would then be displayed on the frame.

The T-Mobile Cameo will sell for a fairly reasonable price of $99.99. A $9.99 monthly service charge would be required in order for the picture frame to work, and users would have the choice of either using MMS or e-mail to send pictures to the device.

While it’s (slightly) gimmicky, it certainly has some promising uses. These digital photo frame companies have long promoted these devices as a way to keep distant loved ones closer by allowing us to send them pictures and whatnot.

The problem has always been that these devices needed a Wi-Fi connection or a landline. I know it’s hard to believe but among some segments of the population Internet connectivity, much less Wi-Fi, is not very common.

Add to this the fact that significant numbers of us have also dropped our landlines and you see where I’m going with this.

Hats off to T-mobile and Parrot for a bit of forward thinking with this. I guess we will see if there is really a market for these connected picture frame devices, eh? One thing we’ll have to worry about is actually having service where we live — T-Mobile has been known to have signal issues within buildings, and in some areas there is no service at all.

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T-Mobile’s G1 Android Phone: The Reviews Are In

T-Mobile’s G1, the first phone to use Google’s Android operating system, doesn’t go officially on sale until October 22nd. But a bunch of reviews ave hit the Web. And since I don’t have a G1–I’m hoping to remedy that–I’ve been reading other folks’ takes on the device.

After the jump, highly-compressed summaries of three of the reviews I’ve checked out so far.

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T-Mobile Relents, G1 Bandwidth Caps No More

Well, that was quick. Not much more than a day after it first disclosed a 1GB bandwidth cap for users of the G1 Android phone, T-Mobile USA did an about-face and has decided to not enforce any kind of restriction after all.

In a response to questions by the New York Times’ Saul Hansell, T-Mobile said Wednesday night that it had decided to remove the cap. Courtesy of the Bits blog, here is a portion of their statement:

We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network. The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers.

Like I had said in our initial post on the subject, T-Mobile does have a right to ensure that all users get a satisfactory level of service, which the carrier argued as well. But at the same time, bandwidth caps have been almost universally criticized, and would have done more harm to T-Mobile than good.

The removal of the cap isn’t the end of the road, however. T-Mobile is looking into other ways to protect its network from high-bandwidth users, it said.

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Google, Apple, and the War for Developers

On Tuesday morning, months of anticipation, speculation, software controversy, and hardware rumors came to a head as T-Mobile executives and Google’s top brass unveiled the G1, the first “Googlephone.” As reporters and bloggers got their hands on the detailed specifications about the device, the software, and the terms of service, hundreds of inevitable comparisons were drawn between the iPhone and this fledgling product. But the differences between the two platforms go far beyond simple differences in specs.

Google is pursuing a decidedly different market strategy with Android. The brilliance of Apple’s iPhone strategy–besides the fact that the phone itself is so compelling–was in the sequence of announcements. You can bet your last share of Lehman stock that Steve Jobs had the App Store and iPhone SDK planned from the start, but did not release them initially on purpose. Apple first announced the iPhone in January of 2007, wowed the tech community, built up six months of hot anticipation, and released it in June of the same year. Its market share immediately exploded, well beyond initial predictions, grabbing percentage points in the double digits within months.

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Won’t Someone Build an Android-Based Anti-iPhone?

So T-Mobile’s G1 has been unveiled. It looks neat–and it looks like the most serious rival to the iPhone yet, though the BlackBerry Bold could be a contender once AT&T starts selling the darn thing.

What the G1 doesn’t seem to be is transcendent–a phone that’s as impressive as the iPhone, but in different ways. And the world could use such a phone. Some stuff about the iPhone is a matter of personal preference: Lots of folks are OK with the onscreen keyboard, but there are at least as many hardcore smartphone users who won’t ever buy a phone that doesn’t have (to quote Steve Jobs) little plastic keys.

Then there are the things about the iPhone that may stress out even Apple’s biggest fans, such as the company’s monopoly on application distribution and its mysterious, troubling policies on what does and doesn’t get in. All in all, I think there’s an opportunity for somebody to build a phone that’s the opposite of an iPhone in some ways, and better than an iPhone in others, and maybe even open in ways that no phone has been to date. And Google’s Android OS seems like the best platform to build it on.

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Twelve Questions I Still Have About the T-Mobile G1 and Android

We now know a heck of a lot more about T-Mobile’s G1–the first “Googlephone”–than we did last night. But the phone won’t show up for almost another month. So unless you’re lucky enough to be one of the few folks who has one now–such as Walt Mossberg–it’s impossible to answer the most important question about the phone. Which is, of course, “Is it any good?” (Actually even Walt is reserving judgement, although he’s pretty positive overall.)

