What a difference a trade show makes. Though Motorola dominated CES back in January, it didn't even whimper at CTIA 2011 last week. Indeed, the company announced no new phones and its small booth was way at the back of the show floor. I had to look on the map to find it, actually, and once there I found just a small table showing its latest phones and tablets.
Cellular South announced today that it will be among the first carriers in the United States to offer the HTC Merge. Officially introduced back in late February, the Merge is HTC's first dual-mode CDMA/GSM handset to run Android.
Even without a full review, there's a lot to like about the Merge. It features HTC's Sense UI with Android 2.2, a full sliding QWERTY keyboard, a 3.8-inch touch screen, and a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording HD video. What's more, the HTC Merge will be the first device to launch with Amazon.com's new Android app store preloaded on the device.
Although the press release doesn't spell it out very clearly, the Merge also will offer the Android Market for apps and games. When reached for a comment, a representative of Cellular South told CNET that the carrier is giving customers access to both distribution models. … Read more
Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Question: I am in a family plan with my brother and mom through AT&T. I have an iPhone 3GS and the other two are not smartphones. Our bill is $185 with me=$78 mom=$85 bro=$23 with 1,400 minutes and 2 of us have 200 texts per month. The bill is high, seeing as my mom doesn't text and my brother only calls and texts. I have unlimited data and never go over 2GB, but I don't want to lose it just in case. I've been waiting for the new iPhone to come out but I've read it may be a nano iPhone, which I wouldn't want. What do you suggest we do to get a cheaper bill? Should I switch to Verizon for the iPhone 4? My mom wants me to get my own plan so the bill is cheaper for them even though I pay my portion every month. I don't want to get another phone; I love the iPhone, but alone it will cost at least another $30 more. -- Peter, via e-mail
$185 is a lot to pay a month, Peter, especially if you can get something cheaper. I looked over what the current AT&T family plan pricing is for 1400 minutes ($89.99), a 200 messaging plan for two people ($20), and a legacy unlimited data plan ($30), and it should still add up to around $139.99 a month, not the $185 that you quoted. Perhaps there are additional fees that your family has incurred, or maybe you need to call AT&T and negotiate a new deal.… Read more
When AT&T announced its plans to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion last week, Sprint was quick to criticize the deal, saying that it would dramatically alter the structure of the communications industry and affect innovation--a sentiment that was echoed by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse during CTIA 2011.
In case its position wasn't clear, the carrier issued an official statement today to oppose the merger and announce its intentions to fight the deal.
Vonya McCann, Sprint's senior vice president of government affairs, said:
Sprint urges the United States government to block this anticompetitive acquisition. This transaction will … Read more
Sprint plans to temporarily replace mail-in rebates with instant savings, Sprint spokeswoman Caroline Semerdjian told CNET this evening. The promotion will begin March 27 and continue "for an unspecified time," Semerdjian said.
If the AT&T and T-Mobile merger goes through, Sprint will be pushed into third place, and will probably need to come up with money-saving solutions like these to stay competitive. It'll be interesting to see if these instant rebates are only a temporary solution or a permanent one.
ORLANDO, Fla.--In addition to delivering lots of new phones, trade shows like CTIA 2011 offer an opportunity to see any recent models that haven't yet to passed through your hands. This year, CTIA was my first chance to handle the Kyocera Echo, the dual-screen Android handset for Sprint. I wasn't able to join Bonnie Cha for last month's launch event in New York City--check out Bonnie's original take on the device--so I had breakfast with Kyocera's PR team to see the smartphone up close.
After Sprint's bizarre unveiling event--was a performance by Blaine … Read more
A couple of months ago I posted a query in my 411 column about prepaid GSM Android phones and the lack thereof. What I failed to mention was that you can of course use any GSM phone as a prepaid handset, as long as you're willing to pay full price for the phone up front. All you have to do is pop in a SIM card and you're good to go. After you do so, however, AT&T continues to charge you the usual high monthly rates, and even though T-Mobile does offer a cheaper Even More … Read more
If the AT&T-T-Mobile merger gains approval, that de facto bumps MetroPCS, the nation's fifth largest carrier (8 million subscribers), into the No. 4 slot that T-Mobile currently holds (33 million subscribers).
I sat down at CTIA 2011 with Tony Lau, director of handset product management for MetroPCS to chat about the carrier's plans going forward.
LTE Android phones are top of mind for the carrier of prepaid, no-contract phones, which hopes to follow up the release of its first Android smartphone with more LTE handsets, up to 5 by the end of 2011. For the time … Read more
No, T-Mobile also introduced four products for its HSPA+ network: a portable W-Fi hot-spot and three USB laptop sticks. The devices are optimized for the carrier's "4G" network--we know T-Mobile's definition of 4G is a little fuzzy--but they're compatible with the carrier's 3G and EDGE networks when you're not in a HSPA+ … Read more
ORLANDO, Fla.--Sony Ericsson didn't offer any new phones at CTIA 2011, but we did get the chance to handle the official Verizon Wireless version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. What's more, Sony Ericsson also revealed that the gaming Android phone will land in the United States either late next month or in early May.
In fact, Verizon Wireless may be the first carrier in the world to get the Xperia Play. Rogers in Canada may beat it with a release of the GSM handset on April 14, but either way it means that North America will … Read more