An app for Google Android is allegedly wiping SD cards clean, which has some folks shouting malware! Stephen Shankland points out it's probably not malware, just suckware. We also cheer on the House of Representatives for not delaying the digital-TV transition. And Gmail goes offline, which is good news for those with flaky internet connection.Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 899
Q: I was wondering why U.S. carriers have not picked up Nokia's N-series phones. Why wouldn't a carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile want such high-end handsets to attract customers? - Zoheb
A: There are a few answers, Zoheb, but they all boil down to money. More so than in other countries the cell phone market in the United States has long centered on the service rebate. Carriers discount phones to attract customers and their contracts, while customers are trained to expect free or discounted handsets. While this dynamic is beginning to change due to the growing popularity of unlocked phones, service rebates largely rule the day here.
Though the rebates have their upside--customers can get $200 knocked off the price of a nice smartphone--they have their downsides as well. And I'm not talking about service contracts. Rather, the widespread use of service rebates has helped to "dumb down" the cell phone selection in the United States. With notable exceptions, carriers tend to keep their phones below $300 to make them as affordable as possible.
The problem with the N-series phones is that they cost well over $500 (the fancy Nokia N96 is $776 unlocked). So even with a service rebate they're going to remain pretty expensive. Sure, there will be customers like yourself who will be willing to buy one, but that's not enough incentive for a carrier to buy a several thousand of them. Instead, they're going to pick handsets that will sell in the biggest numbers.
We also have to remember that the N-series phones are complicated with a lot of different features. U.S. carriers tend to be in the driver's seat when it comes to choosing phones for their lineups. They have a lot of say in how the phone looks and what features it has. Thanks to the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1 this is also beginning to change, but they still like to exert their control. I'd wager than the N-series phones are simply too complicated for U.S. carriers. There are too many parts and features that the carriers can't control. Also, I'm sure that carriers haven't figured out how to monetize all the services on a handset like the N96. That's yet a another deterrent against picking it up.… Read more
Updated 8:32 a.m. PST with information from conference call.
Despite the troubled economy, Verizon Communications managed to post a 15 percent increase in profit for the fourth quarter of 2008, thanks once again to growth in its wireless business and new fiber to the home services.
The company reported net income of $1.24 billion, or 43 cents a share, up from $1.07 billion, or 37 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Revenue was up 3.4 percent, to $24.65 billion. Wireless sales jumped 12.3 percent to account for more than … Read more
Oh snap, as they say. Palm has decided to get all vague in Apple's face about patents. Molly's back and she's hazelnut brown. And we determine that tech is, in fact, pretty sucky. All that and more, if you can get your sucky tech to work long enough to listen. Listen now: Download today's podcastEPISODE 897
Microsoft extends Windows 7 beta http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/operatingsystems/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212902415&cid=iwhome_art_Opera_mostpop http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/01/23/general-availability-for-the-windows-7-beta-to-end.aspx
How many versions of Windows 7 will there be? … Read more
CNET News' Maggie Reardon on the lukewarm consumer reaction to the Blackberry Storm--and this despite a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to promote its debut.Listen now: Download today's podcast
Samsung announced Monday that it's bringing its femtocell base station to Verizon Wireless. The Verizon Wireless Extender is similar to the Sprint Airave, which Samsung introduced last year. It acts as a miniature cell phone tower by boosting indoor cell phone coverage where the normal Verizon signal may not reach.
The Extender requires a normal power outlet and a home broadband Internet connection. If you're on the phone and you leave the house, your call will switch automatically between the Extender's coverage area and Verizon's standard network. It costs more than most Verizon handsets ($249), but … Read more
Despite a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, the new BlackBerry Storm has gotten off to a shaky start, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Storm, which is Research In Motion's first touch-screen device, was supposed to be Verizon Wireless's iPhone killer. Verizon is the exclusive carrier for the Storm. Apple's iPhone is sold exclusively by AT&T. Verizon and RIM had supposedly been working on the device even before AT&T launched the original iPhone two and a half years ago.
The Storm launched in November, in time for the holiday-shopping season. And while it sold well initially with about 500,000 shipping the first month, the Journal reports that many customers who bought the device are complaining of buggy software and hardware glitches.
Specifically, consumers say that the software used to type on the touch screen, which requires you to press down on the face of the phone, is sluggish. I have used the device on and off since it was launched November 21, and I'd agree that it is clunky.
Other examples: the accelerometer that senses and changes the view on the screen when it's turned on its side is slow. And sometimes the "sure press" screen is difficult to use because it registers the wrong character.
Verizon and RIM rushed the device to market, perhaps before it was really ready, according to the Journal article. The newspaper notes that Jim Balsillie, RIM's co-CEO said the companies reached the Black Friday deadline "by the skin of their teeth," after they had missed a planned October debut. … Read more
Verizon is readying a new product that will marry its wireless phone service with an Internet home phone that uses a broadband network to make calls.
The new phone system, called Verizon Hub, connects to any broadband line to provide home phone service using the Internet. It integrates with Verizon Wireless service so that customers can send and receive SMS text messages directly from their home phone and use location-based services, like Chaperone and VZ Navigator. It also provides additional Web-based services, such as an online calendar and a contact list that syncs with Microsoft Outlook.
The service is designed to give families or multiple people living in a household an alternative to the traditional copper based phone system.
The Hub will go on sale at Verizon retail stores February 1. It costs $199 after a $50 rebate. Customers must sign up for a two-year contract with a monthly charge of $34.99. The monthly service charge includes unlimited local and long distance calling in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The service is only offered to Verizon Wireless customers, and the integrated cell phone service only works with Verizon Wireless phones. The Verizon Hub is considered to be a part of Verizon Wireless in-calling plans, so Verizon Wireless subscribers can send unlimited text messages to the Hub and calls made to the Hub phone aren't counted as part of their anytime minute usage.
The product itself consists of a cordless handset that sits in a docking station that has a 7-inch touch-screen display. From this touch screen, users can access several Internet widgets for news, sports, and traffic information. It's also where users can manage their calendars and send and receive text messages from Verizon Wireless phones.
The service is integrated with Verizon's location services. For example, users can look up nearby movie theaters, purchase tickets, and get directions right from the Hub. These directions can then be forwarded directly to a Verizon Wireless phone via an SMS message.… Read more
It looks like the iPod's still got a bit of life left. It may no longer be the main driver of innovation at Apple, but the company sold 22.7 million iPods during its fiscal first quarter. That's up 3 percent from the same period last year, although a much slower rate of growth than in previous years. Still, it's growth nonetheless. Not only did Apple beat expectations but the results reported Wednesday also marked an all-time quarterly sales record for its iconic MP3 player.
Meanwhile, iPhone sales actually fell from the previous quarter, from 6.9 … Read more
STORIES Inauguration records set http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10146825-2.html
Today at noon eastern, global peak visible traffic across Internet exchanges was 3.18 terabits per second. Within the U.S., 165 gigabits visible.
Yesterday’s global peak was 2.78tbps. Within the U.S., 117 gigabits per second visible.
November 4 2008, election … Read more