That leaves plenty of time to ask questions about the phone and the Android OS it’s based on. Such as…

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T-Mobile Appears to Be Set To Throttle G1 Users

You’d think T-Mobile would have learned from all the hubbub surrounding the Comcast bandwidth throttling mess, and Rogers’ fights with Canadian customers over its paltry iPhone 3G plans. Customers want their data, and they want it unlimited and unfettered. But maybe they haven’t gotten the memo.

Fine print on the carrier’s page for the device may give some pause, especially for the heavy data users among us.

If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.”

While of course the company is well within its rights to attempt to keep service available for all of its users, the data limits stink. A majority of users will probably never make it to 1GB of data, I’ve been able to use 600MB easy in a month on my iPhone, and I know others who’ve used far more. Getting throttled, especially after I am paying a premium for faster data, would anger me quite a bit.

I’ve done a search through AT&T’s policies for the iPhone and cannot find a similar policy for the iPhone. When Canada’s Rogers came out in July with its meager data plans which capped data at 1GB (that is for data included in the plan), they were rightly criticized for it.

One thing is for sure — T-Mobile shouldn’t be advertising this as an “unlimited 3G data,” because technically that¬† isn’t true true. I guess it remains to be seen how aggressively they’ll police this. Don’t be surprised if users begin to complain quite vocally if the carrier has a heavy hand.

We’ve got a request in for official comment, and we’ll update this post if and when we hear back.


The T-Grid: T-Mobile’s G1 Android Phone vs. the iPhone

It was all but official for what seemed like an eternity. Now it’s just official, period: T-Mobile is releasing the G1, the first phone powered by Google’s Android operating system. It’s essentially impossible to not instinctively compare it to the iPhone 3G. With phones more than almost any other technology device, the devil is in the details, and the best thing about the iPhone–its incredibly refined user interface–needs to be experienced to be appreciated. So a real comparison of the two superphones will need to be a hands-on one.

Still, there’s some value in a simple features comparison. Here’s my first stab at one, with data from sources such as Gizmodo’s writeup of the G1. (What’s a T-Grid? It’s an at-a-glance comparison in this format, and we’ll be doing them on other topics as appropriate.)

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Another Day, Another Convenient G-Phone Leak

I have to hand it to the folks at Google/HTC, they are playing the media game well. Today’s rumor du jour about the first phone based on Google’s Android operating system comes from the pages of the Wall Street Journal, who does the “sources close to the matter” bit and says that the HTC Dream is due out in late October. A formal announcement appears to be set for next Tuesday, if the paper is correct.

Next to the iPhone, the Dream is probably the most highly anticipated phone of the past two years. If the demand is truly there, T-Mobile USA stands to benefit the most as it is said to have a 90-day exclusive period for the device, which would make it the only carrier to have the phone during the critical holiday shopping season.

That said, HTC is placing lofty expectations on the device. Company officials expect to ship anywhere from 600,000 to 700,000 phones according to the WSJ, which is significantly higher than the 300,000 to 500,000 predicted by analysts.

T-Mobile no doubt has equally high expectations. With its 3G network rolling out in just over two dozen markets through the rest of this year, a high profile device like the Dream is important to spur adoption. High-speed data equals higher data prices. Higher data prices equals more revenue per user, which obviously adds to the bottom line.

Out of all the major carriers, T-Mobile is the last to turn on its 3G network. Since the carrier is essentially playing catch-up, creating this amount of buzz makes a lot of sense. I find it hard to believe that these leaks are not intentional: After all, its got a lot of the tech media, and more importantly the mainstream media, talking about it.

It was the extraordinary buzz surrounding the iPhone that helped Apple to sell so many of the phones so quickly, and the same could be said for the Dream as well.

But the hype could spell trouble for Google. An article in the Financial Times from September 5 seems to suggest that the company could be setting itself up for a flop as those who’ve seen the device seem to have been nonplussed about it.

Writer Richard Waters claims that the “overwhelming verdict” of both the industry and developers is that the device will not be the hit that some are making it out to be. In fact, some are drawing the inevitable comparsions to the iPhone, and they’re not pretty.

The story goes on to say there is a variety of reasons for such sentiment: a lack of focus on the consumer, complaints over the interface, and the lack of any reason to purchase the phone. Another industry executive pointed out that many of Google’s services are already available on other devices, which makes the device less compelling.

Yankee Group analyst John Jackson summed up these views rather succinctly: “It ain’t no iPhone.” Ouch. But then again, wouldn’t differentiating itself from the device be more of a positive than a negative?

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