AT&T is cutting down on available text-messaging plans.
The carrier confirmed to CNET this morning that, for new customers, it will ditch its 1,000-message plan, which went for $10 per month, in favor of unlimited-only options. Unlimited messaging for individuals will be available for $20 per month starting on August 21, while a family messaging plan for $30-per-month will also be offered.
"The vast majority of our customers prefer unlimited plans," an AT&T spokesman told CNET in a phone conversation today. "And with text messaging growing, the number of people interested in … Read more
Eastman Kodak has a strong patent portfolio that it's ready to sell off to the highest bidder, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Citing anonymous sources, the Journal said today that Kodak is trying to take advantage of the patent-acquisition craze by selling its intellectual property to companies across the wireless industry. Kodak has already found one "large, strategic buyer in the wireless industry" that wants Kodak's patents for legal protection, according to the Journal.
Last month, Kodak acknowledged that it wanted to sell at least some of its patents. The company said in a statement … Read more
Gentlemen, your cell phone could be your closest enemy. According to an Italian report published in the Journal of Andrology (PDF), researchers in the United States and around the world have found that the radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by cell phones may decrease sperm count and damage sperm quality.
Though still inconclusive, the research focuses on several studies on both human and animal sperm. For humans, some of the studies exposed sperm from healthy nonsmoker volunteers to RF-EMR in a laboratory setting, while others compared the sperm health of subjects who regularly carried their cell phone in their front pants pocket with those who did not.
On the whole, sperm that were exposed to RF-EMR showed decreased sperm concentration; motility (the ability of a sperm to move toward an egg); morphology (the size and shape of sperm); and viability. Similarly, subjects who carried their phone in their pockets had a lower sperm concentration.
In one animal study, researchers put rats in special Plexiglas cages with cell phones just 0.2 inch underneath the cage bottom. After the rats were exposed to cell phone emissions for 6 hours per day for more than four months, the researchers found a 25 percent drop in the rats' percentage of live sperm. Their sperm also had the tendency to stick together, reducing the chance of fertilizing an egg.
Dr. Joel Moskowitz, the director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley, told CNET that this is a complex matter that needs to be further researched.
For example, it's currently unclear what type of cell phones or phone service, such as GSM or CDMA, would cause a more adverse impact. "If more research is done, and we have more solid results, consumers could be presented with a choice," he said. "There might be phones or cell services that have less impact on our reproductive organs than others." … Read more
Editors' note: This story was originally published June 2. It has been updated with new information.
Though the science on the possible health effects of cell phone radiation is far from conclusive, several state and local governments are proposing legislation to address public concerns. And though no law has been implemented yet, it's clear the issue isn't going away.
How we got here Maine largely led the way in early 2010 with a bill that would have required warning labels that cell phones may cause brain cancer. That legislation later died in a Maine House of Representatives committee, … Read more
AT&T is striking back at the law firm Bursor & Fisher, which is trying to block AT&T's $39 billion merger with T-Mobile USA, according to a report from Reuters.
Last week, AT&T reportedly filed eight lawsuits in eight different federal court jurisdictions against Bursor & Fisher and a second plaintiffs' firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, claiming that the firms have been pressuring AT&T into "an extortionate settlement" by encouraging AT&T customers to file multiple claims against the merger.
Skype's Wi-Fi access app is coming to Apple iOS devices.
The company said Wednesday that its Skype Wi-Fi app, formerly called Skype Access, will soon be a free app in the Apple Store, allowing iPhone, iPod Touch (running iOS 4.1 and above) and iPad users to connect to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world via their existing Skype accounts.
This will let people connect to Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, airports, train stations convention centers bars and restaurants using Skype Credit in their accounts. The benefit of accessing these hotspots through Skype is two fold: It allows … Read more
An administrative law judge denied Google's request to bar one of Microsoft's expert witnesses from testifying in the software giant's patent dispute litigation against Motorola.
Microsoft has accused Motorola of infringing on its patents with its phones that run on Google's Android mobile device operating system. Google alleged in a filing last week, that Microsoft improperly shared Android source code, which is supposed to remain confidential, with an expert witness it hired for the case. Google sought to prevent the expert witness from testifying, based on the alleged breach.
But U.S. International Trade Commission Administrative … Read more
The sale of InterDigital's patent portfolio has been pushed back until early September to give potential buyers a better chance to evaluate it, according to a new report.
Reuters said today the sale of InterDigital's portfolio, which stretches to some 8,800 granted patents and nearly 10,000 patent applications, is being delayed until after Labor Day. The sale was originally slated for next week, sources familiar with the situation told the outlet, but potential buyers want to vet the portfolio in light of recent landmark intellectual-property purchases.
commentary The BlackBerry Bold may be out of the smartphone game before it even gets into it.
T-Mobile USA said today that it will sell RIM's latest flagship phone, the BlackBerry Bold 9900, for $299.99--after a $50 mail-in rebate. That follows the Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel variant of the smartphone, the Bold 9930, which will retail for $249.99 at both carriers.
But when the bar for a vast majority of smartphones--even high-end ones such as Apple's iPhone--is set at $200, and you go over, that's a problem. For RIM, the premium price is going … Read more
Smartphone subscribers are hungry for data, and their appetites are growing, according to a study.
Validas, a company that analyzes cell phone bills for consumers, looked at data over the past year, from July to June, and saw a dramatic increase in mobile data usage for smartphone subscribers at every major carrier except T-Mobile USA.
Verizon Wireless smartphone users led the pack in terms of the biggest percent increase in data consumption, gobbling 150 percent more data on average in the first half of 2011 compared with the preceding six months. On average Verizon customers consumed about 206.6MB of … Read more