Verizon details its 4G LTE network

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 1st, 2010

Today Verizon announced that it will be turning on its blazingly fast 4G LTE wireless network on Sunday, December 5.  The mobile operator claims it will be “the fastest and most advanced 4G network” in the country.  They are starting small but the long-term plan is to eventually replace the current 3G network with 4G LTE (or Long Term Evolution).  The network is initially launching in 38 major cities, including New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, and Los Angeles, and in more than 60 commercial airports coast to coast.  They say it will immediately reach more than one-third of all Americans, and they expect the expansion to reach all current 3G areas by 2013.  They are using the 700MHz spectrum for LTE deployment in the US to insure a “high-quality” network with “excellent coverage.”  4G LTE boasts speeds up to 10x times faster than 3G and a response time that’s over 2x faster.  Faster speeds and reduced lag time promise better upload and download times, smoother video streaming and video chat, and sharing options.  Verizon says customers can expect 5-12Mbps on the downlink and 2-5Mbps on the uplink.  That’s pretty damn fast; compare those numbers to current 3G speeds (0.6-1.4Mbps download and 0.5Mbps upload).  It’s also faster than the competition; it bests AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ (1-7Mbps download) and Sprint’s WiMAX (3-6Mbps download).

When Verizon officially launches its 4G LTE network this Sunday, customers will only have the option to use from two USB modems to hook up their laptops wirelessly to the network.  Verizon says “consumer-oriented handsets” (aka cell phones and tablet devices) that will harness the new network will be available by mid-2011 and will be announced at CES.  The LG VL600 (available on launch day) and Pantech UML290 (available “soon”) USB modems will each cost $99 after a $50 rebate and with a new two-year agreement.  The data plan pricing is as follows: $50/month for 5GB monthly allowance, $80/month for 10GB.  You’ll have to pay $10/GB in overage charges if you use up the allowance.  There’s no cap on overages, a nice touch I guess.  Both modems are backwards-compatible with Verizon’s 3G network.  If you lose 4G reception the modem will automatically switch to 3G speeds on the fly.  3G to 4G does not work that way; if you move from the slower network to the faster one the switch will only take place once 3G downloads are complete.

And that about sums up today’s announcements.  When the network goes live on Sunday, Verizon will provide street level coverage area maps so you can find out if you’re blanketed by 4G LTE.  Be sure to look after the break for the official PR which includes a full listing of all cities and airports included in the initial launch window.

Update: It’s been confirmed that Verizon will offer the 4G LTE service off-contract, too.  The monthly rates and overage fees remain the same; what becomes more expensive is the upfront cost for the USB modem.  Instead of paying $99, you’ll be forced to pay$249.99 for a modem if you decide to enter the 4G world contract-less.

[Via Verizon; Engadget] (Click here for more…)

Microsoft’s Kin phones back from the grave

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott Meisner on November 19th, 2010

Just when you were started to think you’d never hear Microsoft Kin again, the failed smartphone duo found their way back to Verizon.  The Kin devices haven’t changed physically since making their way back from the grave; they look the same on the outside and their sub-par specs are still in tact.  What has changed is price.  The Kin ONEm sells for $19.99 with a new two-year contract ($119.99 without), and it’s bigger brother Kin TWOm costs $49.99 on contract ($219.99 without).  Monthly plans start at $39.99 for talk and $9.99 for 25MB of data.  Definitely cheaper than what Verizon was offering before Microsoft shelved Kin after only three short months on the market.  Don’t expect to see much a future for the Kin platform; reintroducing these phones on Verizon now is Microsoft’s plan to wipe out their warehouses of the device they killed.

[Via Engadget]

Verizon ‘bites’ back at AT&T with new map spot

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 16th, 2010

And just when you thought the Verizon Wireless and AT&T ad war was cooling down…Verizon is back with more!  Check out this latest spot that rips off the current vampire craze.  Twi-hards will surely get a kick out of it.

[Via Engadget]

AT&T and Verizon drop all lawsuits…for now

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 6th, 2009

AT&T Commercial

Last we heard in this AT&T vs. Verizon Wireless “There’s a Map for That” commercials debacle, AT&T had lost in court against VZ when they tried to force VZ to pull all of their Map-related advertisements from the air.  The judge had marked a date later this month where the two companies would battle again over this silly issue.

Now, however, AT&T has decided to drop all its lawsuits against Verizon.  Finally.

