Verizon hopes to fight AT&T soon with genuinely unlimited calling and data plans, according to multiple reports. Beginning as early as Tuesday, the carrier is allegedly poised to offer several tiers that offer increasing amounts of unlimited service. A comparatively basic plan will start at $100 per month for unlimited calling in the US, without roaming charges; $120, $140, $150, and $170 plans will add messaging, V CAST video and VZ Navigator, e-mail, and ultimately international data to the plan. Family plans should also be available that maintain similar rates for each additional line.
Toshiba is reviewing whether or not it will continue the HD DVD format, the company said Monday morning in a public statement. The Japanese electronics firm neither confirmed nor denied claims by national broadcaster NHK that it would halt HD DVD production outright but has admitted that it is reconsidering its position on the HD movie disc standard. The comment is the first public acknowledgement by Toshiba that it may need to discontinue the format after a succession of key studio and retail losses.
Sprint today has quietly rolled two Samsung phones into its collection, including its first direct rival to AT&T's BlackJack II. The pictured ACE shares some of the body style of the earlier phone but is designed explicitly for world roaming: it includes both Sprint's native CDMA as well as GSM, allowing the phone to connect in Europe and other regions without swapping phones. The handset is 3G-capable on CDMA but is capped at 2G-level EDGE access abroad. Samsung also equips the phone with GPS for assisted navigation and a 1.3-megapixel camera. In Sprint trim, the phone sells for either $200 with a two-year contract or $450 without the commitment.
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Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe