This week the technology gods gather together in a Vegas to pat each other on the back and try to make bets on trends for the future. For every successful category launch the road is paved with numerous failures. Every year there seems to be an overarching theme; for the last few years it was 3D, prior to that it was true black contrast and cell processors in televisions. We are clearly in a transitional phase of technology with no unifying theme coming out of the show.
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In one of the worst kept secrets of the week, HTC/Sprint unveiled their new Flagship phone – the HTC Evo 4G LTE at a Press Event last night. The highlight of the event for me was this weird wall of fruits and mixed nuts, never saw this before and it was neat. Anywho, this phone is spectacular. It has a beautiful 4.7 inch display, rocking the Android Ice Cream Sandwich, HTC Sense 4.0, and features a new promising technology called HD Voice which sprint promises will change our perception of call quality (more on this later today). The build quality of this phone is amazing – it feels and looks solid, but is amazingly lightweight. I will be posting my thoughts on the phone and the full press conference video on our Youtube Channel later today. In the meantime check out the full press release.
A whole slew of new sexy Android Phones are coming out in the next few months. HTC has just hit us their latest crop all featuring 4G speeds and there’s a phone for every carrier; the HTC EVO Shift 4G from Sprint, HTC Inspire 4G from AT&T, and HTC ThunderBolt from Verizon Wireless. Look at this we even have pricing and release dates? In a CES Press Release – egads, unheard of! The HTC EVO Shift 4G will be $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and activation on a new two-year contract and data plan. It will be available in all Sprint retail channels, including www.sprint.com and 1-800-Sprint1, on Jan. 9th. While Verizon and AT&T haven’t announced pricing on their headsets, one would think it wouldn’t be radically different than Sprint.
Yesterday Tmobile announced that they will carry the Android-Honeycomb powered 4G Tablet. The T-Mobile G-Slate will be among the first 4G tablets to fully benefit from the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 platform, which was designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes and addresses the unique aspects of tablet use cases and form factors. The Honeycomb user experience improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization. It will also feature the latest Google Mobile innovations including Google Maps™ 5.0 with 3D interaction, collection of more than 3 million eBooks and Google Talk™ with video and voice chat. And we have video!
Google’s Android is getting better and better with each new T-Mobile phone. I really enjoyed using the G1 early last year; over the summer T-Mobile released the MyTouch 3G phone. I finally had a chance to play around with it for a few weeks and to take it with me to CES; I’ve come away from the experience liking Android and this particular phone a lot.
A lot of people complain about the T-Mobile network, but frankly I’ve never experienced any major issues with it during my travels and testing. T-Mobile needs to improve it’s network speeds – their 3G isn’t noticeably faster than their Edge network which I found myself connected to at least 60 percent of the time. This happened when I tested out their Blackberry Curve (which was an Edge only phone) in Orlando, the G1 in NY and now the MyTouch in Vegas. Here’s the thing, Edge is slow but at least it’s reliable.
I used both the MyTouch and my iPhone while at CES. My iPhone was an epic failure – dropped every single call and 90% of the time I couldn’t connect at all to the network, there were moments I was screaming at the phone at the convention center and wanted to literally throw it at the wall. People were looking at me like I was a crazy woman. What’s the point of having an iPhone if the thing doesn’t work in environments where there are more than 10 people around using the same network? Meanwhile the MyTouch was the little engine that could. It never gave me any issues other than taking "awhile" to download my email.
I’m one of those people who really hates paying for a cell-phone since I don’t like talking on the phone and rarely use it. I pay almost $100 a month for my current phone. That’s $2,400 for a two-year contract to use an average of 200 minutes a month (no music, ringtones, texting, internet, nothing) on a family share plan. That’s pretty disgusting. Most people are so hung up on the initial cost of a phone $200, egads! But don’t really think about the total cost of ownership and I think cell phone companies like it this way. So lately with all the iPhone hype, I’ve been thinking, “If I’m going to pay this ridiculous amount of money, I at least want to be able to check my email and get some smart phone goodness for my trouble.” I purchased an iPod Touch because I can’t stand AT&T (but Wi-Fi sucks and isn’t reliable), Sprint’s been on my hit list for 10 years and I probably won’t re-up with crummy Verizon when my contract expires in a few months, so I looked around and said, hmmm… T-Mobile has never screwed me and they have this brand new phone called the T-Mobile G1, the first phone in the US to feature Google’s brand new Android Open Source Operating System.
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I don’t understand why T-Mobile doesn’t get as much love as Verizon or AT&T. This has been my first experience with them and I loved it. For starters it actually works in my home. Neither AT&T nor Verizon works at my house. Everyone I talked to asked if I was using a land line, that’s how clear everything was. T-Mobile’s pricing plans are reasonable and straight forward they have pay as you go options, unlimited broadband Internet (although in the small print it says they’ll throttle your service if you go over 10Gigs), rollover minutes (which Verizon doesn’t have), and they don’t nickel and dime you over everything. I also like their 5 Family call thing, which lets you program up to five phone numbers that will be free regardless of what network they are on. There’s no visual voicemail on T-Mobile, which is disappointing.
If I purchased a Blackberry Storm from Verizon, I would have to pay my current minimum family plan amount, plus $30 for the Blackberry Data Plan, $30 to tether (with a measly 5 Gig cap), and $15 for Rhapsody (which isn’t connected to the Online Rhapsody service that I already pay $15 a month for). Plus, I don’t even get rollover minutes. So for all of these reasons and the most important one – T-Mobile actually works in my house, I will most likely switch to T-Mobile this summer. I’m just not convinced it’s going to be to the G1. [click to continue…]