Even with Justin gone for over a week, the show must go on. Caroline McCarthy once again takes the reigns, all while helping to diversify the show. First, we're treated to a mashup made in hell, Rick Astley vs. Nirvana in a little tune called "Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up". You've been warned. To make things worse, we hear William Shatner's beat-poetry version of Sarah Palin's resignation speech.Download today's podcast Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video
The cornerstone of Ford's sustainability strategy--a more efficient engine design called EcoBoost--will be available for the first time in the coming weeks.
The EcoBoost technology combines direct fuel injection and a turbo charger to improve the fuel efficiency of comparable cars between 10 percent and 20 percent. Ford decided that it's the cheapest route to improved mileage, noting that consumers will recoup the additional cost of the EcoBoost option in two years.
The elements of Ford's EcoBoost technology are already built into vehicles from other manufacturers. What's significant about Ford's plans is that it plans … Read more
The Motorola Clutch i465 is migrating up the corporate ladder from Boost Mobile to Nextel. The nifty iDEN phone with the full QWERTY keyboard will go on sale this summer for $39.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $20 mail-in rebate.
In making the jump to Boost's parent carrier, the Clutch retains the same design, but adds a few Nextel-centric features like Direct Connect push-to-talk, International Direct Connect, Group Connect, and Direct Talk. It also will support Nextel's GPS application.
For an in-depth look at the Boost Mobile version of the handset, check out our Motorola … Read more
q&a Leap Wireless is finally in the right place at the right time.
The company, which sells its prepaid service under the Cricket and Jump Mobile brands, has been in the wireless service market since 1998, when it was spun off from mobile chipmaker Qualcomm. It filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2003 and was restructured and emerged from bankruptcy protection a year later.
Now the company is strategically expanding its network into 14 new markets with spectrum it won in two recent Federal Communications Commission auctions. It now operates in 29 states and holds licenses in 35 of the top 50 U.S. markets, including Chicago and Philadelphia, where it recently launched service, and in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, where it plans to launch soon.
And all of this happening as Americans are getting fed up with lengthy and expensive wireless contracts from national carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. And as finances tighten, people are looking to reduce their monthly expenses by finding cheaper options for phone service. Prepaid service plans, which allow customers to pay in advance for service without signing a contract, provide a good alternative. Low-cost unlimited plans, from Leap and others, make it an easy choice even for wireless subscribers who talk and text a lot.
I recently chatted with Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson to get his take on the prepaid wireless market and get his thoughts on the future of the industry. Below is an edited version of our conversation.
Q: Prepaid cell phone plans are getting a lot of attention lately. Why do you think that is? Hutcheson: The prepaid cell phone market is in its third or fourth phase of development right now in the U.S. And it's at the same phase that the European market entered about five or six years ago. Prepaid really started to take off in Europe as wireless penetration started to reach 100 percent. And of course the economic realities of today are also a factor. For a number of people, prepaid wireless is the best value.
Do you think prepaid carriers, such as Leap Wireless, are in a position to threaten the nationwide incumbents, such as AT&T or Verizon Wireless? Hutcheson: I don't think we are a material threat to either AT&T or Verizon Wireless. They have built great, broad franchises with 80 million customers. What we are trying to do is focus on our customer base, which tends to be younger and more ethnically diverse with people at the median to below median household income level. We serve this market really well. And this is a customer base that others aren't as interested in serving or aren't able to focus on. These operators have their own prepaid products, but I think AT&T's primary focus is on selling iPhones and two-year contracts. And Verizon is focused on its 4G rollout and combining those services with its Fios fiber network.… Read more
Earlier in May, Bonnie Cha told you about Motorola's first iDEN phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. Availability details were slim at the time, but this week we saw that the Clutch i465 has landed at Boost Mobile.
The Clutch offers a rugged design that meets military specifications for dust, shock, moisture, and the like. The black-and-maroon color scheme is rather unique and its keyboard and navigation controls have a promising layout.
Features include a VGA camera with video recording, 20MB of internal memory, Bluetooth, a 1.79-inch display, messaging, POP3 e-mail, and a basic MP3 player. The Clutch … Read more
Correction: Virgin Mobile began selling its $50 unlimited plan in April after the first quarter had ended.
Competition in the prepaid cell phone market is heating up, making it more difficult for companies, like Virgin Mobile USA, to hold onto subscribers in an increasingly crowded market.
Virgin Mobile USA, a longtime player in the prepaid cell phone market, reported Monday it had lost a total of 133,292 net customers during the quarter to end the period with 5.2 million subscribers. Even though subscribers were up 2.8 percent compared with last year, the company's losses during the … Read more
With prepaid carriers enjoying good times in this recession, Sprint Nextel subsidiary Boost Mobile is preparing to reap the benefits. Matt Carter, Boost's president, told Reuters that his company will open 50 new retail stores by the end of the year.
The new outlets, which will open around the country in cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, will only sell Boost phones and services. Currently, Boost operates just three stores in Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston. Boost products are available at some Sprint retail locations, but they're typically regulated to a corner of the store.
Boost … Read more
Prepaid wireless providers are scooping up subscribers as cash strapped consumers downgrade to lower cost cell phone service.
First quarter earnings reports from MetroPCS Communications and Leap Wireless on Thursday provided further evidence that consumers are flocking toward no-contract, unlimited prepaid services. These carriers, which operate primarily in smaller urban areas, each reported they had nearly doubled their subscription rate compared to a year ago.
MetroPCS said its new subscriber additions increase 51 percent compared to the same quarter a year earlier. In total it added 684,000 new subscribers, bringing its customer base to 6 million. This was the … Read more
On Friday, Motorola introduced its latest iDEN phone, the Motorola Clutch i465. The Clutch is the company's first iDEN handset to include a full QWERTY keyboard, and it offers threaded text messaging as well as support for multimedia messages and e-mail.
The i465 features a ruggedized design and meets military specifications for extreme conditions (e.g., shock, vibration, and dust). It also has a 1.79-inch, 128x160 TFT display, a VGA camera, Bluetooth 1.2, and 20MB of user-accessible memory.
The Clutch i465 is expected to ship in Q2. No details about pricing or carrier announcements were specified at … Read more
It looks like Boost Mobile's new $50 unlimited calling plan has become a victim of its own success.
Customers using the prepaid wireless service, which is owned by Sprint Nextel, say that they've experienced delays in receiving text messages. The problem was first reported by the Associated Press. A Boost representative acknowledged that since March, some customers have experienced text delays that have lasted anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
"We've already diagnosed and isolated the problem," said John Votava, Boost's spokesman. "And we've been working day and night … Read more