Instead of putting their money towards upgrading their 3G network, AT&T has decided to spew anti-Verizon ads featuring the quirky Luke Wilson.  Let’s take a step back for a moment.  This whole thing started when Verizon aired a commercial comparing their widespread US 3G coverage (on a map) to AT&T’s dismal coverage.  AT&T sued them because they stipulated that mass audiences would read their sad 3G coverage for their vastly more widespread voice coverage.  (AT&T, I doubt anyone made this blunder in the first place.)  After losing in court they’ve decided to create these Luke Wilson ads that fight back against Verizon in a nonsensical way; these ads don’t focus on AT&T’s 3G coverage, they are all about 3G speed.  Hey AT&T–Verizon’s got the SPEED, too; plus, they cover much more of the US than you do.  I’ve said this twice now, and I’ll say it one more time–AT&T, stop the lawsuits and advertisements and start actually expanding your 3G coverage!

Oh, and not only do Verizon’s ads make sense they are far superior than yours.  See for yourself.  Look after the break for the latest “headless Luke Wilson” AT&T and Verizon “misfit toys” spots.  (True this ad and other recent VZ ads have poked at the iPhone, but what they are really hitting hard is AT&T’s dismal 3G coverage.  Let ‘em have it.)

[Via Engadget; Gizmodo]

(Click here for more…)

AT&T brings Verizon to court, loses

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 19th, 2009

It has been reported that a federal judge has ruled against AT&T’s request to pull the Verizon “There’s a Map for That” advertisements from the airwaves.  No surprise here.

What’s interesting, though, is that the judge has deemed it necessary for the two celluar carriers to meet again in court to discuss the matter further.  Apparently the judge called the ads “sneaky” and said that it is possible that viewers may mistunderstand the ads intent becuase “most people who are watching TV are semi-catatonic.”  Ha!  The court meets again on December 16.

For now, Verizon has all the freedom in the world to continue pumping out these advertisements for the holiday season without any scruff from AT&T.  Unless you count this sad, terrible ad featuring one of the Wilson brothers:

[Via Engadget, here & here]

Verizon to AT&T: “the truth hurts” BIATCH!

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 17th, 2009

So we all know the story thus far: AT&T has sued Verizon for their “There’s a Map for That” ad campaign.  AT&T claims that Verizon’s beautiful 3G map compared to their dismal 3G map is misleading in more ways than one.  Without going into further detail (because I have already done so here), let’s take a look at VZ’s long-awaited rebuttal:

AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s “There’s A Map For That” advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.

DAAAAAMN!  But there’s more:

In the final analysis, AT&T seeks emergency relief because Verizon’s side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparison of its own 3G coverage with AT&T’s confirms what the marketplace has been saying for months: AT&T failed to invest adequately in the necessary infrastructure to expand its 3G coverage to support its growth in smartphone business, and the usefulness of its service to smartphone users has suffered accordingly.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  AT&T, stop with the unneccesary lawsuits and start making your cell service better.  If you had created a superior 3G coverage zone in the first place, this discussion would not be taking place.

[Via Engadget]

Verizon takes another jab at AT&T with slew of new “maps” adverts

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 9th, 2009

What happens when you have a great 3G phone (ie. the iPhone) but a poor cell phone carrier that lacks proper 3G coverage (read: AT&T)?  You get plopped onto the Island of Misfit Toys, that’s what.  Look after the break for two more anti-AT&T ads from Verizon Wireless.  Oh, it’s on.

[Via Engadget]

(Click here for more…)

New Droid commercials finally bring Android into play

Posted in Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on November 9th, 2009

We’ve already seen the viral iDont and pods falling from space promos.  Now Verizon has decided to take a turn in marketing strategy moving towards more traditional “this is what the product can actually do” commercials.  I mean, what does DroidDoes do does did?  Peek after the break for two more spots that will take over the airwaves “soon.”

[Via Engadget]

(Click here for more…)

LG Chocolate Touch is no BL40

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 7th, 2009

I have some bitter news for you.  Remember those delectable images and videos of the awesomely unique looking LG BL40 phone?  Well apparently that design was scrapped in favor of what you see above (left) because certain “focus groups” did not like the style of the original BL40 (right).  Though it has been released in Europe/Asia, LG has no plans of letting it loose in the States.  Gizmodo has the latest info on the new and no longer desired LG Chocolate Touch:

The LG Chocolate Touch is the latest iteration of the Chocolate line, and brings with it some new music features: FM radio, dedicated key for favorites, Dolby Mobile sound enhancements, and an unexpected and downright weird “Join the Band” feature. Join the Band features a virtual drum kit and scrolling 88-key keyboard so you can tap along with your music. Of course, it also offers Twitter, Facebook and MySpace integration, a 3.2MP camera and one-touch uploading. It’s not a super exciting phone like the BL40, but at least it’s odd enough to be sort of interesting.

The LG Chocolate Touch (VX8575) is available today on Verizon Wireless for $80 after a $50 mail-in rebate.

[Via Gizmodo; Phone Arena]

Droid commercial #2: fighter jets, pods flying out of the sky

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 5th, 2009

“What in the world is that?”

Silly man, it’s the Droid by Motorola, Verizon’s first Android phone.  It does everything iDon’t, remember?  The Droid “drops” November 6.  (That’s tomorrow, people!)

I’m really enjoying this super sci-fi viral marketing campaign.  Never has Verizon created such a bold and exciting ad campaign.  And it’s working; there’s much hype for tomorrow’s highly anticipated launch.

Verizon set to increase its early termination fee (booo!)

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 5th, 2009

Come November 15 Verizon Wireless customers will be forced to pay $350 to terminate their cell phone contracts if they wish to change phones or leave VZW before the end of their two-year agreement.  The early termination fee increases from an already exorbitant $175.  Every month that passes, though, the fee decreases by $10.  VZ made it clear that this new termination fee only applies to “advanced devices;” it is safe to assume this means all smartphones, including the upcoming Droid by Motorola.  Blargh…ETFs were always garbage, but now they are stinky, rotten garbage.

[Via BGR]

AT&T hatin’ on Verizon over an ad that speaks the truth

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 3rd, 2009

Remember the “there’s a map for that” commercial created by Verizon?  It’s been playing on the airwaves for some time now.  So if you haven’t seen it here I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  Anyway..AT&T has gone ahead and sued Verizon for showcasing their lack of 3G against VZ’s 3G-filled map.  In their own words:

In essence, we believe the ads mislead consumers into believing that AT&T doesn’t offer ANY wireless service in the vast majority of the country. In fact, AT&T’s wireless network blankets the US, reaching approximately 296M people. Additionally, our 3G service is available in over 9,600 cities and towns. Verizon’s misleading advertising tactics appear to be a response to AT&T’s strong leadership in smartphones. We have twice the number of smartphone customers… and we’ve beaten them two quarters in a row on net post-paid subscribers. We also had lower churn — a sign that customers are quite happy with the service they receive.

After further investigation Engadget has made further revelations about the matter: “AT&T thinks Verizon is trying to fool viewers into thinking that they can’t use any AT&T phone services outside of 3G coverage areas by showing two essentially different maps. Since Verizon’s entire network is 3G, the gaps in the red map are actual service gaps — but Verizon doesn’t show that the gaps on the AT&T map might be covered by AT&T’s huge 2G network. We can see how that could be misleading, but at some point you’ve got to compare apples to apples, and AT&T even says it has “no quarrel with Verizon advertising its larger 3G network” in its complaint, so we’ll see how the court reacts.”

Apparently VZ has changed the ads, removing the phrase “out of touch” and replacing it with ”Voice and data services available outside of 3G areas” disclaimer.  Still AT&T remains on guard and Engadget reports that they think ”the ads still confuse non-technical viewers into thinking AT&T provides no service at all outside of its 3G coverage.”

All in all, I find this quarell between AT&T and Verizon quite insignificant.  I am forced to favor Verion for the mere fact that their ad simply carries the truth; Verizon Wireless graces much more land with 3G coverage and AT&T’s 3G coverage, well, sucks.  (Take this from personal experience.)  Instead of battling for the removal of a competitive ad campaign (as slightly misleading as it may be), AT&T should be focused on their 3G services and coverage.

[Via Engadget]

Verizon unveils Droid by Motorola

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 28th, 2009

Today Verizon finally released solid information about the first Android 2.0-powered device, Droid by Motorola.  The Droid is a Verizon Wireless exclusive and will be made available to purchase on November 6 for $199 (with a two year contract, after a $100 mail-in rebate).  So it costs as much as an iPhone; is it worthy of its price tag?  Seeing the handset in pictures and specification on paper alone make it look like a strong competitor.  We already knew this but here are a bunch of the official specs: 3.7-inch display (854 x 480 resolution), 5 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, a bundled 16GB memory card, and a full slide out QWERTY keyboard (Verizon notes that it is the world’s thinnest slide out QWERTY), 3G, WiFi, and over-the-air Amazon MP3 downloads.  A home dock accessory will also be available to purchase.  Oh, and it’s also the first phone to support Google’s brand new Maps Navigation software.  Get learn’d and preorder Droid here.  Look after the break for the official press release and a hands-on video from Engadget.

At today’s press conference Verizon also confirmed that Droid is indeed a family of phones, though there was no mention of the oft-rumored Droid Eris by HTC.

All in all the Droid by Motorola looks great on paper and even better in pictures.  Once it releases this November it will have to face the test of real usage.  Who knows, this may be the competition the iPhone has been craving for over three years.

[Via Engadget, here & here; Gizmodo]

 

(Click here for more…)

Verizon: “There’s a map for that”

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 9th, 2009

Looks like Verizon is about to play some hardball with AT&T.  Yeah, the iPhone may have thousands of cool apps, but Verizon can boast its vastly superior 3G expansion.  The question is, which is more important to you: thousands of games or better data reception?

[Via Engadget]